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Old 16-12-18, 13:55
Humph Humph is offline
Join Date: Nov 2018
Posts: 8
Zen anyone?

Hi all.

I have been doing some research on ways to help with my anxiety whilst I awate therapy. And one thing I’ve came across is Zen Buddhism and meditation. I’ve always had an interest in eastern cultures and martial arts so Zen is definitely something I would be willing to practice if it was something that would benefit my life and way of thinking and reducing anxiety. So my question is, is there anyone out there who practices Zen and has it helped with their anxiety etc? Where would someone completely new to it begin?

Thank you in advance
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Old 09-01-19, 15:14
anxiousjomo anxiousjomo is online now
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Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 268
Re: Zen anyone?

While not specifically zen, I have been doing a lot of vaguely Buddhist meditation and mindfulness work over the last year or so and have found it massively helpful.

I have found the Headspace app very useful in terms of getting my feet wet with meditation, and getting in some of the basic practices. Doing it daily is key, even if only for 15min or so. The main benefit of meditation for me is that I have got much better at spotting thoughts before they take me down dark paths, and thereby changing direction. The breathing exercises, and just being more aware of my breath in general, has also really helped. It is amazing to see how much the shallow, anxious breathing pattern affects the entire anxiety experience. There is a significant overlap between the "mindfulness" movement and that of Zen, though the latter is, of course, more rigorous and less prone to the "new age waffle".

There are some good books out there - I particularly liked the work of Pema Chodron and Thích Nhất Hạnh - and Shunryu Suzuki's "Zen Mind Beginner’s Mind" is essential reading.

However, regardless of all that, simply sitting for 10-15min makes a big difference, first noticing the sounds around you, the smells etc, then the sensations in your body (I like doing a scan from the top of my head to my toes and just noticing what I can feel), then focusing lightly on the breath as it goes in and out (and counting the in and out breaths if that helps - just 1-2, 1-2). When thoughts come, as they will, just notice them as thoughts and let them go. Dont run after them. This will be impossible at first, but with each time you sit it will get easier. Personally I have found meditation to be very helpful, and would absolutely recommend it.
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