When the body is experiencing too much stress, it sends signals to the brain which prompts anxiety. Anyone anywhere in the world can face anxiety, even the best of us. But when a person is continuously under stressful circumstances, the body shifts into alert mode. It becomes a consistent background noise that won’t go away on its own unless an individual seeks help. Anxiety mindfulness and meditation is a burgeoning field that can assist individuals in navigating the myriad ways anxiety can disrupt life. This guide is not intended to be a diagnostic tool or a treatment plan but rather a compilation of research and the best practices that anyone can opt for.
Anxiety and Mindfulness Meditation
The ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we are doing, and not unduly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us is known as mindfulness. According to a leading scholar Jon Kabat-Zinn, “Mindfulness is an awareness that occurs via paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally”.
When we become aware of the present moment, we get access to resources we may not have recognized but were always available to us – a sense of quiet at our core. Also, an ever-present awareness of what we need and do not require in our life. Although an individual may not be able to change their circumstances, mindfulness allows us to modify how we respond to them.
Scientific Studies on Anxiety and Meditation
The gold-standard for research-backed mindfulness is Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), created by Kabat-Zinn. MBSR is an 8-week program that includes supported teachings, mindfulness techniques, and movement practices to help people deal with stressors of everyday life. It is a type of anxiety meditation that was developed over 40 years ago. Meditation techniques enable individuals to bring compassionate awareness and acknowledgment to any stressful or anxious feelings in the body and mind and allow them to be. Even in those with a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder with agoraphobia can be significantly reduced through mindfulness meditation, according to the American Journal of Psychiatry.
Another study stated that anxiety an individual can reduce anxiety by putting some distance between them and what they are going through. However, if they become too accustomed to hearing that low rumble of stress all of the time, it can become a habit that is harmful to their well-being. As a result, we cause greater misery in our lives when we get caught up in reactive patterns. This is why it is critical to distinguish between reacting inadvertently and behaving mindfully.
Types of Anxiety Meditation
Mindfulness teaches an individual to be mindful of unpleasant emotions without analyzing, suppressing, or encouraging those feelings. Allowing the person to feel and accept their anxieties, irritations, unpleasant memories, and other troubling thoughts and feelings that can frequently help them fade away.
1. Scan of the body
With this meditative practice, the goal is to analyze the body and give particular attention to areas of the body that are tense or tense-like. Participants can choose whether to start from the top of their heads or from the bottom of their feet. The body scanning approach can be practiced using visualization as well as with real-world scenarios. In this method, the listener follows the instructions of a teacher and achieves a state of complete relaxation. The mental health benefits of body scanning include increased awareness of one’s own body and stress, which allows for better relaxation, as well as a reduction in cravings and a considerable increase in self-compassion.
The goal of this meditative exercise is to cultivate compassion and kindness for everyone, regardless of their background or circumstances. While taking deep breaths, the participants contemplate giving love and kindness to everyone around them. The exercise is repeated until the person has fully internalized the purpose of the activity purpose. This exercise can be quite beneficial for people who are dealing with feelings of rage, irritation, or relationship troubles. It has also been demonstrated to alleviate sadness, anxiety, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms, among other things (PTSD).
Is Mindfulness Really Effective For Reducing Anxiety?
According to a study conducted by the University of Waterloo, just 10 minutes of mindfulness can aid with ruminative thought patterns. In the study, 982 anxious individuals were given a computer assignment to solve, but they were constantly interrupted. They were then divided into two groups, one of which listened to a 10 minute guided meditation and the other to a 10 minute audiobook. While the disturbances continued, participants were sent back to their computers. The meditators were more successful in staying concentrated, hence they did better on the task. Mindfulness meditation encourages participants to shift their focus away from their internal thoughts and onto their surroundings. It allowed them to concentrate on what was going on at the time, rather than getting caught up in their fears.
Mindfulness allows individuals to address the root reasons of their stress and concern in a safe way. It also enables them to create space around their anxieties so that they pass away. Freedom and a sense of spaciousness automatically come as they begin to comprehend the fundamental causes of their concern.
The above-mentioned studies add to the growing body of evidence that mindfulness can be a valuable ally for patients suffering from anxiety and depression and who struggle with ruminating thoughts and internal focus. Meditators say that although scientific research backs the theory, it is widely unclear why it works which is why they can improve its effectiveness if they know-how.
Consequently, types of anxiety meditation can be found on multiple online platforms which are offering meditation or yoga courses to relieve anxiety. Each intervention affects people’s scope of attention, cognition, and problem-solving in a hypothetical stressful environment. It, therefore, broadens people’s horizons to effectively deal with anxiety.