Meditation for Anxiety and Panic Attacks
Many people suffer from anxiety and panic attacks. Panic attacks come unexpectedly and those that get them often live in fear of the next attack. The fear of the next panic attack is paralyzing and disabling for those that get them. It is very difficult for sufferers of this anxiety to trust that any treatment will eradicate their anxiety. Many of those with severe anxiety are on medication and in professional mental health treatment.
Professional therapists and doctors help their clients to make lifestyle changes to help them cope and prevent these episodes. Many therapists are trained in mindfulness meditation and recommend this practice to their clients with anxiety. They prescribe meditation to augment or replace other treatments.
Some of the symptoms that accompany anxiety attacks include heart palpitations, hyperventilation, difficulty catching one’s breath, dizziness, and unrelenting worry. Focusing is difficult during times of moderate to severe anxiety and panic. It is not impossible.
Mindfulness meditation can help those with anxiety in two ways.
When faced with an impending panic attack, it is helpful get grounded in the present. Closing your eyes and bringing your attention to your breathing. Manage your breathing in even, full breaths. Panic attacks are often marked by increasingly rapid and shallow breaths which can quickly develop into hyperventilation. This method is used as a rescue meditation.
The most long-term effective way to use a meditation program is preventive. By practicing meditation daily when no anxiety symptoms are present, meditation prevents symptoms from appearing. We know that most anxiety contains thoughts about regrets about the past and worry about the future. When we put our focus on the present moment, we can head off some of the distressing thoughts.
Practicing being mindful, being present in this moment, helps prevent anxiety states. Breathing exercises, body scans, and meditations help calm us and provide the tools we need to cope with whatever life throws at us. Meditation is effective as both a prevention and an immediate treatment for anxiety and panic. Practice, practice, practice. Mindful meditation can help even the most anxious among us.