Calming Anxiety: an Alternative to Meditation
Calming anxiety can seem impossible, and while mediation for anxiety can be effective, sometimes an alternative to meditation is necessary. After all, when our anxious brains race with worries and fears and what-ifs, it can be incredibly difficult to sit still with our eyes closed and clear the mind. Yet our brains need a break. We need a break. It is exhausting and even painful to sustain anxious, racing thoughts. We can give our brains this break even when we can't meditate. There is an alternative to meditation that works wonders in calming anxiety.
Calming Anxiety is Necessary and There Is an Alternative to Meditation
Living with the causes and the effects of anxiety can be wearing. Anxiety can make us so keyed up physically, mentally, and emotionally that it wears us out. Specific worries can affect the quality of one's life as can the very process of worrying itself. To regain control and a sense of wellbeing, it's crucial to calm anxiety.
Meditation--sitting still, breathing deeply, and shutting out the inner and outer world by concentrating on the breath--has been proven to be effective in calming the nervous system and quieting the mind. However, sometimes anxiety is simply too strong to allow us to sit still and concentrate on breathing. After all, who has time to concentrate on such a basic function like breathing when there is so much to worry about? Truthfully, we all, for our own health and wellness, need to calm and soothe our brain. Thankfully, meditation isn't always necessary to calm anxiety. There are alternatives to meditation.
An Alternative to Meditation for Calming Anxiety
Meditation is effective in calming anxiety because it soothes the brain. It stills racing thoughts. It's quiet. However, sometimes it's too quiet. The nothingness that is meditation allows all sorts of anxious thoughts plenty of space to bounce around.
The good news is that even those of us with anxiety can achieve this state of quiet nothingness because there is an alternative to mediation for calming anxiety. The key is to let go and empty the mind of anxiety. But because the anxious brain won't easily empty its anxiety, the anxious thoughts need to be replaced by an activity.
When we can't relax because of anxiety, we can turn to a simple, repetitive activity that occupies the mind and distracts it from anxious thoughts. It's important to achieve relaxation, not through sitting still, but through doing something mundane yet out of our routine. Doing something that doesn't require much though, for example, coloring a mandala or other coloring page, distracts the anxious brain enough to soothe and calm it while allowing for an activity to occupy thoughts, steering them to the activity rather than to worries and fears.
I discuss this alternative to meditation in the below video, and I invite you to watch and consider this technique for calming anxiety.
Peterson, T. (2015, May 28). Calming Anxiety: an Alternative to Meditation, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, January 24 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2015/05/calming-anxiety-an-alternative-to-meditation
Author: Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC
I agree with all of this. Thank you for adding your input!
That's definitely one of the great things about meditation: it can be practiced by everyone. It's amazing how it affects both the body and the mind!
So true. It speaks to meditation's credibility when so many different types of professionals recommend it. And it does enhance other forms of treatment. Thanks for your thoughts!
Medication does so much for people both mentally and physically. It can help with pain, but it's important to consult with a doctor before self-treating with meditation (or anything else for that matter). With medical clearance, it really can be a great alternative for pain killers. Thank you!
Medication can indeed work very well for people. Everyone is different, though, and not everyone responds well to medication. Also, something that works great for one person might not work at all for another. The best starting point for people is to have a conversation with a doctor about medications. I'm glad you have found something that works for you!
Medication is absolutely an option for treating anxiety and panic disorders, and it can be very effective for some people. That said, every person is different and anxiety disorders are very individualized. Sometimes medication is in order, and sometimes it's not. Like any medication, anxiety medication can also be harmful for some people depending on multiple factors. It's very important to have a conversation about medication with a doctor.
I hope you find this helpful. Like you, I get distracted and lose focus with meditation. Using this alternative really does help me. Hang in there and keep trying things. Anxiety can be beaten!