How to manage anxiety through meditation
Updated: Mar 11
The secret to making meditation work to relieve the symptoms of anxiety
I doubt I need to describe what anxiety feels like. I suspect you know already. You may have been suffering from anxiety every day for years, or your condition might be more recent. Sometimes, life can become a little overwhelming and your anxiety levels increase. If you don’t manage these, you could find that excessive worry develops into headaches and sleeping disorders, then on to panic attacks, obsessive compulsive disorders, and worse.
Professional help – and acupuncture for anxiety and insomnia – can move you to a better place, but there are also plenty of ways in which you can self-manage anxiety. In this post, you’ll learn how to manage anxiety with the aid of meditation.
The benefits of using meditation to manage anxiety
When I first started recommending meditation as an anxiety management technique, I must admit that I used to be made to feel like a hippy! Thankfully, there is much more awareness of the benefits of meditation today. Scientific research on mindfulness meditation has found that just one month of practicing leads to an average:
· 58% reduction in anxiety levels
· 57% reduction in depression
· 40% reduction in stress
Consistent improvement in mental and emotional health has been found to be a contributor to improving physical health.
Don’t be deceived by the meditation misconception
If you’ve tried meditation and become discouraged quickly, I completely understand. I’ve been there. People think that the goal of meditation is to reach a perfect state of happiness. It’s not.
Meditation is not a drug that gives you a temporary (and false) sense of contentment, leaving you with a big grin and an empty head. Meditation is a practice that improves your mental shape, in the same way that consistent physical exercise improves your body shape.
Meditation – shifting anxiety to awareness
Meditation shifts your focus. The most common thing to focus on is your breathing. And that is it!
When meditating, it is easy for your mind to stray from concentration on your breathing. Suddenly, you realise you have spent the last few minutes mired in your thoughts – probably of the very things that are adding to your stress and anxiety levels.
When this happens, there’s no need to be judgemental. Simply bring your attention back to your breathing. This is the practice of meditation.
Don’t expect instant results from meditation
You wouldn’t expect to run a marathon after one session of physical training. It takes time and practice to reach peak physical fitness. It’s the same with meditation.
The secret to reducing anxiety through meditation is to understand that it is a long-term process. You need to practice constantly to improve results. As the muscles in your brain start to respond to their training, they become stronger. Quite quickly, you’ll start to notice the difference it makes to your everyday life.
How can you fit meditation into a busy life?
The best way to incorporate meditation into your daily life is to make it a part of your morning routine, preferably before breakfast. For example, between showering and breakfast, I sit down for 10-15 minutes of meditation. The first few days of doing this was hard – but it soon became habitual.
Once you make meditation a part of your routine, your resistance to do it reduces significantly. You might also try meditation during your work day – you achieve more when you take more breaks, and meditation is one of the recommended techniques to maximise this advantage. Give these routines a try, but if it’s not working out there are some useful books on how to create good habits in your life.
How can I get started with meditation?
There are many websites, apps, and teachers out there to help you achieve the potential of meditation. My current favourite is the Headspace app. It gives great guidance on how to meditate. I also like the narrator, Andy. He doesn’t have that spiritual manner of speech some find annoying. He’s just nice and compassionate. And you can try the app for free! If you don’t like it, try another app, or choose another platform, until you find the right one for you.
In my next blog, I’ll talk about two more techniques to manage your anxiety. In the meantime, don’t let stress and anxiety take over your life. Get in touch with me now, and let’s work together to destress your life.
Live life to the fullest