A meditation to help you reduce anxiety.
First, I’d like to invite you to gently close your eyes
and take a nice, slow, deep breath in,
deeper than you’ve taken all day so far.
And as you exhale, concentrate on the sound of my voice,
allowing it to ground you into the present moment,
and giving yourself permission right now to focus on you,
making yourself your first priority.
There is nowhere else you need to be.
There is nothing else you need to be doing.
For the next several minutes, your wellbeing is your focus.
Continue to take slow, deep breaths,
allowing each inhale to be a bit deeper
than the one before it.
Feeling your lungs expand out as you inhale,
holding it for a beat
and contracting back in as you exhale.
And as you continue to breathe this way,
feel the journey of the breath through your body
and notice any places where you may be holding stress
or anxiety in your body.
Unfurl your brow,
unclench your jaw.
Let your shoulders drop down from your ears.
Open your palms.
And now allow your breath to return
to its normal rhythm and pattern,
but keep your focus on it and allow it
to be your anchor during this meditation.
If you get distracted by a thought or a sound,
simply acknowledge that it occurred
and then gently let it go
and return your attention to your breath.
When we’re stressed or anxious about something,
it’s often because we don’t feel we have control over it,
and the sense of being out of control
can make us feel less safe, and our emotions heighten.
An understandable reaction to this
is that we try to control the situation even further.
We also tend to judge the situation
and even our feelings about it.
Those judgments and the stories we tell ourselves about it
often become bigger than the situation itself,
which adds on even more stress, and the cycle repeats.
So right now, I invite you to call to mind
a situation that you feel is causing you anxiety.
What judgments are you holding about it?
As you name the judgment, acknowledge its presence.
Now give the judgment permission to drop away.
You don’t need it anymore.
Let it go.
And what’s the story you’ve been telling yourself
about the situation?
As you recognize it, acknowledge its presence
and give that story permission to drop away as well.
You may notice your mind pushing you even harder
to hold onto those judgments or those stories.
Recognize and acknowledge those thoughts too,
and now allow them to drop away as well.
Continue to use your breath to anchor yourself
back in the present moment if you get distracted.
Now let’s look at that situation again without the judgment
or the story you were telling yourself.
How does it feel different?
Has the level of anxiety or stress changed?
Instead, I invite you to look at the situation
with total curiosity.
Now, as we move into the silent part of the meditation,
give yourself permission to open up to the clarity
and direction on what the very next step for you to take is.
Not the next five or 10 steps,
not all the steps to the end,
just the very next step.
And continue breathing with your eyes closed.
Just let your attention start to focus back on my voice.
Our judgments of and stories we tell ourselves
about a situation tend to exaggerate
our feelings of unease, anxiety and stress.
They can skew what’s actually going on out of proportion
and they can block us from seeing the truth of the situation
and allowing in the ease and comfort we so desire.
So the next time you’re feeling anxious, remember to breathe
and then notice and acknowledge the judgements about it
and the story behind it.
And then let them drop away
and notice how the anxiousness eases.
Focus on the truth of the situation in this moment.
You have everything you need right now.
Now let’s take three more deep breaths together.
Take a deep inhale in, holding that breath for a beat
and exhale it out.
Again, an even deeper breath than the one before,
feeling it weave in and out of your muscles and cells
and exhale it out.
Last time, your deepest breath yet
sending that oxygen all the way through your entire body.
And when it reaches the top of your head
and you’re ready, you can open your eyes.