July 15, 2009

Overcoming Anxiety

I understand that long-term meditation is supposed to help squash more quickly those moments of anguish that arise, but for those of us– the vast majority, I imagine– who are not advanced practitioners, how do we handle the regular hiccups in life that threaten to cause damage? How do we manage our anger when someone elbows us on the street? Or when someone close to us treats us poorly? Or simply when that unexplainable bubble of anxiety rises in our throats?

When you can’t just stop and meditate, what do you do?

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sandie duggan's picture

Yes, all good advice. What works for me is to think 'Relax my face, relax my hands, relax the soles of my feet' Slow gentle breathing seems to happen naturally with these thoughts.

Don's picture

All good advice here. As someone who has suffered from generalized anxiety disorder in the past, I know how debilitating it can be. Just normal amounts of anxiety can also be a challenge. Mindfulness has seemed to be the most helpful thing for it, in my experience. It does take practice. Don't expect results overnight. Keep meditating, however, and reading, and attending talks. Learning is crucial. Once your wisdom increases, you'll be able to see through all the negative emotions, and continued meditation will help calm the mind.

I'd like to reiterate justelise's comment though. Make sure it isn't an anxiety disorder. That would require medical treatment/therapy as well.

jc's picture

I struggle with a lot of anxiety. In those unhappy moments, I try to direct my mind to a neutral place, someplace very obvious so I don't have to think about the thinking. I usually send my awareness to the ground or floor under my feet. I also bring awareness to my gut. Inevitably, I'm holding in my breath. I take a breath. Then I try to remember the "this too shall pass" refrain. In other words, this is just one moment in lifetime of ups and downs. tcv is right, then we need to forgive ourselves.

tcv's picture

I try (note the word) to accept what is here. I then try to become very mindful of how I am holding my body and how the anxiety affects me physicially. I will also offer myself forgiveness if I feel that I am judging myself harshly for feeling anxiety in the first place.

debbie standard's picture

You might try to reflect on the anxiety you may feel and know that feelings are impermanent. Also reflect on the person who elbows you as someone who suffers and by not responding and that will make you happier. Sometimes, we can look at strangers as once being a "mother" to you.

justelise's picture

Make sure you don't have anxiety disorder. What may seem as random bubbles of anxiety or panic may have a more serious underlying cause. Sometimes talking to someone or seeking medical intervention is the best course of action.