Anxious? Wanting a bit more peace and quiet? Wish you could calm down your thinking? Meditation, in my personal experience, can be an excellent technique for managing anxiety.
What is meditation? The basic idea is to practise focusing on a single object and to keep returning to it whenever you are distracted from it. It is that simple.
When you are focusing on the object there is no room for the anxiety. Despite what you may think two different ideas cannot be in the mind at the exact same time. However, if you get distracted by your anxiety from the object you are focusing on, you simply learn to go back to the object.
You keep gently and kindly returning to the point of your focus. And you keep doing this over and over and over again.
I think of it as being a bit like taming a wild horse.
You have the horse on a long rope but it keeps jumping all over the place and pulling on the rope, trying to break away. Each time it does you gently coax it back. It returns after some effort and a lot of coaxing.
However, the more times this happens, the more it learns not to run away. Over time the horse pulls away less and less. When it does pull away it learns to come back to you more readily. In the end it may just stand still.
The mind is the same. When you first start meditating it gets distracted. Every time it runs off you just gently coax it back to the object you are focusing on. The more you do this, over time it will come back more easily and quickly. After a while it learns to stay for longer and longer on the point of focus.
I remember one of the women in the meditation class I was running once. She was sure she could not meditate. I encouraged her to come to the class for at least 4 weeks before deciding whether it would help or not.
I didn’t want her to be one of those people who say, "Oh I tried meditation once, it isn't for me, I couldn't do it." They miss out. They simply haven’t tried it for long enough nor understood the process.
In the first week she was very restless and she described her mind as a bucking bronco, jumping all over the place. The second week she was the same; a wild untamed horse was inside her head. The third week seemed similar.
In the fourth week, she said, “Do you know I still have a horse in my head but it isn’t a bucking bronco any more. It’s got calmer. It’s kind of just walking around now instead of jumping. Well I never!” success!
It was the repetition that did it. She just kept coaxing the horse back to the focus each time it ran away, until it learnt not to run away so hard or fast.
I remember the first time I tried to meditate. I'd gone along to a meditation group who were giving free lessons. At my first class I ended up getting mad in my head with the teacher and at the stupid ticking clock they had in the room. At the end I was more stressed than when I arrived.
But, for some reason I went back for a second go. It was just as bad, my mind was still restless, my back hurt, and I kept getting frustrated with the man next to me for breathing so loudly. I simply couldn't stay focused. Was I more relaxed? No way - I was just more aware of how busy my head was. I left not wanting to come back.
However, I decided to go again. What a fool. Guess what? My mind was still racing. I was still fidgeting on the chair. And I still hated it.
But something funny happened. When the teacher said at the end, "Just notice if anything has changed since you started", I noticed that my mind was not racing as quickly and I was a bit more peaceful. How odd, I thought, maybe there is something in this after all!
After that I began to mediate more often. And over time it became easier for me. The rewards it has brought me have been significant and wonderful. I even cured my panic attacks by meditating.
Have you tried meditating yet? Have you stuck with it? It could be the anxiety management technique you need.
Written by Rachel Green. Professional Speaker | Trainer | Coach | Author.
Rachel has overcome her own panic attacks and spent several years successfully learning how to manage anxiety. She has found meditation very helpful.
The meditations that Rachel used to help ease her anxiety are all featured on her CD set "Happy not hassled." Let her teach you how to meditate and guide you to greater peace and calm. Click here to buy your copy.
She can also speak at your conference or event on: Managing anxiety: don't panic yet!
This is an inspiring speech, hilarious, practical and relevant.
Copyright Confident Woman Australia, 2010.
NB: Any information contained on this site is not provided as an alternative to the obtaining of professional psychological advice from an appropriately qualified practitioner.