Meditation techniques for anxiety are the antidotes to counteract the poisons of modern living. Daily practice will certainly lower your anxiety levels. I’ll describe 3 meditation techniques for anxiety that you can begin in minutes and immediately reduce any effects the many stressors in your life might have over you.
Initially you can meditate for as little as 10 minutes daily to have a profound effect on your ability to meet anxiety straight on. Try building up to 20 minutes in time. You may choose to do these exercises in the both the morning and the evening.
Meditation technique for anxiety # 1
Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed for the duration of the exercise. Make sure the room temperature is comfortable. Set a timer initially so that you’ll have one less thing to concern yourself with. We want to simply things as much as possible. You may adopt the lotus or half lotus positions but this exercise will absolutely be just as effective if you sit upright in a flat back chair with your feet making contact with the floor and your arms by your side.
Without any effort, become aware of your entire body by directing your attention as if scanning your entire body from your toes, upwards along your feet and calves, then legs and so on. As you reach and become involved with each area, become aware of the blood flowing in that area.
Be aware of the temperature that this flow of blood causes you to feel in that area. Also be aware of something akin to a mild tingling that naturally happens when you place your full attention on a specific area of the body.
Whenever a thought arises…
Whenever a thought arises to distract you from this body scan, simply bring your awareness back to where you were before the interruption. Thoughts (especially when you first begin to practice this meditation for anxiety technique) will continue to attempt to break the focus you have while scanning. Simply notice it is so and return to scan as often as it takes.
Don’t judge yourself for your inability to remain focused always. You are learning everyday to concentrate with intent and therefore becoming more objective to thoughts that in the past have pulled you away and have also made you feel anxious or fearful.
Scan your entire body then…
Without rushing through the process, complete the scan of your entire body. Once completed, begin to focus on your hands only. Feel the flow of blood and warmth as you place all your attention on your hands. You may place them on your lap with palms up or leave by your side. Continue to focus on your hands following your focus from finger to finger to thumb then back again.
Whenever you become aware that a thought has arisen and taken your attention from your hands and how warm they feel, simply notice that it is so. Then return your awareness to your hands over and over. Each time you do this meditation technique your ability to become aware and stay focused will continue to improve.
You will be more grounded in the present
In your day to day activities you will be more grounded in the present and more detached from thoughts that previously would stir in your mind and lead to fear and increasing levels of anxiety. Once they take hold, they would tend to snowball – sometimes leading to paralyzing anxiety attacks.
But with your new found awareness you will now be able to stop this process from escalating and you’ll remain more relaxed and composed all day long.
Back to the sensation in your hands
Go back to the sensation in your hands. This focused concentration on the hands keeps you grounded in the here and now. At this moment you are present. The past has passed and the future has not arrived. Stay grounded here in the awareness and warmth of the hands for as long as you can. Notice when you slip out and immediately regain focus again. Do this over and over.
When you are in that place without reference to memories and not yet anticipating the future; that place is absolutely timeless. This NOW is a point in which you can abide and be free from anxiety.
During the meditation technique for anxiety, thoughts will arise
Countless times during this meditation technique for anxiety, thoughts will arise and attempts to draw you away from the awareness of your hands and consequently the awareness of the now. Just continually notice when it happens and return your awareness back without self-judgement.
Don’t get frustrated by the seemingly endless ability of these emerging thoughts to grab your attention. Just remain objective to the thoughts and witness them dispassionately. Then bring your attention back to your hands. Feel the warmth as the blood circulates and nourishes.
Practice this meditation technique daily
As you practice this meditation technique daily, you will become more skillful at observing thoughts calmly and returning to your focus. This ability to remain objective to thoughts will also improve away from the technique.
You’ll find yourself able to react more calmly in stressful situations. You’ll find yourself more aware of destructive thought patterns that in the past would’ve overwhelmed you. A significant decrease in your anxiety level will happen as a by-product almost immediately upon practicing this technique daily. Start today!
Meditation technique for anxiety # 2
Often beginners seeking meditation techniques to combat anxiety find that simple is better. Focusing all one’s attention on the breath is easy and there is nothing to learn as it is happening anyways.
Even thought the focus will be on the breath rather than the body in the previous technique, the goal is still similar. We are creating an increased awareness and remaining objective to thoughts that will continually arise and attempt to grab our attention and focus.
Whenever these thoughts draw your awareness away from your breathing, you’ll simply notice that is has happened and you’ll again return to the process described below.
Choose a position that leaves you relaxed and comfortable. Softly close your eyes and become totally focused on your breathing. Stay aware of your breath as it enters your nostrils and fills your chest. Don’t force this process or speed it up in any way.
