When it comes to anxiety, meditation is one of the most often prescribed remedies. Yet the thought of sitting in silence with your thoughts is enough to send any anxiety sufferer spiralling into a pit of despair.
Yet meditation is rarely just sitting in silence letting your anxious thoughts engulf you. It’s about learning to achieve mental clarity and emotional stability. It’s not about trying to control your thoughts, but about learning how not to let your thoughts control you. That’s why when it comes to anxiety and the dreaded thought-loops, meditation is golden.
Here are some simple meditation techniques you can practice anytime and anywhere to calm your restless mind and ease your anxiety.
7 Meditation Techniques For Anxiety Relief
1. Guided Meditation
Guided meditations, especially for those who shy away from this practice, are a great introduction to the world of meditation. They offer a gradual transition into other styles of meditation, as they require less thought than other techniques. When you feel yourself really struggling with your anxiety, use a guided meditation to transport you out of your downward spiral into a more peaceful realm.
There are countless guided meditation tracks available through free apps such as Calm, Headspace and Breathe. Different recordings guide you through gentle breathing exercises, visualizations and gratitude, depending on what you need.
All you need to do is sit back, tune in, and let the power of the words work their magic.
Visualization is a simple, yet incredibly powerful meditation technique.
When you’re anxious, there are certain situations and outcomes which cause you to stress and worry. The magic of visualization is that you trick the mind into thinking that what you’re imagining can, will or has actually happened.
This is why many top-level athletes visualize winning over and over again before a big game.
Sitting in a comfortable position, bring your awareness to your thoughts, and let your imagination run wild. Visualize all the best things that can happen to you, the best outcomes to a scenario you are anxious about, or think of your happy place, and take yourself there mentally. Imagine your chosen scenario or place in vivid detail. Notice the sounds, smells and colors. Then, let the feelings of contentment, calm and happiness flow through your body, from the crown of your head to the tips of your toes.
A Sanskrit mantra is a word, syllable or short sentence which is repeated over and over during a meditation. The most common mantra people are familiar with is “om.” When you meditate on a mantra, you repeat it in your head, or whisper it quietly to yourself. This brings all of your attention to this one word, syllable or sentence, quieting the brain.
Mantras are powerful in that many traditional Sanskrit mantras are affirmations, believed to have spiritual powers. When choosing a mantra, it’s important to find one with the right meaning.
4. Gong Meditation
A gong meditation, otherwise known as a gong bath, is where you listen and focus on the sound of a gong as you are immersed in its vibrations. These vibrations that flow through your body are said to have healing effects. They go deep within your body, rejuvenating you from the inside. They release energy blockages caused by trauma and put you in a relaxed, trance-like state (altered consciousness.)
To practice this meditation technique, you can either attend a gong bath in person or listen to gong music in your own home. As you lie on your back listening to the sound of the gongs, empty your mind and let the waves of sound and vibration wash over your body.
5. Focus on your breathing
Bringing your attention to your breath will help calm you down and restore order to your body and thoughts. It aims to slow down your breathing and give you a better sense of control over yourself.
Sitting comfortably, close your eyes and focus on your breath. When you’re ready, inhale for the count of 4, hold your breath for 4, and exhale for 4. Focus on the rise and fall of your chest as you do this, the flow of air in and out through your nostrils. Continue until your natural breathing slows and you feel more at ease.
6. Gratitude meditation
This meditation is perfect for anyone who feels like things aren’t going right for them. It helps you focus on the positive in your life, drawing your attention away from the negative.
Sitting in a comfortable position, start listing to yourself all the things you are grateful for, no matter how big or small. Your loved ones, your job, or the colorful butterfly you saw this morning – list every single thing you can think of. Imagine these images in full, vivid colors, and picture them entering into your heart, filling it up.
Imagine your heart bathed in a golden light of gratitude, filled with everyone and everything that brings you joy.
7. Meditative shower
What better time to let go of your thoughts than when you’re standing under a comforting stream of warm water?
When you take a meditative shower, treat it as a sacred space for yourself. Wake up your senses by choosing your favorite scented soap, lighting some candles, and setting the water to your perfect temperature. Creating the right atmosphere will help you let go easier and relax.
Notice the feeling of the water washing over your body, the smell of your soap, the flickering of the candles. Let your thoughts come to you, and don’t judge yourself for any negative or unwelcome thoughts. Simply visualise them disappearing down the drain, as you wash your body and mind with the warm water and positive thoughts.
While there are countless meditation techniques out there, it’s important to choose the one that’s right for you in that moment.
Meditation is a powerful tool, as it guides you to easing your own anxiety, without having to rely on other people. Try out these practical meditation techniques the next time you feel like your thoughts are running away with you and see how they work.
Making meditation a regular habit is also a great way to prevent anxiety in the long-term. It’s no wonder that it comes so highly recommended!