How Do I Practice Mindfulness Meditation for Social Anxiety Disorder?

Basic Tips to Get You Started with Mindfulness Meditation for SAD

Mindfulness meditation can help relieve anxiety.
Practice mindfulness meditation to relive anxiety. Muriel de Seze / Getty Images

Mindfulness meditation (also known as vipassana or insight meditation) can be helpful in learning to manage the symptoms of social anxiety disorder (SAD).

The practice of mindfulness meditation involves learning to become aware of your emotions and thoughts without analyzing or reacting to them. This can be accomplished through guided meditation practice.

Below are the basic steps to follow to begin a mindfulness meditation practice.

In addition to these basic steps to get started, you might wish to read literature or take a course to learn more about the roots of mindfulness meditation, and why it can be beneficial for your mental health.

Choose a length of practice.

Mindfulness meditation can be practiced daily, either for longer periods such as 20 to 40 minutes, or as mini-meditations throughout the day. You can help yourself practice mindfulness throughout the day by placing reminders in your home or choosing specific triggers.

For example, you might tie red ribbons in certain spots in your house or use the ringing telephone as a reminder. Some people also participate in meditation retreats in which meditation practice is offered over a period of several days.
 

Choose a place and posture to practice.

Find a location and posture that allows you to become comfortable. You might choose to sit in a chair, lie on a bed, or sit on the floor.

If you are sitting, your posture should be relaxed but not slouched. Be sure to wear clothing that isn't restrictive.
 

Choose a time to practice.

Choose a time in which you will be free of distractions. Turn down the telephone so you won't be interrupted. Let your family or loved ones know that you need a certain amount of uninterrupted time for your practice.


 

Choose a mindfulness meditation script.

The heart and soul of mindfulness meditation comes with choosing a meditation script to follow. You can find everything from very basic scripts to those developed specifically for targeted problems.

Most scripts will follow the same essential pattern. You will learn how to focus on your breath, separate yourself from analytical thoughts, and develop open awareness of your mind and body.
 

Deal with obstacles.

You might find that you experience difficulties when first learning how to practice mindfulness meditation.

  • Perhaps you find it hard to concentrate, or that you're unable to relax.
  • You might also find that your mind keeps racing, even when you try to slow down your thoughts.

Know that these are normal worries in the beginning, and that things will improve with time. If you continue to have difficulties, consider some simple fixes like meditating for shorter periods of time, choosing a mantra to repeat to focus your mind, or learning how to note your difficulties without becoming focused on them.

When you struggle, it just means that you need to stick with your practice; regular and consistent mindfulness meditation will help to strengthen your ability to overcome the initial problems that you experience.
 

These are some simple steps to help you on your way to learning the art of mindfulness meditation practice.

If you are suffering with the symptoms of social anxiety disorder (SAD), regular practice will eventually improve your self-concept and ability to handle negative emotions. You will also learn how to better respond to troubling thoughts and treat yourself with more compassion.

Source:

Kristeller, J.L. Mindfulness Meditation. In P. Lehrer, R.L. Woolfolk & W.E. Sime. (2007). Principles and Practice of Stress Management. 3rd Edition. New York: Guilford Press.

Continue Reading