While traditions of meditation may vary, all meditation relieves anxiety because it creates a sense of calm and peace. This is achieved by training the mind to slow down and become still. Meditation techniques can soothe the mind, preoccupying it with something non-disturbing on which to focus. Once mental peace and silence is achieved, meditators commonly report spiritual insights and other forms of realization.
Here is how some of the most popular forms of meditation work for anxiety:
Focused, silent meditation
The meditator’s attention is turned to a single point of focus. The eyes are kept closed and the awareness centered between the eyes, above the brow, in an area often referred to as the “Third Eye.” Every time thoughts come through, the meditator uses self-discipline to return to the point of focus.
A mantra is a sound phrase that is repeated, like a chant, so that the sound is felt and heard within one’s silent concentration. The sound itself is transformative, drowning out all the inner chatter. When the mind is occupied with only the mantra, even that can be let go and mental peace enjoyed. Mantra meditation can be practiced anytime and anywhere.
For the visually oriented, gazing is a healing meditation practice that steadies the mind and calms the thoughts, similar to the way a mantra works. You may gaze on a flower or a crystal or a photo of an inspirational person or place. Mandalas are a common tool for visual meditation in several Eastern traditions. Again, each time the mind wanders, the meditator trains themselves to bring it back to only the visual image, thus creating focus and mental peace.
For those who struggle with the discipline of training the mind and need more to occupy their attention than a sound or an image, guided meditation may be an answer. Guided meditation is a narrative that makes it easy to focus the mind and feel a sense of deep calm. The guide may be heard speaking in a gentle voice, taking you through a story, breathwork, or visualization that creates focus and takes you deeper into yourself and into peace. Some guided meditations, such as those offered in the TempleWithoutBoundaries.com also provide skills and tools for self-transformation.
Meditation relieves anxiety because it lets you take a break from your normal mental patterns. This achieves a sense of peace that will last after the meditation is complete–even during normal daily activities, a state of peace persists. How long the benefits of meditation last depends on how frequently and regularly the meditation is practiced. Repeated practice reinforces the mental training and new mental patterns, so the mind becomes easier to manage and less prone to anxiety.