Trying To Get Rid Of Anxiety? Meditation Can Help
Updated April 08, 2020
Reviewer Dawn Brown
Anxiety is a crippling disease that makes us feel uneasy and out of control. Additionally, it can be difficult to know how to treat it or make its effects go away. Learning how to get rid of anxiety is no simple feat. What we do know is that although medicine can reduce symptoms, the cure is not in the drugs.
You might be surprised to learn that an ancient practice, not a discovery, is helping people around the world get rid of anxiety symptoms and transform their lives. For centuries, people of the far East have known something that those of us in the West have failed to recognize-meditation allows you to connect with your subconscious mind and overcome overwhelming fears and worries.
What Is Meditation?
The first mention of meditation in written form can be found in the Vedas, the most ancient Hindu scriptures written in India in around 1500 BCE. There are wall paintings that date back even further that depict this practice.
What do you think of when you hear the word 'meditation'? Maybe a Buddha sculpture or someone is saying 'hmmm' with palms raised. Meditation is a simple process that involves repetition, but it isn't solely about chanting. Nor is it connected to a single religion. Instead, it partners with mindfulness and conquering the 'monkey mind' that can keep us overwhelmed and stressed to the max.
Meditation is a technique used to pivot away from distracting thoughts and focus on the present moment. This is an essential part of what we call 'mindfulness.' Meditation is often used as a therapy technique to treat depression, anxiety, PTSD, along with a myriad of other conditions. Its success is attributed to its way of helping us tune in to ourselves.
Meditation practitioner and NLP guru, Debra Rasberry, teaches her clients that because this is a vibrational, energy-based universe, awareness is a superpower.
Mindfulness means being aware of the current state you are in, where you are, and calmly accepting your emotions, thoughts, and sensations. You can achieve mindfulness through meditation, but you can practice it in other ways as well. Debra teaches the key to be congruency-in what you desire, what you think about, and what you do (desire, thought, and deed).
Different Ways To Meditate
Meditation is not one-size-fits-all. What is offered here is a general guide, but there are many great resources out there that will help you make this practice part of a healthy lifestyle.
To begin, you want to get comfortable. Most people sit or lie down and close their eyes - it is important to pick a position that you can stay in that will be comfortable for a period. You also want to make sure that your spine is straight and in alignment
You can also set a time limit for your session. This can range anywhere from 5 minutes on; it only depends on what you are comfortable with doing. Beginners should start with a smaller number to minimize the frustration that may occur as a result of struggling to stay mindful. If you notice your mind wandering, try to steer it back to the present moment. This will give your mind something to focus on other than your constant stream of to-do lists and activities of the day.
As you become more accustomed to the process, you will be much better equipped to go for longer and longer. Many people report that mindfulness and meditation quickly becomes a part of their daily routine. It can be a very sacred time of the day, set apart for you to relax and enjoy the moment, free of worries and stress.
The key to meditation is to relax and try to stay in the present. There are a couple of ways to accomplish this. One way is to focus on your breath. We will discuss that in the next section. Transcendental meditation is another option. It involves focusing on a specific mantra for at least twenty minutes.
Meditation can be a great tool to get rid of anxiety because it will train your brain to realize when it is going off track, so you can reign it in when you start feeling the negative effects of your anxiety. Through mindfulness, you can overcome anything.
Learn A Few Breathing Exercises
A helpful tip to anyone new or accustomed to mindfulness and how to meditate is to do some research on breathing exercises. These can be invaluable to calm your inner self and mind in preparation for your session.
Breathing exercises work to calm yourself further and to keep your brain occupied.
Consider the following: close your eyes and focus on the sound of your breathing. Breathe in through your mouth for 5 seconds, hold it for 5 seconds, and exhale for 10. Continue this until you feel your muscles relax and pay attention to your heart rate.
To monitor your heart rate, you can place your thumb on the inside of your wrist and your index finger on the back. Apply a fair amount of pressure and adjust your thumb on the surface of your skin until you find your vein. You should be able to pick up your pulse.
When you are stressed, you will notice your pulse will quicken. This is your body's natural reaction to stressors in your outside environment; as you practice your breathing exercises and focus your mind on the here and now, you will notice it start to slow.
