Meditation is a powerful mental exercise for achieving a calm state which is hugely beneficial for those who have anxiety.
Regularly practicing meditation can reduce negative thoughts and worries, cool your anxious mind, deepen your breath, release tension, relax muscles, boost mood, and strengthen your immune system, all of which can be affected negatively by anxiety.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is a mental exercise for achieving a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state. These exercises help to train attention and awareness of the present moment as well as yourself and your surroundings. Taking little breaks between your thoughts can help to calm you down and will make you more aware of your thoughts, emotions, and memories, which can be life changing. There are many different meditation types and techniques. Here are some examples of meditation types and techniques:
There are also focused attention meditations, also known as concentrative meditations. The focus is on a single object. The object of focus could be internal or external. For example:
Breath-based techniques where you focus on your breathing
Mantras – repeating a word, phrase, or sound over and over
Visualization – picturing a place or focusing on a goal
Body part – focusing on one specific area or sensation in the body
Candle – looking at a flame to focus the mind
Mala beads – counting beads on a mala
Sound – listening to a gong or chime
Studies show that meditation can be as effective as commonly prescribed anti-anxiety medications. If your brain is running on a hamster wheel of “what ifs” and worries, and you are looking for a drug-free solution, meditation could be your answer.
Here are a few facts about meditation:
Meditation can help you whether you’re only anxious sometimes or you have an anxiety disorder.
Johns Hopkins University carried out a review of over 18,000 meditation studies to determine what are the most effective uses of meditation. The researchers found that the most effective, and the number one use for meditation is to relieve anxiety.
Anyone can practice meditation, almost immediately. There are thousands of different ways to meditate, and so, there is something for everyone.
Contrary to the common misconception, meditation is not a religious practice. So, you don’t need to worry that meditation is some complicated spiritual exercise involving incomprehensible mantras and unobtainable seating positions.
Meditation can be as easy as practicing deep breathing for 5 minutes every morning.
Meditation is a mental exercise for achieving a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.
How Does Meditation Reduce Anxiety?
Anxiety triggers excessive worries about the things that took place in the past or what might happen in the future. But when you’re focused on the past or the future, you cannot be in the present moment, which is where you can find relief from your worries. Also, experts estimate that on average humans have around 60,000-80,000 thoughts a day, but an anxious person has even more thoughts than that! Essentially our brains just need a break from all of the chatter, negative thoughts, and worries and meditation is the answer to significantly reduce it all.
Meditation increases endorphins, serotonin and GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) the happy chemicals in your brain. Endorphins are best known for elevating mood, reducing stress, improving brain function, relieving pain, and inducing sleep. Though that’s not all; they have a whole host of other benefits. In general, endorphins help to create a worry-free and fear-free mental state. Those suffering from anxiety tend to have a deficiency in endorphins, and need a boost.
A few other amazing benefits of meditation on the body include: boosting your immune system, reducing blood pressure and cholesterol, decreasing inflammation, increasing efficiency of oxygen use, and increasing telomerase* activity.
If you have any questions about how to get started with meditation or for resources to get you started, leave a comment and we can help you out.
*telomeres protect the end of a chromosome from DNA damage or fusion to other near-by chromosomes.