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MEDITATE YOUR ANXIETY AWAY
The modern world will live in can be very stressful. So it may come as no surprise that anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problem in the U.S. But even anxiety not related to a full-blown disorder can be an insidious source of unhappiness. Some days a peaceful mind seems unobtainable.
Although it seems to be more acute in recent years, people have been dealing with stress and anxiety since the very beginning. For thousands of years, and all across the globe, we always seem to come back to one solution: meditation. Even scientific research continues to validate the beneficial effects of meditation. And with the infinite resource of the internet, meditation is now available to just about everybody. It’s free, readily-accessible and comes in a number of different varieties. Whatever your needs, there is almost certainly a form of meditation that will suit you.
Meditation comes in many varieties, but almost all of them start the same way. First, you remove any distractions. Try to create an environment of absolute peace and quiet. Assume a comfortable position (or whatever position is called for). Now, begin to clear your mind. Just relax. Aim to attain a peaceful calmness.
Many people find this to be the hardest part of meditation. Our brains are so accustomed to non-stop information that it can be very hard to picture anything else. When thoughts come to you, observe them without attachment and let them float away. Return always to the present moment. With practice you’ll find you can achieve this faster and focus for longer periods. Once you’ve learned to quiet your thoughts, you can move on to more advanced techniques.
This form of meditation is very popular, and it’s also relatively simple. The goal is to listen to your thoughts individually as they come through. First, clear your mind. Once you’ve attained a calm inner quiet, allow your thoughts to wander through slowly. Don’t force it, just let them come one at a time. Listen as they come without allowing any emotional response. Remain calm and peaceful while simply observing your thoughts. Do this for as long as you want. After a while of doing this you’ll begin to learn how you think. This can be really useful in “responding” to your anxiety.
Transcendental Meditation is great for beginner and experts alike. It’s also really easy. The first thing you need is a mantra. There are many official mantras available online, though I find a word or sound that resonates with you personally works just as well. If you’re really serious you can find a service that will set you up with a mantra customized to your needs.
Now that you have your mantra, you can get started. Begin by clearing your mind. Once you’ve reached a state of internal calm and quiet, turn your attention to your mantra. Repeat it silently to yourself. Continue to calmly and slowly repeat the mantra, allowing any other thoughts to come and go. Relax your mind as you repeat the mantra. Try to do this as long as you can. The recommended target is twenty minutes of meditation, twice a day. Afterwards you should feel calm and centered, almost like coming out of a vivid dream.
This technique isn’t the most relaxing per se, but it’s one of the most fun. Essentially it’s structured daydreaming. The idea is to picture a scene as vividly as you can and focus all your attention on it. Begin by clearing your mind. Now, think of a peaceful scenery to visualize. It could be anything you want: perhaps a verdant field of grass in the mountains. Now imagine every detail with as much clarity as you can. Imagine the feel of the breeze, the sounds and smells. Allow any thoughts to come and go. Keep your mind calm and the image of your visualization as your focus.
Continue building this visualization until you can recall it perfectly every time. You’ll find that with practice it takes less and less time to build the scene. At this point you can begin to add new things or make changes based on your mood. You could add buildings, or weather effects. Some advanced visualizers even add characters to their scene. It’s all up to you!
Obviously this is a beginner’s guide, as it can take a lifetime to truly master the art of meditation. These basic exercises are intended to get you started down your path to inner peace. There’s a whole world of information out there about this ancient art form, and the benefits are noticeable right away. If you’re feeling stressed, or just searching for a new outlook on life, meditation has a lot to offer!
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