There are all sorts of mindfulness techniques for anxiety, but there are 3 that are head and shoulders above the rest.
As you know I’m a mindfulness trainer and have written extensively on the subject. I grew up around meditation and never questioned its validity. I assumed my parents knew what they were doing and it must’ve served them in some way.
I’ve been meditating for decades myself, but as my own daily meditation practice intensified I began to explore the science behind meditation. I knew it was an ancient science dating back thousands of years to the Rishis and Sadhus of India. All Indian Saints speak poetically about sitting in this state of cosmic bliss.
It sounded enchanting, tantalizing. It seemed as though they had something figured out that non-meditators didn’t. And quite frankly they did.
The purpose in Indian folklore and Indian religions for life is a far deeper one than that which exists in western religions.
Spirituality runs deep in my veins as an Indian. It seems it courses through my blood in ways that others don’t necessarily feel or sense on this level.
I know there are all sorts of deeply spiritual people, but there is something deeply innately spiritual with Indians and Indian culture. Hence so many spiritual seekers pilgrimage to India, the spiritual center of the world.
Spirituality is very prominent in our lives and the many traditions speak prolifically to it.
Life is thought to be revered in a deeper way. There must be deeper purpose for living, for all of it and we must understand this in each and every incarnation.
What has now become yoga in the west is not the yoga that came from India. It has been morphed into something completely different. While some of the postures still hold, most of it is nothing like the original yoga or yoga in the east. The word mindfulness is a western term that was given to the notion of sitting in state of silence, but from its origins where it came mindfulness is also yoga. Yoga is mindfulness in it’s original form. They are one in the same.
The yogis begin with some stretching postures known as asanas and then go into the heart of their yoga with meditation. That is the real yoga. The first part is just prepping for the actual yoga which is meditation.
This is where we stretch our mind, the limits of our mind and tap into our total potentiality.
And it’s no wonder that yogis did not have anxiety or suffer from all of the ailments we now find ourselves suffering from.
Anxiety was somewhat non-existent in India as struggles of life are very much part of the human experience and learning to accept those and manage those is why and how yoga came about. It’s a means to live a deeper experience and to learn to accept and sit in calm with all that is.
Listen in to my conversation with Dr. Daniel Winkle on Mindfulness below –
Mindfulness Is One Of The Most Powerful Things For Anxiety
Now let’s consider from a scientific perspective why mindfulness is one of the most powerful things for anxiety. First off because it is an all natural remedy. It does not have any compounds that impact the brain or body in ways that are not natural.
Mindfulness is powerful for anxiety cause it naturally calms the mind. Sitting in a state of meditation allows us to enter a state of deep calm. And while many fall for the myth or refer to meditation as a means of turning your brain off, that’s the furthest thing from the truth.
It is not possible to turn your brain off. You are going into a deep state of rest and your nervous system automatically calms and slows. Your heart rate drops exponentially when in a meditative state. Your breathing slows when in a state of stillness. And all of these things help calm the mind and force it into a state of less chatter. The mind races less when you are in meditation. Checkout this post for beginning meditation.
This primal state is known as restful alertness.
There are many states of consciousness. There are 3 states of consciousness that we all know and live in; waking, sleeping, dreaming.
Yes. Sleeping and dreaming are two different states of consciousness.
However – when we are in a meditative state that is known as restful alertness. We are awake and alert, highly alert cause all other stimuli is turned off. We enter a fourth state of consciousness in which we are not sleeping or dreaming. Our eyes are closed and we are not engaged in active talking or activating our seeing senses or that part of our mind that interacts with the world, others or devices. We are simply in restful alertness, a profound place to be.
Why meditation is so powerful for anxiety is because when we learn to sit in silence the purpose is to learn to be with your thoughts. The purpose is not to evade your thoughts. That’s not possible. The point of meditation is to allow the thoughts to come and let them go. Let the thoughts come and let them go. This is the whole point of meditating is the practice being with your thoughts in a peaceful way. It is the practice of acceptance. And the more we sit in a state of restful alertness the more calm we become. It is not that we are no longer thinking and our thoughts go away. This is a huge myth I find deplorable about meditation. It is that we learn to be in total acceptance of them. This is the point. It is actually the most ancient and prolific technique to battling anxiety.
Try These 3 Mindfulness Techniques For Anxiety
So there are so many types of meditations, but these 3 are the most effective. I say this because one they are easy. They are effortless and you will be able to get into a stride with these with little to no effort and ward off feelings of anxiety.
- Effortless Meditation With Cosmic Mudra – Effortless meditation is just that. All you need to do is be there and allow the thoughts to come and let them go. Do not force anything. There is no special breathing. You just breathe as you do. You will notice as you are sitting that your breathe will slow and your heart rate will slow as well, but that’s all part of the beautiful process of calming the nervous system which calms the mind while you sit and bask in the stillness. Be sure to check out Jon Kabat-Zinn – the most revered American meditation teacher
- Yoga Nidra or Yogic Sleep With A Mantra – This is a beautiful form of meditation sometimes also called Sahaj meditation which will offer you a mantra. The mantra helps bring awareness back to where you are when your mind drifts off which it will do over and over again. Turning off the mind is not possible so let that myth go. Slowing it down is so lean into that. Simply be there. Allow the thoughts to come and then let go. Like a ripple in a pond every time a thought comes in drop the mantra in your head, recite it in your head and then allow the feeling of that to ripple out like a pebble in a pond. I was given my Mantra by a yoga master, but you can take on your own mantra – a word you love, heck it can be the word love- that can be your mantra! Or you can use – Om – just say it under your breath or recite it in your mind.
- Guided Meditation – Guided meditation can be one of the best for beginners because it walks you through the process. You are literally guided through every step of the meditation. All you have to do is show up. With your back upright in a ready position. A back jack is always good for this or lean against the wall. Devices off. Eyes closed. Check out my bliss guided meditation for my deep trance guided meditation is you are ready to go super deep.
Be sure to check out my post on My 3 Meditation Essentials – I rely on these 3 things cause you might as well be comfy especially if you are going to sit for extended periods like I do.
If You’re Still Having Anxiety Then You May Need More Help
Now don’t get me wrong. I know for some meditation is just not something that will ever work. Some people have very strong anxiety that cannot be managed with just meditation and I understand that mental health is very much an ailment that needs to be addressed with a professional or medical care of some kind.
It is my sincere hope that you will give meditation a try to see if it offers some sense of calm and quite for the anxiety. I know all about the benefits of therapy. Sometimes you just need someone to talk to. I get it. Here is a previous post I wrote and the things I learned in therapy. And an incredible conversation I had with Maira Holzmann on the podcast about Somatic Experiencing – getting in touch with ourselves and the mind body connection.
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