Hi and thank you for joining me for the second part of this meditation for anxiety series.
We will continue to learn where anxiety comes from and how we can learn to manage it. You will see that over time you can learn to live in the moment and feel confident and calm in yourself.
First, ensure that you are sitting or lying comfortably Allow your body to rest allow your body to feel heavy Your hands are resting in a comfortable position your palms are open and facing up allow your hands to rest easy fully relaxed.
Now take a deep inhalation and breathe out slowly.
Remember that during this meditation you will always be safe But if for whatever reason you feel uneasy or you wish to come out of this meditation, you can do so at any time by just counting backwards from three down to one and taking a deep breath.
But for now just continue to breathe naturally.
As you breathe you might become aware of things in your visual field or thoughts that arise Just allow that to happen become aware of them Then gentle bring your awareness back to the sound of my voice.
Let’s start with the breath The breath allows us to connect to the here and now And as I said last time, it’s easily forgotten that we exist only in the present moment with no direct experience of the past or the future so take one more deep inhalation filling your stomach with crystal clear air and then exhale slowly until all of the used air has been expelled completely.
When we breathe in a shallow way – that means – when we breathe in and only our shoulders and chest expand – we are not maximizing the amount of oxygen our body and our mind is getting.
Shallow breathing can contribute to and even cause anxiety.
We have something between our rib cage called the diaphragm and you may have heard and even practiced diaphragmic breathing.
When we inhale with our belly and expand it like a balloon the diaphragm expands and let’s in maximum amount of air into the lungs this increases the amount of oxygen our brain and body parts are getting and can not only calm us down but is essential to our health and general wellbeing.
Let’s practice when you inhale expand your belly like a balloon it might be helpful to rest your hand on your stomach you will automatically feel your chest and collarbones rise too then exhale fully until you’ve expelled every little bit of used air from your belly.
So breathe in on a count of 4…1…2…3…4 then exhale on a count of 5…1…2…3…4…5
Let’s repeat that breathe in 1…2…3….4 exhale 1…2…3…4…5 inhale 1…2…3…4 exhale 1…2…3…4…5 inhale 1…2…3…4 exhale 1…2…3…4…5
Just continue like that for a few moments…
Now that you are so beautifully relaxed let’s remind ourselves of what we have discussed so far.
Remember there are two parts of the brain the conscious – intellectual mind and the unconscious – emotional mind.
When we are happy we are generally working from the conscious – intellectual mind it has the ability to reason and come up with new ways of thinking and doing things.
When we are anxious our emotional – automatic mind has taken over and we are in survival mode our fight/ flight/ freeze response has been activated and our thinking is rigid we see things from the worst possible perspective.
Remember the tiger? If we came across a tiger it would be totally appropriate to activate the stress/ survival response but generally we don’t have to fear tigers – most of the time our emotional mind takes over because of our negative thinking patterns.
It’s not the events in our lives that cause anxiety but the thinking around the event that cause the anxiety.
Your mind doesn’t know the difference between reality and imagination so every negative thought is stored as a threat and weighs us down.
We can think of it as a bucket every negative thought gets added to the bucket and eventually it overflows and causes all kinds of symptoms – in your case anxiety.
Of course there is a way to empty the bucket and stop it from overflowing.
You change your thought patterns.
You take control.
Most of the time you have no control over the events in your life BUT you have control over your thoughts the way you think about and react to people, situations and events in your life.
As we progress through this series you will realize more and more that you are in control you already have all the necessary tools within you to live a meaningful and joyful life and we will tap into those.
How do we start to re-gain control? We start with the breath.
Our breath is what connects the conscious and the unconscious mind so learning to control your breathing will help you to control what is happening below the conscious level – the emotional mind.
So let’s take a deep inhalation and exhale completely.
We can use the breath to release tension in our minds and in our bodies so let’s begin by bringing our attention to the top of the head think about all those little muscles of the scalp and the skin of the scalp and just allow them to let go and relax.
Now all the muscles of the face just let them go slack your forehead…your eyelids…the space between your eyebrows the cheeks…mouth…and jaw muscles.
It’s a wonderful feeling when you allow your face to relax because you can actually feel the skin settling, smoothing out.
Unclenching your teeth and relaxing your tongue because the more you physically relax the more you can mentally relax.
Moving your awareness to your neck and shoulder muscles now letting all the tension drain away as you think on down through your arms and all the way down to the very tips of your fingers and tips of your thumbs.
Bring your awareness to your chest and feel how it rises and falls with every deep slow breath you take you notice how you’re breathing even more smoothly, even more slowly as you relax more and more.
Let any tension simply drain away as you think on down to your stomach…your back, the upper, middle and lower back allowing the muscles along your spine to relax and let go.
Bring your awareness to your hips and pelvic area take a deep inhalation and gently move the clean fresh breath to your hips as you exhale deeply and completely all the tension flows away.
Now moving your awareness all the down through your thighs, knees, lower legs and all the way down to your feet until your reach the tips of your toes.
All the muscles of your body are now so beautifully relaxed so relaxed and easy.
When our body is relaxed our mind is relaxed when our mind is relaxed we can enjoy life to fullest and achieve anything we dream of.
Let’s take a last deep inhalation and exhale completely.
Continue to enjoy each breath.
And of course, you will continue to reap the benefits of this meditation in the next minutes…hours…days.
And now I will count from 3 down to 0 and when I’ve counted from 3 down to 0 you will come back to the room feeling beautifully relaxed ready to make those vital changes to the way you think.
”It’s not the events in our lives that cause anxiety but the thinking around the event that cause the anxiety.