Alternative anxiety therapies: Exploring mindfulness & meditation

The problem, or perhaps sometimes the benefit, of the human brain is that it has a primitive part. As humans, we often ignore this part or think we can ignore it. Frustratingly, it doesn’t work like that.


The unconscious, animalistic part of your brain has control. If it decides something is so, no ‘rational’ thinking will halt its processes. We stretch and push ourselves, taking the body out of its natural environment, interrupting its natural way of operating, and expect it to continue to thrive. Resilience and strength help you keep going, but if you never give your brain and body moments to re-energise and recuperate, it will lead to burnout. Sometimes this results in anxiety. Sometimes anxiety is present for other reasons.

Anxiety is a natural, instinctual reaction that the brain triggers as part of its role in keeping you alive. Your brain’s sole purpose is to keep you alive, and to some extent, like a computer, a specific input generates a specific output. The output we term anxiety is the brain’s reaction to something it perceives as a threat to your life. 

There are two things to remember, the human thinking, conscious rational part of your brain will not override this unconscious reaction. And your brain cannot differentiate between an actual threat to your life and something it perceives as a threat to your life, i.e. your conscious brain cannot just tell the filing system it’s wrong! To recalibrate the system, you need to put practices into place. Mindfulness and meditation are two of many options for anxiety treatment. 

Mindfulness for anxiety

Mindfulness is regularly confused with meditation. The two come together because meditation is a mindfulness practice. Mindfulness is a state of mind and a way of life. Mindfulness means to be fully present, in the moment, without judgement of your feelings.

When you live mindfully, you have the power to fully control your thoughts, behaviours and reactions. Because you live without judgement of your feelings, you accept and permit all feelings. You do not view feelings as positive or negative. Neither do you try to replace (previously considered) negative feelings with positive feelings or try to change the way you feel. 

If you’re reading this article because you’re trying to recover from anxiety, mindfulness will help you accept the feelings without letting them control or restrict your life. Instead, you’ll take an inquisitive approach. Curious to explore the feelings, understand them with an openness to the full human experience. 

Mindfulness exercises to start today

There are many exercises you can practise to develop a mindful way of living. Two exercises you can try today;

Mindful eating

The well-known mindful eating exercise uses a raisin, however, you can do this with any piece of food. Begin when you take the food from the packet. Use all your senses to notice everything you can about what you’re doing. Smell inside the packet and the food itself. Feel the texture of it all. Notice the sound as you remove it from the packet as you explore it with your eyes. When you put the food into your mouth, take some time before you chew to move it around, experiencing the taste and texture. 

Continue with this process, taking as much time as possible, as you eat the food. Although this is a specific exercise, people who live a mindful life will try to do this with everything they eat.


Meditation is a learned skill, it takes commitment and regular practice. Many people think they can’t meditate. If you view it as brain training, it makes more sense why it doesn’t “work” with a one-off short practice. Just like you won’t notice a change in your arms with one 10-minute bicep workout. Meditate every day for at least 15 minutes for a couple of weeks, and see if this makes a difference to you.

There are many guided meditations online that you can listen to, or focus on your breathing. When you meditate, make sure there is nothing to disturb you. Find a comfortable spot to sit or lay, set an alarm if you have time restrictions, and close your eyes. Focus on your breathing as the air comes into and flows out of your body. When you notice your mind wandering, simply bring it back to your breath. 

Hypnotherapy, mindfulness and meditation

Meditation is a way to improve your mindful mind. Hypnosis is the same state of mind as the meditative state of mind. If you need support with your meditation practice, a hypnotherapist will help you. In addition, your hypnotherapist will help you understand your brain's reaction to certain things. This will help you accept and manage your anxiety mindfully.

Hypnosis and meditation will bring your body into the default state - away from the anxious state. The more regularly you do this, the more your brain will stay in this calmer state. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Hypnotherapy Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Farnham GU9 & GU10
Written by Juliet Hollingsworth, MSc
Farnham GU9 & GU10

Juliet is a trauma-informed therapist. Her passion is helping people reach their potential through a combination of hypnotherapy, psychotherapy and transpersonal psychology. Juliet works online and face to face with clients across the world. (DHP Clinical Hypnotherapy & Psychotherapy. MSc Consciousness, Spirituality & Transpersonal psychology.)

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