Today I am going to teach you the best meditations for anxiety and panic attacks, including daily meditations for social anxiety, exam stress, and relationship anxiety.
These daily anxiety meditation techniques will give you a quick and natural remedy for the problem. Many people feel calm by using these meditations for 10 minutes daily, including me! Yes, meditation cured my anxiety. And I will show you how.
As a meditation teacher a lot of people ask me “Can meditation cure anxiety disorder?” Well, let me tell you, as someone who used to suffer from severe anxiety and panic attacks myself. I know probably more than anyone just how effective the best meditation techniques for anxiety and stress are. They can be the difference between inner peace and inner hell. And this isn’t just my personal experience; science backs it up, as I will show in just a moment.
In this tutorial I will share all the best meditation techniques for anxiety and panic attacks so you too can get the relief you deserve.
How Meditation Cured My Anxiety And Panic Attacks
One of the main reasons people start using meditation is for anxiety and stress. I used to get panic attacks so bad I couldn’t breathe. Mindfulness and yoga helped me. [READ: Use Yoga For Panic Attack Relief]
I suffered for years with terrible worry and stress, never able to find inner peace. Then I started daily meditation. Anxiety gradually reduces once you start meditating. It helped me relax and eventually overcome the problem. Years later I now teach people how to use meditation for anxiety relief. And today I am going to teach you.
My panic attacks gave me many of the symptoms of depression (and yes, meditation helps with depression too).
I managed to successfully use daily meditation for anxiety relief. I used many different techniques, which I will show you in a moment. Then, years after I cured myself, I started to help other people. And oh boy were there are a lot of people who wanted a cure for this terrible affliction, which is one of the most common mental health conditions in the world. Those people would approach me with one simple question: Can meditation help anxiety? And if so, how quickly does it work?
The answer is a resounding YES. Meditation helps anxiety and you can start to feel the benefits within twenty minutes, although I do recommend consulting a medical healthcare professional before beginning.
What Is The Best Meditation For Anxiety Relief?
Let’s now look at the best types of meditation for anxiety and stress.
There are some brilliant meditation techniques for anxiety (and depression too, which is a common problem for those with GAD). In fact, you can use most of the traditional types of meditation for anxiety, be it relationship, GAD or social anxiety.
However, even though you can use any meditation to help anxiety, exercises vary in efficacy.
So you might wonder: What is the best meditation for anxiety disorder?
It actually depends on the exact nature of your condition, and whether you social anxiety, are worried about relationships, or have GAD [Generalizes Anxiety Disorder].
Best Meditation For Social Anxiety
The link between meditation and social anxiety is that meditation helps us change the way we think and feel about other people. And, importantly, how 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 two methods are the best meditations for social anxiety because they help us to develop more compassionate relationships with others.
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.
Specific Meditations For Relationship Anxiety
Similar to social anxiety, meditation techniques can help us build better relaitonships 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 compassionate and understanding connections with other people.
Meditation Techniques 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 meditation techinques for panic attacks are: 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 stress 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. nxi
For this reason, the best anxiety meditation techniques for studying are easy methods that let you relax and take a break. 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 to help wth anxiety. 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.
10 Best Meditations For Anxiety And Stress Relief
Above we looked at the best meditation techniques for anxiety that has a speicfic form, such as social anxiety and relationship anxiety. Now let’s look at the best meditation techniques for generalised anxiety (GAD).
Over the past 10 years I have learned that the following are the very best meditations for anxiety relief.
1. Breathing meditation for anxiety
The best place to start is with a simple breathing meditation for anxiety and stress.
Breathing methods are simple and very effective. They calm the mind and produce inner peace. They’re basically like a breath of fresh air when you’re feeling stressed.
The next time you feel stressed, take ten minutes just to focus on your breathing. This will relax your mind and help to quickly reduce your symptoms.
Here is what No Panic says about using breathing meditation for anxiety relief:
If you find that your breathing pattern is irregular or uncomfortable a lot of the time, the best way to reset it is by exercising. Start off gradually and check with your doctor if you are not used to exercise.
1: Measured Breathing Meditation For Anxiety
This is one of the best meditations for anxiety and stress.
- Stand or sit comfortably with good posture.
- Relax your knees and hands and drop your shoulders. Let your jaw relax.
- Take a deep breath in through your nose while counting to four.
- Let the air fill your stomach, breathing deep.
- At the end of the inhalation hold the breath for a short moment.
- Staying relaxed, gradually allow the air to release through your nose
- Another good meditation tip for anxiety is to continue to use these technique throughout the day by tuning in to your breath now and again.
2: Humming breath
To do this exercise, you must focus your mind one hundred percent on your breathing. While doing this you will hum. And that’s all there is to it. It is a very simple trick, but it does offer natural relief, and fast.
- Stand or sit with good posture, relaxed jaw, relaxed shoulder, relaxed knees.
- Place your thumbs lightly over your ears and your fingers over your eyes.
- Take a deep breath in through your nose.
- Exhale while humming quietly.
- Focus on the sound of the humming. Allow the humming to be the only thing in your mind (meditate on it).
- Breathe out slowly and repeat ten times.
- One of the best ways to use this meditation to help with anxiety is to just hum to yourself when you start to feel worried. Just mindfully hum. This stimulates your relaxation response and gives you something to focus on to help you to relax.
#3: Diaphragm Breathing
This is the most commonly used breathing meditation for anxiety and stress, and is arguably the most effective (though I recommend trying all three).
- Stand or sit with good posture.
- Relax shoulders, knees, neck, etc.
- Take a deep breath in through your nose.
- Allow the air to fill your stomach. You will feel your chest rising a little.
- You may find it helpful to place a hand over your stomach and visualize the air filling deep down into your stomach.
- Exhale through your mouth, your lips pursed and your tongue and jaw relaxed.
- Repeat ten times.
- To use this meditation to get rid of anxiety permanently, I recommend you practice daily. Every now and again take a moment to check how you are breathing and make sure that you are breathing from the diaphragm.
#4: Alternative Nostril Breathing
Alternative nostril breathing is another greath breathing meditation for anxiety. What makes this exercise different to the rest is the cycle of breathing in through one nostril and out through the next. This creates rhythmic breathing that is very relaxing. Here’s how to do it.
1. Close one nostril with a hand and breathe in through the other nostril.
2. Change your fingers so the first nostril is now closed and the other nostril open.
3. Breathe out through the second nostril (the nostril that was closed when you breathed in).
4, Breathe in again through this same nostril then repeat the process.
(Best Types Of Meditation For Anxiety From Buddhism)
2:Smiling Buddha Method
There are many Buddhist meditation exercises for anxiety. One of the best methods is the Smiling Buddha technique.
“Smiling Buddha” is a Buddhist exercise that that is all about creating happiness. It’s an intermediate-level technique. It is best for people who have at least a little experience. It is fun, positive, and easy once you know how to do it.
This activity involves a combination of mudras (hand position) and mantras (repeated words) to create deep relaxation and happiness.
Vanessa is a leading expert in anxiety and depression. Writing for OvercomingYourAnxiety, she says,
Smiling can reduce stress – and it’s even more effective when your eyes smile too! Nobody is quite sure how exactly facial expressions are related to a person’s underlying mood, but researchers have found a definite connection.
Read our guide to Buddhist methods (via our homepage) to learn more.
3: Walking Meditation Technique For Anxiety Relief
One great idea is to use some Zen for anxiety. Zen is a sect of Buddhism that includes many methods of meditating, one of which is Zen walking.
If you are an active type of person you will find Zen walking to be your best types of meditation for anxiety relief.
When you’re feeling down, a nice long walk helps.
A walk gives you the chance to escape and allows you to clear your mind. And studies show that walking helps alleviate the symptoms of anxiety .
The only thing better than a walk is walking with Zen. Anxiety is caused both by physical tension and mental tension. When you walk mindfully (by walking while meditating on the movement) you will cure both problems.
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.
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.
There are other ways to use Zen too, such as by Zen-ing your home (changing your decor so it’s more relaxing) and practicing Zen breathing (Zazen). You can find tutorials on all these methods via our homepage.
