Meditation objects can vary and there is no one 'right' object that helps everyone to reduce anxiety. It is important to find the object that best suits you.
A Soothing Mantra
One particular focus that I have used, and many of my friends and clients have benefitted from using, is saying a soothing phrase or word over and over again, silently inside my head. This is sometimes called a mantra. However, you do not need to know the technical word to gain greater calm from it. The main idea is to focus on a word or phrase that conjures up soothing relaxation or peace. What these words are can be your choice. All that matters is that the phrase you use resonates inside you to evoke an atmosphere of peace and quiet.
Some of the phrases I have repeated to myself and found calming have been:
- Peacefully breathing in, peacefully breathing out.
- Peace and calm.
- Be here now.
- This too will pass
A Simple Howto
How can you use such phrases? By saying one word on the breath in and one word on the breath out. Then repeating this over and over and over again. It would go something like this. As you breathe in you say the word “peace”. As you breathe out you say the word “calm”. As you breathe in again you say the word “peace”. As you breathe out again you say the word “calm”. As you breathe in again you say the word “peace”. As you breathe out again you say the word “calm”.
If you ever drift away or become distracted by anxiety, worries, nerves or regrets, gently return to saying “peace, calm”. Thus it continues, for 5 minutes, 15 minutes or 30 minutes. Over time the more you practise the more the anxiety may lessen.
Even when you are feeling anxious you maybe able to do this. What I have found is that even if I’m feeling anxious and I start using the peace and calm mantra, the anxiety may be there, but my anxiety or fear about the anxiety lessens. I am no longer so troubled by the anxiety itself. It is just there, but I am more at peace with it. Then there is nothing feeding it.
Sustained Practice is Key
One of the women in our meditation group really likes this particular meditation. She has many stories to tell about how useful it has been to her. She uses it particularly to help settle her nerves and anxiety when she goes to bed. In the past, she has had considerable problems sleeping. Now, by repeating “peace and calm” over and over again she gets off to sleep far more easily. She has also reported, that she is far less likely to wake with anxiety in the middle of the night. If she wakes, guess what she now does? Yes! By repeating “peace and calm” over and over again she gets back to sleep.
Ask yourself what words or phrases can you say to yourself, inside your head, to help you to overcome anxiety? And are you willing to practise? It is the practice of meditation that can help anxiety to reduce. Sustained meditation practice is one of the best long-term anxiety management techniques I know.
Listen to my talk 2008 on the Anxiety:
NB: For some people meditation can be all that is needed in overcoming anxiety, while for others it is best used as an adjunct to other therapies. I am not suggesting that meditation replaces professional help, it doesn't, but for many people it can be used in conjunction with it. If you are receiving medical intervention you might like to talk it through with your Doctor.
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