What’s the best meditation technique for relief from anxiety?

Personally, I think taking heroin to escape feelings can quickly become problematic and lock a brain into a vicious cycle of feeling terrible as a prerequisite to feeling better, which only leads to feeling terrible all of the time.

Oh… you weren’t asking about heroin?

Trying to get rid of feelings you don’t like is not a solution. It’s the problem. If you approach meditation like it’s a pain killer, meditation can quickly become a compulsion and only help you fuel the problems that are causing the pain. This approach also creates a strange incentive for meditation: that you must first be suffering before you practice meditation. But meditation is a great support for a healthy life. You don’t need to wait for a problem to start meditating.

When people only meditate as a reaction to a problem or stressful emotions, they tend not to meditate when they’re not having those experiences, which means they lose out on the everyday benefits of meditation. They lock themselves into a cycle of relapse, like somebody who only goes to the gym when they hate their body in the mirror. They’re going to keep experiencing the thing they hate so they can do the thing their body needs. They can just do the thing their body needs without waiting to hurt themselves first.

Anxiety can be a welcome signal to us that points at something in need of support or change in our lives. You don’t have to try to cover up that signal. Instead, it can help to recognize what needs changing, and make that change.

 

 

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