Understanding anxiety and depression is the first step in managing it. If we can begin to recognise the triggering situations, we can then start to recognise its onset and find ways to help alleviate its symptoms. This is where meditation comes in.
Through meditation we familiarize ourselves with anxiety-inducing thoughts. Meditation is a way of learning to see those thoughts, recognise them and then let them go.
Here is a quick and easy way to get started:
1. Get comfortable
It’s often helpful to sit down but if you feel better standing up or lying down, that works, too.
The key is to feel comfortable and relaxed. Closing your eyes can also help.
2. Begin with your breath
Take slow, deep breaths through your nose. For several seconds, just focus on breathing.
Pay attention to:
- how it feels to inhale
- how it feels to exhale
- the sounds of your breath
Your thoughts might wander away from your breath, Try to keep redirecting your focus to breathing whenever you catch yourself thinking about something else.
3. Move from breath to body
Begin shifting your attention from your breath to the various parts of your body.
You can start with your feet, or if you prefer, you can start with your hands or head.
Focus your awareness on your body, moving from one part to the next. As you continue to breathe slowly and deeply, note how each body part feels.
Do any areas hurt? Or feel tense?
If you notice a troublesome sensation, like tension or aches, you can add a visualization exercise.
Imagine yourself sending relaxing breaths to that part of the body. Picture that tight muscle loosening and pain easing. Getting more comfortable with your bodily experiences and sensations can help you become more tuned in to changes as they come up.
When you’ve finished scanning your body, return your focus to your breath for as long as you need.
Depression & anxiety can be serious. While meditation does show promise as a helpful approach for depression, it’s often not enough on its own. If you have symptoms of depression, consider seeking support from a therapist before trying alternative approaches.