4 ways meditation helps ease anxiety

November 3, 2015

Four ways meditation helps ease anxiety

Anxiety can be a crippling condition. Meditation is a very effective way to ease anxiety, and it helps calm you in several ways. Learn more about meditation's effect on anxiety below.

4 ways meditation helps ease anxiety

1. Stop racing thoughts

Many people believe that racing thoughts triggered by stress can cause anxiety. Meditation slows down thought processes and breaks the cycle of anxious feelings. It allows you to remove your focus from the stressor and clear your mind, which can stop anxiety in its tracks.

2. Focus on the present

Mindful meditations require you to focus on exactly how you feel in the moment. This helps ease anxiety because anxiety is caused either by negative feelings about something that happened in the past, or worry about something that might happen in the future.

3. Make room for a new perspective

Spending quiet time alone with your thoughts is a great way to see them more realistically. The hustle and bustle of daily life sometimes makes it difficult to think clearly; thus, meditation is helpful for anxiety because it affords some quiet time to empty your mind and see the situation that is causing you anxiety from a fresh perspective.

  • Meditation gives you the tools to handle your anxious feelings differently and to look more calmly at the stressful issues in your life.

4. Physically affects your brain

Studies have shown that meditation physically affects the brain — specifically, the areas of it that control worrying and calm anxiety.

  • The anterior cingulate cortex is the area that controls thinking and emotion, and scans of the brain have shown that when you practice mindful meditation, or meditation focusing on the breath, this area of the brain is activated.
  • Experts believe this might mean that people who are meditating are actually controlling or regulating self-referential thoughts. This means that meditation can actually cause your brain to shut off the things that are making you feel bad or nervous.
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