Interventions to Manage Anxiety, Part 5: Meditation
Meditation, more specifically, detachment is essential when compiling interventions to manage anxiety.
Detachment is the capability to disconnect myself from others, circumstances, influences, internal thoughts and feelings, etc. One of the ways detachment can assist us when experiencing anxiety is by allowing us to separate ourselves from the disturbing factors that are contributing to our anxiousness or panic.
Anxiousness is fueled by thoughts, feelings and beliefs promoting fear, overwhelm and powerlessness. A comprehensive treatment plan would include two distinct objectives to tackle this:
- First, gather the tools necessary to detach and calm the mind and body
- Explore, untangle, and resolve the underlying thoughts, feelings and beliefs
Meditation is one of the most strategic tools to add in our first category of treatment: calming the mind and body.
Growing up, I would hear leaders in my Christian faith caution against “emptying the mind” in the case that evil could then have room to “move in.” I was taught to meditate by focusing on a concept, such as a truth or a scripture, a song or a prayer. While the meditation style that I was taught has been a staple of comfort throughout my life, I also see the benefits of stopping all of the thoughts, feelings, and stimulations that tug on us and take up internal space.
When considering clinical anxiety, I have learned to appreciate the strength and healing that comes from detaching oneself through stilling the mind, heart, body and soul. I advocate for my clients who experience anxiety to strengthen their detachment meditation skills to give the mind, heart and soul silence.
In my last article, I mentioned two of my favorite apps that help me with breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation and also detachment: Headspace and Insight Timer. In fact, they have taught me as an adult how to detach meditate. There are simple exercises helping us to learn how to detach ourselves from our thoughts, feelings and underlying negative emotional beliefs. This is so crucial when experiencing anxiety.
In fact, it is actually possible to have the internal strength to disconnect from fear, overwhelm, and panic. This is not a logical exercise. It is simply unlatching the anxious thought or feeling from our person. Meditation detachment is incredibly powerful and effective for in-the-moment calming of the mind and body.
Detaching from anxiety is just the beginning. Detachment allows us space to put aside our self-criticism, hopelessness, resentment, discouragement, and any other nagging negative place our mind wanders through during our day.
Meditation is one expression of detachment. It is simple and effective. However, it is a mental exercise. Just like when we begin a new physical exercise, we might feel weak and out of breath at first. Same with meditation, the more we exercise, the stronger we become.
Stay tuned for Interventions in Anxiety: Resolving the Roots