Can you experience anxiety after meditation?

This blog answers: Can you experience anxiety after meditation? How can meditation lead to or worsen your anxiety? What is Anxiety? What are the signs and symptoms of anxiety? What are the causes of anxiety? What are some ways to manage anxiety? What are the therapy options for anxiety?

Can you experience anxiety after meditation?

While most people find mediation to be very helpful in dealing with depression, there still are a minority of people who report that meditation doesn’t help them or even worsens their anxiety. So, yes, you can experience anxiety after meditation. Some studies show that 8% of people experience anxiety and depression after practicing meditation.

Meditation is a technique through which experts help people become aware of the present moment, get rid of their automatic thoughts, have control over their thoughts and attention, and by doing so, help them get rid of stress and anxiety

How can meditation lead to or worsen your anxiety?

Some people fail to achieve the positive results of meditation and instead experience anxiety and depression. 

Here is why meditation may have such effects:

Your mind is rebellious

Mediation is primarily about learning to control one’s thoughts. It’s about learning how to still our thoughts. However, our thoughts are never naturally still. So, attempting to do so may be registered in the brain as something harmful. 

When you try to control your thoughts while practicing meditation, your mind may rebel against such an attempt in order to maintain its status quo. 

This is extremely annoying for people, and people who practice meditation have repeatedly reported this feeling. In some people, this rebelliousness of the mind can lead to anxiety.  

Maybe your health is interfering

If someone is already in a compromised state of health, meditation may not be very helpful for them. It’s because their bodies need fixing before anything else. It is not possible to have a healthy mind without a healthy body.

People in a compromised state of health may be trying to fix their issues through meditation while ignoring their physical problems. Ignoring the physical problems may worsen their condition.

In this case, meditation is making them ignore their health and thereby indirectly putting them in danger. When they don’t experience improvement after practicing meditation, it disheartens them and gives them anxiety.

Maybe you have chosen the wrong type of meditation

Meditation, like any other technique, has many types. It’s highly improbable that all meditation techniques work equally well for all people. 

So, maybe the anxiety and depression you are experiencing because of meditation are due to practicing the wrong type of meditation.

Sometimes people choose a technique only because it’s trending and popular on social media. They fail to consider the fact that the technique cannot have the same effects on all people. 

Just because it’s trending doesn’t mean it’s best for you. Do your research and discuss it with your meditation teacher before engaging in meditation.

Maybe it’s just not for you

The anxiety you feel after meditation may be because your mind and body are not fit for it. It’s just not your thing. Just because most people find it helpful doesn’t mean meditation would work for you too.

Can you experience anxiety after meditation?

Wanting immediate results

Meditation does have very positive effects on most people. However, it takes a lot of time to achieve those results. People, by their nature, are hasty. They have a hard time waiting for results. They go for meditation, attend a session, and expect to become gurus. That’s not how it works. When they fail to achieve the immediate results of meditation that they so desire, it gives them anxiety. 

There is a limit to your attention

Mediation techniques attempt to play with your attention and try to teach you how to get super-focuses on your present. However, there is a limit to our attention. Your attention can distort and wander around pretty quickly. This is frustrating and annoying to people.

Meditation makes you sensitive

While mediation makes us sensitive towards good things, it may also have the opposite effects. Meditation intensifies your emotions, heightens your sensitivity, and makes you more aware of changes.

 Meditation can backfire because the heightened sensitivity may make you more aware of negative changes than you previously were. This can worsen your anxiety instead of relieving it.

 What is Anxiety?

Problems and resulting stress are usually accompanied by some common emotions like confusion, feeling at the edge, a sense of helplessness, and recurrent negative thoughts which can collectively be seen as an individual experiencing what’s commonly called  Anxiety. 

Every human has their unique ways of dealing with these difficult situations and the following emotions, some try to adapt to the circumstances and find the best and most comfortable solution while others try to find an escape route for the same, in both cases the main aim is usually to get over the uncomfortable emotions of anxiety. 

What are the signs and symptoms of anxiety? 

Anxiety is characterized by a set of signs and symptoms such as 

  • Sweating
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sense of choking
  • Complaints of chest pain
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness or Lightheadedness
  • Fear of losing control over oneself and their environment
  • Fear of impending doom
  • Hot or cold flashes
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Increased heart rate

These symptoms vary in severity from person to person. However, it is noted that many people experience anxiety attacks that are not significantly displayed.

What are the causes of anxiety?

Anxiety often results from accumulated stress or overwhelming feelings. Some common causes of anxiety include.

