Scientists say we have fifty-thousand thoughts a day. How many of these are empowering? How many are full of worry, doubt, and fear? For many of us, fearful thoughts lead to anxiety. Best Selling Author Jack Canfield says the word F.E.A.R. really stands for “False-Expectations-Appearing-Real.” What if you could stop the fear-based fantasies from taking root?
I come from a long-line of worriers; I know about anxiety. Lately, I practice meditation and other mind-body tools that have transformed my life. Before my regular meditation practice, I would carry stress in my gut and have trouble sleeping. I was ruminating over past or future events. I was too much in my head and not enough in my heart, or experiencing life with a sense of ease. I would also wake up in the middle of the night and not fall back to sleep. This went on for years, until I began a regular practice of meditation and using Guided Imagery.
You probably know if you worry too much. Your mind races. You fear losing money, your job, your health, or other disasters that are just around the corner. An estimated 7 million Americans suffer with Generalized Anxiety Disorder as a chronic condition. All of us know people who are “worriers.” Being in a constant state of anxiety can severely limit their health and well-being.
As mentioned, one aspect of anxiety is racing thoughts that won’t calm down. Meditation helps by quieting the overactive mind. Instead of running with your fearful thoughts, you may start noticing the monkey mind in action. Through regular practice, you see that you’re not simply your thoughts and feelings. You are the Observer. You can detach yourself and watch from a more centered place–which is a sense of being more present. If a thought or outside trigger pulls you out of your center, your meditation practice allows you to return to more calm.
Numerous research studies have found meditation to be effective for treating anxiety. Yet, anxious people often shy away from meditation believing they cannot meditate because they have too many thoughts. With a patient teacher, these objections can be overcome. My guidance is to help these individuals experience stillness for just a few minutes at a time and slowly build up. A great meditation technique is to close your eyes and imagine that you are breathing in and out through your heart. As you breath in, think peace. As you breath out, let go of tension. At the same time, imagine a peaceful scene, maybe a peaceful blue lake in your mind’s eye. Before you know it, you’ll be gaining more and more stillness. Break through your anxiety… try meditation.
Wishing you peace!