Anxiety is the most common mental health condition in the world. Calming ourselves has long been a concern for humans. That helps to explain why meditation was created. Yes, of course, it plays a role in deepening our understanding of the world we live in. However, the connection between meditation and mindfulness is partly why it’s become used to calm anxiety.
So much of anxiety exists in our tendency to time travel. We spend time in the past reliving old wounds. We spend time in the future firing new wounds. Meanwhile, life is happening right here in the present moment. Meditation is a reminder to stay present.
Some of the Many General Benefits of Meditation
- Meditation changes your relationship with stress. You gain a new perspective and new skills, e.g., learning how to shift your focus away from negative patterns.
- You feel more balanced, self-aware, and patient.
- Positive physical changes are often associated with regular meditation practice. These may include lowering your blood pressure and heart rate.
- You experience an improved quality of sleep.
- Meditation can result in you feeling more creative and in touch with your emotions.
- As mentioned above, people who meditate feel more present. They are better equipped to process and clear the volumes of information they encounter each day.
How Do Meditation and Mindfulness Calm Anxiety?
One of the hallmarks of anxiety is rumination. You have trouble stopping yourself from fixating on certain topics, memories, or fears. One of the hallmarks of mindful meditation is guiding practitioners to identify thoughts without taking action. You don’t have to analyze them or try to chase them away. As you can imagine, this feels like a dream come true for someone with an anxiety disorder.
Meditation empowers you to acknowledge your worries without becoming obsessed with them. In such a mental space, you are well-positioned to examine the root causes of all this stress. Your awareness of underlying issues dramatically enhances the overall anxiety-healing process.
Meditation Techniques for Calming Anxiety
Narrow your focus to your breathing rhythm. You can choose a particular area to help you tighten this awareness, e.g., the chest, belly, or nose. Be present with every inhale and every exhale. To get started, it can be helpful to literally whisper “in” and “out” with each breath. Another useful option is counting. You may count to four or five when inhaling. Then count to six or seven as you exhale.
As you get comfortable with breath awareness, bring your attention to the body. Take notice of what you feel. There will be many sensations to focus on when you choose to focus on them. Another technique is to lie flat and try doing progressive relaxation. Starting from your feet and working your way up, tighten each body part and then gently release it. By the time you reach your face and neck, you should feel very present and very relaxed.
Allow yourself to feel the present moment. Take in all that is going on. This could be sounds, muscle tightness, fleeting worries, temperature, and so much more. Sink into the moment and experience even the tiniest of changes or sensations. When a thought arrives, identify it and get right back to being present.
How Do You Learn All of This?
The ideal situation is to connect with a therapist who is skilled in mindful meditation. Your sessions with them can encompass the full range of anxiety treatment approaches. With this in mind, I invite you to connect with me soon. Let’s schedule you for a free and confidential consultation and get you moving toward a more calm and stress-free lifestyle.