How Daily Meditation Can Help Calm Anxiety

Restlessness, sleep issues, and feelings of dread are ways that anxiety can impact one’s quality of life. Consequently, people often turn to psychiatric medications to reduce stress and other anxiety-related symptoms. But finding a treatment that works is something very personal. Many people are looking for other ways to cope with anxiety symptoms – particularly, meditation. This Pacific Prime article looks at how daily meditation can help calm anxiety and offers tips for those who can’t meditate or are looking to start.

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Anxiety meditation: What does it do?

Meditation is a popular method of reducing anxiety, but the latest research shows that mindfulness practice can also be used to manage it. In the first study of its kind, scientists compared patients who took escitalopram, a well-known anxiety drug, to patients who underwent an intensive eight-week mindfulness meditation program. Both interventions were deemed equally as effective at lowering debilitating anxiety symptoms, with both displaying a 20% decline in symptom severity.

Aside from offering more insight into the meditation vs. medication debate, the study’s results also encourage an entirely new type of treatment in the future. Study author Elizabeth Hoge hopes insights such as these will eventually lead to insurers covering mindfulness-based anxiety interventions, for example. While meditation is not meant to replace medication, those struggling with anxiety can benefit from both interventions.

Anxiety, depression, and general mindfulness

The mindfulness therapy for anxiety taught in the above study is Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). Developed over 40 years ago by Jon Kabat-Zinn, MBSR is based on Buddhist vipassana meditation principles. Through MBSR, students learn how to focus on their breathing and direct attention to specific body parts to notice how it feels and to pay attention to what is happening in the present moment.

Through this practice, you learn how to observe your negative thoughts without judgment (or less of it). This is especially beneficial for people with anxiety as they can learn to witness thoughts as they come up, without giving them any meaning or having to act on them. MBSR is a widely used form of stress reduction among healthcare professionals and has also been studied as an intervention for depression, pain, and other conditions.

Mindfulness meditation for beginners

Many people believe that they can’t meditate, especially if they give up after the first few times. The reality is that the thoughts that you observe as you’re “attempting to meditate” are part of meditation itself, so you may already be further along than you think. Remember that meditation is all about awareness, not perfection. Here are some tips on how to start meditating daily to help you incorporate mindfulness into your days.

Use a meditation app

The aforementioned study will hopefully help make MBSR more widely available. However, it’s likely that an app will have to be used instead of in-person training to reach more people. While mindfulness apps won’t necessarily provide all the same benefits as attending in-person training, they can still be instrumental in teaching concrete mindfulness skills.

These days, there are many apps that can help you begin a meditation practice. Calm and Headspace are examples of meditation apps that offer free trials to get you started. Take the time to find an app that works for you, as they each have different features and options. For example, you may find short or specific meditations through certain apps that make it easier to return to them time and time again.

Create a morning meditation ritual

Grounding yourself first thing in the morning is a great way to set the tone for the day and add meditation to your daily routine. Plus, studies show that regular morning practice can reduce stress hormones in the long run. Create a morning meditation routine that makes you excited. You might want to journal or have a cup of tea before enjoying a short guided meditation. By adding meditation to your other morning rituals, you’re more likely to stick to the habit (and stay awake!).

Meditate while you brush your teeth

This tip is as simple as it sounds. Pay attention to the sounds the toothbrush makes as you brush your teeth. Feel the way the froth forms and moves around your mouth, as well as what the toothpaste tastes like. As you rinse your mouth, pay attention to the coolness of the tap water. You can even take this practice up a notch by standing on one leg the whole time.

Other beginner meditation tips include trying coherent breathing (where you inhale and exhale for the same count) and noticing all five senses (i.e. what you can see, touch, hear, smell, and taste). Last but not least, you can ground yourself in a mindful moment by focusing on your feet and how they feel at any point throughout the day.

Get in touch with Pacific Prime today!

An excellent way to prioritize your health and well-being is by securing a comprehensive health insurance plan. A robust health insurance plan gives you access to quality healthcare whenever you need it, without having to worry about paying exorbitant medical fees out of pocket. Whether you’re looking for international health insurance, individual health insurance, or other types of health insurance, it pays to work with a reputable insurance broker like Pacific Prime.

With over 20 years of industry experience, we have the knowledge and expertise to help you find the best plan for your needs and budget. Plus, we offer value-added services, such as claims and renewal support, for the same cost as going directly to an insurer.

Contact us for impartial insurance advice and a free quote today!

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​​Jantra Jacobs is a content writer at Pacific Prime. On a typical workday, she writes and edits articles, guides, and anything else word-related. She loves creating content that is both easy to understand and enjoyable to read.In her free time, she’s likely to be writing poetry and prose, geeking out on her latest interests, reading, or practicing yoga.

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