Breathing Through Anxiety

Breathing through anxiety – a quick and simple meditation to let go of the damaging effects of nervous anticipation for any event. By Jill Lawson

Anticipation is an action that fosters excitement, but sometimes the expectant waiting can do more harm than good.

While preparing for an approaching hurricane heading for Hawaii, I experienced a type of anticipation that wreaked havoc on my adrenal glands and caused a spike in unpleasant sensations. This type of anticipation is neither healthy or helpful.

Distressing about a hurricane may (hopefully) never be in your future. However, anticipation of other happenings can be just as harmful to your wellbeing. If you struggle with anxiety, the expectant waiting for a non-life threatening event, good or bad, such as an upcoming job interview, your wedding, or a forced confrontation, can put the kibosh on your state of inner peace.

I created the following meditation after realising how much precious life-energy I wasted whilst awaiting a serious
disaster that fortunately didn’t take place in my location. If I could have only listened to my own advice then, I might
have been able to sleep, eat, laugh, and be well in the present moment. Instead, I was overcome with nagging and
relentless fright because I was worried about the future.

Use this meditation for breathing through anxiety to let go of the damaging effects of nervous anticipation, for any level, size, and scale of event.

Breathing Through Anxiety

Begin in a comfortable position. If your anticipation comes from a news report, turn off your iPhone, iPad, television,
radio, and/or put your newspaper in a different room. The news is good at inducing fear; so take all the time you need to clear your space and mind of the latest news reports. If your anticipation comes from thinking about a future event, you must trust that in the present moment, nothing has changed, and everything is still okay. Look around you, look within you, and say to yourself, “In this moment, everything is okay.” Repeat it until you realise it.

Now connect with your breath. While you lengthen and deepen each inhale and exhale, bring your awareness to
the subtle qualities of your life-force energy. Notice any sensations you feel in your chest, stomach, and head. If you
are experiencing anxiety, use your awareness of the present moment to calm these stress responses.

Keep in mind, that this meditation isn’t about disregarding the necessary preparations needed for what may be coming. It is about eliminating tension so you can feel at ease while being productive. It’s good to be ready for the future; you just don’t have to carry the burden of fear in doing so.

Jill Lawson is a writer and yoga teacher enjoying life on the island of Maui in Hawaii (

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