relaxing meditation

Using Meditation to Decrease Anxiety and Stress

Meditation is a practice that has been used for centuries to increase mindfulness, concentration, and relaxation. It has also been shown to decrease anxiety. If you’re looking for a way to decrease anxiety or stress, meditation may be the practice for you.

Meditation is the process of becoming familiar with the self by becoming familiar with the mind. This practice creates a heightened awareness of your mind’s mental patterns and habits. Mindfulness meditation involves returning your attention to the present moment over and over again. This practice helps with training the mind to not get caught up in obsessive thinking or thought loops, rumination, etc. This meditation practice increases one’s ability to attain peace and serenity by finding a place for the mind to rest and be settled in the present moment.

Anxiety and stress are part of life for most people. With mindfulness meditation, you can learn how to manage through anxiety and stress by training yourself to breathe and return to the present moment instead of going into stress reactions such as panic attacks or anxiety. It takes practice, but the benefits are worth it.

7 Simple steps to begin using Meditation for anxiety and stress relief

Research has proven that meditation is one of the best ways to manage anxiety and high stress levels. It’s a simple process that can be started right away, and by practicing regularly, you’ll find that your anxiety and stress will begin to lessen over time. The research also indicates the positive effects of meditation for increasing feelings of wellness and resilience and decreasing the negative effects of burnout and overwhelm. With the right techniques, you can start experiencing its benefits right away. Keep in mind that it is more beneficial to practice regularly rather than in the midst of a stressful event.

You don’t have to be a monk or a yogi to meditate for anxiety and stress relief. All you need is a timer and a quiet place to sit.

In this blog, we’ll outline the 7 simple steps you need to follow in order to meditate effectively for anxiety and stress relief. No app required. All you need is a timer and a quiet place to sit.

We hope that this blog will help you improve your mental health and relieve stress in the simplest way possible.

1. Find a quiet location and comfortable sitting position.

comfortable seating
Comfortable Seating

It’s helpful to find a quiet location. This can be a room or area of your home or office where you will not be disturbed for a period of several minutes. A comfortable chair or cushion is highly recommended for optimal stillness and settling into the body. Over time, you may come to choose a different location depending on what works well for you and what doesn’t. Once you’ve discovered your meditation location, your mind will learn to associate stillness with this location.

2. Set a timer for 5 to 10 minutes.

set a timer
Set a timer

It’s important during meditation to not only pay attention to what you are doing physically—attention should also be focused on how you are feeling emotionally. If you’ve never meditated before, start with 3 minutes and work your way up to 5. Then to 10 minutes. By setting a timer, you are giving yourself a parameter within which the mind knows a starting point and an ending point. Busy minds like these parameters for increased feelings of being organized and in control.

3. Set your intention for the meditation session (e.g. peace, calm, stillness, etc.)

intention for the meditation
Set Your Intention

If you’re new to meditation, it can be difficult to know how to set your intention. I recommend connecting with your heart to see what you’re longing for: possibly a sense of peace or feeling grounded. Consider something that you would like to incorporate more of into your daily life. Whatever you notice you are longing for (e.g., peace/fortitude/resilience), then set this as your intention. Make a declaration to yourself such as, “I am experiencing peace.” Or “I am feeling grounded.” It’s important to set your intention at the beginning of the meditation session. By setting an intention, you create an essence of what you would like to receive or experience either during the meditation session or afterwards (post-meditation) as a result of having done the meditation. This intention-setting has a powerful and positive effect on the meditation process and its benefits. For example, if you have anxiety and are looking for a sense of calm, simply setting the intention of calm will help you achieve that goal more effectively.

4. Breathe deeply and slowly

breathe deeply
Breathe deeply

The breath is a means of bringing your attention into this present moment. When you think about it, the present moment is all we have. The past is done and the future is not here. Training the mind to follow the breath allows it to let go of thoughts of the past and worries about the future. If you experience any difficulty in meditation, simply imagine your breath is flowing in and out of your heart or chest area.

5. Choose a focal point such as a word or image. (e.g., a flower, a favorite object, your intention in one word, etc.)

choose focal point
Choose a Focal Point

By choosing a focal point such as a word or image, you give your mind a place to return to once it has wandered off. This focal point can be a word or an image, or simply the breath. Some people like using the word “Peace” or “Calm”. For people who are more visual, the image of a favorite flower or symbol is a good focal point. If you’re not sure what focal point to choose, simply place your attention on your out-breath. Over time you may want to try a different focal point, but stick with one for a few months before moving on to another. The idea is to give the mind a place to rest and find some stillness.

6. Return your attention to your focal point again and again and again.

attention to your focal point
Return your Attention

When you become aware that your mind has wandered, let go of the thought (release it), and return your attention to the word or image. Do this over and over and over again as often as needed, without judgment. Each time you return your attention to the word/image, consider the idea that you are beginning anew. This keeps the mind from getting bored. Simply tell yourself that you are starting over each time. With regular practice, this type of meditation can help you to train your mind to pause and open, allowing you to achieve greater mental dexterity and clarity. It will also increase your patience with yourself.

7. When the timer ends, recall your intention and thank yourself without judgment of the experience.

Thank yourself

Once you hear the timer going off, stop the timer and take a few moments to thank yourself for taking the time to do this important practice. It’s also a good idea to take another moment or two to recall the intention that you set for yourself at the beginning of the practice and hold it in your heart, setting it forth to be a part of your experience throughout the rest of the day or evening.


This type of meditation helps you relax and take care of your mental health in the most beneficial way possible. It can be practiced anywhere at any time, and it’s a great way to de-stress after a long day. It’s also important to note that this type of meditation does not require any special clothing or equipment, making it accessible for everyone.

Meditation is an excellent way to reduce anxiety and stress. By following these 7 simple steps, you can begin using meditation for anxiety and stress relief right away. This is a simple practice that will help you teach your mind to pause and respond to a stressful situation rather than impulsively reacting to it.

Optimal You Coaching offers meditation sessions and guidance to help you achieve a beneficial meditative experience.

Thank you for your interest in this powerful practice!

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