Yoga could be great for anxiety for two important reasons.
1) It is a type of exercise and therefore can release endorphins and make your feel better about yourself physically. And,
2) It centers your mind.*
*Of course, results may vary from person to person.
In fact, yoga is believed to have been developed so monks could meditate for long periods of time without their body’s become incredibly uncomfortable from sitting in the same position. And in this way, yoga is great combination of centering and calming your mind and body.
You can get started with yoga after watching a few Youtube.com videos, or visiting a local studio. Using this in your anxiety toolbox is a great idea. And you’ll feel good physically and you might just become a little more flexible.
Meditation is commonly associated with eastern monks and Buddhism. While certain types are definitely more prevalent in the east; it doesn’t have to be.
And you don’t have to be Buddhist or Hindu to meditate, nor to benefit from this ancient practice. Most meditating is about focusing the mind. And while there are many different types, below is a quick exercise to get you started in meditation.
Sit, any way you want as long as you are comfortable, without any distractions — so the phone needs to be off, no email, music, etc.
Close your eyes and breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. If you lose track or find it more convenient you can just breath in and out of your nose. And if you have a cold, simply breath through your mouth.
Now focus your mind on the tip of your nose. Feel the air entering your body, your lungs filling, and the air leaving. Either keep your mind focused on the tip of your nose, or let it follow the air entering your body. Whichever commands your attention more.
An advanced tip is to let your mind focus on any pain you have in your body. You can name it, like upper back pain or aching. Feel it and explore it. This will really keep your mind locked in. And it’s hard to ignore. If the pain goes away, refocus your mind to the tip of your nose.
You do this while clearing your mind of thoughts. And if one enters your mind, simply release it. Don’t get mad at yourself if you find your mind wandering or even racing. When you become aware of it, simply acknowledge the thought, release it, and go back to focusing on your nose. Do this as often as you need to. Simply clear your mind. Let it relax.
Over time, and more so on certain days than others, your mind will become more focused. And the more you practice, the better you’ll get at this.
You can start with 5 minutes intervals, and work your way up to 20 or even 30 minutes. It is recommended to do it daily, like every morning before the chaos begins.
But like your mind wandering, if you miss a day, no big deal, just jump back in.
When you meditate your mind produces alpha brain waves. L-Theanine in Zen Anxiety also supports alpha brain wave production. They are associated with states of deep relaxation and meditation. This is why meditating can decrease your anxiety. You can feel more centered and calmer after a good session.
Another bonus: you can meditate anytime, anywhere. You always have your breath with you, and you don’t have to close your eyes and make a big deal about it (if you can, great. If not make the most of it).