What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is an emotion that involves stress, tension, and recurring intrusive thoughts. Along with changes in thoughts and mood, anxiety also leads to some physical changes like sweating, trembling, dizziness, and increased blood pressure.
Occasional anxiety is normal and happens to almost every person. However, anxiety turns into anxiety disorder when it becomes persistent and its symptoms get intense. There are many types of anxiety disorders and almost all have common symptoms like sudden fear or terror, rapid heartbeat, panic attacks, etc.
Anxiety starts affecting the quality of life when you avoid going out, professional meetings, social events etc. At this point, anxiety treatment becomes necessary to take back control of life. Since there is still less knowledge about anxiety out there, people do not know that they are suffering from anxiety until major parts of their lives have already gotten affected.
What is Anxiety Meditation?
Anxiety meditation is the type of meditation that helps in managing stress, anxiety, and panic attacks. This meditation can help you in tracking your own thoughts and slow them down.
There are different types of anxiety meditation techniques. Some of these techniques are thousands of years old while others are relatively new. It is not necessary to stick to only one technique. You can try all the anxiety treatment techniques and then stick to only those techniques that you think can work for you.
Earlier, meditation was attached to mysticism. But people now know that they can practice mindful meditation without getting involved. In fact, there have many scientific studies done on these meditation techniques and the results have consistently proven that these anxiety treatment techniques are supported by science.
What Causes Anxiety?
There are many causes of anxiety. Some of them involve mental conditions, others involve physical conditions. Even drugs can cause anxiety. Here is a list of some medical conditions that become causes of anxiety:
Abnormal heart rhythms
Other heart abnormalities like mitral valve prolapse
The kind of social life that you are living can also cause anxiety. Here is a list of some external factors that become causes of anxiety:
Stress caused by personal relationships
Emotional trauma like a breakup, divorce of patients, death of a loved one
Sometimes, doctors fail to find the cause of anxiety in people. That is why scientists think that some causes of anxiety are still not known.
Symptoms of Anxiety
The symptoms of anxiety change from person to person. Some people experience butterflies in their stomachs, others feel racing hearts. Some people can not even tell what symptoms they are experiencing as they feel out of control.
Here is a list of some general anxiety symptoms that people experience:
Increased heart rate
Fear of a specific event or place
General feeling of fear
Difficulty in concentrating
Memories that can not control
General worrying thoughts
Who Should Perform Meditation for Anxiety?
Anyone can perform meditation for anxiety relief. However, it is suggested that one should seek expert guidance before starting anxiety disorder meditation. They can help you pick the right strategy to meet your goals and have a happy and anxiety-free life.
How Meditation Can Be Effective for Anxiety?
Whether you are learning how to overcome social anxiety or wish to fight your chronic anxiety, it is always best to know how meditation helps in this journey. Take a look:
Meditation helps you to feel the worries and thoughts and gradually dissipate them.
It relaxes your mind and allows you to safely explore the underlying causes of anxiety.
It grounds you in the present moment and ensures your mind that everything is okay.
List of Meditation Activities to Avoid Anxiety
Without a calm and healthy mind, it is difficult to enjoy life. And anxiety is certainly something that deeply affects your positive thoughts, motivation, and vigour. To get rid of it, here are a few meditation activities you can do as anxiety treatment.
The Body Scan Meditation
The Mantra Meditation
In addition to this, there are also specialized sessions and anxiety disorder meditation activities to cater specific needs of the people. For instance, Cult.Fit has a special 5-minute session for flight anxiety that you can try before or during your flight journey. There are also other sessions of meditation for anxiety and depression that are prepared by top experts and trainers to make you feel more calm and relaxed.
How To Perform Meditation Activities For Anxiety?
Here are some meditation techniques one can perform in the comfort of their home. Take a look!
The Body Scan Meditation
There are so many types of meditation that it can become overwhelming at times, especially if you are a beginner. In such a case, we would suggest you shift your focus to body scan meditation. This is a type of guided meditation for anxiety wherein you tend to focus on your various body parts and release stress and offer anxiety relief in a systematic manner. The meditation also relieves any tension or pain in the body while making you aware of how you feel about your body. Body scan meditation also improves sleep and increases self-compassion.
Here is how you can perform a basic body scan meditation:
Get in a comfortable position. You can lie down or sit as long as you can stretch your limbs easily.
Now close your eyes and focus a while on your breathing. Notice any sensations that you feel as the air fills your lungs and drains out slowly.
Usually, you can begin from anywhere but people tend to start the body scan from toes.
Pay close attention to your toes and open your awareness to any type of feeling in that area. It can be a pain, stress, tingling sensation or anything that you observe.
Spend around 20 seconds on this observation and as you breathe out, mentally release the negativity from that area out of your body.
Continue this same activity with other parts of your body. Your feet, fingers, legs, thighs, buttocks, chest and move all the way up to your face.
