Meditation has been known since ancient times as a good way to be alone with yourself and leave problems aside. Meditation includes complete physical and psychological relaxation and helps control stress and emotions. This training method will defeat depression, insomnia, fatigue and other problems associated with emotional stress. The physical health of a person suffers from emotional stress, natural processes in the body are disrupted. Meditation will also help to cope with similar failures in the work of internal organs. When a person gets rid of anxiety and stress, the body directs all its forces to self-healing.
The benefits of anti-anxiety meditation
Meditation in stress is aimed at combating anxious thoughts and focusing on your own body. The relaxation process affects the following processes:
- reduces blood pressure;
- reduces stress hormone production;
- improves blood circulation;
- normalizes the rhythm of the heart and breathing;
- improves concentration; uplifting;
- helps focus on good events and forget about sorrows and disappointments;
- relieves depression and chronic fatigue;
- gives self-confidence.
It happens that the problems were crushed so badly that the idea arises to start taking sedative drugs. But do not rush into such a decision, because any drugs have adverse reactions, and are not suitable for everyone.
Meditation relieves fear and anxiety, as it is a natural sedative for the body. During relaxation, relaxation occurs in all parts of the body and internal organs. The flow of blood to the vessels improves, the cells are saturated with oxygen, the heart begins to work in a normal rhythm, breathing becomes calm – all this reduces nervous tension and helps to correct the emotional state.
How to practice meditation to calm anxiety
Practicing meditation is really easy and you can try it right now with these simple instructions for a concentration meditation on breathing:
- Meditation for anxiety starts when you find a quiet place and set your alarm for an initial 10 minutes (more if you feel comfortable to start with a longer session).
- Sit cross-legged on a floor (use a mat and a cushion to level your hips with your knees), place your arms on your lap. Only sit on a firm chair if the cross-legged position is very uncomfortable. In general, your posture should be fairly relaxed but not sluggish, so you won’t meditate yourself to sleep. Full lotus is the most stable and firm posture, but you can adopt half-lotus or a simple cross-legged position too.
- Take a few really deep breaths as so other people would be likely to hear you breathing. It should make you feel relaxed fairly quickly.
- Close your eyes and start paying attention to sounds, smells, posture and breathing. Simply make a mental note on what you are observing. No need to judge it or dwell on it.
- Pay attention to how your body feels. Start doing so by scanning your body from top to bottom and notice how even the smallest parts of your body feel. Don’t try to change anything or judge. It’s all good, you are being attentive, that’s it.
- Move the focus of your attention to your breathing. Do not try to change it, just let it be. No judgment please, do not allow to be violent towards yourself. Notice where in your body your breathing starts, how it flows and how it ends. To help you settle with this pattern, you can start counting your breaths from 1 to 10 and then revert back to 1. If your attention shifts to something else, notice the very fact of this happening and then gently get your mind to count the breaths again and again. These ‘jumps’ happen all the time, so be kind to yourself. The more skillful you become, the less monkey-like your mind learns to be. Every single time your mind gets back to counting breaths, it also gets stronger. This, in effect, gives your mind a proper training.
- When you have established a good concentration on breathing, invite your mind to contemplate on the fact that all things change; it is just the way of life. Think about life and death, how are your thoughts are coming and going. This is what it’s called impermanence. Accept it and relieve yourself from the pressure of stress factors. They will come and go too.
- Obviously, these stress factors come with dissatisfaction and sometimes suffering. It happens because you cling to positive states, and quite naturally averse to things that cause you pain. You can contemplate whether you can simply let go of your attachment to that stressor. This will definitely alleviate your stress and relieve anxiety. Yet if you cannot do it, by simply accepting that ‘yes I cling to that, and that’s why I feel anxious’ you acknowledge your suffering and, paradoxically, it will subside. You will feel it less and with time it will disappear.
- These two very specific but open contemplation themes are going to change on a daily basis. Things change, so is your meditation practice. Yet with time, you will become familiar with both of these characteristics and your level of anxiety will gradually lessen with this meditation for anxiety practice. You will accept these universal truths: everyone experiences dissatisfaction and all things are impermanent. Your full acceptance and absence of clinging are key to lower your anxiety with meditation.
- Continue for your set amount of time. When finished, allow your mind to rest for 30 seconds with no focus on anything at all. Just observe and let it simply flow.
- Finish by making a mental note how you feel now, what you are going to do next and open your eyes.
