As anxiety becomes less stigmatized, people are openly seeking ways to curb their anxious thoughts. One of the most tried and true methods for alleviating anxiety is through the practice of meditation. While there are various forms of meditation, many of which date back to ancient times, a basic understanding is all you really need to begin reaping the benefits. We’ve put together an introduction to meditation to help you get started with a daily practice.
Mindfulness & Concentration Meditation:
Two of the most widely practiced methods of meditation are mindfulness meditation and concentration meditation. There’s a common myth that in order to meditate successfully, you have to stop your thoughts, but that isn’t the case. Instead of turning off your thoughts, the goal of mindfulness meditation is to simply acknowledge and accept them. Similarly, with concentration meditation, the goal is to focus your attention on something, such as your breath, and guide your mind back to that focal point when you notice it start to drift. An essential thing to remember is that there’s no wrong way to meditate. At a base level, meditation is just being still and focusing on your breath. If you can do that for even just a few minutes each day, you’ll be on track to alleviating your anxiety.
The best thing about meditation is that you can do it anytime, any place. Once you know the basics, it’s also a great tool to have in your arsenal for when anxiety strikes.
How To Meditate:
Follow this guide for a simple introduction to meditation.
Begin by sitting or lying down in a comfortable position.
If you want to, close your eyes. If not, relax your gaze.
Begin to notice your breath. Don’t try and breath in any particular way, simply notice how your body breaths. Notice how it feels breathing air into your body, and how it feels to blow out. Notice if your breath is filling your chest or belly.
Continue focusing on your breath. When your mind wanders (which it inevitably will), don’t stress. Simply acknowledge your thoughts and return your mind back to the breath. Notice how the breath feels in the body.
Some people find it helpful to place their thumbs and index fingers together while meditating (shown in the image above) as a way to assist in keeping focused.
Continue doing this for about 3 minutes minimum (though you can do it for as long as possible). The more often you meditate, the more likely you’ll be to notice a positive effect on your moods, mind, and life.