Anxiety can affect every aspect of your life.
Your well-being. Everything.
Your racing mind can be downright crippling, making everything seem impossible.
Second, know that there’s nothing wrong with you experiencing anxiety.
Truth be told, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t experience anxiety from time to time.
You don’t need “fixed.” You simply need tools to help you cope with and combat it.
Meditation to calm the mind can help with that.
(Sidebar: You might also like to read about 9 Practices To Stop Resisting And Find Inner Peace)
- Does Meditation Calm Anxiety?
- How Do You Meditate for Calmness?
- Meditation for Calm: A Script for a 10-Minute Calming Meditation
- The Benefits of Calming Meditation
Does Meditation Calm Anxiety?
Habitual meditation has many neurological benefits. It helps you focus your mind and gain control over your thoughts.
But can meditation really calm anxiety?
The short answer is YES.
A ton of research suggests that adding regular meditation to your self-care routine can help quiet your busy brain.
For example, it:
- Rivals antidepressants. It’s not a quick fix by any means, but the effects of regular meditation are similar to that of depression and anxiety medications.
- Changes the brain’s structure. Regular meditation can reduce brain cell volume in the amygdala, the part responsible for fear, anxiety, and stress.
- Improves attention and concentration. The brain’s default mode is wandering thoughts. Meditation helps you train your brain to stay in the present rather than worry about the past or future.
- Reduces stress. Meditation reduces cortisol, a stress hormone. Less stress translates to less anxiety.
- Garners a more positive perspective. When you’re able to quiet your mind and stay in the moment, you notice more positive aspects of life rather than focusing on the negative.
How Do You Meditate for Calmness?
Many people believe meditation is complicated and takes a lot of time. In reality, it’s quite simple. It can be done anywhere and for as little or as long as time allows.
There isn’t one way to practice meditation. The key is to do it consistently.
Here are the steps involved in meditation to quiet the mind.
1. Choose a quiet, inviting environment.
Find a place where you won’t be interrupted. It can be indoors or outside, whichever you prefer.
Prepare your surroundings to be inviting and free of distraction.
Put your phone on silent and turn off other electronics. Adjust the lighting, possibly light some candles.
If you like, play relaxing music or the sounds of nature. If others are nearby, politely let them know you need a few minutes to yourself and ask that they not disturb you.
2. Get comfortable.
Your position isn’t as important as being comfortable.
Be sure to wear unrestrictive clothing that won’t irritate your skin or otherwise draw your attention away from your meditation.
You can meditate by sitting on a chair or cushion or on the floor, lying down, or even standing up.
Again, it’s whatever you prefer.
3. Align your posture.
While the position you do it in is up to you, your posture during meditation is important.
If you’re sitting, keep your back straight. You can either sit cross-legged or with your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands on your knees, with your palms facing up or down.
If you prefer to lie down, keep your back straight and bend your knees with your feet planted firmly on the ground. Rest one palm on your belly and the other on your chest.
For a standing meditation, stand tall with your back straight, your feet shoulder-width apart, and your heels turned slightly inward. Place your hands on your belly.
4. Close your eyes and relax.
Next, gently close your eyes if you feel comfortable. (You can keep them open if you prefer.) You may notice twitching or trying to open. This is completely normal. Try to tense the muscles around your eyes and then intentionally relax them. Don’t try to force it.
Now relax your body. Remain still and allow yourself to become loose, and release any tension. Notice any bodily sensations you are experiencing.
5. Focus on your breath.
Much of meditation focuses on your breathing.
Take a few deep breaths. Notice how the air feels cool on your nostrils as you breathe in and slightly warmer when you breathe out.
Notice your chest and belly expand and contract with each breath. With each out-breath, allow your body to progressively relax.
Now allow your breath to flow naturally, paying attention to how it feels entering and exiting your body.
6. Calm your mind.
While meditation is about calming the mind, your thoughts will inevitably wander.
Don’t try to stop it or judge it or obsess over it. Simply notice what’s going on in your mind. Acknowledge your thoughts without engaging them and return your attention back to the breath.
It’s common for this to happen several times per session, especially if you’re new to meditation.
Notice any bodily sensations and allow them to just be.
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7. Gently bring yourself back.
As your meditation session comes to an end, lightly roll your shoulders. Wiggle your fingers and your toes. Slowly open your eyes back to the world around you. Notice what you see and hear.
Notice how your body feels and any thoughts or emotions you are experiencing.
Meditation for Calm: A Script for a 10-Minute Calming Meditation
This calm the mind meditation script will help you relax your mind and body to alleviate stress and anxiety.
- Start by getting into a comfortable position. Keep your back tall and straight, and allow your hands and arms to relax. When you’re ready, gently close your eyes.
- Bring your full attention to the moment, settling in and allowing your mind and body to be still.
- With patience and openness, bring your awareness to your breath. Take three deep breaths in and release fully. Follow the breath as it flows in and out of your body. On the final breath, allow it to settle as you begin to breathe regularly. Don’t try to force or regulate it but allow the breath to flow naturally on its own for a few moments.
- Now scan down your body, concentrating your attention from part to part and noticing what is happening. If any parts feel tense, allow them to relax.
- Start at the top of your scalp and then lower your attention to your face, relaxing the muscles in your forehead, cheeks, and jaw. Move your attention to your neck and notice what’s going on in your throat and the sides and back of your neck.
- Move your attention to your shoulders, extending your awareness down your arms toward your elbows and wrists, down to the tips of your fingers. Allow them to soften.
- Come to your chest, observe the rise and fall, and notice how your lungs expand and contract.
- Direct your attention to your upper and lower back. Observe any sensations and allow them to soften. Move your attention around to your abdomen, feeling it fill with air as you inhale and then slowly empty on your exhale.
- Now bring your attention to your pelvis, noticing where your body makes contact with the surface on which you are seated.
- Scan your legs. Observe your thighs, and then lower your attention to your knees, shins, and calves. Let your legs soften and relax.
- Now breathe into your ankles, feet, and toes, allowing yourself to sink into a state of relaxed awareness.
- As the session ends, notice how you feel, likely relaxed and at ease.
- Finally, bring your attention back to the room, wiggle your fingers and toes, and slowly open your eyes.
The Benefits of Calming Meditation
Meditation can go a long way in calming your anxiety. But, if that’s not enough to get you practicing, the benefits go way beyond that.
Calming meditation can also help with:
- Happiness. When you reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression and replace them with more positive emotions, you enjoy a happier existence.
- Relationships. Meditation can improve your emotional intelligence and make you feel more connected to yourself. This, in turn, can help you feel more empathetic and connected with others.
- Pain. The release of inflammatory chemicals known as cytokines is reduced, allowing you to better cope with chronic pain and even reducing the perception of pain in your brain.
- Sleep. Meditation relaxes the body and mind to help you control the racing thoughts that interfere with sleep. It can help you fall asleep faster and improve your quality of sleep.
- Addiction. Want to quit or cut back on smoking, drinking alcohol, emotional or binge-eating, or curb other unwanted habits? Meditation increases self-control and self-awareness. It allows you to redirect your attention and manage impulses.
- Decision-making. A clear mind allows you to more deeply think through situations and make better decisions.
To reap the benefits of meditation, remember that it’s not a one-and-done kind of thing. It takes practice. Show yourself grace and compassion, and be patient with the process.
With regular meditation, you will most definitely experience a notable difference in your anxiety and your life.