When you’re anxious, you’re not able to control your emotions, your thoughts spin all over the place and you might not be the best company for yourself or for your environment.
Understanding what causes your anxiety can be the first step in managing it. And this is exactly where meditation steps in.
Through meditation, we get a clear view on what goes on in our minds. We observe our thoughts, our fears and beliefs. All from a safe distance, not zooming into any of the mind chatter. We just sit with it all and we learn how to let go.
You can forget instant bliss or mind-blowing 🙂 insight on your first meditation sessions; these things take a while, as we first need to learn how to relax and to concentrate.
Relaxing when you’re feeling anxious seems like a really good plan in theory but hard to do in the spur of the moment. And that’s why we need to practice.
We need to practice the art of relaxation, in order for us to be able to concentrate. Once we know how to concentrate, we can start utilising these techniques in our daily lives.
Meditation is about creating an undercurrent of peace of mind and awareness. The idea is that we can use this little bit of peace of mind when we need it, when our minds go wild and we get caught in our own storylines and disaster scenarios.
Meditation is not a quick-fix solution, it takes time and effort but there is no doubt that it works.
Small steps can make a massive difference, one day at a time, just continue the practice and enjoy the unfolding.
Feeling a bit of anxiety right now?
If yes, do the following:
- Focus on the rising and falling of your breath.
- Just follow the breath.
- After a couple of rounds of mindful breathing, bring to mind something that you’re grateful for.
Nothing too heavy!
- The first thing that pops up in your mind is the right thing.
If nothing pops up because life just feels “urgh…” right now?
In this case, make it very simple.
If it doesn’t rain when you don’t like the rain, be thankful that is doesn’t rain.
When there is enough money to feed yourself today, be thankful for that.
When we appreciate what is good in our lives, truly appreciate; it is a lot more difficult to feel frustrated.
It is so easy to get side tracked with what is missing or what is not ‘right’ in your life and that is why focusing on the present moment is such a powerful practice.
The interesting thing is that most people already know about what I just wrote above. We know that meditation works, we know that gratitude works. There is more literature than ever about the topic of meditation and the internet is fool of tools.
The problem is that reading about meditation can be fun but it will not get you any real benefits. Reading alone is simply not enough; you will have to do the work.
At the same time, I do realize that this all sounds “really nice”. But, that there might be that little tiny voice in the back of your mind telling you that you don’t have time for this breathing stuff and being mindful.
If that’s the case, you will have to dig a little bit deeper and check in with your motivation to become the best possible version of yourself. For the benefit of yourself, and others.
Yoga and meditation retreats are the perfect environment to get started with a gratefulness and meditation practice. In a perfectly safe environment, away from daily responsibilities, you can begin with new habits and find out how to tweak them into lasting habits at home. You can also zoom in on the limiting factors that keep you from ‘doing it’.
Rachel Bonkink is a yoga and meditation teacher. She is the founder of Revealing Vajra, amazing yoga retreats, and hosts about 12-15 retreats per year in Morocco, Scotland, Mallorca and Portugal.