5 Ways Meditation for Anxiety Can Calm Your Chaos

7 min read -
Man practicing meditation for anxiety
Table of Contents
Summary: Did you know that practicing meditation for anxiety can help you find long-lasting peace of mind? Discover how with the guidance of Mindvalley experts.

The heart flutters, your hands shake, and you’re convinced the world’s about to end… All over a dentist appointment next Tuesday? This is anxiety at its finest, and it often has the audacity to crash your party uninvited. 

There are several things that can help you on this merry-go-round. However, one effective method to ease your way into a new peace of mind is to use meditation for anxiety.

In a world that’s spinning faster than a DJ’s turntable, anxiety is becoming a constant companion for many of us. But as Dr. Caroline Leaf, cognitive neuroscientist and trainer of Mindvalley’s Calm Mind: A Scientific Method for Managing Anxiety and Depression Quest, says, “What your mind creates, only your mind can take away.”

What Is Anxiety?

Anxiety is when you feel nervous or scared. It’s normal to feel this way, especially when you’re stressed or in danger, because it’s like your body’s alarm system telling you to be alert.  

But sometimes, people feel scared or worried too much, and for a long time. This isn’t normal and is known as an anxiety disorder. It can make you feel restless, tired, distracted, and grumpy. It can also make it hard for you to sleep or cause you to worry too much.

In fact, according to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults every year. However, “depression and anxiety are not mental illnesses,” explains Dr. Leaf in her Quest. “They’re actually warning signs that something is going on in your life.”

Important: If your anxiety is making it hard for you to do things you usually do, it’s a good idea to talk to someone who can help, like a doctor or a counselor.

Why Do We Have Anxiety? 3 Main Causes

Anxiety is our body’s way of keeping us safe from harm. But when we get scared or worried too much and for no clear reason, it could be because of how our brain works, our genes, our personality, or things that have happened in our life.

Let’s consider the main causes of anxiety as a mix of elements, blending together just like ingredients in a complex recipe. 

  1. First, we have our psychological makeup—our habitual thought patterns. Those of us prone to anxiety might magnify risks, seeing life as if through a set of binoculars, making small issues appear monumental.

    Biologically, genetics and brain chemistry have their say. Anxiety, like a talent for piano or an affinity for puzzles, can pass through generations. Our “fight or flight” response, an evolutionary gift, can overreact to modern-day “threats,” like looming deadlines or social situations.
  1. Then, our environment steps in. Major life events, traumas, or even global events, like the COVID-19 pandemic, can stir up anxiety.
  1. Lastly, lifestyle choices—the food we eat, our sleep quality, and our exercise habits—can influence our anxiety levels. A restless night or a caffeine overload might have you feeling more on edge.

In essence, anxiety is handy when there’s danger, but not so great when set off by day-to-day stressors. The good news is, recognizing the alarm is the first step towards managing it.

What Is Meditation?

Meditation is a time-honored practice, with origins tracing back thousands of years, that can take many different forms. From mindfulness to transcendental, loving-kindness to Zen, there’s a flavor of meditation to suit every taste.

Look at it this way: You’re watching your favorite movie. You’re so immersed, so absorbed, that the world outside ceases to exist. 

Similarly, that’s how meditation works. 

It’s not about emptying your mind (a common misconception); it’s about focusing on it. You could focus on your breath, like it’s the latest cliffhanger episode, or observe your thoughts and feelings like a curious spectator.

Meditation is like a workout that strengthens your attention muscles, fosters self-awareness, and promotes a sense of calm. And you can also explore upgraded versions of a meditation practice, such as The 6 Phase Meditation, created by Vishen, founder of Mindvalley. 

You’ll see that this can be “a form of transcendent practice that allows you to go into your mind and optimize the very act of being human,” as he explains. 

A woman doing a meditation for anxiety outdoors in a garden

Benefits of Meditation

Meditation offers lots of benefits, extending beyond just mental wellness. Think of it as your all-in-one wellness app, offering a variety of upgrades to your overall well-being, according to research done in the past few years.

