How to Do Mindfulness Meditation for Anxiety: 6 Steps
Is anxiety taking over your life? If your stress and worries are getting the better of you and won’t just go away, it’s time to act. And mindfulness meditation can help you with that.
In this guide, learn how to do mindfulness meditation for anxiety in six steps.
How Mindfulness Meditation Helps Anxiety
Mindfulness meditation is all about having present-focused awareness. But how does this exactly help with your anxiety?
Dr. Elizabeth Hoge, a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital, explains that mindfulness meditation trains you to handle unproductive thoughts entirely differently.
She explained that people with anxiety can’t distinguish between a problem-solving thought and a nagging worry. This nagging worry about the past or the future becomes a distracting thought that controls our lives.
With such worries, we tend to react instinctively.
For instance, your partner snapped at you yesterday. Your initial response is to get hurt by the action, and you blame yourself thinking you might have done something to upset him.
Unaware of the present moment, this caused you to respond based on impulse. But mindfulness teaches differently.
A mindful person would reflect rather than react in an uncomfortable situation. This is because mindfulness enables us to respond to anxiety with the awareness of what’s happening in the present moment.
Going back to the scenario, if you are aware of the present time, you might remember that your partner mentioned having troubles at work. You realize that it’s not really your fault that he was upset yesterday.
See the difference?
When you’re living ‘at the moment,’ you get to see things from a different perspective. And this new interpretation lets you ease your worries, better managing anxiety.
6 Steps to Do Mindfulness Meditation for Anxiety
It’s proven that practicing mindfulness meditation helps ease anxiety. But how can you do it? Here, we’ll walk you through six steps on how to do mindfulness meditation for anxiety.
Step 1: Find a comfortable position
Find a quiet area in your home where you can meditate.
Then, find a comfortable position. You can do a mindfulness meditation in a seated, standing, or even lying down position.
The goal is for you to be comfortable enough without your body becoming too distracting (i.e., your muscles cramping up for sitting too long). Also, your body should not be too at ease that might make you feel sleepy.
When meditating, remember that you can shift your position when you get uncomfortable.
Step 2: Begin a breathing exercise
Once comfortable, close your eyes and breathe.
Very gently, withdraw your attention from your thoughts and focus it on your breathing. Feel your chest rise and fall, being mindful of the breath as it enters and exits your body.
Breathe in and breathe out, noticing the sensation as your body expand and contract.
Your mind may wander. Simply bring your focus back to your breath.
Step 3: Feel your body
Now, gently withdraw your attention from your breathing and feel into your body. Can you feel those sensations? Are you having some thoughts and feeling some emotions?
Let them be, but acknowledge all those experiences.
Step 4: Acknowledge your thoughts
As you feel into your body, you may feel your anxiety increasing. You may start having doubts and fears.
“Am I doing this right?”
“What should I do next?”
“This isn’t right.”
Don’t suppress your thoughts and emotions. Rather, recognize those worries, fears, and doubts. Bring your attention to what you’re thinking and feeling now, and let them all pass.
Doing so will teach you how to deal with uncomfortable thoughts without reacting. Rather, you become more reflective in the face of worries.
Feeling into the anxiety and recognizing it may let you discover the underlying causes of your fears and worries. And with it, you’ll begin to feel less anxious and become more at peace.
Step 5: Finish your meditation
As you acknowledge your thoughts, gently withdraw from the mindful state you are in and shift your focus back to your breathing.
Inhale and exhale.
Stay at the moment and be aware of your breaths.
As you breathe in and breathe out, picture your anxiety as clouds flying by in the sky. Like the clouds, your fears, worries, and doubts will all come to pass.
Focus on your breathing, and then gradually withdraw from your meditation.
Step 6: Practice consistently
When you first started meditating, you may find sitting in silence to be a more challenging task than it looks. Also, you may not immediately feel your anxiety easing after your first session.
At this point, remember that mindfulness meditation requires consistent practice.
Most mindfulness benefits take several weeks, months, or even years to notice an improvement. Like any skill, you need to continue practicing to reap the rewards.
Meditate for a few minutes every day to develop a more regular and familiar practice. Then, gradually increase your time spent on meditation each day.
Tips to Improve Your Mindfulness Meditation
Practicing mindfulness meditation? Here are some tips to ensure you are having a smooth experience as you begin on a deep journey into your thoughts.
- Meditate at different times of the day. You may find meditation in the morning helps to prepare your mind for the whole day. Or doing it at night may give you a better night’s rest. Try meditating at different times of the day and see what works best for you.
- Find your own meditation style. For some, meditating doesn’t have to be in pure silence. A few individuals find listening to mindfulness meditation music makes them feel more peaceful and relaxed. The point is: there is not one meditation style that suits everyone. Meditating is a matter of preferences, and it’s about you finding your own style that keeps you comfortable and focused.
- Time your practice. Sometimes, thinking about the time passed can get you distracted from meditating. If this is the case, consider using a timer. Alternatively, you may time your meditation with the number of songs you choose from your playlist.
Practice Mindfulness Meditation Now
Learning how to do mindfulness meditation for anxiety can be a life-changing experience. While it can be challenging at first, it’s a proven way to help slow down your racing thoughts so you can make your mind at ease.
Start your meditation practice today and reap its rewards soon.