I still get anxious even when I am meditating why?
Anxiety is caused by the thinking conscious mind setting off a series of reactions in the body. Through the thought connection to the mid brain limbic system, a thought can stimulate the Amygdala to initiate a Sympathetic Nervous Pathway release of adrenalin into the body. This reactive pathway will induce the physical feelings associated with fear and survival including, heightened attention, constriction of blood vessels, sweating and increased heart rate. These reactions in the body will in turn be identified by the conscious mind as a warning signal of an imminent threat. If the initiating thoughts persist, they can create a loop of cascading anxiety increase.
During mindfulness meditation, bringing your conscious attention to the present moment, non-judgmentally, will inhibit your habitual mind from thinking the thoughts which make you anxious. However, it does not happen just like that! The process of inhibiting the anxious thinking mind takes practice, patience and persistence. The truth is that if you are anxious whilst you are meditating then you are still thinking and still stimulating that part of the brain which reacts to those thoughts. You are not focusing your mind in the present moment, non judgmentally. The conscious mind is quite tricky as it really does not want to give up its place as the main ‘player’ in your perception of your life, therefore it will distract you and entice you into judgmental and analytical thinking as much as it can.
Your focus of attention needs to be on the present moment, in the NOW, experiencing the sensations of what is happening in this very moment, moment by moment, not judging or evaluating or discussing with yourself about what is going on.
It is very easy to think you are meditating when all you really are doing is sitting still and thinking.