5 Simple Steps to Meditate Your Way Through Anxiety

Danielle McKee
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I don’t know about you, but when I first started learning about and practicing meditation, my mind was clouded with some preconceived notions. I thought meditation and anxiety were basically opposites.

So, I had these notions. I thought meditation is:

  • Supposed to be relaxing
  • Intended to clear the mind of all thoughts
  • Supposed to be a completely calm and peaceful experience

 
The more I practice meditation, the more I realize that these notions are completely false. You are not always relaxed when you go into meditation. You cannot always achieve a clear mind during meditation.

Meditation can be a calm and peaceful experience, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes, meditation and anxiety aren’t opposites. Sometimes, meditation can even induce anxiety.
 

Meditation can be a calm and peaceful experience, but that’s not always the case.

 
Those things being noted, let’s get real. Many, meditate to connect with the soul, to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, and to be more mindful of the body and surroundings.

A lot of the time, when we step into our meditation practice, we have things on our mind. We feel stressed or worried. We feel guilty about the past or nervous about the future. And, more often than not, we feel a strong sense of anxiousness in body and mind.
 

 
 

Meditation and Anxiety – Here Are 5 Steps to Help Reduce Your Anxiety With Meditation:

The next time you’re feeling anxious (or you can substitute the anxiety for any feeling of discomfort you may be dealing with) during your meditation practice, try these five tips:
 

1. Identify What You’re Feeling

In this case, recognize the anxiety. Locate it in your body.

Is it in your stomach, in your heart, in your head? Bring your attention to this.
 

2. Feel It and Experience the Feeling of It

Notice the feeling and the subsequent thoughts that come with it. Let yourself fully experience the discomfort of it and breathe into it, wherever it may live in your body.
 

3. Be Curious About It

Investigate and explore these feelings of anxiety with an inquisitive mind. Use a non-judgmental perspective to do this.

Avoid labeling as positive or negative. Just let it be and watch it curiously with an open mind.
 

4. Accept and Befriend It

Accept it all – the burning, the discomfort, the entire experience of it. Befriend the anxiety. Welcome it with all of your heart. Love it and hold it.

You will start to find that once you accept the anxiety in your body, it will have less power over you and the feelings of discomfort will start to subside more.
 

 
 

5. Know That It Is All Okay

Know that you are NOT your thoughts and feelings. This is merely what you are experiencing, and not a determining factor in who you are as a human being.

Be easy on yourself. Tell yourself out loud or internally: “It’s okay.”

It’s okay to feel this. It’s okay to have a bad day. And it’s okay to worry about the future or to negatively anticipate something. It is all part of life and part of our human experience. Know in your heart that it is all okay and that everything is going to be alright, no matter what happens.

A recommended meditation to channel in on this is a Vipassana Meditation, which encompasses the idea of accepting reality and the true nature of things, sitting with yourself, and being with what is and what you are feeling in that exact moment.
 
 

The Takeaway on Meditation and Anxiety

These experiences make us strong mentally, emotionally, and physically. They allow you to take a closer look and put your acceptance skills to work. They also allow you to welcome the now – the current moment and everything that comes along with it.

Don’t be down on yourself when you start to experience the waves of anxiety, or any other uncomfortable feeling that pervades your mind or body.

Use it as an opportunity to dive into yourself, examine your spirit, and accept what’s happening to you in that moment. Just breathe, accept, and over time you will learn to use your meditation as a way to move beyond the anxiety.

Did you know that food can also reduce anxiety? The Mood Of Food: 5 Foods That Help With Anxiety and Naturally Ease Stress

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Danielle McKee

Danielle is a Northern California girl from the Sacramento area. She works at a Legislative Advocacy firm, enjoys yoga, meditation, writing, drinking wine and cooking for the ones she loves. Her yoga ventures have taught her to live more mindfully on and off her mat.

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