10 Best Meditation Techniques For Anxiety – Scripts & Daily Exercises

Today I am going to share my list of the best meditation techniques for anxiety, and their scripts. These will also help with panic attacks.

We will also look at daily meditations for social phobia, exam stress, and relationship worries, along with meditation scripts.

For quick relief from anxiety I recommend using these meditation techniques daily for ten minutes.     

Here’s the list. 


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10 Best Meditation Techniques For Anxiety (With Scripts)


I recommend trying each of these exercises and finding the one that works best for you. You might also like to read my article on why it helps

*For all these anxiety-meditation scripts, please refer to our main menu.

 1. Mindful Breathing

The best place to start is with a simple breathing meditation. This type of meditation calms the mind and produces inner peace. It is basically like a breath of fresh air when you’re feeling anxious. 

 

2: Vipassana

There are many Buddhist meditation exercises for anxiety. One of the best is Vipassana.

Vipassana is a meditation techniques in which we label our emotions while medtiating on the breath. For instance, if we meditating on the breath when we suddenly feel worried, we tell ourselves “this is just a feeling.”  

So why is this one of the best meditations for anxiety and depression

When you practice vipassana you learn to disociate from feelings so that anxious thoughts don’t affect you so much.

 3: Mindful Walking 

I couldn’t write this list of anxiety-meditaiton techniques without mentioning mindful walking. 

This is one of the better methods because it combines the relaxation you feel from walking with mindfulness.  

This is definitely one of the best anxiey meditation techniques if you prefer to be a little active, and especially if you happen to have a relaxing natural environment to spend time in, such as a beautiful park.

A trial published by the American Journal of Health found that ten minutes of meditation followed by a ten minute walk reduced anxiety significantly better than a walk by itself, as measured by the State Trait Anxiety Inventory Questionaire. [12].  

In Zen Walking you walk up and down a path while meditating on the sense of movement. This allows you to get some fresh air (important for anxiety), to clear your mind and to find relaxation.   

4: Self – Guided Meditation For Anxiety

When you think sad thoughts you become sad. When you think thoughts that make you anxious, you become anxious. 

One of the best ways to take control of your symptoms is by controlling what’s in your mind. And one of the best ways to do that is by using what is called self – guided meditation for anxiety.

“Self -guided” means you lead youself through a visualization that alieviates your symptoms.  

Essentially, it can be defined like this: imagining specific things to produce specific results.

CalmClinic [4] states that, “Visualization is not an anxiety cure. What it is, is a relaxation strategy that makes it much easier for you to cope with your anxiety symptoms during periods of high stress.”. 

 

UPDATE (22 March 2020): Science shows effects of guided meditation for anxiety

New research from the journal Behavioural Brain Research shows that guided meditations are also helpful for anxiety. The research reveals that listening to a guided meditation for 13 minutes a day for eight weeks significantly reduces anxiety. 

 

5. Body Scan Meditation Script For Anxiety

Another of the best daily meditations for anxiety is “Body Scan”. This exercise reduces the physical symptoms of the condition. It does this by systematically relaxing the body. 

One of the key reasons for the link between anxiety and meditation is that when you meditate you become aware of bodily sensations, which are often the causes of the problem.  

As someone with the problem myself, when you feel your sphysical ymptoms coming on you might enter a panic attack. Controlling the initial symptoms of panic attacks is half the battle. With Body Scan you learn to recognise the very early stages of an upcoming panic attack. You can then take steps to cut-off those symptoms before they get any worse. 

A study published on the National Institue of Health showed that women with breast cancer who used MBSR [Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, in which Body Scan is the main technique]  “experienced a significant improvement in 16 psychosocial variables compared with [a control group]. These included health-related, [breast cancer] specific quality of life and psychosocial coping, which were the primary outcomes, and secondary measures, including meaningfulness, helplessness, cognitive avoidance, depression, paranoid ideation, hostility, anxiety, global severity, anxious preoccupation, and emotional control.”

