Mindfulness vs. Christian Meditation - Which one helps with anxiety? (Part 2 of 3)

In part one of this blog series, Leslie McGuffie shares about her experiences with Christian meditation and mindfulness.

In this next part, Leslie listens to meditations of both varieties on the topics of anxiety/stress and impatience, two areas that have plagued her recently. She gives her opinion on the pros and cons of each- and ultimately which works better for her.

Dealing with anxiety

Sometimes anxiety wells up inside of me suddenly, causing my heart to pound and my breathing to become shallow. There’s often nothing that can soothe me in that moment, so it’s best for me to have some tools that I can pull out at a moment’s notice. One tool for that is the Abide app.

There are many meditation apps, with Headspace and Calm being two very recognizable ones. Abide is one of the few Christian meditation apps available, with over 1600+ Biblically grounded meditations. I compare these two styles of meditations by viewing their Youtube videos.

In Abide's “Reducing Anxiety” meditation, listeners hear the following:

“If I constantly worry about money, my trust is in money. If I worry about others liking me my trust is in others. If I worry that I won't do everything right then I am trusting in myself. The Bible tells us we are to place our trust in God.”

The voice reminds us about Philippians 4:4-6:

“that we should be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Listening to bible verse calms me and reminds me of God’s promises. I found myself nodding in agreement.

Then, I listened to the “Let Go of Stress” mini-meditation by Headspace. The calm voice says:

“As you breath in a sense of taking in fresh air, the lungs expanding; as you breath out, a sense of letting go of stress in the body, in the mind just feeling the muscles soften and relax.”

But, then it was over, and left my spirit wanting more. I was entirely focused on my breathing, which became more relaxed. But, it wasn’t substantial enough to address my racing thoughts of worry.

In this category, the Christian meditation was much more helpful for me. If I were to feel myself getting anxious or stressed, I could go back to Philippians 4 and remind myself that the peace of God will guard my heart and mind.

Developing patience

Worry often makes us impatient for a solution. The sooner we can solve the problem, the sooner we can stop worrying, right? Wrong, because worriers always find a way to transfer that impatience to another problem.

Abide’s meditation “Waiting on the Lord” asks questions that are not immediately answered:

“Why do you need strength and courage while you wait?” and “How is simply waiting different than confidently expecting the Lord?”

Initially, I wanted the voice to give me the answers, but I realized that not all questions have quick answers. Perhaps these are prayers that require me to wait patiently for the Lord.

The Mindfulness meditation on “Patience” by Daily Calm tells listeners to

“Calmly inhale, allow the breath to arrive, exhale and let it gently flow through you...Each time you lose track of the breath, bring it back gently not nonjudgmentally just noticing where the mind has drifted off to.”

Focusing on something as crucial to your existence as breathing helps to take your mind off your troubles.

Comparing these two led me to the conclusion that Christian meditations could do more to to get listeners into a physically relaxed state before getting into the Word. It would be like watering the soil with fresh rain water before planting those seeds.

In part 3 of this blog series, I'll review Christian and Mindfulness meditations on the topic of insomnia.

In the meantime, I'd love to hear your experiences with Christian meditation and mindfulness. What do you find most useful about each one? Share in the comments below!

Leslie writes about being in love with the Lord, and she loves sharing the wisdom He gives her about daily living. In her spare time she’s a wife, mother of six, and grandmother of three. Follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook at @listen2leslie. Subscribe to her blog at listen2leslie.com.