Using Meditation to Cope with Anxiety
Years ago, I learned about the benefit of using meditation to cope with anxiety, but I did not really give it much thought. That was until I realized that I was already often doing it when I was experiencing tremendous anxiety. Meditation has been an incredibly beneficial tool in my anxiety-coping toolbox. You may find that it is valuable for you and that it helps you in several ways.
How Meditation Helps You Cope with Anxiety
As I have experienced, it is not only valuable to meditate when experiencing anxiety, but it is also valuable to set aside time to meditate each day. There are many advantages to daily meditation, both mental and physical. Advantages of meditation include:
- Mindfulness benefits -- One of the main ways that meditation is helpful is that it helps you to be mindful and aware. It helps you to stay in the moment. Being self-aware is not only beneficial for your anxiety, but for the regulation of your own thoughts and emotions. Regulating your thoughts and behaviors allows you to stay in control of how you react and express yourself in response to your environment and situation.
- Physical benefits -- Meditation helps to calm the physical symptoms of anxiety, which then helps to calm your overall anxiety. When I meditate, I find that I am able to slow my heart rate and stop my racing thoughts. I tend to feel less flustered, flushed, and shaky. If I practice mindful meditation when experiencing a panic attack, the calming of physical symptoms are even more noticeable, and I am able to confront any sense of doom or fear that I am feeling, and increase my sense of safety and security.
- Mental benefits -- When I experience anxiety, my mind races, I lose focus, and my thoughts begin to spiral out of control. This can sometimes lead to further anxiety as it builds towards panic. It is necessary, in this case, for me to calm myself before my physical symptoms become overwhelming. But when I meditate, I am able to slow down and put things into perspective. I can then focus on the issue at hand and process my thoughts surrounding it.
What Meditation to Cope with Anxiety Involves
As I mentioned, at one point in my life, I suddenly realized that I was often meditating without even realizing it. Being aware of it, though, allowed me to use this technique much more strategically. It became important for me to be aware of what meditation involves.
Meditation may involve different aspects for different people. Personally, I have become aware of what is helpful for me. Meditation, for me, involves the following steps:
- Openness -- I find that I have to be open to allowing myself the time to meditate. This involves being open to meditation during times of stress or even during times that I do not feel stressed.
- Breathing -- Meditation involves taking slow, deep breaths that help me to slow my heart rate. Taking in slow, deep breaths, and then exhaling slowly, also allows me to be aware of what I am physically feeling throughout my body. Slowing my breathing helps me to then center myself.
- Focus -- Meditation involves focusing my attention on something specific. Sometimes, this is a specific object and sometimes, it is just an image in my mind. Focusing on something specific allows my mind to concentrate on one thing and feel free of clutter and distractions. This also allows me to open up my mind to more positive thoughts and affirmations.
I hope that my own experiences with meditation to cope with anxiety are helpful for you to add to your toolbox. Share your suggestions for meditation to help with anxiety in the comments below.
Bermio-Gonzalez, R. (2020, June 30). Using Meditation to Cope with Anxiety, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, August 15 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/treatinganxiety/2020/6/using-meditation-to-cope-with-anxiety
Author: Rizza Bermio-Gonzalez
Meditation is such a powerful practice that ANY and everyone can benefit from, but it is wonderful for working with anxiety. I love that you touch on "openness". I think that is so beautifully expressed and a wonderful observation. We do need that element of acceptance to really take in the benefits. So true for many things. Wonderful read.
Thank you so much for your kind comments! I agree that meditation is an extremely powerful tool, and that element of acceptance helps to optimize the benefits of it.
Thank you! Hope all is well,