Anxiety and Meditation
I'll start by saying that I'm not by any means a qualified expert in the treatment of anxiety. If you are in a dark dark place, I encourage you to reach out to a friend, family member or a therapist if you have access to one. I've had a long career with anxiety that originally started festering in a noticeable way in my late teens/early 20's when I was in college. I was attending Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA at the time and was inside of a perfect storm for anxiety. I was on the other side of the country from my family and strapped for cash, had a part time job, a full and intense course load and was performing in a couple of bands, occasionally touring on the weekends. The big moment came when I had a run-in with a school administrator, who, for whatever reason, wanted to take my scholarship away based on a scheduling conflict. Not only that, this person went out of their way to make feel as small as possible. This person yelled at me in their office as well and told me the only way I could get out of this mess I had been put in, was to get a doctor's note. I thought, hmm... well I'm sitting here sweating, crying, feeling dizzy and in complete and total fear. I couldn't find a way out of that and so, I went to get help from a college therapist in the administration office. The initial goal was to get this specific situation handled and Get That Note, but upon being evaluated, it was clear I needed to keep going back for awhile. Long story short, one of the main tools I was learning with my college therapy sessions was how to snap out of anxiety using my brain. Meditation wasn't new to me at the time but I was very limited in practice of it. The idea was to use my breathing. Control my breath and try to slow down my heart rate. The next step, was to try and visualize my thoughts like clouds and watch them. I wasn't to engage in them, but to just look and watch them float by.
Flash forward 16 years and I have found myself in a new awakening of meditation in my life. I have a myriad of different stresses right now, especially here in June of 2020. Looking back at this early problem in my life it occurred to me my therapist was trying to get me to be in the present. To be here, right here, right now. My anxiety usually comes from fear of the unknown. Stopping for a little bit and looking around, taking a look at the series of clouds that are my thoughts and realize that I am just okay, and that's okay. It's quite shocking how much just that little thing helps.
Meditation in that way, focusing on the breath, letting the day disappear. To then focus on my breath as much as I possibly can, brings me to right now. If for that moment I can tell myself that nothing else matters but this breath and that I am okay and that's okay, I can snap out of my anxiety. I'll admit, there are times where it really isn't that easy and nothing is simple, but to have this tool of breath is like having a door to walk through to a better place in my mind, where things are quiet and I can find my way out of the stress and anxiety I managed to stumble into. I recently uploaded a new video to my youtube channel, Sailing Meditation and I hope it helps. It was a beautiful day out on the water and I'm full of grttitude to share that moment with you all. Be well everyone!