With all of the uncertainties life has to offer, anxiety seems to be an uninvited guest that has overstayed its welcome in our home. From financial stress to grief to physical pain to fear of the future to tumultuous relationships or even all of the above, there are countless reasons why our minds might conjure anxiety and why we may seek a mechanism to alleviate it. This is where meditation comes in.
Meditation is an excellent practice to overcome anxiety. It takes many forms and can be tailored to the unique thought patterns of any individual. This may lead you to questions like “How does meditation reduce anxiety? How can I overcome anxiety? How does meditation work?” We will take a look at some mindfulness techniques for anxiety that can help answer these questions and help you regain peace of mind.
No matter how your process looks, try not to set an expectation of what meditation will look like for you. There is no wrong way to meditate, in fact, there are many benefits to mindfulness that you will not be aware of, even if you perceive your meditation to be unsuccessful. The best form of meditation for anxiety is the meditation that is tailored uniquely to your mind and needs, which might look different every time you practice.
Set your intentions
Before you begin your meditation, set your intention. This will help you anchor your process into a theme and help bring clarity to your confusion or uncertainty. Again, you may not get your desired outcome so try not to expect anything specific. Instead, set your intention to ‘releasing anxiety’ and use this thought to anchor yourself in the present moment. As you meditate you will see your thoughts, most likely your anxieties zoom across your mind. When these emotions arise it is ok to give them their space. Observe them and try to understand where they are coming from. Your observation is not a judgement, rather, it comes from a place of love like a mother trying to understand her baby’s crying. When you feel yourself being swept up in the emotion that is the ideal moment to return to your intention – ‘releasing anxiety.’ The goal of meditation is to be present in the moment and mindful of what is going on. So try to use your intention to return to the moment you are in.
If you find yourself unable to detach from the whirlwind of thoughts and maybe your intention does not bring you back to your present moment, bringing your attention to your breath is a great way to anchor your meditation. When you tune into your breath you are experiencing the moment as a physical perception. Focussing on your breath is a great way to feel the peace that already exists within your body. If you can tap into the steadiness of your breath, you can use this rhythm to anchor your thoughts. With your deep breath in you can channel your anxieties, stress, and fear, tie it to the inhale and then with the exhale you will release all of that negative energy. Visualization is a good way to practice breath work. Picture your anxiety as a shape and let the exhale dissolve or dissipate that shape. Of course, this is just one way you can use your breath and visualization in your meditation. Use your own intuition to tailor your breath work to your own needs.
Try Humandalas group meditation
Meditation takes many forms which means it can look like different things. If you find yourself most engaged with group activity, you may consider group meditation techniques like HuMandalas. HuMandalas is a guided movement group meditation that uses intentional connection, toning, and visualization to get more in sync with others and nature. In these meditations, individuals form a human mandala by getting into a circular pattern and physically connecting with one another. For people with anxiety, this exercise may help relieve the feeling of isolation that commonly accompanies anxiety. HuMandalas are particularly powerful in channeling external energy and helping break through the confines of ego.
Don’t give up
Overall, meditation, like any habit, takes trial and error, but most importantly, it takes practice. In order for meditation to be a tool you can truly utilize, you need to get into a habit of practice. Try not to judge yourself if you slip up, as there is no such thing as a bad meditation. True mindfulness is a cultivation of love and compassion. Show your mind acceptance no matter where your meditation takes you. With all of the information provided, remember that the only way to find the “best form of meditation” is to look within. Pay attention to your thoughts, physical sensations, and energy. Try different techniques until you find what fits best for you and stick to what feels right.
Caitlin is a writer from Burbank, CA. She uses writing as a medium to examine how far words can truly capture an authentic experience of life. Beyond writing, Caitlin is an artist. She’s currently exploring ceramics, illustration, fashion, production design and plans to work creatively in many more mediums.