Pretty much anywhere you look today, people are going to suggest meditation as an anxiety reduction tool. This is truly an amazing tool. It's free, it's mobile and and the premise is simple. There's only one problem...
Meditation is freaking hard! Simple, but hard.
It's one thing for 'zen masters' to be all like, "Meditate and free your mind." Ommmm. But for the average person this is seriously a challenging task. Not to mention, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions out there misleading people into believing that mediation is something a lot more difficult than it actually is.
One way to rethink meditation is to think of it as zoning out. Have you ever done that? Just been sitting there and you zoned out or went into a day dream? Well, guess what? You just went into a meditative state!
One major myth is that you need to have your eyes closed to meditate. Not true. Personally, I find it easier to meditate with my eyes open. Instead of feeling like you're sitting and doing nothing, try sitting and making yourself 'zone out' with your eyes open. Just shift your perspective. Here's a few more myths...
If you’ve ever tried this, you know this is literally impossible. The idea is not to empty your mind, but to slow it down so you can regain a bit of perspective.
Most people do not have the time for this. It’s better to meditate for 5 or 10 minutes every day than not at all.
There are actually a lot of different ways to meditate, and focusing on your breath is only one way.
When you're highly sensitive, breathing can be pretty difficult at times. If you're paying attention, you'll probably notice that your breathing stops around your solar plexis, right below your chest. If you're an HSP or empath this is most likely because you are trying to close off your solar plexis chakra. The solar plexis chakra is in charge of your confidence and personal power - it also reflects your relationship to others. If you are highly sensitive to the thoughts and emotions of others this chakra may close down more often as a protective mechanism because it is being overwhelmed by other people's stuff.
Instead of getting caught up in all this breathing stuff, I have found that using your heart-beat can be a much more effective way to meditate. It's just as simple and just as portable as your breath, but I really find it much easier to tap into. This method was inspired by a Sufi master I met, but that's a whole other post...
If you're still having trouble with this, put your hand over your heart or find your pulse somewhere else on your body. If you ever want to 'meditate' just do this.
You know how sometimes people say, "Just listen to your heart"? Well, it's not a metaphor. If you actually stop, locate, and listen to your heart-beat you will calm down and become more centred. And when you are calm and centred you can connect more clearly with your deepest desires and your highest self.
One of points of meditation is to be able to access a calm state when you need it. So, the point of practicing meditation in a controlled and quiet space is so that you know what that state is, so that in a stressful situation you can connect back into that state. What I really like about the heart-beat meditation is that you can really hear your heart pumping when you get more anxious, frustrated, or scared. It pounds in your ears. This is great if you begin practicing a heart-beat meditation, because in your time of need, your heart is literally yelling at you: "Listen to me!"
Another cool thing I've learned about over the years is something called brain entrainment. If you haven't heard of this, what this means is you can actually listen to audio files that are created especially to "train" your brain to go into a meditative state.
We live in an amazing time where we can use technology to actually see what's happening in an experienced meditator's mind. EEG scans can actually identify what brainwaves a person is going in and out of. People who have created brain entrainment programs have used this information to tap into deep meditative states and create programs that mimic these brainwaves.
The cool thing about our brainwaves is that they tend to mimic each other. So when we're with different people our brainwaves tend to sync up. This is why it is useful, for example, to meditate with more experienced meditators and is one of the benefits of seeking out an enlightened spiritual teacher. You can vibe into their waves. You can do also do this with a specially designed audio program - your brain will sync up with the waves in the audio.
This is great because it really feels like cheating. Instead of meditating for a long time and learning how to tap into a meditative state through trial and error, the audio file basically does the meditating for you, taking you to deep states very quickly.
Brain entrainment audios have been one of my favourite go-to's in recent times. My favourite program at the moment is called Zen12. It's only a 12 minute meditation, and the relaxing music option is simply magical. The audio tracks are seriously mesmorizing. In the summer they were especially great to listen to outside - when a butterfly or bird flew by I felt like they came from another world because of the gorgeous music. It was sooo cool!
You can try the first level of Zen12 for free. Just click here, or on the image below. I highly recommend it, especially the relaxing music option! Prepare for an amazing 12 minutes!
And finally, last but certainly not least, ThetaHealing is an amazing tool for seriously calming the eff down. Similar to brain entrainment, this is also a bit of a 'cheat' or 'short-cut.' This is a guided meditation technique that takes you directly into a theta brainwave state.
The theta brainwave "tends to appear during meditative, drowsy, or sleeping states, but not during the deepest stages of sleep" (Wiki, "Theta wave"). Not only is this a highly relaxed state, but it is also a state in which our subconscious mind becomes more malleable to change. In this state, we can actually reprogramme our minds and bodies to experience less anxiety, and teach ourselves how to experience more relaxed and peaceful states.
Here's a walk through on how to get into this theta state. Don't judge it, just go with it! Or if you'd prefer, click here to sign-up for my free video that walks you through this meditation.
If you haven't already, sign up here or in the side-bar ->>> for the free video. In addition to walking you through the meditation, I also take you through Theta downloads that specifically help you reduce anxiety and feel more calm and peaceful :)
Thanks for reading!
Wishing you peace, clarity, and joy!
P.S. If you missed them, read the first 2 parts of the guide below: