Meditation and anxiety relief

Transformation and change can be a gruelling process. It sometimes feels like the moment you tell your universe you are seeking an alternative path, it puts obstacles in your way. Making you think it was trying to test the very strength of your resolve.

I decided towards the end of last year to recreate my persona in an online context, to build a brand that could be felt both locally and internationally. I also made the decision to spend over a month abroad in London to become a yoga instructor. That is a lot for a girl to dream up, let alone follow through with. The irony is that while I sit and write it out for the first time, I can’t help but wonder what on earth was I thinking!!?! With just over two months until I leave my beautiful, familiar home, I can feel the anxiety build and cloud my initial goals and intentions.

Here are my thoughts on meditation and anxiety relief…

Goal setting is a valuable skill, it is the primary focal point to any coaching relationship. You envision a future outcome, create a plan of action and then by applying self discipline and hard work, you strive towards achieving that goal. It enhances your sense of direction and self purpose. Strategies to achieve your goals include commitment and visualization techniques. With goals, your future is always the focus. If you have an A type personality like me, goal setting can often overtake your life and send your anxiety levels through the roof. I especially forget to experience and share the journey with those who care for me the most.

After tearful afternoons, sensations of panic, fear of failure and an inclination to give up, I pulled myself towards myself and began to observe my internal dialogue.

Anxiety affects more than just the way you feel, it affects your thinking, behavior, self image and overall experiences. Most of all, it wrecks havoc with your internal dialogue. Anxiety naturally makes you feel less content, less hopeful and more uptight about the things around you.

Where could I focus my energy and how could I gain insight into what was going with me both internally and externally?

According to Buddhist teachings, setting your intention is quite different to goal making. It is in fact not future orientated but rather a path or practice that is focused on how you are ‘being’ in the present moment. Intentions are set on understanding what matters most to you and making a commitment to align your worldly actions with your inner values. Your attention should be on the ever present ‘now’ in the constantly changing flow of life. In my case, not on the deteriorating pound to rand exchange rate!

Clearly I have been too fixated on a future orientated outcome rather than the inner experience of the present moment. Silly conflicts like worrying about whether or not I will be able to a headstand before I leave for London, instead of rewarding myself for other aspects of my practice. I, like so many of us, disconnected from a context that was larger and more meaningful than my goal orientated activity. I was expecting my goal setting to feed my intentions. When in fact being grounded in intention gives you the ability and integrity to pursue your goals. Intention is the building block for goal setting. When we can revisit our intentions, rather than our goals, we remain stronger during periods of emotional distress.

All that we are is a result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become

My mind is still in the habit of slipping into a state of disjointed thoughts and insecurities. Improving my internal dialogue is going to take time and effort. Meditation has always helped me to do this. Meditation is a proven way to rebuild positive internal dialogue. According to Deepak Chopra, meditation takes you beyond the ego-mind into the silence and stillness of pure consciousness.

This doesn’t mean you need to be a Buddhist or extreme spiritualist. Meditation for me is a quiet time of 5-10min per day. I might sit up, or be lying flat on my back, sometimes with music, sometimes without. I focus on breathing, counting and allowing my thoughts to wander, before gently calling them back to my breath. I experiment with different mantras, positive affirmations and gratitude.