Physical benefits:

  • Better sleep. Like a lullaby for the mind, mindfulness meditation has been shown to improve sleep quality.
  • Lower blood pressure. Just as a calming sea breeze soothes, meditation can reduce blood pressure. 

Emotional benefits:

  • Reduced stress. Consider meditation as a stress ball for the mind. Mindfulness can trigger a relaxation response, countering the stress effect.
  • Improved emotional well-being. Like a mood-enhancing filter on your favorite photo app, regular meditation can boost positivity and reduce depressive symptoms.

Mental benefits:

  • Increased focus. Meditation can act like a concentration booster shot, as it enhances attention and focus.
  • Improved memory. Think of meditation as a memory gym workout, helping you prevent memory decline.

Learn more: The Go-To Guide to Meditation: Techniques, Benefits, and Tips

How Does Meditation Help Reduce Stress and Anxiety?

Unraveling the connection between meditation and its ability to mitigate stress and anxiety requires a peek into the workings of your mind and body. Meditation, in its various forms, acts as a calming balm applied to an overactive nervous system.

  • In a stressful situation, your body instinctively switches on the fight-or-flight response. While this mechanism serves you well in situations of imminent danger, it’s less helpful when the source of your stress is a looming deadline or a challenging conversation. That’s when meditation works best for anxiety, offering a tool to tame this response.
  • On a physiological level, meditation encourages the body towards a state of relaxation. It decreases heart rate, blood pressure, and respiratory rate, fostering an overall sense of calm. Simultaneously, it increases alpha brain waves, which are associated with a relaxed and alert state of mind.
  • But the power of meditation extends beyond immediate stress relief. It’s a long-term investment in personal well-being. Regular practice encourages healthier lifestyle choices and builds resilience against future stressors.

Scientific research agrees with this, too. A study in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychiatry suggests that mindfulness-based stress reduction—a meditation technique for anxiety—significantly reduces anxiety symptoms and enhances the overall quality of life.

How long does it take for meditation to work for anxiety?

Simply put, just as every body responds differently to exercise, every mind responds differently to meditation.

The benefits of meditation don’t typically appear overnight. It’s a gradual process that requires consistent practice, much like cultivating a garden.

It’s about developing a habit—a mental muscle that helps manage stress and anxiety over time.

Scientifically, it varies greatly from person to person. However, studies have shown promising results in as little as eight weeks of consistent practice. One particular research study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine revealed significant improvements in anxiety symptoms after an eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction program.

So, the bottom line? Start meditating today, be consistent, and have a little patience. The blossoms of tranquility are worth the wait.

When starting your journey to soothe the internal stress you may feel in your life, you might ask yourself how to do meditation for anxiety.

Here are some of Mindvalley’s guided meditations to help you get started:

1. Stress release meditation | Emily Fletcher

This audio session is a powerful and introspective breathing meditation where you’ll ask yourself some existential questions to remind you of the power of now. Emily Fletcher, a leading meditation expert and the trainer of Mindvalley’s The M Word Quest, guides you through a deep release of emotional burdens that may cause you excess stress.

Stress Release Meditation with Emily Fletcher | Mindvalley

2. Powerful morning meditation for a beautiful stress-free day | Sonia Choquette

Sonia Choquette, intuition expert and trainer of Mindvalley’s Sixth Sense Superpower Quest, designed this morning meditation to gently awaken your body, mind, and spirit as you step into a brand new day filled with possibilities. Experience a deep sense of peace and relaxation as you breathe into your heart and invite your spirit to guide your day.

Powerful Morning Meditation for a Beautiful Stress-Free Day with Sonia Choquette | Mindvalley

3. The 6 Phase Meditation | Vishen

This meditation not only greatly enhances your brain power and emotional state but also completely transforms you—both consciously and unconsciously. It isn’t about clearing your mind; it’s about engaging your mind and manifesting abundance in every aspect of your life while letting go of what no longer serves you.

