Anxiety can be debilitating. Its relentless combination of fear and worry can take over and make it difficult to function in your everyday life. If you’re struggling with anxiety, you know all too well that it can seem impossible to find relief.
But there is hope. One practice that has been proven to help people with anxiety is meditation. It’s a simple technique that doesn’t require any special equipment or knowledge—just a willingness to try something new.
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced practitioner, learning more about the benefits of meditation for people with anxiety can open up fresh paths to finding peace and relaxation. In this article, we’ll discuss how meditation can help reduce your symptoms and improve your overall wellbeing.
What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety can feel like a never-ending coil of stress that winds tighter and tighter the longer you do nothing about it. In reality, however, anxiety is an all-encompassing term for a range of disorders, from generalized anxiety disorder to panic attacks and beyond.
In short, anxiety is an emotional condition that manifests as fear or nervousness about future events. It’s typically accompanied by physical symptoms such as shallow breathing, rapid heart rate, and muscle tension—all of which can prevent people from enjoying life and making progress towards their goals.
It’s difficult to manage anxiety on your own, especially if it’s severe or chronic. Fortunately, there are many treatments available that can help you manage your anxiety more effectively—including one of the oldest and most trusted methods: meditation.
How Meditation Can Help With Anxiety
Do you suffer from anxiety? By now, you know it can be a debilitating and powerful feeling. But did you know that meditation can be a powerful tool in helping manage and reduce anxiety? Studies have shown that meditation is an effective way to help treat anxiety, PTSD, and even stress-related symptoms.
Meditation is an easy practice that helps to bring your body and mind into the present moment. It helps to calm a racing mind and can teach us how to become more aware of our thoughts, feelings, and sensations without judgment or attachment. Through regular practice, it can help develop habits such as awareness, compassion, self-care, and emotional resilience.
Regular meditation allows your mind to learn how to stay in the present moment instead of getting caught up in anxious thoughts about the past or the future. It teaches us how to respond–rather than react–to life’s stressful moments with greater clarity and purpose. Research has also found that practicing mindful meditation can lead to physical changes in your brain structure over time — like increased gray matter volume — which can improve cognitive functioning.
If you suffer from anxiety, try meditation today!
The Different Meditation Techniques
If you’re looking to meditate to help with anxiety, you might wonder what techniques are best. The answer is that there are many meditation techniques to choose from, and they vary in complexity, length and difficulty—so it’s important to find one that works for you. Some of the most popular techniques include:
The most popular type of meditation is mindfulness meditation — a practice of being present in the moment. That means focusing on your breath, body, and feelings without judgment or reactivity. It encourages a non-judgmental attitude towards your thoughts and feelings so that you can observe them without getting overwhelmed by them.
Breath Awareness Meditation
Breath awareness meditation focuses on simply observing the breath. Rather than trying to control or manipulate the breath – just observe it as it is – allowing it to move as it wants it to naturally. This type of meditation can help bring calmness and grounding by calming the body while also training the mind to stay focused on one thing without getting distracted by anxious thoughts and feelings.
Body Scan Meditation
Body scan meditation helps you notice how each part of your body feels when relaxed or under tension, so that you can learn to better control your own physical responses when feeling anxious. It involves focusing attention on different parts of the body, one at a time, until total relaxation is achieved throughout.
Whatever style of meditation you choose, remember that with regular practice and an open mind, its effects can be seen more quickly than you think!
Why Mindfulness Meditation Is Beneficial for Anxiety?
One of the most beneficial ways to manage anxiety is through mindfulness meditation. This practice can help you gain an awareness of your thoughts and feelings non-judgementally—and develop more self-control over how you relate to these emotions.
But why is mindfulness meditation so powerful for those with anxiety? Here are just a few reasons:
Mindfulness meditation helps increase cognitive control so you can consciously observe and pay attention to your own thoughts and feelings without reacting to them. This can decrease the intensity of your anxious feelings, as well as reducing physical symptoms associated with anxiety like a rapid heart rate or difficulty breathing.
Increased Focus & Concentration
Mindfulness meditation helps you become more aware of distractions and helps increase focus on the present moment. This can help redirect thoughts away from negative, anxious thinking patterns that can spiral out of control.
Decreased Stress & Fear
Practicing mindfulness involves allowing yourself to be present in the moment and focus on the here-and-now instead of worrying about future events that may or may not happen. This makes it easier to accept whatever is happening in life without dwelling on stressful thoughts or experiences. By focusing on the breath and being mindful of each inhale and exhale, it can help calm mind and body.
Practicing Mindfulness in Everyday Life
The practice of mindfulness is a crucial part of meditation. Mindfulness helps to bring awareness to our thoughts and feelings and allows us to observe them without judging or reacting to them. This awareness of our thoughts and feelings can help us gain control over them, reducing our stress levels and anxieties.
Research shows that mindfulness can reduce stress by as much as 39%. It has also been found that people who practice mindfulness have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol than those who don’t.
You can practice mindfulness in everyday life, even when you’re not meditating. Here are some tips:
- Take a few moments throughout the day to pay attention to your breath. Focus on how it feels entering your body and leaving it.
- Whenever an anxious thought appears, acknowledge it but don’t get caught up in it – let it pass like a cloud in the sky.
- Become mindful of how you spend your time throughout the day. Take moments to scan through your body and notice any physical sensations you are experiencing in the present moment, such as tension or relaxation.
- Take breaks from technology throughout the day, even if it’s just for a few minutes – that way you can avoid becoming overwhelmed by news or social media updates.
- Prioritize activities that bring joy into your life, like outdoor exercise or creative pursuits. – this will increase levels of serotonin and dopamine, which are chemicals in our brains associated with mood regulation and happiness.
Crafting Your Own Unique Meditation Practice
Meditation isn’t a one-size-fits-all endeavor—you can tailor it to suit your own anxiety levels and preferences. This is the beauty of crafting your own unique meditation practice.
The possibilities are truly endless for customizing your meditation practice. Here are some things to consider as you get started:
- How often would you like to meditate? You might start with 10-15 minutes a day, 3-5 times a week, and see how it feels.
- What type of meditation appeals to you? There are many types of meditation available, so try out a few different ones and see which one resonates with you most.
- What props might be useful for you? Doing your practice in the same spot each time may help you access calmness more easily—you can use items like candles, incense, or calming music as part of your practice.
When tweaking and refining your meditation practice, be sure to review also how it is helping with your anxiety levels. This will enable you to tweak its content and length, in the future, for increased relaxation benefits. Above all else, be gentle on yourself if you don’t seem to make progress right away—experience comes in time!
Meditation has been around for centuries, and its many benefits have been scientifically proven, from reducing stress to improve focus and concentration. For those struggling with anxiety, mindfulness meditation is an invaluable tool for calming the mind and body and providing temporary relief from anxious feelings.
You don’t need any special equipment or expensive classes to reap the benefits of mindfulness meditation; all it takes is your commitment and willingness to practice. This won’t get rid of anxiety completely, but it can give you the ability to take control of your life and handle your anxiety more effectively. Start small, and make it part of your routine, and you’ll soon experience the many benefits of mindfulness meditation.