You have just completed a session of mind training or cultivation that specifically targeting anxiety.
Anxiety can be one of the obstacles to meditation. It can be a part of restlessness that creates a barrier to meditation practice. But don’t be alarmed. If you do not judge yourself for being restless at some point during meditation but simply acknowledge the fact, it will actually lessen your anxiety. It’s a paradox, but also a fact.
At the end of the practice, work with breath holdings:
- deep breath – a delay of 5-10 seconds. – exhale.
- inhalation – a delay of 15-20 seconds. – exhale. + circular rotation of the shoulders – exhale.
- inhalation – delay of 15-20 seconds. + fast circular rotation with shoulders – exhalation. Relaxation. Stay in this state, feel the emptiness and silence inside, the lack of emotions. You just have it.
Meditation techniques for anxiety and Depression
There are three known methods for relieving depression and anxiety:
- The technique is based on the alternate relaxation of all muscle groups – a person consciously relaxes the body, starting from the legs and mentally compares this state with the voltage that was a minute ago. The technique is effective and in nature resembles shavasana.
- The technique is based on visual images – quiet and protected places where a person would feel calm and confident. You can move on and visualize the taste, smell, sensation of a loved one nearby.
- The technique of fear and anxiety in the form of meditation consists of repeating phrases (affirmations) that give self-confidence, vitality and will.
By practicing exercises from anxiety and stress in the evening, a person is freed from physical and mental stress, acquires balance and balance. This meditation is for calming nerves, psychological relaxation, increasing control over stress and emotions. When you get rid of all the negative influences, your body will direct all its forces to self-healing.
Mantras Against Stress and Anxiety Mantras are certain words or a whole text that is repeated during meditation. Mantras are used in many religious denominations. They help to better concentrate on meditation. Mantras must be chanted. The main syllable used in mantras is “ohm”. There are various conditions, depression and stress from various situations.
Example of quick meditation for anxiety
The whole posture as a whole gives us a sense of peace, creates a calm zone inside the Heart Center for heart prana. In emotional terms, this meditation allows you to clearly see your relationship with yourself and with other people. If someone upset you at home or at work, meditate for 3-15 minutes before making a decision. Then proceed. In the physiological aspect, meditation improves lung and heart function.
Pose: Sit in a simple pose, make an incomplete jalandhara bandha (throat lock).
Eyes: closed or ajar 1/10, the gaze is directed straight ahead.
Mudra: Grasp the left palm, right. The thumb of the left-hand lies crosswise on the right thumb. Place your hands in the area of the heart.
Breathing: Focus on the flow of breath. Consciously control your breathing at every stage. Slowly take a deep breath through both nostrils. Hold your breath for as long as possible by lifting your chest. Then slowly, gradually, evenly exhale completely and again hold your breath as long as possible.
Time: from 3 to 31 minutes. For practice concentration and rejuvenation, do 31 minutes.
Completion: forcefully inhale and exhale 3 times. Relax.
Scientific Research on the Effect of Meditation on Anxiety
Few more studies to deepen your understanding of how mindfulness meditation helps to overcome anxiety:
- Study at the John Hopkins University School of Medicine and published in JAMA Int Medicine showed that meditation can provide a level of relief from symptoms of anxiety and depression similar to that of antidepressant drugs. Peace and happiness, no prescription needed. (from Suze Yalof Schwartz “Unplug”)
- A study showed a slowing of breathing after just 8 weeks of mindfulness meditation practice: 1.6 breaths slower. It means 2000 extra breaths for non-meditators per day; 800000 a year! These extra breaths are physiologically taxing and can exact a health toll as time goes on. As practice continues and breathing becomes slower, the body adjusts its physiological set point for its respiratory rate accordingly. That’s a good thing. While chronic rapid breathing signifies ongoing anxiety, a slower breath rate indicates reduced autonomic activity, better mood and salutary health. (from J. Wielgosz et al., “Long Term Mindfulness Training is Associated with Reliable Differences in Resting Respiration Rate”, Scientific Reports 6, 2016)
- Researchers from Maharishi International University taught meditation to prisoners with a standard prison program as a comparison. They found that 4 months later the prisoners doing meditation showed fewer symptoms of trauma, anxiety, depression; they also slept better and perceived their days as less stressful (from S. Nidich et al., “Reduced trauma symptoms and perceived stress in male prison inmates through Transcendental Meditation Program” Permanente Journal 2016; doi.org/10.7812/TPP/116-007)