Meditation has helped me manage my anxiety but I haven’t always been great about taking the time to practice it. I have recently decided to wean myself off of Zoloft and I am trying to focus on other non-medicated ways to deal with my anxiety. I am making an effort to exercise and meditate more. These are some of the ways I like to practice meditation for anxiety.
Meditation- it is not forcing your mind to not think about anything. It is training your mind to focus. It makes you more mindful, calmer, less stressed and happier.
All you need to do is notice what you notice and relax in the present moment, unburdened by your thoughts. Each time your mind wanders (and it will a lot) just return your attention back to your breath. Let thoughts happen without trying to change anything. Don’t resist them or try to shut them down. Don’t keep following your thoughts, just keep bringing your attention back to your breathing.
Simple Breath Awareness Meditation For Anxiety
Make sure you are in a quiet environment.
Sit or lay down with your eyes closed.
Get comfortable and relax.
Focus all your attention on your breathing. You can focus on your breath going in and out of your mouth or you can focus on your chest or stomach rising and falling with your breath.
Notice thoughts that arise. Let your thoughts happen without trying to change anything. Don’t fight them or try to shut them down. Calmly let the thoughts pass and don’t keep following them.
Bring your attention back to the present by focusing on your breathing again.
Repeat this every day for at least 5 minutes- set a timer so you don’t need to check your clock.
Different Types of Meditation
Body Scan- Focus on the physical sensations in the body. Lay down and get comfortable. Start with your toes and work your way up to the top of your head. Focus on each specific body part- toes, ankles, calf, knees, thighs, butt, stomach, chest, neck, mouth, eyes and head. For each body part, tense your muscles for 5 seconds and then release the tension as you exhale.
Walking Meditation- Place your entire awareness in the process of walking. Bring your attention to your feet and notice the sensations in your feet. Focus on the feeling as you shift your weight from one leg to the other leg. Look straight ahead and let your hands fall down to your sides. Walk 10-15 feet and then stop and take a long breath. Turn around and walk back in the opposite direction. Keep doing this for at least 5 minutes.
Eating Meditation- Eat alone and in a quite environment. Focus on all the sensations as you slowly eat your food. Pay attention to the smell, texture and taste of the food you are eating. Savor each bite and focus on the sensations that arise from eating.
Visualize Your Thoughts- Envision your thoughts as objects. As you take deep breaths focus on each one of your thoughts for a few seconds before pushing it away. It is not about controlling your thoughts or believing in them. If you don’t believe them they will flow away and you can relax.
Mantra Meditation- The recitation of a mantra. Repeat the mantra softly or quietly in your head. Choosing a Mantra is a personal choice. “Om” is the most popular. Other options are calm, love, peace, I am or anything you want. A mantra will make your mind focus on a single point of concentration while meditating.
Meditation Beads- 108 beads- There is a Guru bead at the head. It’s a larger bead or charm at the bottom of the necklace. Guru beads harness all the energy of your practice. To begin meditating start at the bead next to the Guru bead (either side is fine). Each time you say your mantra hold a bead between your thumb and middle finger. Gently spin the bead as you recite your mantra, then move on to the next bead. Work your way around the necklace. When you reach the guru bead you have recited your mantra 108 times. If you wish to keep meditating do not pass over the guru bead, turn back in the opposite direction and repeat the process. Wear your meditation beads all day as a reminder that you need to meditate. You don’t need to have 108 beads, this will work with any meditation necklace.
Each of these activities should be done mindfully. Really focus when you are doing these meditations. Try to practice meditating for at least 5 minutes a day. It will help you adopt a more meditative state in your day to day life and help you manage your anxiety.