Mindfulness, the practice of fully being in the present moment, helps reduce anxiety. Mindfulness meditation is taking the time to focus your mind on the present moment. It is accepting your thoughts, without judgment, and letting them go. . "Mindfulness can be a helpful approach in managing worry and anxiety. The practice of mindfulness involves focusing on sensory input occurring in the current moment as a way to quiet your mind from worries about the past or anticipation of future problems." 
A recent study at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center found that meditation impacts the areas of the brain that control thinking, emotions and worrying. Participants in the study had anxiety levels measured and brain scans to measure brain activity before learning how to do mindfulness meditation and again after taking four classes on how to meditate. At the end of the study, anxiety levels had decreased by up to 39 percent. The scientists found that there was a direct correlation between a decrease in anxiety and activity level of two specific brain areas.
Steps for Mindfulness Meditation
- Find a quiet, comfortable place. Make sure you will not be interrupted and you are in a place you feel safe.
- Sit up, with your neck, back and head straight but not stiff. Sitting up is preferable because lying down may cause you to fall asleep during the meditation.
- Close your eyes or avert your gaze downward, right above your nose. You want to reduce sensory input and looking up will distract your thoughts.
- Pay attention to your breathing. You want to breathe naturally, paying attention to the breathe coming in and out of your body, your chest and stomach rising and falling. Feel as the air enters through your nose and leaves by your mouth. Pay attention to each breathe.
- Don’t try to control or fight your thoughts. Instead, watch your thoughts come, note what you are thinking and then let the thought move off. Never judge your thoughts. The idea is that if you don’t place much importance on your thoughts, they will soon go away.
- Return to your breathing, paying attention to each breath.
- At the end of your meditation, take a few moments to pay attention to where you are. Then gradually get up.
Meditation, like many things, takes practice. Don’t be hard on yourself if you have a difficult time in the beginning. Start with a few minutes - 5 or 10 - and slowly work yourself up to 20 or 25 minutes per day. There are also a number of apps, such as The Mindfulness App, that will walk through the process, letting you de-stress no matter where you are.
See also: 8 Guided Imagery Apps
"Meditation Beats Anxiety By Activating Certain Brain Regions, Study Finds," 2013, June 8, Staff Writer, Huffington Post
 "Mindfulness," Date Unknown, Mark Rubinstein, Brown University Psychological Services
Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of What Went Right: Reframe Your Thinking for a Happier Now, Idiot’s Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot’s Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love, and Essential Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.