Become aware of the quality and temperature of the air
Just become aware of the quality and temperature of the air as it enters, fills and ultimately departs again. Follow your breath and when a thought interrupts your focus and takes you away from the breath, simply notice that it has happened and return your complete awareness to the breath.
As you begin placing your awareness on your breath, thoughts will attempt over and over again to draw your focus away from the breath. When this happens – and it will endlessly – just notice without irritation that it has happened and return your intense focus to the process of breathing.
Don’t judge yourself
Don’t judge yourself for the inability to remain focused at all times. This is an ongoing process of developing self awareness to identify when thoughts have taken your awareness away. When this happens and you learn to identify and remain objective to the intruding thought, it loses power over you in an instant.
As you begin to practice the meditation technique and focus on your breathing, it may seem like you will never gain control over your thoughts but don’t ever give up! When you see how quickly you are developing the skills necessary to combat general anxiety you will want to meditate even more!
Meditation technique for anxiety # 3
If neither the body scan or breathing meditation technique is a fit, then you can try a very simple but effective observation exercise. In the same way as when you sit by the side of a stream and watch the river flow by carrying leaves and debris with it, you will sit quietly here.
Instead of leaves and debris, you will be watching thoughts of all types float by the river of your mind’s eye. Like leaves floating downstream are separate from the observer, your thoughts are separate from you and when you sit still and observe them they float on by.
You remain the observer of thoughts as they drift by. By being aware that you are the witness of the thought and not the thought itself, it loses all power over you.
How does this apply to anxiety?
As you practice the observation meditation technique, your ability to remain objective to thoughts all day long improves incredibly. This objective state will help you to identify and not be swayed by fears and worries that previously had their way with you. These thoughts would take you awareness over and spiral into anxiety and fear. They won’t have a chance to escalate any longer. You will maintain a calm sense of well being.
Back to the observation meditation technique
Ok lets get back to the meditation technique. Start by sitting quietly in a straight back chair with your hands softly resting in your lap. Set a timer for 10 minutes to begin. Close your eyes and just focus on the screen of your mind; as if it were a movie screen in a darkened theatre. Begin to notice what is happening in your mind’s eye.
Don’t force or rush. Simply observe any thoughts or images that appear on the screen. Don’t judge or analyze what you see. Simply notice and remain separate and objective to the thoughts that appear.
Every time you witness a thought or image and are aware in the here and now that you are indeed separate from the image, it loses all influence over you. The thought arises, you witness it and it floats on past only to be replaced by another and another.
There is no effort or strain on your part while you practice simply remaining aware and noticing when you are no longer aware. Before you practice this observation meditation, thoughts and images were able to grab your attention without any defence on your part. Now you will have an amazing ability to remain objective to thoughts before they can create turmoil and anxiety in your life.
Watch what happens next…
No matter which of these 3 meditation techniques for anxiety you practice on a daily basis, the changes in your life will be immediate and lasting. You’ll start to notice habitual negative thought patterns. Before learning these techniques you were unable to stay objective to and keep from having those patterns impact you. Now you’ll be able to defend easily.
You’ll start to be able to effectively deal with unresolved and repressed issues in a direct way. Your ability to remain objective to thoughts as you are learning during the observation meditation technique, gives you the opportunity to be free of habitual anxiety causing thought patterns.
You’ll gain the ability to identify resentments and grudges that you are holding to your detriment. You’ll now be able to calmly and effectively let go of these toxins.
How often and when should I practice these techniques?
Once you begin to notice the life altering positive effects of any of the 3 meditation techniques, you’ll find this something you desire and never an obligation. Start meditating for 10 minutes daily with the use of a timer and gradually work up to 20 minutes. Commit to once a day either first thing in the morning or before you sleep. In time you will likely want to practice at both times but don’t push it at first.
First thing in the morning and before bed have their unique advantages. First thing upon waking helps you to get grounded. You’ll be better prepared to face everything that may come at you that day – at work or play. You’ll have an increased ability to remain objective to your thoughts from the beginning of your day. Those thoughts left unchecked can lead to emotional reactions that affect the rest of your day in a negative way.
Practicing the meditation techniques for anxiety at bedtime will allow you to let go of any accumulated negative thoughts and emotions. You’ll watch as they bubble to the surface and as you remain objective they’ll lose steam and float off. You’ll absolutely sleep like a baby too.
You have 3 amazing tools to start right now and make anxiety a thing of the past. Start right now – don’t wait to enjoy the benefits!