Once you are done, slowly bring back your attention to your surroundings.
Tip: There are various guided body scan videos and audios available online that you can try to make this meditation technique even more effective.
· The Mantra Meditation
The body scan is usually done at night when you wish to have a deep sleep. So what should you do if you feel anxious away from home? Well, there are a few simple techniques that can help you feel grounded and overcome anxiety. One such meditation technique is mantra meditation. This is one of the oldest yoga for mind
that is known for bringing positive and affirmative energy to your mind. In this anxiety meditation, you have to repeat certain words, phrases or mantras to feel focused. Some of the common mantras you can try for anxiety are – “I am…” (fill words like ‘at peace’, ‘wisdom’, ‘happy’, ‘strong’ etc.,), “This Too Shall Pass”, “It’s Not About You”, “All Is Well: and so on.
Now, let’s see how to perform this meditation to reduce anxiety:
First select a word or a phrase that you want to repeat like a mantra.
Now, simply sit in a quiet location.
Take deep breaths and repeat the mantra.
You can count it 108 times.
To make the counting easy, you also use a prayer bead or mala.
Another great way to ease anxiety is diaphragmatic breathing. Also known as Kundalini breathing, this technique stimulates the relaxation response in the body, further allowing the respiratory system to function correctly. Shallow breath is also a reason behind anxiety and panic and this technique tries to solve that.
Here is how you can perform it:
Sit down or lie on your back on a supportive surface like a pillow.
Place one hand on your upper chest and the other on the stomach below your rib cage.
Slowly, take a deep breath through your nose so you can feel the hand on your stomach gently rising. Ensure that the hand of your chest is not moving.
Let the muscles of your stomach tense and tighten as you exhale through your mouth.
Practice this breathing technique for about 5-10 minutes 3-4 times a day to get amazing results.
Health Benefits of Not Having Anxiety
When people overcome anxiety, they experience changes in their bodies. These changes are nothing but the sign of better health. On the other hand, people who have recently developed anxiety also feel some changes in their bodies. Now, these changes are actually a sign of deteriorating physical health. Here is a list of health benefits people get when they treat their anxiety:
Better Sleep: When people overcome anxiety, they immediately notice that they are getting better sleep now. Not only does the length of the sleep increase, but the quality of sleep also get better.
Reduced Headaches & dizziness: Since anxiety makes your brain release stress hormones regularly, you experience dizziness and headaches frequently. But when you do meditation for anxiety and depression, your brain stops releasing stress hormones and hence the frequency of headaches and dizziness also get decreased.
Better Digestion: It is a lesser-known fact that anxiety can also affect people’s digestive and excretory systems. But after anxiety treatment, they experience that their appetite has increased and regular problems like stomachaches, nausea, diarrhoea are treated.
Apart from these health benefits, there are some other benefits like a boost in the immune system, better health of the cardiovascular system, better personal development
Disadvantages of Anxiety?
As we mentioned earlier, it is totally normal to feel anxious once in a while. Most people often feel anxiety while going on a date or job interview. But, anxiety is harmful to health when it gets too intense. Here are some disadvantages of anxiety:
Career Progression Stops: Communicating your thought with confidence is a major part of most people’s careers. But when people feel anxious, they lose their confidence. People suffering from anxiety often refrain from joining group discussions because they think they will embarrass themselves in front of others. All of this affects the career profession.
Personal Relations Get Affected: Most often, people who suffer from anxiety do not share their problems with others. They refrain from going to parties, movies, or any other event where people gather. This way, their personal relations start getting affected.
Deteriorating of Physical Health: Earlier, people used to think that there is no relation between mental health and physical health. But after years of research in the field, now we know that mental and physical go side by side. When you feel anxious, your cardiovascular system, excretory and digestive system, respiratory system, and many other body parts get affected.
Dos & Don’ts
Be open to experiments and try different types of meditation techniques to overcome anxiety and unveil the power of the mind
Find your group to begin your meditation journey. This will boost your motivation and make it fun.
Take guidance from a coach if you are a beginner and want to learn how to overcome anxiety. They can guide you on how to perform each meditation effectively and help you master the strategies.
Try to be consistent and make a schedule that does not let you procrastinate.
Keep a timer beside yourself to get a signal when you end your meditation. This will avoid you opening your eyes every now and then to check the time.
Avoid interruptions when performing meditation for anxiety. You can turn off the phone notifications or pick a time when there is the least disturbance at home. Morning meditation
is a great time for this.
Don’t be a technophobe. Instead, you should take advantage of online videos and audio of various guided mediation sessions available on your phone.
Don’t expect a quick fix. Meditation is a process that becomes effective when you follow it on a regular basis.
Stop judging yourself when thoughts rush in your mind during anxiety meditation. Rather, pause for a while and let them pass.
Do not compare your anxiety relief results with others as meditation is different for all.