Anxiety is a common complaint in modern society. Life moves at a rapid pace, and all of us have to deal with unexpected changes that make us anxious in our daily lives. When these stresses build up to the point that we start having physical anxiety attacks, it’s necessary to do something to retrain the mind, and learn how to control anxiety like you can with this course.
Meditation can be an effective tool for learning how to cope with anxiety. Meditation teaches us to connect with our true inner selves, and focus on what stays constant in our lives, despite the rapid change around us. By meditating on a regular basis, we can create a living sanctuary inside our heads, where we can achieve a degree of objectivity to help ourselves. Check out this course for more information about coping with anxiety.
There’s a difference between just feeling anxious about something when you’re in the middle of a situation, and the chronic patterns of clinical anxiety that can strike us at random no matter what is happening. It is important not to try to self-diagnosis when facing possible clinical anxiety. If anxiety is causing severe interruptions in your life, or making your life unpleasant and difficult, and it feels beyond your control, it is important to seek professional medical advice.
If anxiety is becoming a pattern in your life, meditation can help you learn to control your thoughts. The practice of meditation is about learning to be present to what really is, rather than being distracted by the things that you’re worrying about the future, or the experiences you have had in the past.
Remember, if you have any reason to believe that there maybe something medically wrong, seek professional help. If you were simply looking for ways to cope with the normal anxieties of day-to-day life, education can be a useful technique.
Meditating in the Moment
Although the rituals of meditation can take us away from the routines of daily life, one of the most effective techniques for dealing with anxiety through meditation is training yourself to meditate right in the middle of the situations that cause you the most anxiety. Meditation is not about becoming unconscious, but rather about being fully present to the moment as it exists right now. There is no time when this is more valuable than when you are facing anxiety.
Many of us feel anxiety at school or in the workplace. Meditating at your desk can be a useful technique to counter this. By taking a few minutes, and allowing ourselves to be completely present in the context of the work that makes us anxious, we can learn to reconnect with ourselves despite the stresses of external expectations.
Of course, it’s important to realize when meditation is appropriate. There may be times when it is not safe to put yourself into a removed state, even if you are staying fully conscious. Don’t try to meditate when driving, or operating machinery. Don’t meditate when you’re responsible for the safety of another. Meditate only when you can’t allow yourself to be fully responsible for yourself. You need to make intelligent decisions about how to incorporate meditation into your life.
Using Guided Imagery
While basic meditation is simply about being present to what is, medication to control anxiety can sometimes benefit from guided imagery. Guided imagery is a technique involving visualizing yourself in a situation the way that you would choose for it to be, even if that’s not the way that you experience it now. You may not be able to change your circumstances, but your inner experience of any situation is completely up to you. Meditation is about being present to the moment, and guided imagery can help you create a vision of the moment in your mind the way that you might want it to be. How you perceive reality is how reality exists for you.
One of my favorite quotations about perception and reality is from performance artist Laurie Anderson, who tells us that, “paradise is exactly like where you are right now, only much much better.” I sometimes use that concept as a way to enter into meditation when I’m feeling anxious. I imagine the situation that I am in at the moment, and how it would be if I were in my own version of paradise. Nothing would actually be different, but everything would be much much better. It’s possible to achieve a state like this through meditation.
Often anxiety comes down to imagining situations that have not yet happened, and exaggerating them in your mind. As such, anxiety is a form of visualization, but it has a negative impact on your life. Countering that with more positive visualizations can help you regain control over how your brain interprets and responds to life.
Guided imagery can come from inside or from outside. There are several places where you can find recordings and videos of people leading you through a guided imagery exercise. Sometimes, the opportunity to escape into a guided image can help disconnect you from the anxiety you’re experiencing in the moment. Just that brief separation can give you the objectivity necessary to reconnect to your inner peace.
If you have the opportunity, practicing traditional meditation on a regular basis can train you to cope with anxiety. Traditional meditation is practiced by sitting in a comfortable cross-legged position on a cushion or directly on the floor, With the spine straight in the head erect, and the hands resting comfortably on your thighs. Teach yourself to focus on your breaths (this course on breathing will help), counting them from 1 to 10, and starting again. Remember that you are safe and present in the moment.
Learning to control anxiety with meditation is a lifestyle choice you can make it any time. Ultimately a regular practice of meditation can provide you with an inner sense of calm that you can enter into no matter where you are, and no matter what you are doing.