Meditation TechniquesBelow are a couple of examples of meditation techniques you can use for anxiety spectrum disorders; in my practice and classes I teach people to adapt meditation techniques to suit the individual way their brain works. I offer private individual and small group meditation workshops for people with mental health problems if you would like information on these classes please email me.
You can mix and match each of these techniques as you wish, the point is to obtain a deep state of focus and attention changes your state of consciousness. In many ways it easier to perform more complex meditations with more things to do at the same time to keep on busy, hold one’s attention and stop the mind wandering, if you want at the end of a busy meditation you can see how long you can sit with an empty and still mind without focusing on anything in particular, it took me years of meditation practice before I could maintain an empty mind state for more than a few minutes.
Focused attention mindfulness meditation focusing on the SensesSit in a comfortable position with a straight spine without leaning against the back of a chair.
- Begin by tuning into the sensation of gravity acting on your body, the weight of your body, the weight of your arms, shoulders and legs etc.
- Include in your awareness any other sensations you are aware of in your body unless you have a painful condition in which case skip this step.
- Now focus your awareness on the sensation of what you can hear around you first the loudest sounds closest to you then tune in to the fainter and more distant sounds. If you find it helpful name the sounds in your mind.
- Now fully open your eyes becoming aware of the sensation of everything you can see in front of you and in your peripheral vision, keep your eyes looking forward to just in a relaxed way you don’t have to stare as you focus your attention on naming everything you can see.
- Now focus your awareness the sensations in your body of breathing.
- You’ll notice how as you focus on one of your senses you lose awareness of the others, the next step is to multitask and equalise your awareness of each of the above sensations. To do this you will have to diminish or dumb down your awareness of some of the senses for example your awareness of your hearing or vision will tend to dominate and so you will have to train your mind to pay less attention to them and become more aware of the sensations of the weight of your body.
- Once you feel you have equalised your awareness of all your sensory sensations you can if you want allow your eyes to just naturally close or three quarters close.
- You can if you wish also concentrate your focus on the inside of your forehead in the frontal region of your brain.
Inhale fully then exhale fully making the exhalation slower than your inhalation.
Then at the end of your exhalation hold your breath out for perhaps a count of 5 to 7 seconds, hold your breath out only as long as is very easy and comfortable do not strain and do not hold your breath out so long that you become out breath.
In the above exercise you train your mind to pay less attention to one sense and more attention to another this exercise strengthens the part of your brain that has the ability to choose to focus or think about on one thing and not another; this is exactly one of the abilities of the brain you want to strengthen and cultivate to be able to switch off troubling anxious or depressive thinking.
Meditation for OCD and general AnxietySit in a comfortable position with a straight spine without leaning against the back of a chair.
Close your right nostril with the thumb or fingers of your right hand, relax your arms and shoulder so that you can maintain your position without strain.
Breathing through your left nostril you’re going to inhale them exhale and then hold your breath out, inhale then exhale then hold your breath out.
You can count in your mind at a steady pace of about one second intervals making your in breath somewhere between 8 to 12 seconds long and your out breath longer and slower to account of about 12 to 18, then hold your breath out for a count of about 5 to 8.
Only hold your breath out for as long as feels comfortable, this is not a breath holding competition do not strain or hold your breath out for so long that you become out of breath. If you do overdo it and become out of breath simply allow yourself to take a few in breath now breath without holding until you feel you have recovered.
Concentrate your awareness on the sensation of your breathing and on the area inside your forehead at the front of your brain. If you can concentrate your awareness in the front of your brain so intensely that it gives you a pressure or headache sensation in the front of your brain then you are doing a great job, it’s like exercising a muscle so intensely that it hurts, this will increase the stimulation and growth of new connections in the frontal cortex which is what we want.
Build up your practice until you can maintain this exercise for at least 20 minutes; every minute you do up to about 20 minutes is a significant benefit after about 25 minutes the extra benefits of additional minutes diminishes. Continue with this exercise practising at least once ideally twice on days that you have the time for at least ninety days or 30 hours of practice. Actually 30 hours is the bare minimum you should do and in my practice I recommend people go beyond the bare minimum and complete about 45 to 50 hours.