Meditating with anxiety

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
Post Reply
hohohodam
Posts: 14
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2016 9:03 pm

Meditating with anxiety

Post by hohohodam »

Even though the pandemic is nearly over I have this big anxiety that's hindered my progress in meditation.

My chest feels so heavy.

Is there a practice that targets that specifically?

Thank you.
User avatar
bodom
Posts: 6675
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: Meditating with anxiety

Post by bodom »

hohohodam wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 4:57 am Even though the pandemic is nearly over I have this big anxiety that's hindered my progress in meditation.

My chest feels so heavy.

Is there a practice that targets that specifically?

Thank you.
I've struggled with an anxiety disorder most of my life now. It most readily appears in my chest area as a tightness and heaviness like you describe. I have found walking meditation to be an excellent way of burning off all that anxious energy. Take your attention off the chest and put it on your feet for awhile while you walk and see if that helps to open up the blockage. If it happens while sitting try to keep the attention on the abdomen area and breathe deep into the stomach rather than shallow breaths in the chest.

Also during the day outside of formal meditation try keep an eye on that problem area in your chest and try to breathe through it and keep it open. Check in to your body every few minutes during the day and take a few deep relaxing breaths. This should help for now. If it continues maybe see a Dr for anxiety. I have found some medications to be helpful in the past and I also still take some calming herbal supplements to help as well. Ultimately your meditation practice will be your best bet in conquering anxiety but there's nothing wrong with talking to a Dr in the meantime.

:anjali:
This is our foundation: to have sati, recollection, and sampajañña, self-awareness, whether standing, walking, sitting, or reclining. Whatever arises, just leave it be, don’t cling to it. Whether it’s like or dislike, happiness or suffering, doubt or certainty... Don’t try to label everything, just know it. See that all the things that arise in the mind are simply sensations. They are transient. They arise, exist and cease. That’s all there is to them, they have no self or being, they are neither ‘us’ nor ‘them’. None of them are worthy of clinging to.

- Ajahn Chah
Srilankaputra
Posts: 1210
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2018 3:56 am
Location: Sri Lanka

Re: Meditating with anxiety

Post by Srilankaputra »

You could try, reflecting on your own good qualities. Wealth that can't be washed away in a flood, that doesn't depend on the economic situation.

And metta. There must be many others in this situation.

Wish you all success in all your endeavours. Goodbye!
Haniver
Posts: 38
Joined: Thu Aug 25, 2011 3:32 am
Location: San Luis Potosi, Mexico

Re: Meditating with anxiety

Post by Haniver »

Inside anxiety there's desire and hatred. You can watch them one by one:
Find the desire that says: "I want this to be better. I want to be better". Relaaax it.
Find the hatred that says: "You're wrong. Everything's wrong. This sucks". Listen to it without much consideration, let it pass.
Watch the parade: desire, hatred, desire, hatred, let go...
User avatar
Pondera
Posts: 2002
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2011 10:02 pm

Re: Meditating with anxiety

Post by Pondera »

I experience anxiety as an emptiness in my heart. A darkness. Usually time related - or obligation related.

“I can’t do this”
“There’s too much to do”

I sweat from my forehead. My heart beats faster.

I’ve had success just letting go of attention on the bottom of the heart.

And then other problems arise. Like suicidal thoughts. Luckily I’m nowhere near the stage of following through on anything. These thoughts are just invasive and troubling.
“Monk, the property of light, the property of beauty, the property of the dimension of the infinitude of space, the property of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, the property of the dimension of nothingness: These properties are to be reached as perception attainments.[2] The property of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception is to be reached as a remnant-of-fabrications attainment. The property of the cessation of feeling & perception is to be reached as a cessation attainment."[3]

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
woodsman
Posts: 113
Joined: Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:45 am

Re: Meditating with anxiety

Post by woodsman »

bodom wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 12:01 pm
hohohodam wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 4:57 am Even though the pandemic is nearly over I have this big anxiety that's hindered my progress in meditation.

My chest feels so heavy.

Is there a practice that targets that specifically?