 

Script 

Breathe in for four counts. Hold for four. Then exhale for another four counts. Continue to breathe like this throughout the meditation.

Say to yourself, “I am feeling anxious right now but that it is okay. It is just a temporary feeling and will pass.”

Now begin to pass your attention up and down your body, starting from the crown of your head and progressing down to your toes one step at a time. Take one breath per body part (head, face, neck, upper body, stomach, lower back, shoulders, arms, hands, abdomen, legs, ankles, feet). As you breathe into these areas ask them to relax.

Tense your entire body. Notice the sensations. Then completely let go. Notice the feeling of letting go. Do this three times.

Continue to breathe as described above. Then tell yourself, “I welcome relaxation and inner peace.”

6. Mindfulness 

Scientific research has proven that arguably the best type of meditation for anxiety is mindfulnes.  

Mindfulness involves focusing the mind 100% on the present moment.

There are various ways to do this.

  • You can mindfully observe your breath (see #1 above)
  • You can mindfully listen to music
  • You can mindfully observe your thoughts

Like Lao Tzu says:

 “If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present moment.” 

Living in the present moment is called being mindful.  

Scientific research has proven that this is an excellent technique for social anxiety, depression, and for stimulating the relaxation response so you experience less fight-or-flight.  

Anxiety.org [5] tells us, “Research has shown that mindfulness helps to reduce anxiety and depression. Mindfulness teaches us how to respond to stress with awareness of what is happening in the present moment, rather than simply acting instinctively, unaware of what emotions or motives may be driving that decision.”.

 

7.  Emptiness

Emptiness meditation literally refers to the act of emptying the mind by focusing on nothing. This create a sense of space in the mind, which is very relaxing. The actu practice involves simply focusing on nothingness. It is one of the best meditations for anxiety because it gives your mind a break. 

 

8. Pranayama [READ: yoga for panic attacks]. 

ranayama refers to the way we breathe when we do yoga. It is a deep style of breathing that is coordinated with movements of the body. By meditating on the breath in pranayama while doing yoga we relax both the mind and the body, which is definitely one of the better ways of handling anxiety. 

 

9. Mindful CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)

An alternative type of meditation for anxiety is Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (MBCBT)

MBCBT is an extension of cognitive behavioral therapy. It is a method of using specific strategies of thinking in order to change negative thoughts. Take a look at the link above for more on this. 

 

10: Loving Kindness

Loving kindness is the best meditation for anxiety that involves other people. For instance, for social anxiety and worries in a relationship. The reason why this is better than other methods is because it involves creating positive feelings about other people. It trains us to receive love from others and to give love too. This creates a sense of emotional support that helps relieve anxiety.

 

F.A.Q 

What are the best meditaitons for social anxiety?  

It might seem obvious, but the best meditations for social anxiety are ones that change the way we feel aout other people. And, importantly, change the way we think they feel about us. When you have social anxiety, meditation techniques can help you to relax around other people so that you can enjoy better relationships. 

The best meditations for social anxiety are techniques in which we change the way we feel about other people. For instance, the two Buddhist techniques Loving Kindness [Metta] and Karuna [Compassion] are all about developing feelings of love, kindness, and compassion towards other people. While doing these techniques we visualise giving and receiving love and compassion for and from other people. 

These are the two best meditations for social anxiety because they help us to develop more compassionate relationships with others.

Stefan. G. Hoffman [Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Boston Universit] conducted research [5] into the effect of Loving Kindness Meditation on social anxiety. In his conclusion he wrote, “Adding an LKM component to traditional psychotherapy (such as CBT) that primarily targets negative affect, might significantly enhance the efficacy of treating mood dysregulation, possibly by enhancing adaptive emotion regulation. We also predict that such a strategy might be beneficial for treating anxiety disorders, such as PTSD, generalized anxiety disorder, and social anxiety disorder.”

You can also use general mindfulness meditation for social anxiety too. This is a technique where you simply observe how you are feeling in the present moment. This helps you to recognise that your feelings are just feelings and that they are not important. 