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. ation.
Essentially, it can be defined like this: imagining specific things to produce specific results.
Try this self – guided meditation for anxiety relief:
- Sit somewhere quiet and relaxing
- Take ten deep breaths.
- Imagine standing at a beach.
- See the blue water reaching out in front of you.
- Hear the gentle swoosh of the waves.
- Feel the refreshing air on your skin and face.
- Feel the warm sand on your feet
- Smell the fresh air.
- Imagine casting out any negative thoughts. The thoughts low out of your mind into the blue sea.
- Watch as the thoughts vanish into the distance.
5. Body Scan
Another of the best daily meditations for anxiety is “Body Scan”. This exercise reduces the physical symptoms of the condition. It does this by passing consciousness around the body.
One of the key reasons for the link between anxiety and meditation techniques is that when you meditate you tune-in to the sensations occurring throughout the body, which are often the causes of the problem. By understanding these bodily sensations we can get more control of anxiety.
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 the those symptoms before they get any worse.
6. Mindfulness Meditation For Anxiety
Scientific research has proven that arguably the best typs of meditation for anxiety are the various exercises constituting “mindfulness”.
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
You will be so much happier once you use mindfulness for anxiety. This is one way meditation can help with anxiety. It gets you out of your head, stops you being overly reactive, and helps you to be more in the moment.
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:
- You can use mindfulness for social anxiety disorder (other meditation techniques from Buddhism are also highly effective).
- Mindfulness exercises help prevent relapse in those suffering from major depressive disorder
- Mindfulness naturally stimulates the relaxation response, making you less likely to experience panic and worry.
There are many benefits of CBD, especially when used with meditation and yoga. When you combine these three things you get powerful relief for anxiety.
8. For An Alternative Mindful Exercise For Anxiety, Try Pratyhara Yoga
Like many mental health conditions, anxiety is often the result of negative information you take into your mind.
For instance, anxiety can be caused by:
- Watching negative news stories
- Playing violent games
- Watching violent movies
- Spending too much time with negative people
Yoga can help with this, and especially Pratyahara Yoga. In this technique, you basically limit your exposure to things that make you feel anxious.
Take 5 minutes right now to write a list of all the things that make you feel anxious. And another list of all the things that make you feel relaxed. Now spend the next hour creating ways to reduce the influence of the negative and increase the influene of the positive.
Combine this technique with daily meditation and anxiety will gradually stop.
9. CBT – Mindfulness Exercises (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. Try This Self – Guided Meditation For Anxiety
You probably already know that there are lots of guided meditations for anxiety on Youtube. However, what is even more effective than these videos is self-guided meditation.
Anxiety is caused by negative thoughts you create in your mind. A great solution is to visualise pleasant thoughts instead. And one of the best ways to do this is with a self – guided visualization.
Before you use this self – guided meditation for anxiety, there are three things you need:
1. Motivation: The first time you do this method it will require patience. Make sure you have the motivation to do it properly.
2. Relaxation: You want to make sure that you are relaxed before you start. So you can either choose a time when you’re already relaxed (use the exercises we looked at above).
3. Concentration: You will need to focus when you use this method.
Instructions for self -guided meditation for anxiety
*** try this exercise now to get to grips with it, then again later when you have more time. ***
- Sit or lie down in a comfortable position with good posture and a straight back. Close your eyes and focus on your breath for five minutes (meditating). Then begin to meditate on your body and focus on the sensation of your body relaxing. Continue until you feel relaxed.
- Imagine the most relaxing scene you can think of. Maybe it’s a beach or a waterfall, maybe it’s floating above the clouds. . . it doesn’t matter where so long as it is very relaxing (use the visualization from step #4 above if you like).
- Imagine that you are stepping into your imaginary scene. Gradually enter further into the scene. Use your senses. Look at details of the scene. Imagine any scents. Imagine the feeling of the relaxing air on your body and so on.
- Count from one to ten, imagining that with each count you step more into the scene. You are heading towards the most relaxing part of the scene, a special place full of calm and relaxation. As you count, tell yourself that you are feeling more and more relaxed.
