It seems like everyone is coping with a lot of stress these days. For some people, anxiety is an occasional experience, others worry constantly everyday. Sometimes worry is only a background chatter in our mind but it can be overwhelming leading to panic attacks with sweaty palms, racing heart and shortness of breath.
Take a moment to think about what anxiety feels like for you. You might like to write this down in a journal. What thoughts, feelings, and sensations represent anxiety in your mind and body?
This short series of 10 minute meditations on dealing with anxiety cannot replace professional help but it is a helpful aid. Neuroscience is showing us that the brains of people who have a regular guided meditation practice show less emotional reactivity to stress. And when regular meditators get stressed, they recover their peace of mind faster. And the thing is meditation is actually a cheap, easy, relatively fast thing to do.
Anxiety is a kind of fear and fear is an important emotion that exists to help keep us safe. But it can become troublesome when its soundtrack in the mind is always present because we now know that where our thoughts go, our neural firing flows and we build up this part of our brain. So when we think anxious thoughts all the time, the part of the brain that processes negative emotions gets stronger, and it can make it harder to feel happy emotions like joy and awe. We don’t completely get rid of anxiety with meditation, but we do learn to accept it, watch it calmly, check out if it has some wisdom to share with us, and be confidant that it will pass.
I started meditating about 10 years ago. I was quite sick with a then recently diagnosed rare medical condition. My future at the time seemed quite uncertain. Meditation made a big difference - just 10 minutes a day. These days I rarely miss it - breathing exercises, 30 meditation and journaling are a daily routine. When life gets hectic and I don’t have time I certainly notice the difference. I encourage you to have a go.