Anxiety is one of the leading caused for insomnia these days. Our busy lives creates stress, which in turn gives us anxiety. Trying to tame and turn off those worrying thoughts is not always an easy feat. When your anxiety is keeping you awake, it can feel like a restful nights sleep is worlds away. But you can get a good nights rest with meditation.
There are many different forms and practices of meditation but at the end of the day many of the goals and affects are the same. The goal is to gain control over your thoughts and emotions. Gaining control over your anxious mind will help you to get the much needed rest you so desire.
Meditation for Deep Sleep
This type of meditation focuses on getting your body and mind in a prime state to allow you to fall into a deep and uninterrupted sleep. A popular practice that utilizes Deep Sleep Meditation is Yoga Nidra.
Nidra means sleep and is a very low intensive version of yoga that is easily accomplished by just about anyone. Typically you begin a session of Yoga Nidra in a laying position on your back with your palms facing up and slightly open. You then welcome the thoughts and sensations of the world around you as they come and go. All the while staying aware of your breath and maintaining a focus on a specific set intention of positive mindfulness.
You can even practice this meditation while laying in bed and go directly to sleep after your meditation.
Meditation for Healing
If you heal the mind, your body will follow. The mind has an incredibly strong effect on how our bodies behave. When it comes to healing, having a healthy positive mindset can do wonders for healing the body. But how could your mind possibly have such an effect on the body? Well Dr. Bruce Lipton, an American Developmental Biologist references the placebo effect. “Your mind controls your biology. That’s what the placebo effect is about; the mind believes the pill will work and so it does.” – Dr. Bruce Lipton.
The placebo effect is just an example of how strongly the mind can change your biology. This is just scratching the service of what our minds are capable of doing. As long as you are following the directions of your medical doctor as well, having a positive and healthy mindset can only help to encourage your body to recover and heal.
Similarly to other forms of meditation there is a focus on relaxing the body, being aware of your breath, and keeping negative or judgmental thoughts at bay. After that, the main difference is the focus on healing. Many of the practices involve visualizing the healing process. Whether that includes extricating the source of pain or cause of the illness. Visualizing it melting away little by little. Or visualizing the healing or mending process. Seeing and feeling what it will be like for the bone to mend. Or even envisioning in detail what it will be like to be healed and healthy again.
The main focus is to fully believe in the bodies ability to heal with the help of modern medicine and all of the other medications and exercises your are utilizing in order to heal the body. If you believe it all will work, the likelihood of your healing goes way up.
You can meditate in order to fall asleep or there is also deeply relaxing and restful meditation where your conscious mind is still activated. The second is commonly referred to as Sleep Meditation. This practice is restorative and can bring a lot of rest to the body and peace to the mind while technically staying awake. Common versions of Sleep Meditations are Mindful Meditation and Concentration Meditation.
- Mindful Meditation – This involves keeping your mind focused on the here and now. Concentrating on you breath and often checking in with your body slowly from head to toe.
- Concentration Meditation – Very similar to Mindful Meditation, Concentration Meditation maintains a specific focus or concentration on something outside of your body. Having a soft focus as you gaze an object like the flicker of a candle is an example of the type of concentration we are speaking of. Keeping the focus on this object while maintaining a slow even breath, and an otherwise clear mind.
Meditation for Anxiety
The feelings of anxiety are likely something everyone has felt before. It is that same feeling you would get being called into the principles office. Sweaty palms, racing heart, and upset stomach. It is all a part of when an outside force triggers the release of adrenaline in the body. The difference between being anxious and having an anxiety disorder is very different. There are different kinds of anxiety disorders, however they all center around when your adrenal glands are not working correctly, causing you to feel extreme or constant anxiety.
Meditation can help both anxious feelings and anxiety disorders. Research shows that even with disorders consistent meditation practices can truly help people with regulating the severity of their emotions.
