Can Guided Meditation Help With Anxiety Disorders?

Using Guided Meditation to Cope with Anxiety

For people who struggle with anxiety disorders, it can sometimes feel like nothing but medication or substances can help them. However, there has been extensive research into the benefits and simplicity behind implementing guided meditation into their lives.

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Common Misconceptions about Guided Meditation

For many, the thought of meditating seems like an activity that is reserved for the monks and spiritual gurus of the world. Luckily, this actually isn’t the case, and meditation has become much more mainstream and widely available for all of us less enlightened folk. Here are a few of the most common misconceptions about meditation that hinder many people from continuing their practice!

  • I can’t silence my mind – fun fact! Meditation is not actually about silencing your thoughts. Besides, what would a man be if it weren’t for our cognitive processes?! Meditating is more about focusing on the space between the thoughts and noticing how fleeting the thoughts are.  That fleeting quality of the thoughts is a beneficial tool for people with anxiety!
  • I can’t just sit still for 30 minutes – Try this! There are hundreds of guided meditations online and through apps that don’t expect you to just sit still and clear your brain. Instead, they focus on breathing exercises, and body scans, to help keep newbies engaged and teach people how to focus their intention and attention.
  • I have tried it and can’t get past 30 seconds – That’s okay, for people, especially those with anxiety, sitting in a calm position and not trying to distract ourselves is something that is very difficult in our society today. Meditation is a practice, and this is probably one practice in our life that we are guaranteed to never get 100% correct. So be gentle with yourself! A helpful trick is to try guided meditations if you have a hard time focusing for long. They center around someone else’s voice carrying you through the journey, reminding you to breathe, and reminding you to come back to focus if you drift off.

For people who struggle with anxiety and would like to start practicing meditation, there are hundreds of different programs to use that offer guided meditation practices, and even apps you can download onto your phone!

Meditation doesn’t have to be this scary, unobtainable thing that you will fail at forever, but it can be something you can start practicing today!

Helpful Tips on Guided Meditation for Anxiety

Since there are now so many different types and styles of meditation, it can sometimes be anxiety-inducing to even pick which one to try! Many people start out by simply using YouTube, as there are hundreds of different guided meditation videos. Some helpful keywords to look out for while you are searching for your perfect meditation are:

Body Scans

Guided meditations for body scans are extremely beneficial for people who struggle with anxiety, and can help avoid the need for inpatient anxiety treatment. Lo and behold, it can sometimes be very difficult to remember when we are living cooped up inside our heads, that we are actually attached to a body! So having some time to meditate and focus on different areas of the body is an amazing practice to get comfortable with.

  • Remembering the body during times of anxiety helps us to get out of the whirlwind of our mind.
  • Next time you are in a flurry, check out a quick, 5 minute guided meditation on body scans.

Guided Meditation – Different Breathing Practices

Another common side effect of anxiety is shortened breaths, which can lead many people to chest pains and heart palpitations, which can lead to the feeling of panic. Guided meditations on breathing exercises get us into the swing of being able to practice these in our day to day lives, and during stressful situations.

  • Look up a quick, 5-minute guided meditation on square breathing or centering breaths.
  • This increase and fluid flow of oxygen will help quiet the mind and bring awareness to the body.

Guided Meditation – A Short Journey

Some guided meditations allow the user to imagine themselves on a short journey. This will always be explained by the guide, and uses creativity and the person’s own imagination to quiet other thoughts and focus on one goal.

  • Many times, these meditations on a journey also help the person decide for themselves a sort of “sacred place” in their mind. The person can utilize this at times of stress and anxiety during their day to day life when they need a moment to recenter and take a mental “time out”.

If You STILL Can’t Meditate

If you are one of those folks who, no matter how many different ways you have tried, still can’t seem to take a few minutes of quiet to yourself to meditate, have we got news for you!

There are many other forms of meditation out there that you can try out. They are not the usual ideas of meditation, but they do the same sort of centering and focus that is intended via guided meditations. Some helpful activities to try are:

  • Journaling on one topic
  • Painting
  • Making things out of clay
  • Coloring in a coloring book
  • Playing an Instrument
  • Swimming
  • Running
  • Hiking

So good news, any activity that requires focused thought can be considered a meditation. However, the difference between focusing on your cell phone and focusing on a meditative activity is that these activities should be something that adds to your life.

If you are interested in trying out some meditation apps on your phone, check out Insight Timer, HeadSpace, Calm, The Mindfulness App, and MindBody. They are filled with guided and unguided meditations for every level.

So if you haven’t tried guided meditations to help with your anxiety yet, it might be time to give it a shot! If you have tried it, became frustrated, and never looked back, now might be the time to dig up that old practice!

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