Learning how to meditate and practicing a little every day can do wonders to reduce stress, anxiety, worry, or fear. It takes some time, but meditation is very powerful to improve the way we respond to difficult situations. The daily practice of calmness and peace helps to make living calmly a habit. The secret to reduce stress and anxiety lies in creating new habits that are more positive to replace the negative ones already in place. This requires energy. Even if you have a hard time meditating (ideas below). Consider using an affirmation during your meditation time and especially at night right before you fall asleep to keep your mind moving the direction you would like it to go. Here is one of my favorites:
“I accept with calm impartiality whatever comes my way. Free in my heart, I am not conditioned by any outward circumstance” from Affirmations for Self Healing by Swami Kriyananda
The above book pretty much saved my life. I used that affirmation for a couple of years straight. I’m so glad I did. The instructions in this book are very helpful. I won’t go into the details here but this book can help you better understand how your mind works and how to work with affirmations to improve the way you think and feel.
Important: You don’t need to be at the place you are affirming. You just need to want to be there and the affirmation will help train your mind to be more receptive to positive growth. The book is full of great affirmations as well as teachings about many human virtues, but this particular one is what I used in the very beginning of my path to overcoming stress, depression, and anger about 12 years ago.
How Meditation Helps Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Learning to observe something like your breath while not controlling it is very powerful. This takes practice and even if you feel like you are not totally doing it “right” just don’t give up, this teaches us to stick with things even when they are difficult and develops helpful attitudes like acceptance, non-attachment to our expectations, etc. And, it’s just the beginning.
The more successful you are at concentrating your attention on the feeling of the breath the less energy your mind will have for negative thoughts or feelings.
The smoother you breathe, the less stress or anxiety you will feel. Begin by breathing deeply to get started. Feel each breath. Then slowly relax into a long smooth even breath. Then let the control go and simply sit up, close your eyes and begin feeling the breath with deep concentration. Imagine your body is solid and still like a great stone castle. Keep the spine straight and the chin level with the floor. Chest is open and shoulders are relaxed. Relax the whole body but remain erect through the spine. Silently examine the feeling of each breath. Be interested in the way it feels. Experience each breath as a new and unique sensation. Do this and in minutes your stress and anxiety will lessen, or even disappear.
For more meditation instruction read Breathing Meditation.
How to reduce stress and anxiety when you are on the go.
- Learn to feel the breath in your throat. (down low near the voice-box) Preparation: You can slightly constrict this area and feel a windy feeling down there. If you were to open your mouth and breathe out and sort of vocalize something it should sound sort of like a “Darth Vader breathing sound“(look for button 3-”Darth Vader’s Breath”). Once you figure out how to do this, close your mouth and relax as much as you can but still feel the breath gently flowing in this lower throat area.
- Keep feeling your breath here, and gently smooth the way it flows. Gently draw out the breaths so the inhale and exhale are slightly elongated and do your best to keep the flow of air steady, smooth, even, like a very calm steady wind in both directions.
- This is a powerful and easy to use yoga technique to keep your energy and emotions calm.
- A smooth relaxed breath creates a calm and relaxed mind.
Learn to do this when in meetings, listening to someone speak, driving to work, or when you are thinking or experiencing anything that might cause anxiety. Also try this when you realize you have become overly anxious or worried, to bring yourself back to center.
I think you’ll be happily surprised at how effective this is.
Learn meditation with us at your own pace:
How to Meditate Deeply and Create a Solid Daily Practice