My Favorite Meditations

Feeling a little anxious? So are we. Try these two tools when navigating the two different types of anxiety.

With very few exception, everyone is experiencing increased anxiety right now. And like a thumbprint, it manifests differently in each of us and at different times. For me, sometimes it comes in strong waves and has clear peaks and valleys. Other times, it’s a low-grade constant noise playing in the background.

Being an anxiety prone person in general, over the years I picked up two specific tools that help a lot. One is especially potent during intense I-can’t-take-this-another-moment waves or peak emotions. The other I often use when panic or anxiety isn’t at its highest, but won’t seem to fade on its own either.

Emergency Box Breathing

This technique is a like a security blanket for me. You can perform it sitting, laying down, or standing in the middle of a crowded grocery store—no one even has to know. It’s simple, time-tested and scientifically proven to calm the nervous system immediately. All you have to do is close your eyes (or not) and inhale on the count of four. Hold your breathe at the top for four counts, then exhale for four counts. Hold the breath out at the bottom for four counts, and then inhale again. Repeat as many times as necessary.

Grounding Gratitude Meditation

There are few other meditations as effective at changing my emotional state of being as this one. It’s just like box breathing in that you can do it anywhere and don’t need a thing. Just close your eyes and stand, lay or sit still and repeat the phrase “I am grateful for …” and then list all the things in your life you are thankful for—your food, clothes, family, friends, pets, experiences, anything. The challenge is to make the list so long you can’t help but shift your perspective and feel joy.

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