- Now establish a “Trigger”. In order for you to be able to recall the sensation of peace and relaxation you need to create a trigger. To do this, say a line to yourself that expresses how you are feeling. For instance, “I am at total peace. I am safe, happy and comfortable.” Use your own words but find a short line that describes how you feel. Say that line to yourself.
- As soon as you finish the line, pinch yourself on either hand on the flabby piece of skin just up from the thumb. re
- Repeat your line to yourself.
- Now exit the scene.
How Can Meditation Help Anxiety? Science Answers
You might wonder “How can meditation help anxiety?” For me, meditation cured my anxiety, but I wanted to look into the reasons why.
Scientific research has proven that one of the best treatments for anxiety is meditation. It helps train your mind to be quiet and peaceful.
Here are 5 scientific studies that prove it.
The University of Massachusetts Medical School studied the effects of mindfulness meditation for anxiety relief. The study showed that mindfulness teaches us to recognise when we are experiencing troubling thoughts, and to then take steps to handle those thoughts in a healthy way. (4)
Another scientific study looked at evidence from 39 difference studies to see the effect of mindfulness meditation for anxiety ( 5). This included people who had anxiety because they were living with cancer, people who suffered social anxiety, and people who had other forms of the condition. The study looked at 1140 participants in total. Researchers concluded that mindfulness meditation helps anxiety by making people more aware of their thoughts. This helps us to control those thoughts.
A study at Stanford University showed the benefits of 8 weeks of mindfulness meditation for anxiety. 8 weeks mindfulness reduces activity in the amygdala (6). Anxiety is often caused by greater reactivity in the amygdala region of the brain, which is the region that triggers fear. By reducing activity in this area, mindfulness reduced the symptoms of the condition.
Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center conducted research on 89 patients to see the relationship between meditation and anxiety, sepcifically Generalized Anxiety Disorder [GAD]. They found that we can use Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction for anxiety. Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction decreases stress-related hormones and cell-signaling proteins. This, the study authors state, shows that meditation is a healthy and effective way of treating anxiety (7).
Researchers at the University of Baltimore looked into nearly 19,000 studies on meditation and anxiety. They wanted to answer one question: Can meditation help anxiety. They discovered that the answer was a resounding yes. And they advocate the use of mindfulness meditation for anxiety disorder.
“People who suffer from the condition can’t tell the difference between nagging worry and problem-solving thought,” says Dr. Elizabeth Hoge, a psychiatrist at the Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders. People who suffer from unproductive worrying tend to think in terms of negative consequences, for example, “I’ll be late and lose my job,” instead of thinking, “How can make sure I get to work in time so I keep my job?”
Mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) helps patients with generalised anxiety disorder [GAD] to understand the different types of thoughts and to respond to them accordingly.
Anxious people tend to give negative thoughts too much attention. They believe their thoughts control reality. For instance, they believe that if they are thinking they’ll lose their job, they really will lose their job. Mindfulness meditation helps these individuals to distinguish thoughts from reality.
Mistakes To Avoid When Using Meditation Techniques For Anxiety Disorder
I want you to be successful in using these meditations to cure anxiety.
With that in mind let me give you a friendly warning.
There is one mistake that a lot of people make when they start practicing these activities. They make instant demands.
The key is to not rush. By using daily meditations for anxiety you wil gradually see an improvement in your condition.
When you meditate you might be surprised by the results. Your practice might be different to how you expected. That is fine.
The key to success is trusting the techniques.
You have to allow the exercises to take you where they will. When you fight, you just add to your anxiousness.
When you simply sit and meditate without fighting, you allow nature to take its own course, to correct problems in its own way.
Let go of expectations.
Meditation will create very positive results, but those results might not take the exact course you expected. Trust in your practice and it will work for you.
Scientific research proves that we can most definitely use meditation for anxiety.
Naturally it is not the only solution. You can also use yoga, self hypnosis, herbs, CBD, and other options. However, I do believe from personal experience that meditation is arguably the best solution. And it is most definitely worth adding it to your daily routine.
I hope you found this guide helpful.
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