Can meditation help with anxiety
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What is meditation
Meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state. (source Wikipedia)
How to meditate
Here are some tips on how to meditate
Find a nice space
You want to be comfortable and quiet. I have read that meditation is about using your mind whilst relaxing your body and this is so true as one of the first step of practising meditation is to get into a comfortable and in relaxing position whether this be lying down or sitting crossed legs which ever position you find the most comfortable.
If possible I like to lie on my bed with the curtains drawn so no harsh lights and also use aromatherapy oils can help me meditate.
But this is not always possible just finding a quiet space away from others can help. For example I am a anxious flyer I cant do full meditation in the airport but I go find a quieter spot to sit away from the crowds and close my eyes and practice breathing to help reduce my anxiety before I get on the plane.
You dont have to do meditation at home its great to do any place that you find relaxing which is great for me when I am travelling and feeling anxious. I love meditating when on a beach listening to the crashing waves.
Get relaxed and concentrate in breathing
Become aware if your breathing breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. Be calm and natural with your breathing do not force it.
When i am getting anxious I can start to feel breathless so if I concentrate on my breathing it can calm me down.
There are lots of breathing techniques one I like is the 4-7-8 technique.
Breathe in through my nose for 4 seconds hold for 7 seconds and breathe out slowly through my mouth for 8 seconds.
I think also focusing on the counting helps take my mind off what is causing me anxiety and calms me down
Can meditation help with anxiety
Meditation cannot completely cure anxiety, but it can help with mental wellbeing which can reduce anxiety attacks.
Meditation is a way of focusing the mind, so I guess thats why it helps with mental health as if my mind is over working, I start to get anxious or depressed.
It would be perfect if you could just forget the bad thoughts but it’s hard to do especially is something is really worrying you so mediation lets you focus on something else and even if you just get a bit of relief for a few minutes whilst doing the meditation its little steps to helping with mental health.
There are many claims that medidation has health benifits as it can help reduce stress, ease chronic pain, help with depression, reduce blood pressure, calm down agry feelings, help with insomnia help with fatigue and reduce headaches
I go through phases of depression and I find meditation helps with that also.
What is Anxiety
Everyone gets anxious at some part of their life, but it is when it cannot be controlled and affects daily living that it needs to be actioned and dealt with.
I know I suffered so badly when I was grieving for my father that I locked myself away and then I developed agoraphobia where I then found it so hard to leave the house.
I used medication but it wasn’t helping and then I started looking at alternative therapies such as massage, acupuncture and meditation and although they didnt cure me overnight they helped in the long term abd when I feel myself getting anxious now I take myself off to a quiet space and practice techniques I have learnt over the years.
I am no expert I cannot zone out completely but what I can do does sometimes help with my anxiety admittedly not all the time but a majority of the time it does.
How does meditation help with anxiety
I think anything that helps you relax and slows down heart rate can help with anxiety? I have suffered panic attacks in the past and haven’t fully meditated during an attack but have used the concepts such as breathing to help calm myself down.
This helps reduce my heart rate which will be going really fast when im anxious.
Types of meditation to help with anxiety
There are different forms of meditation and the best thing to do is try a few to see which one helps you with your anxiety as everyone is different.
There is visualization meditation which is more active than relaxation meditation. It involves using your imagination. I have used visualisation meditation technique where I have thought of a happy place and imagines being in that happy place mine is on a beach listening to crashing waves.
You dont just think about the place but also think about senses you might feel so in my example if think about hearing the waves crashing and feeling the breeze from the wind.
I also did a visualisation with a lemon. This was a guides meditation with the guide taking us through each step i.e. feel the lemon in your hand smell it taste it and it was weird as I did feel as though I could taste a lemon and my mouth started watering.
This article explains visualisation medication in greater depth and also has some great techniques to practice.
I have also written about mindfullness with is another form of relaxation but that is focusing on being aware of something whereas meditation is clearing the mind and being aware of nothing.
I use both forms of relaxation to help during cancer and with my anxiety depending on what type of mood I am in. I do however find meditation a bit easier than mindfullness but this might be because I have been doing it for longer, I have used meditation to relive my levels of anxiety.
I am no expert on meditation but I have used various methods to meditate throughout the years to help control my anxiety.
This is the form I use the most as I find it easier if someone is telling me what to do. This is where someone is trained in meditation takes you through the steps I like this as I feel they know a bit more than me so I must be doing it right if I follow their instructions.
I have tried tapping but I am not sure I know what I am going. At a Shine cancer charity event there was a tapping practitioner and she showed us how tapping different points on face head and body can reduce stress and it did actually make me feel calmer so I need to explore tapping a bit more.
There are several free apps and paid meditation apps for your phone. I think the best thing to do is try to find ne that you like. I have tried a few some I liked, and some make me even more anxious.
Using music for meditation
I like listening to music when I am meditation. Something relaxing I also find tracks with nature sounds very relaxing and help get me into the zone.
You can delve into mediation much deeper by researching chakras im not that advanced yet but it does interest me.
I want to use other methods to help with my anxiety rather than medication as i take enough tablets with having stage 4 cancer. I also have a interest in gems and crystals I dont know too much but i have a few that I carry to help with different aspects.
Health Disclaimer : I am not a medical professional this post is based on my personal experience and is written as a guide. Always seeks professional advice from your medical team.