Calming Your Nervous System: A Meditation to Soothe Anxiety and Stress

Calming Your Nervous System: A Meditation to Soothe Anxiety and Stress

Hello, I'm Linda Hall. When we're living with the effects of trauma or a recent shock, our body holds the memory of that trauma and shock and creates symptoms of almost existential anxiety and stress. It's as if our bodies don't feel safe, and so we don't feel safe within our bodies. This meditation is designed to help calm your nervous system, reassure your body, and soothe the you inside, so that you feel more comfortable in your own skin and more comfortable in being in the present moment.

Give yourself a few moments to get comfortable, crossing your arms and your legs. When you're ready, you can close your eyes. As you do so, breathe out alongside your open mouth, allowing your body to begin to soften and release what it's brought with it here. Come down into where the weight of your body rests on the surface directly beneath you. As you breathe out again, give more of your body's weight to support and become aware, in your own time, of the even flow of your breath without trying to change it.

Now, sensing your body's volume and the movements it makes as you breathe, notice the support directly beneath your body once again and sit back, giving even more of your body's weight to it, allowing your body to soften into the support. Just stay with the support, noticing it's there. In this moment, tune in with its steadiness. Breathe down to the steadiness, sit back a little more directly onto the steadiness, breathe up from the steadiness, breathe the steadiness up into your body, into the you inside, and let yourself know it's completely okay to be exactly as you are right now. Just sit back on the steadiness.

Anything you notice in your body or in your mind, see them as disturbances on your surface, and become aware of the sensation of air entering your nostrils and leaving. Open those sensory receptors in your nostrils and begin to slow your breath down as you explore the sensation of air entering, filling your nostrils, going deeper. Notice the air is cooler, then warmer, as it leaves. Notice the expansion of the in-breath, the stretching motion. Notice the release of the out-breath, the softening, letting go motion. Notice how the body softens and releases as the breath releases.

Allow the body to soften and release yet more of what it's bored with, what it no longer needs to carry. This body that has carried with it memories, stuff that perhaps it thought it still needed, perhaps it didn't realize that it's okay, it's time to begin to let go of what it's been carrying, and it can do this gently in layers and its own time. As you reassure your body that it's safe, that it's here in this moment, just imagine putting a lovely warm arm around the whole of your body, the warm arm of reassurance that you're safe in this moment.

As you feel the contact your body is making with the steadiness right there directly beneath your body, know that the steadiness is there for your body and for you in this moment. Reassuring your body, it's completely okay to be as it is. It can take its time, breathing out any judgments you've had about your body or about yourself. As you soften your attitude to yourself, to your body as well, imagine or sense loving-kindness surrounding you, like a lovely warm nest all the way around you. This loving-kindness understands you completely, sees you, hears you, accepts you totally, values you highly. Lean back into your nest of loving-kindness, breathing loving-kindness in and out as your breath ebbs and flows.

Let the loving-kindness warm you on the inside as well as the outside. Take in any self-doubt, any self-judgment, reminding you that you are safe in this moment. You can allow your breath to slow and lengthen some more in its own time if it feels comfortable. As you come down into the rise and fall of your breath, sitting back into its gentle rhythm, as your body softens a little more with each out-breath, releases another layer with each out-breath, and comes close into rest on the steadiness right there directly beneath you.

Let your mind soften and sit back in your head to rest along with the body. As the body rests on steadiness, let your shoulders soften and your eyes soften behind your closed eyelids. As you breathe out, let go of what they no longer need to carry. Notice you're breathing in from the space around you and out into it. Become aware of the touch of the air on your face and body, a gentle touch that's just with you now, a companion. Notice the tapestry of the here-and-now around you, with its play of light and shade right round your peripheral vision. Notice it's just in the moment, asking nothing of you, demanding nothing from you.

You can allow the sounds around you to be there as well, yet distant. Let them pass by. If any thoughts come in, you can just notice that's happened and let them pass by as well, like clouds in the sky. The steadiness still supports you and your breath, being the steadiness. Just imagine placing around yourself a lovely protective ring of light. It's going to filter any negative energies out to protect you over the coming hours and days. The steadiness will be right there with you every step of the way.

Notice the you sitting within your chest as it rises and falls on your breath. Appreciate yourself for being the extraordinary being that you are, being of value, being of worth. Give thanks. And in your own time, you can draw this meditation to a close with any reassuring statements or words that come to mind. Notice your breathing from the space around you and out again into it. Feel your fingers, feel your toes. The expansion of the in-breath, the release of the out-breath. Now, just here in this moment, nothing more, nothing less. Remind yourself it's completely okay to be exactly as you are right now, completely okay to be exactly who you are right now. Open your eyes when you're ready. I hope you've enjoyed this meditation and found it helpful. Go well.

Leave a Comment