Recently, someone sent me a question: How does meditation reduce anxiety and increase concentration. Here’s my answer based on my own experience.
The state of anxiety affects your centering, and when you lose the centering, you cannot focus on any work that you are supposed to do. In such a space, you are not able to remain fully conscious and alert. Meditation means first observing yourself as you are, in whatever space you are in— and allowing yourself to relax with it. It means: not to be in a hurry or to become more agitated and worried about it thinking when it is going to change. The more you are in a hurry, the longer you will take to find your centering.
Worrying about anxiety makes you even more anxious and miserable. Your mind and your psyche get entangled in some kind of war within yourself. Then, what is the way out?
I suggest that the first thing is to stand up. Keeping your body non-tense, loose and natural, start exhaling for ten minutes. Do this exhalation rhythmically, gently and slowly. Let your anxiety or any other mood that is irritating you, be out of your body with each outgoing breath. After a while, you may feel some kind of emptiness or a certain vacuum within.
Now do the second step: Lie down on the floor, and maintain passive observation of your breath till it becomes naturally rhythmic. From this point begins your meditation. Stay with it as long as it feels comfortable to you. You will see your anxiety has disappeared and now you can focus on your work very easily.. This half an hour of relaxation and regaining of the natural rhythm of your breath is the master key to open a new door of harmony and vitality. You can do this exercise for half an hour daily, and you will feel that you have become a happy person with no anxiety, and now you can focus on your job. Your job will also become joyful.
Osho says: Breath is the bridge between matter and no-matter, between the form and the formless. And much depends on the breath, how you breathe, what the quality of your prana is. It is through breathing that you will enter into the innermost core of your existence. Hence in Yoga, in Tantra, in Tao — in all these three great systems and sciences of human consciousness and the expansion of human consciousness — breathing is one of the key phenomena. Tantra says, change your system of breathing; observe your own breathing and your moods, and you will become aware. Tantra developed many techniques of changing the rhythm of the breath. It has used many, many breathing rhythms as secret keys.