It’s also worth using different daily mindfulness meditations for social anxiety, such as by praticing mindful breathing during panic attacks, or giving yourself something that you can do mindfully (some apps, for instance, have quick exercises you can do, such as Headspace and Calm). The main benefit of using mindfulness meditations for social anxiety is that they quickly return your focus to the present moment, and this helps you to relax. 

One other tip that I personally do is to remind myself that I’m not psychic. I don’t know what other people are thinking or feeling. A lot of the negative thoughts I think other people are thinking about me are not true. Remembering this, I stop imagining that people are thinking bad things about me, and this helps me overcome my social anxiety. 

Best meditations for relationship anxiety  

Similar to social anxiety, meditation techniques can help us build better relationships by making us more compassionate towards other people. Buddhist Metta and Karuna [which are basically about visualising yourself giving and receiving love and compassion from other people] will help you with your relationship. They are the best types of meditations for anxiety in a relationship because they cultivate more compassion and understanding. 

In his book Altered Traits, interntationally renowned psychologist Dan Coleman explains that with Loving Kindness Meditation “You handle stress better, you’re calmer, you’re less triggered, and you recover more quickly.” He goes on to explain that LKM leads to heightened compassion and empathy, which makes us more understanding of our significant others, which in turn reduces the symptoms and effects of relationhip anxiety.. 

Best meditations for anxiety attacks / panic attacks  

The best types of meditation for anxiety attacks (or “panic attacks”) are a little different. Panic attacks are different to other forms of anxiety. They are about very heated feelings that come on out of nowhere. 

In my experience, as someone who has personally used meditation for anxiety attacks, the best option is mindfulness, Mindful CBT [cognitive behavioural therapy], and any technique that immediately brings you back into the present moment (such as mindfully holding an ice cube, or taking a cold shower and meditating on the sensation of water on your body). Techniques like these can cut through the panic attack and snap you back into the present moment. 

 

Exam – Anxiety Meditation Techniques

We all know what it can be like to be stressed about your school or university work. Thankfully we can use meditation for exam anxiety. One of the best ways to do this is to simply take mindful breaks. 

One of the primary reasons for anxiety when studying is because we cram the mind with too much information. This is like lifting too many weights at the gym. It makes you ache. Studying hard makes your mind ache. And just like your body, your mind needs a break.

For this reason, the best  meditations for exam anxiety are easy methods that let you relax and take a break, such as basic mindfulness. When you feel stressed about exams, meditate on your breath. Simply close your eyes and take 108 mindful breaths. Do not listen to a guided meditation. This is simply more noise. Just close your eyes and breathe.  

Best Anxiety Meditation Techniques At Work

It’s best to use some relaxing and easy meditation techniques for anxiety at work. If you are feeling the pressure or you’re stressed, your mind is telling you that you need a break. And when the mind needs a break it basically wants silence and stillness. For that reason, the best choice is to use some easy mindfulness exercises. Take some mindful breaths, or do a simple mindful exercises such as tai chi or yoga, which will also help to relax your body if you have sitting for too long. 

 

 

Conclusion 

Above we looked at the best meditation techniques for anxiety. Which method works best for you? Leave a comment and remember to subscribe .  

SOURCES:
1: https://www.calmclinic.com/anxiety/treatment/walking-works
2: https://students.ubc.ca/health-wellness/self-help/stress-anxiety
3:https://www.rickhanson.net/how-your-brain-makes-you-easily-intimidated/
4: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/mindfulness-meditation-may-ease-anxiety-mental-stress-201401086967
5: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2848393/
6: https://neuroscience.stanford.edu/news/how-meditation-can-help-anxiety
7: https://gumc.georgetown.edu/news-release/mindfulness-meditation-training-lowers-biomarkers-of-stress-response-in-anxiety-disorder/

12: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29216745

Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison is a yoga teacher, meditation teacher and writer. Paul has helped thousands of people to discover their true potential through mindfulness, yoga and meditation.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Prapti Sinha

    Yes Yoga and Meditation is the best way to deal with Anxiety..Thank You for your informative post..

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