Meditation and mindfulness have gained their momentum in the last years, even though it has been practiced since 1500 BCE. It is an old practice that was firstly adopted by the Asian culture, beginning to spread on the globe in the 19th century.
More and more people are aware of the positive effects of meditation. There are many forms, including mindfulness, transcendental, or guided meditation. It helps you train your attention and focus it on more positive things, while also helping you to accept yourself as who you are.
Meditation is helpful, especially during these confusing and hard times we are living.
Anxiety, worries, sadness, and fear are normal emotions every one of us is experiencing in specific situations. They are normal, even though many people try to avoid them by repressing them.
The word “negative” triggers a reaction in our brain; adds up the society's constraints and demands and the situation is worse.
Nowadays, anxiety disorders are more and more common, and many people are experiencing high levels of them, which interfere with their lifestyle and mental health. Anxiety disorders can turn out to be difficult to overcome, and sometimes professional help is needed.
The Symptoms of Anxiety
If you are experiencing anxiety in stressful situations, such as public speaking, you need to know that this is normal. Negative emotions are part of our everyday lives and repressing them might do worse than good.
Anxiety is good for us as it helps us anticipate future events and prevent them. It sometimes can be a warning signal and since antiquity, anxiety helped our ancestors survive. In healthy intensities, anxiety can be good. But which is the point when it becomes toxic?
Anxiety can become chronic and it can seriously affect your lifestyle and relationships. Anxiety disorders are a group of mental disorders that include panic disorder, social anxiety, or generalized anxiety disorder.
They can have many effects, both on your physical and mental health. Among the physical symptoms of anxiety are muscle tension, sweaty hands, shortness of breath, palpitation, and upset stomach. Anxiety’s effects on your mind can make you constantly worried, experience fear and confusion, poor memory, be unable to relax, and have difficulties concentrating.
All these symptoms make people with anxiety uncomfortable and helpless, not being able to fully enjoy life. The sources of anxiety are your thoughts and past experiences. Your brain has learned something from your past and it triggers your anxious thoughts whenever it notices cues in the environment you should pay attention to.
Getting rid of anxiety comes with challenges and hardships to overcome. But the most important thing is that you should start working on your thought patterns and unhealthy cognitive schema that drive your anxious behavior.
Getting professional help and starting the therapy is recommended, especially if you feel hopeless and helpless. Meditation is another technique you can practice reducing your anxiety level. It works better in combination with therapy and it has many positive effects.
So, how can meditation help you get rid of anxiety?
It Quiets Your Brain
Anxious brains are continually active, as they are on a constant alert to notice cues from the environment that can negatively affect you. Your brain directs your attention to specific triggers in the environment or specific moments or situations. Thus, a chain reaction starts, and you end up sweating, with an upset stomach and shortness of breath.
Meditation can help you quiet your overactive brain. It helps you relax and find your inner peace while silencing your anxiety. Meditation is a technique that helps you focus on your bodily sensations and thoughts, without interfering with them.
It helps you let go of your past, even if it’s just for a few moments in the beginning, and it helps you focus on the present. It directs your attention towards a better stimulus, a more positive and peaceful one.
Meditation Helps You Relax
Anxiety is characterized by an inability to relax, and this is because you are in a constant state of worry. You focus on the past and the future, but never on the present. You forget to take care of your body and mind as you constantly focus on “what if” questions or ruminate about past events.
Meditation helps you focus on your body. It helps you notice its weight, its temperature, and shape. Besides, all forms of meditation involve breathing techniques that are known to be anxiety relievers. While you meditate, you enter another realm: the realm of relaxation and calm.
Meditation Teaches You How to Breathe
One of the mistakes people do involuntarily is hyperventilating. When we are scared, stressed, or anxious, we begin to breathe faster and faster and this is a trigger for our brain. It thinks we are in danger, so it releases hormones that should help us face it.
The thing is people with anxiety are hyperventilating even though there is no immediate danger because this is what anxiety causes. Meditation is, in one way or another, a technique that focuses on breathing. Studies have shown that deep breathing can alleviate anxiety and promote positive emotions.
Deep breathing techniques also help you improve your focus power, decrease emotional reactivity and mind wandering. Exactly what someone with anxiety needs to combat its effects.
Meditation Helps You Be Less Judgmental
We all know that our greatest critics are ourselves. Even though this can have positive effects, as noticing and repairing mistakes, improving our skills and abilities, it can lead to a more anxious state of mind.
Anxiety makes you focus excessively on your past mistakes. It makes you make up future scenarios in your mind, preventing you from living and enjoying life at its fullest. Being too judgmental makes you embark on a journey of negativity and negative emotions and experiences.
Meditation is the best solution to this. Of course, you also need to work on your cognitive patterns, as thoughts are the sources of our habits and behaviors. However, meditation is a step you need to take and a great technique that can lower your judgment level. Meditation promotes self-acceptance.
It helps you focus on the present and understand that your life is made both from good and bad moments. There is no life without problems, so no matter how much you work to avoid them, they will come sooner or later. Meditation helps you change your perspective on your problems. It helps you acquire a state of nonjudgmental acceptance.
Meditation Changes Your Perspective
Think about anxiety as a pair of lenses. You are the one that chooses their color. This pair of lenses are the ones you usually use to get a perspective on your lifestyle, habits, and behaviors. Anxiety can slowly change the color of the lenses, by darkening it with negative thoughts and emotions in unhealthy levels.
We are often caught in our circle of thoughts. Even though we are not fully conscious of them, we have about 70.000 thoughts per day going up in our minds. Quite a lot! We can easily become overwhelmed by them, especially when anxiety directs our attention to certain subjects.
Meditation helps you get a new perspective. It helps you focus on the present and move away from the chatter and noise in your head. It helps you relax and be calmer, thus keeping stress away. And less stress means less anxiety. It helps you be more self-aware of the impact of your thoughts on your behavior. It helps you aim to change them and your perspective along with them.
Meditation Helps You Be More Aware
Meditation helps you become more aware of your thoughts. Many people are aware of their thoughts, but not fully. They try to change their anxious thoughts without listening and understanding. And to get rid of anxiety, you firstly need to understand your core.
Imagine that you have many monkeys in your head, each of them being responsible with a set of thoughts. There are so many thoughts going up in our heads! However, when you have anxiety, you listen to only one of them: the loudest one.
The loudest one doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the best option, but you hardly attempt to change this. Meditation is the solution. It helps you focus on your thoughts, on your reasons, on yourself and core. It helps you listen to your monkeys, understand them, and become more familiar with their bright and dark sides.
Meditation helps you be fully aware of your thoughts. It helps you understand them and learn about their triggers. Only when you fully understand your thoughts and yourself, you can change who you are.
Anxiety is a common mental disorder in our nowadays society. Besides therapy, there are more solutions to this problem. Meditation is one of them and it can help you understand your thoughts better, change your perspective, and get a fresher one. It can help you relax and be less judgmental, silencing your anxiety.
Tobias Foster is a journalist and editor with more than 5 years' work experience at assignment help UK. Psychology, communication, and meditation are his passion, and he has a wealth of knowledge in that field. He is a master of his craft.