If you feel anxious from time to time, that’s completely normal. Sometimes anxiety becomes overwhelming, and requires prescription medication just as any other serious illness might. The good news, though, is that you can get through those between-the-extremes anxious moments without either ignoring them or self-medicating.
Your worries can be transformed into peace with simple, natural strategies. One of these techniques is using prayer and meditation. Having many years of personal experience with all those levels of anxiety, I can vouch for the effectiveness of meditation and prayer as a calming spiritual practice in my own life, and I know it has helped many, many others as well.
Which is Better: Prayer or Meditation?
The answer is simple: Use whichever you prefer. Some people have a close relationship with a higher power while others do not. No matter what your religious belief, you can develop a personal practice that can reduce or eliminate your feelings of anxiety. If you like to pray, that’s great. If you want to meditate instead, then do it! Whichever technique makes you feel the most comfortable is acceptable. This is about you getting better, and you know best what will make you feel at ease.
How to Get Started
You can start on your path to an anxiety-free life right away and it all starts with a deep breath. Pull the air deep down into your diaphragm, and let it out slowly. Do this several times and you’ll begin to feel calmer.
Are you breathing effectively? When you take in air, if only the top part of your lungs expands, your chest rises and falls. When you breathe the right way – the calming way – your belly rises and falls, not your upper chest, because your entire lungs are being filled with fresh air.
Avoid breathing from your upper chest only and you’ll already be on the road to feeling calmer and less anxious. It’s a simple thing to do and a great way to get started. The more you do it, the more it’ll become automatic. Soon, you’ll feel calmer without even thinking about your breathing anymore.
Here are some other tips to help you feel calm while praying or meditating:
- Use your breathing like a mantra. Inhale while you give yourself positive thoughts and feelings. Exhale anything negative you’re thinking or feeling. Breathing is the rhythm of life. Use it to your advantage.
- Pray or meditate at the same time each day. Spend a few minutes – it doesn’t have to be a long time – in quiet reflection. Say good things to yourself. You can focus on your health, finances, family, or anything you want to make stronger. Avoid negative thinking during this time.
- Try saying “ho, ho, ho, he, he, he, ha, ha, ha” and other silly phrases out loud. When you do, you’ll start to smile, then grin, and then laugh for real! And when you’re laughing, you can’t frown or feel anxious!
- Pray or meditate with others. Join a church, take up yoga, or find a support group for anxiety. Many others share your struggle, and you can feel better about yourself and more in-tune with others when you share your feelings.
When you start your journey toward personal peace through prayer or meditation, expect to conquer your anxiety. However, avoid the trap of assuming you’ll do it in one day, or even in one week. It took time to get where you are, and it’ll take time to get back to where you want to be.
The important thing is to take that first step and then enjoy and appreciate the journey.
Every journey begins with that first step, and once you make it you’ll be well on your way. Breathe. Laugh. Meditate or pray. Find time to think about and interact with others, rather than concentrating on your worries.
When you do these things, you’ll become calmer and more focused. Most importantly, you’ll be back to being happy again, and there’s no greater gift you can give yourself than joy!