The 6 Phase Meditation Guided by Vishen Lakhiani

4. Free yourself from depression and anxiety meditation | Marisa Peer

Marisa Peer, famous hypnotherapist and trainer of Mindvalley’s Rapid Transformational Hypnotherapy for Abundance Quest, helps you unravel peace from within to transform your inner world. You can unlock abundance and live a stress-free life by building a daily habit of meditation.

Marisa peer meditation
Mindvalley Members can access this on the Mindvalley app.

5. Meditation for reducing anxiety | Bradley Morris

This is a calming meditation by Bradley Morris, founder of Majik Media, designed to bring you back into your body and connect to your center. You may find that there is still space within, free of stress, worry, and anxiety.

Meditation for Reducing Anxiety | Omvana by Mindvalley

Find Peace From Within

If your life has been ruled by the overwhelming spiral of anxiety, you can slowly ease out of your mind’s patterns and stress responses. And one safe way to do so is by engaging in stress-releasing habits such as meditation.

However, you don’t have to be alone on your journey to finding inner peace. If you need some guidance along the way, Mindvalley is the place for you.

With transformational quests and a variety of specially curated daily meditations, you can say goodbye to a life filled with worry and stress. And here’s what may help you on your path to releasing anxiety:

  • Dr. Caroline Leaf’s Calm Mind: A Scientific Method for Managing Anxiety and Depression Quest
  • Vishen’s 6 Phase Meditation Quest
  • Emily Fletcher’s The M Word Quest
  • Sonia Choquette’s Sixth Sense Superpower Quest
  • Marisa Peer’s Rapid Transformational Hypnotherapy for Abundance Quest

By claiming your free access today, you can sample classes from these programs and many others. Don’t be afraid to unlock a lifetime of peace and joy.

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Alexandra Tudor

Alexandra Tudor

Alexandra Tudor is a former content writer for Mindvalley and a psychology enthusiast. From clinical experience working with both children and adults, she's now in the process of becoming a licensed psychotherapist, specializing in the IFS method and family constellation therapy.
Written by

Alexandra Tudor

Alexandra Tudor is a former content writer for Mindvalley and a psychology enthusiast. From clinical experience working with both children and adults, she's now in the process of becoming a licensed psychotherapist, specializing in the IFS method and family constellation therapy.
Vishen, founder & CEO of Mindvalley
Expertise by

Vishen is an award-winning entrepreneur, speaker, New York Times best-selling author, and founder and CEO of Mindvalley: a global education movement with millions of students worldwide. He is the creator of Mindvalley Quests, A-Fest, Mindvalley University, and various other platforms to help shape lives in the field of personal transformation. He has led Mindvalley to enter and train Fortune 500 companies, governments, the UN, and millions of people around the world. Vishen’s work in personal growth also extends to the public sector, as a speaker and activist working to evolve the core systems that influence our lives—including education, work culture, politics, and well-being.

Dr. Caroline Leaf
Expertise by

Dr. Caroline Leaf is the trainer of Mindvalley’s Calmness Quest, as well as a communication pathologist, cognitive neuroscientist, and best-selling author of “Emotional Agility,” “Switch on Your Brain,” and “Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess.” She was one of the first in her field to study how the brain can change (neuroplasticity) with directed mind input.

How we reviewed this article
Mindvalley is committed to providing reliable and trustworthy content. We rely heavily on evidence-based sources, including peer-reviewed studies and insights from recognized experts in various personal growth fields. Our goal is to keep the information we share both current and factual. To learn more about our dedication to reliable reporting, you can read our detailed editorial standards.
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Fact-Checking: Our Process

Mindvalley is committed to providing reliable and trustworthy content. 

We rely heavily on evidence-based sources, including peer-reviewed studies and insights from recognized experts in various personal growth fields. Our goal is to keep the information we share both current and factual. 

The Mindvalley fact-checking guidelines are based on:

To learn more about our dedication to reliable reporting, you can read our detailed editorial standards.