Many people experience anxiety at some point in their life.
It is a mental health disorder characterised by a feeling of dread or fear that can be strong enough to interrupt a person’s daily activities.
Severe anxiety can interfere with a person’s ability to socialise, work, or go out in public.
Fortunately, there are numerous medical treatments and complementary therapies available for anxiety.
One of the most effective therapies is meditation.
Meditation forces a person to focus their attention on the present, ignoring past or future events which may be triggers for anxiety.
This guide will share some helpful meditation tips for people with anxiety.
How can meditation reduce anxiety symptoms?
Most people suffering from anxiety have thousands of repetitive thoughts pop into their head each day.
Many of these thoughts act as triggers for anxiety.
Meditation helps by forcing a person to focus on the present — ignoring the unwanted thoughts that cause anxiety.
Eventually, meditation will change the structure of your brain, dramatically reducing or eliminating anxiety triggers.
Meditation tips for people with anxiety
Commit to a certain amount of time each day
Learning how to meditate does take some practice, particularly if you suffer from anxiety.
It is important to meditate consistently so you can maximise the effectiveness of your meditation sessions.
Ideally, meditate at least once a day for a minimum of 15 minutes.
Meditate in a quiet location
Distractions like loud televisions and people having conversations are particularly difficult for a person with anxiety to ignore.
That’s because sounds can often trigger a negative thought.
Try to find a location that is quiet and peaceful when meditating.
If you live in a busy household, you may have to meditate early in the morning or late at night after everyone has gone to bed.
This tip will dramatically improve the success for your meditation sessions.
Try different meditation positions
If your anxiety is related to a medical condition, hypochondria, or a phobia, you may find it uncomfortable to meditate in certain positions.
For this reason, you should try meditating in a variety of positions including laying down, sitting up, with crossed legs, with straight legs, and so on.
Keep trying positions until you find one where you can feel relaxed and comfortable.
Stretch before your session
It can often help to stretch your muscles before starting a meditation session.
This will help you shift your mind away from anxious thoughts and towards the sensations of your body.
It will also help you relax and limber up before getting into a meditation position.
Focus on your breath
Once you are ready to meditate, close your eyes and focus on your breath.
Perform slow and deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth.
By focusing on your breathing, you will reach that meditative state faster and reduce any negative thoughts that trigger your anxiety.
Gently push thoughts away
If you find your mind wandering and triggering anxious thoughts, don’t be alarmed.
Gently push those thoughts away and focus on your breathing once more.
Don’t become anxious about your mind wandering, it happens to everybody!
The more you meditate, the less your mind will wander and the less anxious you will feel.
Consider using guided meditation
A guided meditation involves another person helping you reach a deep meditative state.
They will gradually walk you through each stage of your meditation, helping you to relax and improve your meditation practice.
There are many free guided meditation sessions available online for people with anxiety.
Try a mantra
If you find that anxious thoughts popping into your head still interrupt your meditation sessions, try using a mantra.
A mantra is a short phrase or sound that is repeated to help you concentrate while meditating.
Buddhists often use an Om (Aum) sound while they meditate to focus their thoughts.
Other popular mantras include “I change my thoughts, I change my world” and “Be the change you wish to see in the world”.
By repeating these words or sounds, negative thoughts are less likely to interrupt your session.
Some people with anxiety find visualisation to be an effective meditation technique. To use this technique, simply picture a calm, safe, and relaxing place.
Keep this image in your head as you meditate.
Make it a very detailed scene that you can explore every time you visit it.
For example, if you chose a beach, visualise how the waves lap at the shore and how the breeze moves the palm trees.
You will be meditating deeply before you know it!
Incorporate meditation into your day
If you find yourself overwhelmed during the day, perform a few minutes of meditation.
Closing your eyes and focussing on your breathing for a few minutes can help you dispel any negative thoughts that are making you anxious.