Mindfulness meditation can be a good way to deal with stress and anxiety, and it can even be used to help people with panic disorder calm down.
Lessening anxiety has more to do with how you think than with what’s happening around you.
You can’t always stop bad things from happening to you or around you. But you can choose how you feel and what you do about it.
Meditation can help people live more peaceful, calm lives in a world where more and more people are getting anxiety disorders.
How can mediation relieve stress?
When a thought comes to mind, most people follow it, judge it, think about it a lot, and get lost in it. Instead, regular meditation helps us learn to be in the here and now.
When we have anxiety, guided meditation helps us notice our thoughts and feelings without judging them.
In a study by the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, brain scans showed which parts of the brain were turned on and off when people with anxiety did mindfulness meditation.
People who meditate to relieve stress also learn how to deal with anxiety and even panic attacks as they happen.
Meditation helps you feel calm, peaceful, and balanced, which is good for your emotional and physical health.
When you meditate, you may clear away the information overload that builds up every day and contributes to your stress.
Some of the physical and emotional benefits of meditation are:
- Seeing stressful situations from a different angle
- Building skills to deal with stress and becoming more aware of yourself
- Keeping your mind on the present
- Getting more creative and imaginative
- Improving the quality of sleep
Meditation could also help if you have a health problem, especially one that gets worse when you’re stressed.
So, some research suggests that meditation may help people deal with the symptoms of conditions like:
- Heart disease
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Sleep problems
- Tension headaches
Meditation is not a substitute for regular medical care. But it might be a good addition to your other treatments.
If you have any of these conditions or other health problems, talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of meditation.
Different types of mindful meditations.
There are many different kinds of meditation and ways to relax that including meditation. All have the same goal: to find peace inside.
Some ways to meditate mindfully are:
1. Body scan meditation
This meditation involves lying down or sitting comfortably and focusing on each part of the body, starting at the toes and working up to the head, to release tension and relax the body.
Body scan meditation, also called progressive muscle relaxation, is a mindfulness meditation in which you focus on how your body feels to help release tension and stress.
The practice can help find places in the body where there is tension and let it go through a process called “progressive relaxation.”
2. Breath awareness meditation
This type of meditation involves focusing on breathing and noticing the sensation of the breath as it enters and leaves the body.
Breath awareness means paying attention to the breath.
Meditation can help you breathe more slowly and relax your muscles, reducing the physical effects of stress like a faster heart rate and tight muscles.
It also helps reduce the activity of the “fight or flight” sympathetic nervous system and increase the activity of the “rest and digest” parasympathetic nervous system.
It can also help you pay attention, concentrate, and feel better. As with any kind of meditation, the best way to get the most out of it is to do it often.
3. Walking meditation
This meditation involves walking slowly and paying attention to the sensation of the feet on the ground and the body moving.
Walking meditation can help relieve stress by letting the person focus on how it feels to walk and how they are breathing.
This can help move the mind away from stressful thoughts and feelings and bring a sense of calm and awareness to the present moment.
Walking can also help reduce stress by releasing endorphins, chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers and mood boosters.
Read more about: 8 Benefits of Daily Walks
4. Yoga meditation
This type of meditation involves yoga postures and breathing exercises to help quiet the mind and improve focus.
Stress can be relieved through yoga meditation by using physical postures, breathing techniques, and being more aware.
Asanas are the names for the physical positions. They can help release tension in the body, which can make you feel less stressed and anxious.
Pranayama, one of the breathing techniques, can also help to control the breath and calm the mind.
Mindfulness practices, like being in the moment and letting go of thoughts that distract you, can also help reduce stress by bringing your attention to the present and letting you separate yourself from thoughts and feelings that make you feel stressed.
Endorphins are chemicals in the brain that work as natural painkillers and mood boosters. When you do yoga, these chemicals are released.
Read more about: 10 Minute Full-Body Yoga for Stress Relief
5. Loving-kindness meditation
Also known as “metta” meditation, this practice focuses on feelings of love and compassion for yourself and others.
Loving-kindness Meditation, sometimes called “metta” meditation, can help people feel less stressed by making them feel more love and compassion for themselves and others.
Most of the time, the practice involves repeating phrases or mantras with good wishes for oneself and others.
This can take the focus off of negative thoughts and feelings and put it on positive ones.
By showing these feelings to other people, you can develop empathy, compassion, and understanding, which can help you feel less alone and out of place.
6. Sound meditation
This meditation involves focusing on sounds in the environment, such as birds singing or traffic noise, to help improve attention and focus.
Sound meditation, also called “sonic meditation” or “vibrational meditation,” uses sounds, music, or vocal toning to calm the mind and body.
