Mindfulness meditation is used in psychotherapy to help clients soothe themselves and reduce their anxiety and tension. Mindfulness meditation is based on Buddhist and eastern meditation traditions with thousands of years of history of use in the pursuit of inner peace and harmonious relationships with others and the world. However, meditation does not necessarily have to be a religious activity. Focusing on calling one’s attention to the breath helps to center and focus the mind which generally tends to wander. Meditation is the process of attempting to achieve focus of mind even though the mind does not want to concentrate and tends to drift to other thoughts. In meditation one can passively observe the flow of one’s thoughts and realize that one does not have to pursue any particular thought that passes through one’s mind. One can learn to just let the thoughts go.

Applying mindfulness meditation breathing exercises in the case of anxiety can reverse the impact that anxiety has on the body. Anxiety will stimulate shallow breathing and the release of adrenaline, which will result in constriction of peripheral blood vessels in the arms and legs in preparation for battle in a time of danger. The mental activity of the frontal lobes, the area of the brain responsible for planning and executive functions, will be reduced, and the more instinctual lower regions of the brain will be more activated. These responses were evolutionarily determined to improve chances of survival when faced with real danger in the environment thousands of years ago. The continuation of this stress response when the danger is no longer present is not helpful and is hard on the body. Meditation, relaxation and breathing exercises slow down the breathing and promote the relaxation response, which reduces adrenaline levels, restores blood flow to the extremities, and increases frontal lobe functioning. Being stuck in the anxiety and stress response is hard on the body and mind and meditation and breathing exercises are one potential antidote.
Listen to my recorded example of a guided meditation when you have a quiet moment and see what is possible:

The Treatment You Need

If you found this guided meditation exercise helpful and you would like to go further in exploring the benefits that guided meditation experiences can have on your long-term health and mental well being call George Ankuta, Ph.D. in Seattle, WA now to schedule an appointment and experience what is possible with compassionate help.