Thank you.
I've struggled with an anxiety disorder most of my life now. It most readily appears in my chest area as a tightness and heaviness like you describe. I have found walking meditation to be an excellent way of burning off all that anxious energy. Take your attention off the chest and put it on your feet for awhile while you walk and see if that helps to open up the blockage. If it happens while sitting try to keep the attention on the abdomen area and breathe deep into the stomach rather than shallow breaths in the chest.

Also during the day outside of formal meditation try keep an eye on that problem area in your chest and try to breathe through it and keep it open. Check in to your body every few minutes during the day and take a few deep relaxing breaths. This should help for now. If it continues maybe see a Dr for anxiety. I have found some medications to be helpful in the past and I also still take some calming herbal supplements to help as well. Ultimately your meditation practice will be your best bet in conquering anxiety but there's nothing wrong with talking to a Dr in the meantime.

:anjali:
I am a psychotherapist of over 20 years and have to say this is as good advice as I have ever offered or heard. Good for you.....listen to Bodom!!

:anjali:
User avatar
bodom
Posts: 6675
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: Meditating with anxiety

Post by bodom »

woodsman wrote: Thu Jun 10, 2021 12:42 pm
bodom wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 12:01 pm
hohohodam wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 4:57 am Even though the pandemic is nearly over I have this big anxiety that's hindered my progress in meditation.

My chest feels so heavy.

Is there a practice that targets that specifically?

Thank you.
I've struggled with an anxiety disorder most of my life now. It most readily appears in my chest area as a tightness and heaviness like you describe. I have found walking meditation to be an excellent way of burning off all that anxious energy. Take your attention off the chest and put it on your feet for awhile while you walk and see if that helps to open up the blockage. If it happens while sitting try to keep the attention on the abdomen area and breathe deep into the stomach rather than shallow breaths in the chest.

Also during the day outside of formal meditation try keep an eye on that problem area in your chest and try to breathe through it and keep it open. Check in to your body every few minutes during the day and take a few deep relaxing breaths. This should help for now. If it continues maybe see a Dr for anxiety. I have found some medications to be helpful in the past and I also still take some calming herbal supplements to help as well. Ultimately your meditation practice will be your best bet in conquering anxiety but there's nothing wrong with talking to a Dr in the meantime.

:anjali:
I am a psychotherapist of over 20 years and have to say this is as good advice as I have ever offered or heard. Good for you.....listen to Bodom!!

:meditate:
Thank you woodsman. :heart:

:anjali:
This is our foundation: to have sati, recollection, and sampajañña, self-awareness, whether standing, walking, sitting, or reclining. Whatever arises, just leave it be, don’t cling to it. Whether it’s like or dislike, happiness or suffering, doubt or certainty... Don’t try to label everything, just know it. See that all the things that arise in the mind are simply sensations. They are transient. They arise, exist and cease. That’s all there is to them, they have no self or being, they are neither ‘us’ nor ‘them’. None of them are worthy of clinging to.

- Ajahn Chah
tamdrin
Posts: 481
Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2011 7:34 pm
Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand

Re: Meditating with anxiety

Post by tamdrin »

Cultivating metta for yourself may be beneficial when anxious. Make your environment very peaceful and comfortable and start the meditation by thinking "May I be well, may I be happy" for 5 or 10 minutes.
User avatar
frank k
Posts: 1139
Joined: Sat Jan 01, 2011 4:55 pm
Contact:

Re: Meditating with anxiety

Post by frank k »

a more structured daily exercise program helps greatly in melting energetic blockages in the chest (and anywhere else).

More quiescent or static meditation postures like sitting and standing, casual walking, yoga, gives more room for thoughts to invade.

But if you do something that is more cardio vascular and sustained, for example, a relaxed slow jogging, biking, swimming, or 20-30min or longer, the physical exertion is going to force energy circulation in the whole body and keep your mind occupied from what it did before, thinking negative thoughts that build up chest blockages. Instead, your thoughts in moderate exercise are going to be drawn to how to move your body efficiently so you can relax and not get tired out too quickly.

Other types of gentle but more cardio vascular types of physical exercise work well:
https://lucid24.org/misc/qigor/index.html
www.lucid24.org/sted : ☸Lucid24.org🐘 STED definitions
www.audtip.org/audtip: 🎙️🔊Audio Tales in Pāli: ☸Dharma and Vinaya in many languages
Post Reply