Beginner’s Guide to Meditation: How to Reduce Anxiety, Stress and Depression
Boring, ineffective, and fake – these are just some of the things that are used to describe meditation. But what if you were asked if stress and anxiety are real, you’ll say yes in a heartbeat, after all, no one is exempt from experiencing these struggles on a daily basis.
But what if meditation could help you deal with these struggles? Let’s be clear: you can’t really stop anxious thoughts from coming back but you can manage them so you won’t explode or spiral down even further.
How can meditation help? Looking deep into yourself and being mindful has tons of benefits. Headspace co-founder and expert Andy Puddicombe said that the practice helps a person realize anxiety-inducing thoughts and analyze them before reacting to these emotions.
In short, recognizing these will help you respond to your feelings instead of not thinking and immediately reacting. Reading these things sound easy but how do you actually start especially when you’re having an attack?
Listen to Your Body
Focusing is hard when you’re feeling anxious but one way to help you feel better is keeping on your feet on the floor or your back on the chair, etc. As said, meditation isn’t really the key to this but it greatly helps.
First, allow your thoughts to just run back and forth your mind and once you learn that you’re sinking deeper, shift your attention to the sensation.
Pay Attention to Your Breathing
You would always see in films that whenever someone is suffering from a panic attack, people tell them to breathe. If you’re on your own and no one is there to calm you down, focus on your breathing – specifically on the rising and falling of your chest.
Put your hand on your stomach and feel your breathing and count “one” on the rise and “two” on the fall. As you put your mind to what you’re doing, you slowly come back to the present. Practice this for 10 seconds or more if you need to, the expert advised.
Let Your Mind Think
This might sound weird but meditation experts suggest letting your mind think whatever it wants, even if it means letting the anxious thoughts flood into your brain. Just let the thoughts flow through your mind freely without setting any expectations or purpose, and you’ll later notice that you’re giving yourself space to unwind.
Power of Imagination
Whenever rays of sunshine hit your face, it automatically uplifts your mood, eliciting a warm, fuzzy feeling of happiness. If you’re feeling a little bit too much, imagine sunlight hitting not just your face but your entire body. Andy said that feeling the warmth can melt the tension away from every inch of your body.
Talk to Yourself
Talking to yourself doesn’t mean you’re crazy. It has tons of benefits, even when you’re anxious. Ask yourself what you are most appreciative in your life and focus on that for a good 30 minutes. Like a friend, reminding yourself from a second person’s perspective frees your mind from overwhelming things.
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