Anxiety is one of the most common disorders of mental health. Year to year, depression and anxiety combined, affect a massive 40% of the world’s population suffering from a disability. (World Health Organization, 2002).
Anxiety doesn’t only target those with existing mental health conditions, according to academic research into anxiety disorders, 13% of the adult population will develop a specific form of anxiety known as a “phobia” at some point in their life.
Introduction to Anxiety
There are many types of anxiety, seven of them are documented here, that affect people every single day. Anxiety affects people of all ages making it a condition that doesn’t discriminate. Anxiety is brought on by many different things, the most common are; stress, physical factors, environment, biochemical imbalances and in some cases genetic conditions.
Anxiety is a normal condition and something the majority of people come across as they go about their day. In work and life situations, anxiety can prove useful to our goals, but not in its chronic form. Anxiety is a treatable condition, thanks to a range of therapy, meditation and self-care. One of the most accessible treatments right now is mindfulness.
Mindfulness helps us to practice relaxation techniques that help slow breathing, rewire your thinking and bring down symptoms of anxiety. Meditation is one of the most popular anxiety relievers and becoming more and more recommended as time goes on.
Uncovering anxiety remedies is important. And meditation is one of those.
Benefits of Meditation
There are countless reported benefits of meditation that can extend to treating your anxiety, here are a few of those benefits:
- Reduces stress levels
- Produces higher levels of concentration
- Endorses healthy eating
- Reduces blood pressure
Meditation is used as an element of treatment for anxiety can be very effective. The research points to short sessions on a regular basis to reducing many of the psychological effects of anxiety as well as improving your condition.
For those suffering from chronic stress or anxiety, meditation alone might not treat the condition. Alongside the likes of therapy, medical treatment and other self-care practices, meditation stands as a strong resource to adopt. For students, in particular, time management stress can cause huge amounts of anxiety and if untreated can lead to more intense anxiety issues, depression or even contemplation of suicide.
Before we explore how to use meditation to tackle your anxiety, let’s explore the rise of meditation resources in the space right now.
The Rise of Meditation Resources
Within the last 2 years, the mindfulness space has risen dramatically.
Self-care applications are on the rise. There are now 1,000s of applications on both major App Stores to choose from. Meditation applications have been one of the biggest options.
It’s not just meditation applications. There is content coming from YouTube, podcasts, online courses on Skillshare and other such platforms that you can choose from. The reason why we recommend meditation applications is thanks to the structure of the lessons, the portability of the resource and the option of using the tools offline (if you’ve downloaded the right classes beforehand).
Podcasts, YouTube channels and applications are all in the hunt for helping you get started on meditation. Naturally, all of them working well to help you with a meditation session. One of our recommendations is to not commit immediately to one of these methods.
Thanks to the countless options, you have a choice of resources at your fingertips. There’s a new meditation application uploaded every single day and the majority of them are paid resources, so making sure you understand what you need before you commit to paying for the resources is important.
Meditation applications we’d recommend:
- Stop, Think, Breathe
- Oak Meditation
- Waking Up by Sam Harris
The majority of these meditation applications have both guided and non-guided meditation options included, this is something we’ll uncover in the next section.
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How to Use Meditation to Tackle Anxiety
Let’s get started with your first meditation.
Meditation will take time to master. And equally, tackling your anxiety demands patience. There are endless ways that anxiety affects daily routine that can have a damaging effect, so introducing healthy practices will beat your chances of success.
- Start by Finding a Quiet Space
Your environment will help you to get comfortable with your meditation. Whether that’s a spare office at work or your lounge sofa, you need to begin by sitting comfortably.
Some people sit on a cushion on the floor as a way to start their practice. It’s up to you.
- Start Your Session With No Interruptions
Sessions should be personal to you. No interruptions. Across your first few sessions, your number one interruption will be you.
As you meditate for the first time, you are bound to get uncomfortable. So avoid anyone interrupting you. Let your colleagues know and keep everyone out of the room from walking around.
- Commence Your App/Podcast/Music
Whatever you go with, begin your session. There are two traditional methods to choose from, guided and unguided meditation. Guided is a good starting point. Guided will be a spoken meditation and help you to begin your first session with a focus. As you understand and get more comfortable, you can add unguided.
Session length doesn’t have to be too long. 5-minutes or 10-minutes is suitable for your first time. The goal is to try and get into a healthy routine not make it a daunting 30-minute intense meditation. As you grow your practice, you can add length to sessions, only if you see value in this additional time.
- Pause and Relax
Post-meditation you don’t have to spring up and head straight back to your laptop or iPhone. No. You can just pause and relax after a session. This will allow you to reflect on how well you did, or what thoughts distracted you during your initial session.
Tips For Your First Few Meditations
- Perfect Meditations
The goal is consistency. There’s no such thing as a perfect meditation for everyone. Our recommendation is to make your practice your own. Create the ideal time length, use the tools you feel most suitable with and review what could make each session better each time.
One of the best ways to improve your practice brings it up as a discussion with friends or family. Thanks to the wave of meditation in the west, you’ll be surprised who uses it without the goal of curing anxiety.
- Incorporating Journals
Using your journal can be a useful way to extend your practice and kill two birds with one stone. The journal will help to reduce stress and express what you felt during your meditation session. A short journal session added to your meditation will help to reduce feelings of anxiety and express some of your most stressful feelings in a peaceful setting.
First timer to journaling?! Here are 50 journal prompts to get you started!
- Attending Classes
Local classes can be a good way to get started. Avoiding the 21st-century route of applications or podcasts, you can head to your local Buddhist centre for a session. You can find many sessions listed online or on your local community boards. Sessions like these can help you get started and help you meet people like-minded using meditation as an anxiety reducer.
How Long Will It Take to See Results?
Results can take anywhere between one meditation to one hundred meditations. Meditation is a unique journey. Those suffering anxiety will need to use it alongside other healthy self-care practices and therapy sessions.
The best way to find out is trying it yourself. There are stories of people using it for 3-4 weeks and not needing any more treatment thanks to the refreshing benefits of meditation for your anxiety. Others have taken longer to adopt and embed into their routine. But once used in a routine fashion have fallen in love with meditation as a way to get a much-needed break.
Let us know in the comments whether you’ve used meditation to curb your anxiety and how you’ve gone about approaching meditation. Do you use any apps? Do you have any podcast recommendations? Let us know below.
More Journaling Prompts, Worksheets And Activities
Therachat offers pre-made activities for psychologists and counselors to engage their clients in between sessions and achieve better outcomes.