  • Increased and challenging situations and demands in day-to-day life.
  • Major changes in family dynamics such as marriage, divorce, death of a loved one.
  • Strain interpersonal relationships
  • Intrapersonal conflicts
  • Ineffective coping mechanisms
  • Comorbid conditions both physical and mental
  • Chronic health conditions
  • Genetic factors
  • Changes in the brain region
  • Overdose of caffeine
  • Prolonged use of medications
  • Significant traumatic experiences in the past or recent times
  • Comorbid mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder or any other phobias.

What are some ways to manage anxiety?

Identify and acknowledge the triggers

The most significant strategy that can be used to control one’s anxiety is by identifying and acknowledging those triggers.

Being able to recognize what makes an individual anxious makes them better equipped to take action.

Relaxation techniques


Even though anxiety can be bought under an individual’s control it cannot be predicted. In such situations, it is necessary that an individual actively carries out relaxation techniques.

These might include meditation, yoga, and deep breathing which helps to reduce the intensity of anxiety within a short period.



A key to reducing the frequency and intensity of anxiety attacks could be spending time with close family and friends.

The kind of emotional and practical support provided by these social and personal groups help the person feel connected and aid in distracting one’s mind from negative and recurring thoughts that lead to anxiety.

Apart from friends and families, individuals can also consider speaking to groups of people that are experiencing similar problems.

Set realistic goals

When an individual is feeling overwhelmed, setting goals and targets keeping in mind priorities can help resolve overwhelming feelings of fear or panic.

Setting goals provides structure and routine to an individual’s life reducing space for uncertainty which can be a major trigger for anxiety in many cases.

Take up new challenges

Apart from doing activities that an individual is usually fond of and has expertise in, trying new and challenging activities that put an individual outside their comfort zone in a healthy manner may help reduce the stress and anger temporarily.

Signing up for new activities also provides a path to meeting people with similar stories and concerns.

Lifestyle changes

An individual’s lifestyle plays a major role in their experience of anxiety. An unhealthy and busy lifestyle usually leads to unhealthy eating, lack of exercise, lack of adequate sleep.

A combination of a well-set diet, exercise, and sleep can help to regulate an individual’s mood and equip them with a favorable coping mechanism.

These coping mechanisms in turn help to get control over once anxiety concerns in a more adaptable manner.

lack of proper diet, sleep, and exercise can make an individual sluggish, dependent, moody and vulnerable to anxiety attacks.

Making journal entries

Last but not least having a journal to write down how a person is feeling and thinking when they are anxious helps them to reflect upon their thoughts and feelings.

Putting down one’s thoughts and feelings onto a paper helps to provide a sense of temporary relief.

In the case of journal entry, a person does not even have to fear being judged by another person regarding their thoughts and feelings.

What are the therapy options for anxiety?

Cognitive-behavioural therapy

Cognitive-behavioural therapy helps an individual to control their anxiety by using strategies like relaxation and breathing. It works on the principles of replacing negative thoughts with positive ones.

Exposure therapy

Exposure therapy is a kind of therapy in which an individual is exposed to a particular stimulus that they usually fear or are anxious about in a graded order.

As and when the individual gets comfortable with the situation or stimulus introduced or exposed to them with each session, individuals get more comfortable with a real-life situation that might have otherwise been a source for triggering anxiety.

Group therapy


It is based on the principle that when an individual interacts with other people who are suffering from the same fears they might not feel left alone or isolated. Group therapy usually involves a group of individuals who are experiencing similar symptoms and problems.


Anxiety can also be treated with the help of medication prescribed by a health care professional.

Though medication alone cannot help in reducing persistent anxiety it can help in restoring a sense of control and bring temporary relief. 

Online therapy  

In cases where reaching out physically to a professional is impossible or discomforting an individual can opt to seek help through the online medium. 

In this, the therapy sessions are carried out one-to-one over a video or audio call. Some individuals also prefer interacting with the therapist through text as well due to various reasons. One of the most common is the fear of being judged by the therapist or some personal hesitation. 

Online therapy can help individuals to regulate some aspects of their anxiety that aids individuals in carrying out a stress-free life over time


Meditation is based on the idea that being aware and sensitive towards your present moment can help you get rid of intrusive thoughts and relieve your anxiety and depression. However, the heightened sensitivity and high hopes people associate with meditation can lead to anxiety in some people.

Frequently asked questions: Can you experience anxiety after meditation?

Is there a scientific basis for meditation?

Yes, currently, a lot of research is being done on meditation in neuroscience, psychology, cognitive science, and even evolutionary biology and evolutionary psychology.

What’s the best app for meditation?

The best app for mediation is Sam Harris’ Waking Up because it is both spiritual and scientific at the same time.

What’s the optimum healthy duration of meditation per day?

Most experts recommend up to 20 minutes of mediation per day.