This can help relieve stress. Sound and vibrations can strongly affect the body and help to relax, ease tension, and reduce stress.
Listening to certain sounds or music, or even making sounds yourself, can help you get into a meditative state where your mind can focus on the sound and let go of thoughts and feelings that are distracting.
7. Guided meditation
This type of meditation involves listening to a recorded guided meditation, which often includes visualization and relaxation techniques.
Guided meditation is a way to make meditation more structured and focused, which can help relieve stress.
A teacher, a recorded voice, or a written script can be used as a guide to lead a person through meditation.
This gives the mind clear instructions and a clear focus to follow. This can help the person let go of distracting thoughts and feelings, relax, and pay attention to the present moment.
They also often have a specific theme or topic to focus on, like self-compassion, gratitude, or forgiveness, which can help the person deal with and let go of negative emotions and thoughts that are causing stress.
8. Nature meditation
This type of meditation involves going for a walk in nature, and focusing on the sights, sounds, and sensations of the natural environment.
People have known for a long time that nature is good for the mind and body. It can, among other things, lower the amount of stress hormones in the body, lower blood pressure, and improve mood.
Nature can also make you feel awe and wonder, which can help you put things in perspective and lessen your stress and anxiety.
Nature meditation can be done in any natural setting, such as a forest, park, beach, or even your own backyard. You can walk, sit, or just stay still and watch the world around you.
10. Open-monitoring meditation
This type of meditation involves paying attention to any thoughts or feelings that arise during meditation and observing them without judgment.
Open-monitoring meditation, also called “choiceless awareness” or “bare attention” meditation, can help relieve stress by training the mind to watch and accept thoughts, feelings, and sensations without judging or attaching to them.
This can help the person let go of stressful thoughts and feelings and bring calm and awareness to the present moment.
Open-monitoring meditation helps people notice everything that comes up in their minds without getting stuck on any one thought or feeling.
By practicing non-attachment, you can learn to watch your thoughts and feelings as they come and go without getting caught up in them. This can help you feel less stressed and anxious.
How to practice Mindful Mediation.
There are many ways to practice mindful meditation to relieve stress, but one common method is to follow these steps:
Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lie down. Make sure you will not be disturbed during your meditation session.
Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Notice the sensation of the breath as it enters and leaves your body.
If your mind starts to wander, gently bring it back to the sensation of your breath.
As you focus on your breath, try to let go of any thoughts or worries. Simply observe them and let them pass by, without getting caught up in them.
You can also try to scan your body, starting from your toes and moving upwards, paying attention to any areas of tension and releasing it as you exhale.
Continue to focus on your breath for 5-10 minutes or for as long as you like. You can gradually increase the duration of your meditation sessions as you become more comfortable with the practice.
When you’re ready to finish your meditation, take a deep breath and slowly open your eyes.
It’s important to remember that meditation is a practice, and it may take time to learn how to be present and focused. It’s normal to have a lot on your mind and lose focus, but that’s fine. Just bring your attention back to your breath and the present.
Types of anxiety disorders
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): This type of anxiety disorder is characterized by excessive and unrealistic worry about everyday events and activities.
Panic Disorder: This type of anxiety disorder is characterized by sudden and unexpected panic attacks, which can include symptoms such as heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and chest pain.
Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD): This type of anxiety disorder is characterized by intense fear and self-consciousness in social or performance situations.
Specific Phobia: This type of anxiety disorder is characterized by a persistent and excessive fear of a specific object or situation, such as heights, closed-in spaces, or flying.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): This type of anxiety disorder is characterized by repetitive thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that are difficult to control.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): This type of anxiety disorder can develop after a traumatic event, such as a natural disaster, accident, or physical or sexual assault, and can include symptoms such as flashbacks, nightmares, and feelings of guilt or shame.
Acute Stress Disorder (ASD): This type of anxiety disorder can occur after a traumatic event, similar to PTSD, but its symptoms usually last less than a month.
Separation Anxiety Disorder: This type of anxiety disorder is characterized by excessive and persistent anxiety related to separation from home or attachment figures.
It’s important to remember that these disorders can happen together with other mental problems, like depression. If you think you have an anxiety disorder, it’s best to get help from a therapist or doctor and work with them to make a treatment plan.
Mindfulness meditation is the practice of paying attention to how the body and mind respond to stress and accepting those responses without judging them.
By doing this, people can put some distance between themselves and their feelings, which lets them step back and look at themselves from a better angle. This gives you a chance to figure out what is causing the anxiety or stress.
Mindfulness meditation can take some time to feel natural and become a regular part of your life. But if you keep at it, you may find a powerful way to relieve stress and improve your health.