Looking back on my life, the hardest time was when I suffered from anxiety and depression. It’s crippling. Makes life impossible. But there’s good news. We can heal ourselves. I healed myself using theravada Buddhist techniques and modern mindfulness techniques. These are the best meditation techniques for anxiety and depression.
One thing that changed my life over the past few years was using meditation to cure what had been a serious case of anxiety and depression.
About seven years ago I went through an extremely rough patch in my life, with no job, no money, a breakup and a minor case of being 3000 miles away from home. To say the least, life was hard; very hard. And to be honest, I don’t know whether I would have gotten through had I not learned to use meditation for anxiety, stress and depression.
I was one of the millions of people to have newly learnt meditation.
Meditation is being practiced by more and more people every year. Personally, I don’t find that very surprising. With so much pressure at work, with family problems, with health scares… it’s no wonder we all get down. We could all use a few ways to pick ourselves back up. And medication is not the right solution (especially given that medication is just a placebo).
Meditation is one of the best cures for anxiety and depression
Learning to use meditation for anxiety and stress and depression could very well change your life. Or, if it doesn’t change your life, it might at least make it a lot more positive and happy.
Researchers at the University of Baltimore recently looked into nearly 19,000 studies of meditation, which revealed that mindfulness meditation can significantly help to ease stress, depression and anxiety.
Many scientists believe that mindfulness meditation is the best way of treating anxiety and stress (though there are other ways, which you can read about in our article “The Best Ways Of Treating Anxiety And Stress“.
“People who suffer from anxiety can’t tell the difference between nagging worry and problem-solving thought,” says Dr. Elizabeth Hoge, a psychiatrist at the Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders. People who suffer from unproductive worrying tend to think in terms of negative consequences, for example, “I’ll be late and lose my job,” instead of thinking, “How can make sure I get to work in time so I keep my job?”
Mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) helps people with generalised anxiety disorder.
Mindfulness meditation empowers people to see their thoughts as just that: thoughts.
People with anxiety tend to give negative thoughts too much attention, believing their thoughts control reality. They believe that that if they are thinking they’ll lose their job, they really will lose their job. Mindfulness meditation helps people, essentially, to say, “This is just a though, it isn’t reality.”
So what are the best meditations techniques for anxiety and depression?
If You have never used meditation for anxiety / depression before, this is important.
We’ve got to get you up to speed.
If you are new to meditation (i.e. if you have never meditate before, have not studied meditation, or have meditated for less than 100 hours) then I would like to help you to learn meditation the right way. So, there are two ways I can do that. Firstly, be sure to pick up a copy of my book Journey To The Buddha Within. It will teach you absolutely everything you ever need to know about meditation and is very in-depth.
Or, if you do not want the five star premium guide, then you can use our free resources. Take a look at this guide to the basics of meditation. Then try out these breathing meditations, which are great for beginners and will help with anxiety. And then take a look at this beginners meditation plan. Trust me, those guides will so wonders for you if you have anxiety and stress.
Now, let’s take a look at the five best meditation techniques for anxiety and depression.
1. Nine Round Breathing
Nine Round Breathing is one of the best meditation techniques for anxiety and depression. And if you have ever tried any deep breathing exercises it will seem familiar to you.
Have you ever tried the Alternate Nostril Breathing exercise? It’s one of the most popular breathing techniques in the world and a great way of clearing your mind.
Nine Round Breathing goes a step further. It’s a way of clearing out all negative energy.
It’s a very simple technique to do. And I’ve gone ahead and written a complete guide to Nine Round Breathing for you.
Mindfulness is one of the most popular of all meditation techniques.
The basic process of mindfulness is that you focus your mind on the present moment. For instance, you might focus your mind on your breathing, or you might focus on water, or simply on the sounds around you.
By focusing your mind on the present moment in this way you silence your thoughts and give your mind a break. This stops all the stress, anxiety and worry and trains your mind to accept things as they are.
This is one meditation technique that you definitely need to try if you have been suffering from depression and anxiety.
Vipassana is a type of meditation in which you become aware of the inner workings of your mind. And once you are aware of the inner working of your mind you will be able to change them.
Vipassana begins by focusing your mind on your breathing. You then bring awareness to the different types of thoughts that are running through your mind. You essentially label your thoughts for what they are. So, you learn that a thought is just a thought and nothing more.
Depression and anxiety are often caused when you give your thoughts too much importance. So by learning to dissociate from your thoughts you will cure your symptoms.
Read my guide to vipassana meditation here.
Anapanasati meditation is a special form of breathing meditation. Essentially you focus your mind on your breath as it flows through your body.
Anapansati achieves two things. Firstly, it relaxes your mind and body. Anxiety and depression are often caused by blocked energy, or by a blocked thought. The moment you free up that energy or thought, you begin to function normally, without the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
The second thing anapanasati does is it improve your breathing. When you practice anapanasati your breath flows deeper into your body. This is very good for both your body and mind, and it will help to stop those symptoms of anxiety and depression.
5. Body Scan
Body scan meditation is a little different to other meditation techniques.
In body scan meditation you close your eyes and slowly move your focus around your body one stage at a time. So you’ll start by focusing on your head, then focus on your neck, and on and on till you reach your toes, at which point you’ll move your focus back up through your body.
This does two things. Firstly, it takes your mind away from your thoughts, which gives your mind a break. And it also makes you aware of what is happening in your body. So if you are tense in one area you will realise it. You will then breathe deeply into that area, which will cure the tension and help you to relax.
Read my guide to body scan meditation.
6. Dynamic Meditation (not suitable for beginners)
Dynamic meditation is a more advanced type of meditation in which you let out all thoughts and feelings through dance and vocal sounds. This is for intermediate to advanced meditators only. If you wuld like to try it, read my guide to dynamic meditation.
And there you are, the best meditation techniques for anxiety and depression.
I hope this has helped you. And if it has helped you I would like to ask a favor. I love to hear back from you guys, my Zen-sational readers. Hearing from you guys helps me to grow stronger as a teacher and it helps me to know that what I’m doing is worthwhile. So, if you could leave a comment I would really appreciate it. And if you have found this article very helpful, drop me a tip using the Donations button. I put all tips back into the site and into my work, so your tips help us to grow stronger.
Thanks so much.
>> Learn about more of the benefits of meditation here.