Anxiety is very prevalent in our society today. Anxiety disorders affect approximately 40 million people age 18 and over in the United States and 13.1 percent of young adults in the UK. As of 2013, over 8 million people in the UK suffer from anxiety at some point in their life.
Many people, although they experience anxiety, go undiagnosed. Do you want to have access for FREE to our big collection of anxiety & stress management guided meditation? DOWNLOAD OUR APP HERE and enjoy our meditation collection. Below you will find a beautiful video: LET GO of Anxiety, Fear & Worries: A GUIDED MEDITATION. Our app is now FREE during COVID outbreak and we have handpicked meditations which will help you cope with anxiety & stress as a result of COVID 2019.
What is Anxiety and How Does it Affect You?
Anxiety is the body’s response to stress. It’s usually caused by fear and anticipation of something going wrong. This type of anxiety is normal. You might have anxiety about moving to a new city or starting a new job.
When you have an anxiety disorder however, it may keep you from doing things because the fear stays with you constantly. This type of anxiety is very debilitating.
Anxiety is one of the most common disorders and can happen at any age. Women are more likely to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder than men. There are several disorders that stem from anxiety. The disorders listed below are the most common types of anxiety that are diagnosed.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder where a person has thoughts they cannot control. These thoughts or obsession cause the person to have odd repetitive behaviors or compulsions. A person with OCD feels the urge to repeat these behaviors again and again.
People with OCD can exhibit symptoms of either obsession, compulsion or both.
Symptoms of obsession are the thoughts or urge that cause anxiety. Some of the more common thoughts are:
- Having things in perfect order- this could be in the form of organization or have a theme like an arrangement by color
- Fear of germs
- Aggressive thoughts towards themselves or other people
- Forbidden thoughts about religion or sex
The behavior that a person with OCD feels and acts out on repeatedly due to the obsessive thoughts is a compulsion. Some of the compulsions seen the most are:
- Excessively washing hands or cleaning
- Putting or arranging things in an exact order
- Repeatedly checking something, like making sure the car is locked
- Having a routine that they don’t like to break
Panic attacks are episodes of intense fear that can happen at any time, anywhere, without warning. A panic attack is not only frightening, it also brings on physical responses. When a panic attack comes on a person may feel a loss of control or that they are dying. Although not life-threatening, a panic attack can be very scary. Here are some symptoms people experience when having a panic attack.
- Hot flashes
- Chest pain
- Sense of danger
- Trembling and shaking
- Chest Pain
The worst part of having a panic attack is the fear of having another one. There may come a point where a person avoids certain situations that trigger a panic attack.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
When there is a trauma in the past, one may still feel stress years after it happened. This is known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD affects 1-3 people who have experienced severe trauma. Symptoms can be severe and impact everyday life.
Traumatic events may include:
- Physical or sexual abuse
- Sexual assault
- Very bad car accident
- Being involved in a mass shooting
- Serving in a military war zone
It doesn’t matter how long ago the incident happened, the stress affects the person in the present. You may be more susceptible to getting PTSD if you have had depression or anxiety in the past or don’t have the support of your family or friends.
When experiencing stress from a past event people can suffer from:
- Repetitive images or sensations
- Trembling, feeling sick, pain
PTSD like panic disorder can cause someone to avoid situations that trigger PTSD.
Although medication helps control some of the symptoms many people don’t respond well to the medication, you may need to find alternative ways to help manage the symptoms of an anxiety condition. Unfortunately, some people turn to unhealthy ways of coping. There is, however, a healthy way to manage the symptoms of anxiety disorder and that’s meditation.
How Meditation Helps with Anxiety
You may have heard that meditation can help with anxiety. This is true, however, it may not help the way you think. Meditation is not a quick fix to relieve stress or anxiety. It takes a little time for meditation to start working.
Anxiety usually comes from thinking about the past or the future. Meditation keeps you in the present and concentrates on the hear and now.
Keeping you in the present is just one benefit of meditation. Did you know that meditation can also change your brain?
Researchers found in a study done in 2005 that meditation actually changed cortical thickness. The study consisted of 20 participants who used mindful meditation or yoga daily and had been to at least one meditation retreat. The control group consisted of participants who did not practice meditation or yoga.
The results noted that the distribution of cortical thickness was different in the meditation group compared to the control group. This study showed that meditation improved the brain’s experienced-based plasticity. What that means is your brain can rewire itself!
Another study also found that participants that took part in 8 weeks of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) increased their brain matter in four different areas.
This is significant because if your brain can change how it responds, it can handle the anxiety that stress brings on differently than it did before beginning a meditation practice by decreasing negative emotions.
Brain’s natural skill of regeneration
The hippocampus has been noted to be smaller in people who suffer from PTSD. The amygdala, which is involved with the feelings of fear, stress, and anxiety also responds differently. Meditation helps the hippocampus gain brain matter and the amygdala responds differently to stress.
This is revolutionary because that means by mindfully meditating daily, you can eventually control the feeling of anxiety; it will no longer control you.
A researcher at Martinos Center of Biomedical took MRIs which not only take pictures of the brain but can record brain activity. What she found by following participants over a two month period was that the effects of meditation, stay with an individual after the meditation session has ended.
Brain activity was monitored from the beginning of the two months before participants learned meditation, until the end after they had been meditating. What she found was changes in the amygdala, the emotion center of the brain. The amygdala did not react the same as before the meditation practice started. It stayed in a state of calm.
How Do I Start Meditating?
Meditation is an alternative way to manage conditions such as anxiety. Therapy can be expensive and may require difficult time commitments. Medications may help with managing symptoms, but they do come with undesirable side effects, including addiction depending on the medication.
If you have severe anxiety do not stop your medications to start meditation. Use meditation as a complementary addition to managing your anxiety. You may find in time, after meditating regularly, you can reduce or stop taking medications for anxiety with the help of your doctor.
Mindful meditation is a practice that you build on. Like anything that’s healthy, it is a habit that needs to be built into your lifestyle.
Meditation can not only help with anxiety, but it also helps:
- Relieve stress
- Lower blood pressure
- Help with conditions related to stress
- Helps with relaxation and sleep
- Emotional well being in general
Meditation allows the brain to take a break so to speak. When you meditate you concentrate on the here and now. You try to clear your mind. Thoughts will arise that will intrude on which you acknowledge and let go. You concentrate on how your breath feels moving through the body.
Although this sounds simple, it has a profound effect on the mind and the body. When you experience chronic stress or you don’t get enough sleep, your body suffers and many chronic health conditions can develop including anxiety.
Starting a meditation practice is not difficult, but it does take a commitment. You may even begin to notice changes within a week or two.
Meditation really helps to reduce or eliminate anxiety
One change you may notice quickly is a more positive mood. Before you know it, things that bothered you now, don’t bother you as much anymore.
One of the best ways to get started is with a guided meditation app. Guided meditation apps help you keep your focus for the period of time you choose to meditate. Guided meditation helps keep you on track by bringing you back to your focus throughout the meditation.
You can start out with short meditations for 5 minutes and move up to longer meditations when you are ready.
Mind Tastik can help you start your meditation practice or enhance your current one. The app can help you guide your negative thoughts to positive thoughts and help sidetrack the negative fears that give you anxiety.
Meditation can be a powerful tool in managing conditions such as anxiety. By starting a meditation practice daily, you can not only relieve stress but change the way you think by changing how your brain works.Tags: anxiety, anxiety meditation, lower anxiety, meditation and anxiety, release anxiety meditation, relieve anxiety