Living with anxiety makes the world feel so noisy that you can’t hear yourself. Before finding meditation for anxiety, my mind would be full of a stream of what ifs and my body fuelled by these catastrophising thoughts would shudder and shake. I’d feel sick or I’d be plain angry and irritable. I’d avoid people I knew in the street, I’d turn up late or not at all, I’d suffer rather than complain or make a fuss. I’d spend hours dissecting what I said or didn’t say and have to plan every single word ahead of speaking to anyone. Don’t even get me started on phoning somebody or actually answering my mobile!
And it was all consuming. I had no idea who I really was, what I really thought or liked. Anxiety defined my experience of life and ultimately defined me.
Discovering Meditation for Anxiety
Then one day I discovered meditation for anxiety. Meditation taught me that my thoughts needn’t define me and that 99.9% of the time those thoughts weren’t true. Meditation helped me learn to turn the volume down on my racing mind so that I could start to re-build my sense of who I was.
Mediation, in fact, changed my pre-frontal cortex which improved my sense of self and identity! Science Fact! My body started to relax and the nervous system de-excite so much that anxiety attacks became less and less a part of my life.
The Effects of Meditation
In short…Meditation for anxiety changed my life! I started to dream bigger and aim higher without anxiety getting in the way. I started to think about where I was going in life without my head exploding at the thought of what might potentially go wrong. I started to live!
And people started to notice.
Within a year I had quit my job as a teacher and became self-employed. And 4 years later, meditating most days and seeing my anxiety drop so much and feeling myself turned up so loud I decided that people need to know just how much meditation could help them.
I started teaching small classes, sometimes just one person would show up but slowly once people had realised that meditation didn’t have to involve whale music, chanting, sitting cross legged in silence or any bending of your leg behind your head; it got busier and busier until one class sold out in just a few hours.
Teaching Meditation Techniques
From there I started to train others to teach the meditation techniques that had helped me so much myself and now we have X-HAIL instructors right across the UK. X-HAIL is helping hundreds of people hear themselves above the noise of stress, worry and most often anxiety.
We are challenging the stereotypes that exist around what it means to meditate and how it has to be done. We use movement and stretches to soften the body before we enter meditation to make the practice so much easier as when tension exists in the body it exists in the mind making it very difficult to relax and we also use modern music that you know and love. Think acoustic chart classics or Ibiza sunset chill out tunes. We sprinkle in some aromatherapy blends to soothe an anxious mind and add in down to earth, relatable and realistic teachers who get what it’s like to feel like anxiety is holding them back as so many of them themselves have suffered with it before finding meditation.
My dream for X-HAIL is that there is an instructor in every city in the world so that nobody need loose themselves in a sea of worry anymore and so that everyone has an opportunity to move through whatever is holding them back into a space where they know who they are, what they like, what they believe in and stand for and most importantly what there big dreams are!
So check out our website www.x-hail.org to find a class in the UK and if you live elsewhere in the world for now.
Tips for Using Meditation for Anxiety Relief
Here are my top meditation tips so that you can start seeing just how easy and transformational this practice can be:
- Move or stretch your body before you meditate. If you exercise you’ll know what I mean by that gorgeous jelly leg feeling you get after a work out. Once you’re there that is the ideal time to meditate as all the tension in your body has melted away making it much easier for your mind to slow and relax. If you don’t work out or cant, not to worry, simply try a few gentle seated stretches. There are plenty of videos online you can follow.
- Breathe before you begin. The breath is our gateway to the present moment. This on its on is amazing for anxiety as focusing on your breath for a few moments helps you step away from the what ifs and back into the right now. Breathing in deep through the nose, using the tummy and out slowly through the mouth also helps ready the body for easy meditation by switching on the body’s relaxation response.
- Don’t try to stop thought. Thoughts are as involuntary as the beating of your heart so trying to stop them is futile and un-necessary. Meditation is not about the elimination of thought it’s about allowing ourselves time and space to be alongside our thoughts non-reactively rather than having to do anything with them. However you meditate, no matter if you use a mantra, a guided script or audio etc… you are going to think and your mind will wander away a lot. All you have to do to be alongside your thoughts non-reactively is as soon as you notice your mind has wandered, take your attention back to what you are doing. No judgement, criticism or doubt required. You got this!
At X-HAIL classes we make meditation super easy and with our tried and tested, yet really unique meditation technique you will never need to rely on your phone, an internet connection or an app again. That way this anxiety busing tool can go with you ready for use no matter where you are. You’re ready for anything.
Let me know how you get on,. If you aren’t in the UK area, you can still harness the benefits of using meditation for anxiety. Power of Calm is an digital system and app that teaches you how to meditation and induce immediate calmness whenever you need.
This article was originally published on Anxiety Gone.
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