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Amira McLaughlin

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Meditation is a great tool to calm down and get back to thinking clearly when you’re feeling particularly anxious. It can instantly calm down the overexcited nervous system and make you feel more centered and ready to face whatever life throws at you. As helpful as it is in reducing anxiety on demand, it’s even more powerful when it comes to prevention.

There are two components of anxiety that relate to the brain. The first is those random thoughts and worries that keep running through your head and making you feel anxious. The second part is that as a person who worries and gets anxious a lot, you are using the amygdala, which is associated with regulating emotions. This particular area of the brain lights up more on scans with people struggling with anxiety. Since you are essentially rewiring your brain to increase activity in this area, you may think yourself into worse and worse anxiety. Thankfully meditation can help with both.

First, I want you to realize that this isn’t the only aspect of anxiety. While meditation will significantly benefit you, it may not be a cure-all. That being said, meditation is simple to do and something that can be done by anyone. I encourage you to give it a try. If you find yourself struggling, it may be helpful to find a meditation teacher who can guide you through your first few sessions. This will help you calm your mind enough to continue to practice this ancient technique on your own.

For many of us, listening to a good guided meditation, and only practicing it daily is enough to see results. Start by reading up on the benefits of meditation and how to do it. There are many different ways to start meditating. The easiest one to get started with is a short guided meditation. You can find online videos and even smartphone apps that will get you started.

Sit or lay comfortably, listen to the recording, and follow the instructions. Don’t worry if your thoughts start to drift. Gently bring yourself back to the meditation. It’s surprisingly hard to focus on nothing but meditation. Start with short sessions of 10 minutes or less. Once you get comfortable, you can extend your meditations as needed. The key to getting better at meditating and reaping the benefits of calming down those random thoughts and worries, as well as rewiring your brain to be less anxious in general, is a daily practice. Get started, and then make it part of your daily routine.

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