You may have heard that meditation can help lower your stress levels and over time can be very beneficial for your physical and mental health. But you may not realize that there are meditation techniques you can use anytime, anywhere. Meditation doesn’t have to be a particular time in a quiet room, and you can use meditation to take your anxiety levels from 10 to 0 in just a few minutes.
Control your breath
Awareness of the breath is one of the central elements of meditation. By focusing on your breathing, you can calm your thoughts and enter a state of deep relaxation. When you’re in a state of heightened stress or anxiety, your breathing tends to be fast and shallow, which escalates the stress. You can interrupt this by taking a few minutes to practice measured, gentle breath.
- Sit or stand comfortably
- With one hand on your belly and one on your heart, slowly and gently breathe in through your nose to the count of four
- Hold for a second or two
- Gently and slowly breathe out through your mouth to the count of six.
- Repeat this exercise two or three times until you are feeling calmer.
A mantra can be a powerful way to disrupt your tumble of negative thoughts. It takes your mental focus off the issue that’s causing your anxiety and reframes it, allowing you to take back your power.
A mantra doesn’t have to be Om! You can choose your power or safety word like “calm,” or a positive affirmation like “Things are always working out for me.” to help you get through or prepare for a fearful situation.
Much of social anxiety’s power comes from focusing your mind entirely on the possible negatives of the situation. It holds up past failures and imagines future ones. Learning the meditation technique of detachment can help you to step out of the anxiety spiral and to detach yourself from expectations.
By learning to stay in the moment, you can focus on what happens right here, right now.
A quick way to ground yourself in the present moment is to check through your senses. Slowly observe what is happening. What can you see, smell, hear, feel, taste? Consciously and deliberately refocus your perception and move through the information you’re receiving from the world. Your senses can help to anchor you to the here and now and to detach from the chatter in your head.