Managing anxiety with meditation.
I often hear people refer to a chosen activity as meditation. “Dancing meditation,” “walking meditation,” “playing-with-the-children meditation,” kayaking meditation,” ad so on.
I agree with the idea that something can absorb your attention so much, that you become engrossed with it, hence leading to a meditative state. I also agree with the idea that a relaxing activity, practiced continually can lead to a meditative state, but the kind of meditation I am referring to today, is the kind where you sit still, watch your breath and observe your thoughts, or even the kind where you observe the sensations on your body in orderly fashion, while being aware of your thoughts.
Since the topic of this discussion includes the words “managing anxiety,” it may seem logical to many, to think of one of the active techniques mentioned as effective tool. Physical and fun activities are definitely great tools for managing anxiety, however, incorporating a mental tool that will slowly slowly completely rid yourself of the habit to create tension in the form of anxiety, may be an even smarter way to go about investing in your long term happiness. If you are at all curious how to come to grips with this tricky habit, please read further.
Now, while focusing on nothing but your breath, you will notice that sometimes, your breathing becomes, fast, shallow, short, or deep. You may notice that every time your breathing fasten, a thought had been present in your mind. It may be a memory, it may be a reminder of something you have to do, it my be a moment of worry of how to accomplish a goal, it may be a projection of a person or event you are scared of. When these thoughts come, it is easy to get drawn into them, and expand on the story they represent. It is also at these moments that we realize that our breathing has changed. In order to entertain the thought that has surfaced the breathing usually deepens and fastens a little to provide more oxygen to the thought producing brain.
What a nice tool of awareness to neutralize our thoughts and allow for the breath to become soft and calm again.
This may seem like a pointless and tedious task until you try it, in practice for yourself, and find the alchemy in the process.
Compare your mind to siting at a customer service desk. Every disturbance which comes, get dealt with a smile before waiting for the next thought to handle. When too many thoughts are there at once, it can take you out of your flow. You may want to go to a back room escaping, distracting yourself, while the thoughts line up and wait their turn. However if you stay and confront each customer, each thought one at a time, others may decide they don’t really need your attention, they may get impatient and simply leave. Once in a while an angry or disruptive customer may show up and it will be your task to have them leave peacefully with your calm smile and assurance. It is after all the client who is disruptive, it has nothing to do with you. Your task is to keep a pleasant atmosphere in the work place, and so it is easy to get rid of the disruptive client and then carry on working as if nothing happened.
So, how does one deal so effectively with a disturbing thought? The key word is acceptance. Acknowledgement, acceptance and confidence are the steps I break the process up into.
Say, for example, you remember this issue you are unsure about, this decision you have to make which answer to you don’t yet know. Your first reaction is to get frightened at being reminded about that again, then because your mind is calm you have the power to accept that this issue is there, yet you are bigger than the issue and you accept that it is there, as it is… in this case, unresolved.
When you breathe in again, it is with enthusiasm that you direct positive energy to the situation. It is ok for it to be there, just as it is. Your whole body relaxes further, and you are also aware of the fact that if you keep on dealing with this situation in such a positive manner, it can only have a positive outcome. You feel more confident and aware of what is on your mind.
It is true, that you may feel as if you are developing a dare-devil attitude towards the unknown. You may even feel irresponsible for not stressing out over things you have no control over anyway.
By doing this practice, you won’t be surprised by some thought you have been trying to push down, hide or not deal with. Chances of being woken up at night because of anxious thoughts become less and less, and as whole you will feel more confident and in control of your life.
After all, who wouldn’t like to have a peaceful life?