Meditation For Anxiety – Easy Beginner’s Guide To Meditation
The reason why I started meditation
In my 4th year at my university, all the classes went online because of COVID-19, and things were pretty chaotic. Most of my professors never experienced online classes, materials, class time, and the announcements of assignments were delayed. I didn’t even know when I would have final exams for some classes.
It was my final year at my university, and I was making sure everything finished so I could graduate, but things were out of my control. As a result, I was ALWAYS anxious. It was terrible. I never felt this anxious constantly in my life.
People around me recommended meditation to clear your mind, but I never thought I could sit still for 10 mins! Honestly, I thought people who could meditate are crazy!!
Because things were so chaotic and I felt like I couldn’t handle anything else, I started playing meditation music while in the bath, and that felt GOOD!
In this article, I want to share my meditation journey and how you can slowly start getting used to meditation!
What is meditation?
Insider explains meditation as
I’m Buddhist and I actually experienced meditation when I visited Kyoto as a school trip. In Japanese, meditation is called Zazen (座禅). Buddhist monks practice Zazen as training to unite one’s mind. It has a long history and you are supposed to reflect to yourself peacefully and calmly.
Everyone knows the word Zen. Zazen (meditation) is part of Zen, and Zen means
“Seeking the true yourself. Discipline yourself, be grateful, cut down unnecessary things in your life, and reflect your way of living”.
Nowadays, meditation is practiced across the world, and it’s getting more and more popular in Western countries. I found these explanations are simple and easy to understand from Mayo Clinic.
- Meditation is considered a type of mind-body complementary medicine.
- Meditation can produce a deep state of relaxation and a tranquil mind.
Why meditation is good for anxiety
1. How we can benefit from meditation when we are anxious
I found an interesting article on Harvard Health Publishing explaining how meditation can help people with anxiety.
Dr. Elizabeth Hoge, a psychiatrist at the Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders at Massachusetts General Hospital and an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, tells us how meditation is beneficial for people with anxiety.
When we are anxious, the thoughts take over our heads and it makes it hard to stop thinking about what’s making us anxious. However, meditation can help us recognize our usual patterns of thoughts and make us realize things we’re worrying about now may not actually happen in the future. In a way, meditation works like an umbrella and saves us from the rains of worry and anxiety.
One of her studies found out that a mindfulness-based stress reduction program has the power to stop anxiety symptoms in people with anxiety disorder including hard-to-control worries, poor sleep, and irritability.
2. Meditation can help lower our heartbeat when we are anxious
Anxiety can raise your heart rate over time and is associated with a higher risk of heart disease.
This article introduces many solutions to lower heart rate from anxiety and one of the recommendations is “Take time and breathe”. By breathing deeply and calmly, our heart rate and blood pressure lower. As a result, some neurotransmitters increase which reduces a sense of anxiety.
I find meditation very helpful. I often feel like when I meditate. When I’m anxious, I can feel my heartbeat increased and my throat feels tight. I feel like I’m in the middle of a storm when I feel overwhelmed, but meditation can often help bring a clear sky overhead.
Maybe you want to try meditation?
Steps you can follow
When you think about meditation, you may imagine sitting and closing your eyes. But the point of meditation is to reflect on yourself peacefully and calmly. A lot of articles I read tell us to sit and meditate. But because I was skeptical about the benefits of meditation, I started with taking a bath!
Here are 4 steps you can try
1. Taking a bath
Taking a bath can be a great meditation. Your muscles will be relaxed from the warm water and tension will melt away. Here are some steps you can follow.
- Play “calm music for relaxation” or “meditation music” or “forest sounds” playlists on Spotify or Youtube
- Try to concentrate on the sound
- If any thoughts come up, acknowledge the thought “I was anxious/worried about this…”. Then tell yourself “Things have been hard lately but I’m taking care of myself and doing well”.
I recommend you take a bath with your favorite bath salt if you can. Enjoy the scent and the peaceful music while you are taking a bath. I quite like taking a bath during the daytime and feel the sunlight through the window.
If you are short on time, you can just listen to calming music at your desk. For me, peaceful music makes me calm down and ease my mind 🙂
2. Do yoga
After I felt the effect of “bath meditation”, I decided to try yoga. I was never really into yoga and people told me it’s relaxing and nice, but I was skeptical about it. I saw my boyfriend doing yoga frequently using Youtube, I decided to give it a try!
I was looking for yoga videos on Youtube and I found this channel called “Yogini Melbourne“. I always thought yoga is about being super flexible and practicing to be able to do a certain pose.
But this channel changed my perspective of yoga. Her voice is really soft and calming. All the videos are easy to follow and even someone like me who’s not super flexible can do it.
When I’m doing yoga, I’m focused on my body and I can rest my busy mind. After doing yoga, I can feel my mind is clearer and less anxious.
I’ve been practicing yoga for a year using her videos now. Her channel has 10-60 minute yoga videos. Her videos are quite nice because you can find videos depending on how you feel like the video below too.
If you are an active person and don’t like sitting around, yoga is a great way to ease your anxious mind. Because you are still doing something but you are focused on your body, not your mind! Shifting your mind to something else can help you reduce your anxiety tremendously! Give it a try! 🙂
3. Try guided meditation on youtube
If your anxiety is very strong, and constant, you may want to try guided meditation. Like I mentioned in the beginning, I thought meditation is about sitting still for a while with a void mind, and that looked super difficult. So it was shocking for me when I tried guided meditation.
Yogini Melbourne has guided meditation-videos, too. And I remember I was amazed and proud of myself when I completed 10 mins guided meditation for the first time. Because I never thought I can sit still thinking nothing for 10 mins!
I practiced guided meditation for a year using her videos and I decided that I want to make meditation a daily habit because things have been so difficult for me. But I found it difficult to make the habit and following my routine so I decided to start using a meditation app.
Tips for guided meditation
Follow the instructions of the videos.
It’s ok and normal if your thoughts drift away. When your thoughts drift away, try not to tell yourself “I should be focused”! Why am I still thinking about this matter!”. Instead, acknowledge the thoughts and try to focus on your breathing.
4. Try a meditation app
If you tried taking a bath, yoga, and guided meditation with Yogini Melbourne, and felt the effectiveness of meditation, maybe it’s time for you to start meditation as a daily routine!
I recently started using a meditation app, and I will write a review about the meditation app soon!
I’ve been really struggling to deal with anxiety for the past one and half years since the pandemic started. There are still days I find it hard to control my anxiety and anger. I am not perfect, and I can’t control all my difficult emotions. But I certainly have fewer days where there are storms over my head and can’t do anything about it, thanks to meditation. I hope this post was helpful for you and gets you ready for meditation!