SOS Meditation for Anxiety

Do your thoughts start to run wild after a stressful situation has triggered fear and anxiety? Do you feel like you're on a runaway train, thoughts running in all directions making you more and more anxious? What can you do to apply the brakes to this "anxiety-worry spiral"? 

The key ingredients to dealing with anxiety are allowing it to be present, letting go of the worry thoughts that fuel it, and re-directing your attention. All of these elements play a part in this latest podcast meditation, SOS Meditation for Anxiety. It gently encourages you to let go of the thoughts that are fanning the flames of anxiety, and use the breath to guide the mind and body to a relaxed, calm place.

Allowing -- What we resist persists, when it comes to anxiety or any other emotion. You can think of emotions as a movement of energy, or even a chain of chemical reactions, in the body. Trying to push anxiety out or run away from it is like putting a dam in a river. It stops the flow. The water can't go anywhere. By allowing the anxiety to be there, it is allowed to run its course. 

Letting go of worry thoughts -- Fear is a signal that there is danger. When we feel anxious, even when there isn't a true threat present, the mind gets busy trying to understand what is happening and what to do. Without any obvious basis for the fear, the mind can go wild with worry thoughts and these thoughts make the fear even stronger. Letting go of these thoughts is essential to allowing the anxiety to pass.

Re-directing attention -- At the same time that anxiety is allowed to be present, we can direct our attention elsewhere. This is a subtle point: we are not resisting anxiety but rather "favoring" something else. In the case of this meditation, that something else is the breath. The meditation encourages you to pay attention to the breath. The pleasant, soothing rhythm of the breath and awareness of how the body feels as you breathe provides a calming focus for the mind.


Although this meditation can be used anytime you are anxious, it was especially designed for our new Meditation Rx Relief for Patients & Families app. Although the app has guided meditations specifically for use with medical situations and settings, most of the meditations can be used in other situations as well. 

Our newest app! Enjoy the best of our music for meditation, relaxation, yoga.

 Music Oasis for Meditation, Relaxation, Yoga

Music Oasis for Meditation, Relaxation, Yoga

At last -- we have compiled the best of Richard's music in our latest app -- Music Oasis for Meditation, Relaxation, YogaIf you enjoy the music in the background of our guided meditations, then you will love this app. It gives you the ability to listen to a piece for any length of time with a Timer feature. A Playlist feature allows you to create your own playlist, as well as including some preset playlists. You can also choose from 5 nature sounds to mix with the music if you like. Enjoy this uplifting instrumental music whenever you need calming, relaxation or soothing.

Needless to say, I am a great fan of Richard's music. As a long time practitioner and teacher of meditation, his music is imbued the very essence of the meditative experience and helps others to experience it. We have already received some inspiring feedback: "This is a beautiful app with wonderful music!" 

The app is available in the Apple app store.

Do our meditations contain "mixed messages"? (How to listen to our meditations!)

I just responded to an email with a great question -- in fact, I'm surprised I've never gotten this question before. It's an opportunity to remind everyone how to listen to our guided meditations. Here's the Q&A -- Q: I like the app (Simply Being) but what the guide is saying there is somewhat confusing : on one hand it's "open awareness to whatever is happening right now" and on the other hand "easy, there is nothing to do". These are 180 degrees different states of mind, as far as I interpret it.

A: Great question! The words are meant to help you experience a relaxed, meditative state. It is impossible to do that through precise instructions, so the instructions can seem like mixed messages or a paradox if they are taken too literally. The phrases are really just gentle prompts to allow the mind to do what it can naturally do -- let go. "Open awareness to whatever is happening right now" is not so much an instruction as a description of a natural state. If there isn't openness -- if you notice resistance to what is happening or some attempt to change it, you can let that go. The phrase "easy, there is nothing to do" is to encourage that letting go. (Resistance to and manipulation of what is naturally happening involves effort, "doing".)

You can just listen easily to the meditation, not trying to make sense of all the words. That's why we say in the instructions, "just let the words wash over you".

For those of you who do not have our apps -- I am copying our How to Listen instructions below. These instructions apply to all of our meditations, whether they are on an app, a CD or in the podcast.

"Listen easily to the guided meditations, allowing the words to 'wash over you'. You don't need to understand, or even hear, all the words. The words and phrases aren't instructions that are meant to be followed precisely. They are just gentle prompts to the mind."