Once you are feeling completely relaxed and your heart rate is at a level, slow beat, this is the time to being meditating. With no outside stressors causing havoc within you, it is the perfect time to practice mindfulness. Anxiety won't stand a chance against your new skills!
As a bonus, even when you are not meditating, breathing exercises can help get rid of anxiety. They will associate in your brain with meditation, so the effects of the mindfulness session will bleed even into your day to day life.
Try Not To Judge Yourself
Especially in the early stages of practicing meditation, you may discover yourself judging yourself for the practices.
It can certainly be easy to get lost in what's "normal" or "accepted" in modern society, and to feel a bit wacky when practicing mindfulness. Anxiety may also be something that you are self-conscious about, and you may be tempted to stop attempting to make this work because of the feelings you have toward yourself.
Remember that this is very likely just a symptom of your anxiety, and don't let your negative feelings toward yourself control your life. Chances are, you have already spent too much time in your life doing this, so why not stop now? Repetition is very important. This can be easier said than done in some cases but putting meditation into your morning or nighttime routine will help you stay on track.
Be careful not to get stuck in a rut every time you are critical of yourself. This is a completely normal thing that many people struggle with; you are not alone! The fact that you even want to embrace meditation as a way to handle your negative emotions speaks volumes.
It's OK If Your Mind Wanders
You may find your mind wandering after a period of meditation, and this is completely normal!
The brain is made up of so many different connections and neurons; there is no way you would be able to focus on not focusing on anything for very long!
When your mind wanders during mindfulness, anxiety might try to creep its way in. If this happens, try to redirect back to the current moment and what you are feeling and experiencing just at this moment. Many times, this is all it will take to relieve you. At other times, you may need to put a little extra effort into keep on track.
This will vary from day to day. With time, you will find the right formula for you that will pull you out of any tangent-as long as you don't give up.
Mindfulness Is A Part Of Us
Whether we realize it or not, mindfulness is something that we already practice!
Being present in the moment and acknowledging our feelings at the current time is mindfulness at its finest. Our brains are built to be mindful. This is our brain's natural defense against anxiety and other negatively impacting emotions.
So, the next time you sit down to meditate, remember that it is something you have been doing since birth. Life, stress, and our 'monkey mind' do a good job of helping us forget this fact.
Don't Believe The Skeptics
There are many skeptics out there that think mindfulness and meditation are obscure or unusual practices. This is just not the case.
Mindfulness can take on many shapes and forms. Most of the time, this takes the shape of meditating, but many people interpret it in other ways such a relaxation time or just a moment to breathe.
Be confident in yourself that meditation is a tool to help you with your anxiety without drugs or other medicines. It is one of the best drug-free treatments for this ailment and is a widely accepted, evidence proven treatment method even among professionals.
With this information in your arsenal, you can walk with your head held high when speaking about mindfulness.
It's Not A Hype
Because of its grown popularity over recent years, many might call meditation a hype or a fad. This couldn't be further from the truth.
Mindfulness practices are simply tools to be used to help get rid of anxiety. If you take the method seriously and invest you're all into it; the results can be amazing.
If you want to succeed, it is of paramount importance that you have true faith in the process. At times, it can seem that you have come to a stale point, or that the method isn't working. This is about training your brain to recognize when you are off track so that you can bring it all back in. Think about things as how you want them to be, not as how they are.
We have all heard the phrase "Rome wasn't built in a day." This means that good things take time! Keep this thought close to you on your journey and remember: the harder you work for it, the sweeter the reward will be at the end of the day.
You will thank yourself for your investment in your mental health when it is all said and done!
Get A Professional Involved
If you are struggling with finding a method that works for you, or you can't get the hang of mindfulness on your own, there is another way!
A trained counselor or therapist with ReGain can be key in assisting you to succeed using this method. It is a widely used strategy for treating anxiety, and a professional will be more than happy to help you in your journey.
Make sure to bring all the information about things you have already tried, along with a list of things that worked and things that didn't. This will help to make sure you don't go back over things that you have tried before to no avail.
Once you get the hang of it, meditation is going to be a wonderful weapon against your anxiety and can even help you with other big changes in life!