Goals of meditation for anxiety:
- recognizing triggers of anxiety
- gaining the ability to exist with those anxiety inducing triggers
- training the mind to reduce the severity or frequency of the reactions
How To Meditate:
Guided Sleep Meditation
Using guided meditation in person or through a recording is a great way for beginning individuals to learn how the practice works. It is a low stress way of walking through different versions of meditation with very little pressure. There are many free meditation guides you can find online. So many in fact that you are sure to find one that suites your needs and preferences.
We highly suggest searching through YouTube videos and finding one that you like. However, there is also a plethora of guided meditations you can get in person as well. Either through yoga studies or with meditation guides and gurus that will meet you in person to guide you through different meditation practices.
10 Minute Meditation for Sleep
It doesn’t have to take a long time to gain the benefits of meditation. There are plenty of quick and easy 10 minute guided meditations online. You can also set a ten minute timer if you prefer to guide yourself through your meditation practices. This is a great tactic if part of your anxiety is stemming toward the lack of a set finish line. When you are attempting to get lost in concentration and thought, time can seem to fly by or even stop completely. Knowing that in ten minutes time you will be able to resume your life can be very calming. It can also allow you to give yourself permission to completely let go into your meditation.
Meditation for Kids:
Learn How to Relax
“Just relax!” the words anyone suffering with anxiety dreads to hear. It is difficult and can even feel impossible to relax when anxiety has a grip on you. It can be even more difficult for kids. This is why meditation is a practice and not a quick fix. You are teaching your body how to relax.
Breathing and relaxing the body is number one in nearly all types of meditation. This is all geared toward getting the body to a state of relaxation. This is a great place to start when learning how to relax the body and mind.
Sleep Meditation for Kids
Meditation is a great tool for kids, while it is likely going to be a more fluid and less focused version of meditation, it can help teach relaxation and stillness. As a first step, try using relaxing music and teaching breathing exercises. Also let your little one be a part of your meditations, this will familiarize them with the practice.
Guided Sleep Meditation for Kids
There are different versions of meditation that are geared toward kids. Yoga for you and your little one is a great place to start. Also check out videos online that specifically create their content for kids. We love the Cosmic Kids channel on YouTube. They are great videos for meditation and yoga with themes like Frozen.
Other Ways to Meditate:
Meditation Music for Sleep
Outside of guided videos there is also music specifically geared toward meditation. It tends to be gentle and with little to no distractions, this makes it great to fall asleep to.
If you’re interested in falling asleep to music or other sounds. Check out our article on good music to sleep, Music For Sleep.
Meditation Sounds for Sleep
Outside of melodic music there are other sounds that are friendly for meditation. Nature sounds are a popular choice. Other sounds often used with meditation are gongs or bells like the Tibetan Meditation Singing Bowl. They create a long ringing noise in low tones that are very calming.
Chanting and mantras are sounds that you follow and create from within. Some, like the classic OM chanting does not consist of any specific thoughts or words. While other mantras can be vocalized thoughts or phrases you are focusing on. It is also believed that certain tones create balance and peace within the body.
Following meditation guides on YouTube is an easy and free way to test drive meditation. If you are new to this whole process and you are wanting try before you buy, YouTube is a great option. There is a video out there for just about every kind of meditation you can think of. Give each one an initial listen, make sure you enjoy the instructors voice and guidance. You want to ensure it is a good match for you before you sit down and immediately start trying to meditate.
The hormones that cause the fight-or-flight mechanism, ultimately disrupts our immune system, energy levels, and sleep. Meditation is a tool to fight anxiety causing hormones from starting. The process can have an initial relaxing effect, however it works best when it is turned into a training process just like training the muscles in your body, you are training your neural pathways to fire in a different direction. It takes time and practice.
So we suggest you find what type of meditation works best for you and then implement it into your nightly routine for the best results.
Is your bedroom set up to help you have your best sleep? Check out our guide to creating a Feng Shui Bedroom.