Meditation for Anxiety
(and 11 other easy ways to reduce anxiety right now)
Meditation is a great way to reduce anxiety.
We all feel anxious sometimes. A sense of overwhelm and fear to the point of being paralysed.
It could be the Coronavirus. Or our workload has us so stressed that all we can do is stare at it and freeze, not knowing where to start.
Or we feel a panic attack when we need to speak up and assert ourselves.
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Can meditation reduce anxiety?
How do you instantly reduce anxiety?
We need a defence that kicks in as soon as anxiety rears up and threatens to take over our mind.
Something that counteracts the hugely exaggerated stories we tell ourselves when in the middle of an anxiety attack.
Affirmations for Anxiety
- All is well in my world.
- I am perfectly alright right now.
- I am safe.
- My body and mind are calm.
- I can do this.
- I am safe.
- I love myself just the way I am.
- I am enough.
- I am worthy.
- I am well and happy.
- I trust the process.
How do you meditate for anxiety?
10 Minute guided mindfulness meditation for anxiety:
Sit with your back straight. It’s not necessary to sit on the floor, on a chair is perfectly fine too. Try not to lean against the backrest if you can but be comfortable. Sitting on the very edge of a cushion so your rear is elevated can really help with this. Have both feet firmly on the floor.
Close your eyes. Take a deep breath and sigh as you exhale. Relax. Relax your shoulders, relax your jaw. Relax everything, even your eyeballs behind your closed eyes.
Now notice your emotions. Any and every emotion is allowed. Be honest with yourself. Feel the anxiety, fear, worry, stress.
Maybe there are other emotions by now too. Some calm, or some boredom perhaps? Some impatience, or a feeling of relief that the anxiety attack is subsiding? It’s all fine. Just know how you really are right now. Know yourself. Where does the emotion sit in your body? How does it actually feel? Hot? Cold? Sickening? Searing, stabbing?
Now even watch the thoughts in your mind. Any labels, judgments, stories. Observe them from the outside – don’t engage with them. Know your mind. When you’re distracted and your mind wanders off the meditation where does it go? Are you indulging in memories or fantasies? Are you judging yourself? Are you engaging in horror stories of worst case scenarios?
How much are your thoughts rooted in reality? How helpful are they? Start to know where your mind goes whenever you’re “not looking”, not aware. No judgement, just knowing and acceptance.
This self-awareness itself is like therapy. It puts us back in charge of our minds and makes us feel in control.
Unlike the exaggerated horror stories we tell ourselves when we’re overwhelmed with anxiety, this is not something we conjure up.
This is a first step to calmly looking at our anxious thoughts and feelings and coming back to ourselves rather than let our anxiety run riot.
Some people even swear by the use for crystals to aid the effectiveness of meditation.
How long should I meditate for anxiety?
Try to meditate for 10-20 minutes every day. We need to build up a strong defence so that when anxiety threatens to engulf our mind we can still find that path back to calm, sanity, and reason, because we’ve practiced it.
Further Resources: Yoga for anxiety
Is yoga good for anxiety?
Yoga is fantastic to combat anxiety.
It doesn’t require the same stillness and mental discipline as meditation but it’s not as “mind-less” as going to the gym. It works with your mind – through your body.
In fact, yoga was originally practiced as a way to prepare the mind for more effective meditation. (Not as a way to work out, or to get fit). If you find meditation hard try to do yoga first.
Which yoga is best for anxiety and depression?
Every person is different and we’re all dealing with different things. There is a right type of yoga for everyone.
The most gentle style of yoga is Yin Yoga (as in the gentle half of Yin&Yang).
Here is a beautiful example of a Yin practice on YouTube with my London yoga teacher Norman Blair. It is truly de-stressing and relaxing.
If you need something more invigorating try Ashtanga Yoga, or even Power Yoga. Here is a range of Power Yoga videos with my Bali teacher Paul Teodo. Great fun – and physically quite demanding.
In between the relaxing Yin Yoga and the demanding Power Yoga are a great many more styles. Here are the most common ones to try:
The most important thing is to listen to what your body and mind need in the moment. If you find a style that you enjoy and that encourages you to do yoga regularly – pick that one.
Which exercise is best for anxiety?
Further Resources for Anxiety
Studies have shown that laughter significantly lowers stress levels, soothes tension, relieves pain, boosts mood and the immune system.
Here is my favourite funny clip ever, just thinking about it makes me laugh! (It’s Michael McIntyre at the dentist – which doesn’t sound very funny … but I defy you not to laugh watching this.)
For a limited time these are donation based to make them accessible to all. Pay what you wish. More info and book here.
Get lots of (good quality) sleep
A Final Thought
Being faced with anxiety attacks might be an opportunity to make changes in our life that we’ve been meaning to do for a long time. Practice mental self-care, live more healthily, and also enjoy life more!
If you have further resources that you’ve found to be effective to deal with anxiety I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.