Does Meditation Help Anxiety and Panic Attacks?
Meditation for Anxiety and Panic Attacks
Anxiety and panic attacks try to take control of your mind. Stress tries to take over your body and life.
The practice of meditation on a regular basis teaches you how to stay in control and get relief from the symptoms of anxiety, panic attacks, and stress.
The first step in most meditative exercises is to focus on your breath as it moves in and out of your body, so let’s start with the basics:
● Find yourself a comfortable place to sit, and try to relax for a minute or so before beginning this exercise. ( you can sit on the floor cross legged, or do just as well in a comfortable chair with both feet on the floor)
● Now take a long slow inhalation — as you expand your stomach out as far as possible. (Practice inhaling through your nose and exhaling through pursed lips)
● Hold that breath in your lungs for just a few seconds (as long as you can comfortably hold it in — like 5 seconds to start with) As you train your lungs over time, you will start extending all the breaths, but not at first.
● After inhaling through your nose and holding a breath in your lungs for several seconds — exhale through your lips very slowly — maybe 5 – 10 seconds.
● ● Start the process over by inhaling into the pit of your stomach again, and continue for 15 – 60 minutes.
- Inhale slowly through your nostrils
- Hold the air in your lungs for a few seconds ( you do not want to hold it until it is uncomfortable)
- Exhale slowly through your lips (try pushing your stomach up into your ribcage as you exhale to move all the stale air and toxins out of your lungs)
That’s a deep breathing exercise you can use by itself to release stress, anxiety and get yourself “centered”. But, don’t stop there, read on for a potent meditation anyone can easily carry out.
Now we are going to get our heart beat involved to make this an even more powerful meditation technique.
I can’t tell you at exactly what point to start thinking about your heart beat as you are breathing.
However, what I do is to first take a few minutes to focus my attention on my breath and relax with the steps above.
As you begin to relax and feel at ease with your breath follow these steps for a deeper meditation:
● After a few breaths or a few minutes, you want to change your focus from your breath to your heart beat.
● So now as you continue to breathe exactly like the steps above, start trying to locate your heartbeat in your body.
● Chances are good that if you are breathing you have a heartbeat, but we are not accustomed to feeling it in our body. However, as you are sitting quietly and mentally thinking about where it could be — it will show up.
● As you are holding your inhaled breath, focus on your chest and try to feel and hear your heartbeat. You will probably sense it at the end of the time you are holding your breath. As you exhale, you will probably lose touch with it, but it will come right back.
● You could feel the pulse in your neck, face, or somewhere besides your chest. That’s a good start, but once you are aware of it you want to keep focusing and trying to feel it — in your chest.
Don’t worry about it if you don’t become aware of it at first. Just continue on with the steps above, and at some point you will become aware of and feel your own heart beating.
The more times you practice, the easier it becomes to locate. Your heartbeat will become stronger and easy for you to feel with each practice.
Only hold your breath when your lungs are full, and never when they are empty.
If you are having difficulty locating your heart beat hold one wrist with the other hand, pressing your thumb against the artery in the bottom of your wrist.
This will help you identify your pulse, so you can feel for it somewhere else. When you feel it in your wrist, let go and resume your meditation.
The object of the meditation is to feel your heartbeat in your chest. With only a little practice, you will feel it during inhalation and exhalation. The more practice you get, the easier it becomes.
Meditating on your heart beat is a very powerful meditation technique for deep and long lasting relaxation.
Here’s just a few benefits of meditating a few minutes a day:
- Increase Brain gray matter
- Cultivates will power
- Builds focus and concentration
- Increases cognitive function
- Decreases emotional reactivity
- Builds self esteem
- Increases compassion
- Reduces depression
- Eases stress and anxiety
- Helps with sleep
- Decreases pain
- Boost Immune system
- Lowers blood pressure
You will find yourself calmer with a much more overall relaxed attitude about life in general. This peace and calm comes from a very deep place within you, and is a distinct advantage to overcoming anxiety and panic attacks.