Meditation tips for anxious people

The benefits of meditation are well documented, but it’s a hard practice to get into for some. There’s an old Zen saying: “You should meditate for 20 minutes a day. Unless you’re too busy, then you should meditate for an hour a day.” Or something like that. I imagine said ‘some’ are too busy, or have minds that are.

There’s an added challenge when you’re an anxious person. Me? I’ve talked about my unfinished thoughts before. Fortunately, this is on the mend (partly thanks to meditation, partly thanks to other therapies which I’ll blog about soon) but my mind continues to wander when meditating. Or when attempting to. And I’ve had to find some workarounds.

Guided meditation

A fantastic start for beginners, as well as those who struggle to still the mind.

A guiding voice gives you two things to focus on: a voice, and the instructions the voice is giving you. Hey, it’s the multi-tasking of meditation. Familiar ground for many, me included.

Explore the layers

Find a meditation soundtrack, and focus on the music as you sink into relaxation. Visualise the music, its bursts, its quiet moments, its ,ayers. A bit like one of those old-school Windows screensavers.

As you meditate on the music, you’ll begin to separate the layers of sound. This is a highlight moment for me, because it represents a shift in consciousness, awareness. My mind has slowed enough that it no longer compacts the sounds, layer by layer, into a solid cuboidal oneness. They have slowed. Expanded. I can see where one layer ends and another begins.

This is another way of giving your mind something to focus on, to avoid it wandering, and it works wonders for me.

Look straight ahead

Eyes closed, of course.

I’m a very visual learner, a very visual person in general. I like to visualize that my meditation path is straight ahead. In the middle lane, if you like. While the lanes to the left and right are where the wanderings and distractions occur.

When my “gaze” drifts into one of these other lanes, I visualise my hand, gently, gently, guiding my focus back to the middle lane.

This is a gentle way to get back on track, so to speak, without leaving your chill-zone by chastising yourself. There is no better way to fail at meditating than getting the shits that you aren’t doing it right.

Practice

This is where I land with meditation, right now. I’m working at it and have been, on and off, for a little over a year. It’s one of those things that does get easier the more you do it. If you can spare even 5 minutes a day and dedicate it to meditation, I promise it’ll get easier.

Do you have any tips for me?