By Moira Hutchison, Certified Mindfulness Coach
Many studies have been reaching the same conclusion… When it comes to using meditation to manage anxiety- Mindfulness can help you to stop worrying.
A great many people experience some form of anxiety or even depression, and many more have occasional bouts of being worried due to pressures at work or home. While you can’t remove the stress from daily life, there are a number of things you can take to feel more at ease. Here are some natural remedies for you to try:
Benefits of Meditation
Researchers have been studying how meditation affects a wide variety of health issues. It has been reported that meditation appears to be most effective in addressing anxiety, depression, and pain management.
- Focus on the present moment. Much anxiety tends to be centered on rehashing the past or anticipating the future. Meditation encourages you to engage fully with the present moment. Your attention switches from useless regrets and fears to constructive endeavors.
- Connect with your body. Chronic anxiety takes a toll on your physical health through inflammation and other symptoms. Scanning your body reminds you to lower your shoulders and relax your brow.
- Change your brain. Meditation alters your brain so your sense of contentment can grow. Stress hormones decrease and serotonin levels rise. Gray matter enlarges, while the amygdala, which processes fear, shrinks.
Here’s How to Meditate to Reduce Anxiety
Meditation can be adapted to suit your specific needs. Take a class or sit at home for free on your own schedule.
- Start off gradually. The benefits of meditation can often be seen within a week or two, and even 10 minutes a day pays off. Set aside a short time each day for contemplation.
- Get clear on your purpose. You may want to use meditation as part of your spiritual practice or take a completely secular approach. Meditation is not necessarily religious. You can develop greater peace of mind with your own set of beliefs.
- Separate facts from feelings. Introspection helps you to distinguish between actual events and your inner thoughts and emotions. As you train yourself to think objectively, you can achieve greater control over your reactions.
- Develop insights. Examining your mind also helps you to understand yourself and others. You may discover the root causes of your anxieties and how best to deal with them. Maybe you’ll want to replace negative expectations with a sense of curiosity. Perhaps you’ll pay more attention to the kindness you receive from others instead of conflicts.
Other Natural Anxiety Aids
Meditation is even more productive when you combine it with other healthy lifestyle choices. Take an inventory of your daily habits.
- Eat healthy whole foods. A diet full of processed foods and sugar aggravates anxiety and depression. Get most of your calories from vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins.
- Limit alcohol and caffeine. Too much coffee may give you the jitters, and self-medicating with alcohol usually backfires. See if cutting back makes a difference.
- Exercise more. Physical activity melts away anxiety and stress. That’s especially true for vigorous aerobic workouts like running or rowing.
- Rest and relax. Fight anxiety with a good night’s sleep and occasional breaks during the day. Go to bed on a consistent schedule.
If anxiety is interfering with your life, help is available. Achieve greater peace of mind through meditation, and see your doctor if you need additional support.
Moira Hutchison is a Certified Hypnosis-Visualization Practitioner and Mindfulness
Coach at the OICC.
Moira offers people with cancer and their families a professional, caring service that psychologically supports and assists them through every stage of their illness.
This blog was originally published by Wellness with Moira.