I have a very intimate experience with anxiety – and in fact – my relationship with anxiety lasted about twenty years. People often talk about meditation for anxiety and how great it is for you and all the benefits it can offer. I would like to discuss how to settle the mind before you can start meditating.
Impacts Of Anxiety
When I first started looking for spiritual base tools to help me overcome anxiety, I started with meditation. I tried it for a while, but then I gave up on it. I gave up because it was not working. I could not do what the teacher was asking me to – which was breathe and sit still.
I became frustrated with the whole process – until one day – when I discovered why I could not sit still.
My entire nervous system was in fight and flight. For almost 20 years, it was stuck in this mode. My body did not know how to relax, be calm, and be at peace. I had stress cortisol levels rushing through my body for twenty years. Even when I had no reason to have anxiety, it would show up. I would be out with a girlfriend having coffee, and I could feel it starting and rushing through me.
My body and mind were programmed this way now. The more I tried to meditate, the more anxious I became. As soon as I felt my body becoming a little relaxed, my resistance would step in and take me into anxiety instead. Also, I was uncomfortable with just being with myself and my thoughts; this means, I would have to face myself and the truth of my anxiety. What was causing this anxiety? What was the root?
Reasons For Anxiety
My anxiety was years of repressed emotions that I swallowed like a pill every day. These feelings were pushed way down in my body and mind. Even though this worked for a while – it just presented another problem – now it was showing up as anxiety instead and intruding in my life full-time. I had no control over it and that scared me more than trying to meditate. So, I was going to commit to meditation and that was the first step.
Impacts Of Meditation
Once I was able to meditate, my life changed completely. I had more moments of peace and profound love in my heart. My thoughts of negativity, worry, and fear were replaced with kindness, positive support, self-love, and understanding. My practice became deeper, as I engaged fully in understanding myself and applying these spiritual-based tools such as meditation, raja, kundalini yoga, and metaphysic practices of divine love. Today, I am anxiety-free for over 15 years and help adults and children to find this freedom within themselves.
When students come to me for a meditation class to calm their anxiety, we do a lot of work first with our eyes open. If you are just starting meditation on your own or with a teacher, make sure they know that you are there because of anxiety. I teach meditation very differently at the beginning for those who have anxiety.
Outlined are some good practices for you, if you have anxiety and want to start meditation.
Practices To Follow Before Meditating
1. Keep Your Eyes Open – A Place To Connect
- Find a quiet spot outside or in your house, where you can walk very slowly.
- As you walk slowly, say to yourself, “One step, next step”, slowing down your pace.
- The key is to go slow and fully connected, bringing awareness to what you are doing.
- Bring awareness to your breath. Engage with your breath.
- As you walk, put your hand on your belly. Feel your breath, moving your stomach out and in.
- When you have anxiety, you tend to breathe opposite. Make sure when you inhale through the nose, the belly is pushing out NOT in. When you exhale, the belly goes in. This is a proper breathing.
- Walk for about 10 minutes mindfully, enjoying your breath and the movement of your body.
2. Keep Your Eyes Closed
It is a chance to fully breathe and reset your nervous system to relaxation.
- Now take a comfortable seat – cross-legged or on a chair – with your spine away from the back of the chair. Straight spine.
- Close your eyes, pucker your lips as if you were going to drink through a straw.
- Inhale deeply through your puckered lips – slow and deep – then exhale through your nose.
- Continue this for 2–3 minutes. This is allowing you to reprogram your body to relax more fully.
- Then breathe normally, following the natural flow of your breath.
- Repeat mentally to yourself, “I AM PEACEFUL, CALM, and RELAXED; I AM SAFE.”
- Allow yourself to stay with your breath in quietness for 2 to 3 minutes.
- There you go. You did it, you meditated!
Each day you will be able to go a little longer, as you are reprogramming your body and mind to be in a more calming, relaxing, and peaceful state. Consistency is the key to gaining the results that you desire. Show up a little every day, if even for ten minutes. This way, your body and mind will know what is coming and look forward to it.
May these tips help you find peace, relaxation, and healing in your life!