While all types of meditation are good for you, some work better than others for specific situations. If you are stressed and anxious, you may be wondering what are the best meditation methods for anxiety that will give you the quickest chance to calm down.
Oxygen in, anxiety out.
Anxiety attacks tend to cause shortness of breath, which deprives your body of the very oxygen it needs to regain control. Your pulse races, and in severe cases, you might even feel like you are going to pass out.
Slow, focused, deep breathing can make a quick difference in how you feel. Try and breathe not from your chest, but deep within your diaphragm, letting your abdomen expand and fill your body with air. Close your eyes and count slowly while you breathe. At least for a moment think of nothing but your breath flowing in and out.
Move and breathe with walking meditation.
When you are anxious, the idea of sitting down to meditate can seem impossible. So walking meditation is especially helpful when anxiety hits. It is no accident that expectant fathers pace in hospital waiting rooms. The act of walking back and forth really does relieve your mind.
In walking meditation all you have to do is focus your attention on each step you take. Continue to breathe, concentrate your awareness on the motion of walking, and let everything else fall away. You do not need much space for walking meditation. Monks from many faith traditions are often seen walking and meditating quietly within a simple garden. Any quiet place will do.
The motion of gentle walking helps healing oxygen flow throughout your body. And focusing your awareness takes your mind away from the causes of your stress.
Mantras and centering prayer can ease anxiety now, and protect against it later.
Once you have calmed your initial anxiety and stress through deep breathing and walking meditation, you can shift more easily into a stationary meditative practice. Mantras or short meditative prayers, repeated slowly while continuing focused breathing can be very beneficial for anxiety.
While a mantra is often a simple syllable, such as Om, you can also use a meaningful word, like Love, or even a favorite scripture passage. The repetition of the words or sound gives you somewhere to rest your attention, and can be more calming than trying to empty out an anxious mind. In addition, focusing your awareness beyond yourself can help you feel more connected with a loving God or the oneness of humanity, rather than feeling helpless and alone.
The effects of meditation have a cumulative effect over time. If you continue to meditate regularly, you should feel a little less anxiety every day, and become more resilient to the impact of stress.
The best meditation for anxiety is a process, not a goal.
Sometimes people have difficulty when they first try meditation because they worry they aren’t doing it right, and they become even more anxious, thinking they have failed. So big news, there is no failure in meditation. And what’s best is really whatever works best for you.
If you are just starting out, take it slow. Try the deep breathing, and move on to something else whenever you feel ready. Be kind to yourself and proud that you are on your way. What are the best meditation methods for anxiety? Just remember…breathe, walk, pray.
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