Anxiety is overwhelming – learn to cope using meditation
– Quick Overview –
Why we feel anxious
The brain experiences both stress and anxiety a little differently. Anxiety seems to have a closer relation to fear than stress does, (even though they share use of similar parts of the brain).
Anxiety disorder is diagnosed when fear is significant enough to interfere with daily life, or if it seems to develop with little cause or reason.
We all can have moments of feeling anxious, but if we continue to experience these over longer periods of time, and more often, it can start to control us and make our lives difficult … This is the beginning of the anxiety disorder.
Feelings of apprehension or dread, difficulty concentrating, feeling tense or jumpy, anticipating the worst, irritability, feeling restless, watching (& waiting) for signs (& events) of danger … feeling like your mind’s gone blank are all quite common.
Additionally nightmares or bad dreams, obsessions about sensations, feeling trapped in your mind, and feeling like every thing is scary can also be a reality.
It can simply be that someone has more of a chance for chronic anxiety, meaning they have more receptors in the brain for glucocorticoids (a neurotransmitter that mediates anxiety), and fewer receptors for a brain chemical that reduces anxiety.
Chronic anxiety is growing worldwide, currently one in six people in Europe suffer from a clinically defined anxiety disorder.
Help for anxiety
Anxiety is a tough cookie to crack, (I’m not sure that’s the correct idiom, but you get the point).
The ways to deal with anxiety are many, but most people feel like nothing, or little, helps. Which of course leads to more anxiety.
I could sit here and copy and paste from wikipedia, or I could use your time as well as I can, and at least say something a little different than what you’ve heard before.
The first thing is this. If you are an anxious person, you will always have the potential to be an anxious person. And, you may always be an anxious person.
I know this isn’t what you really wanted to hear, but stick around, as I’m going to put forward a possibility.
In my time as a teacher, I’ve dealt with hundreds of people who suffer from anxiety. I’ve seen a lot, trying to help those I can with a daily practice of meditation.
Although it is true that I’ve seen meditation help people with anxiety more than any other mental disorder, meditation still hasn’t destroyed the experience of anxiety in people who meditate.
Although meditation is a powerful tool, that can change the brain, it’s not going to grow you a new brain.
You will still be you with meditation, (I wouldn’t teach it if it destroyed who you are).
What daily meditation helps most with is …
– Your ability to not get caught up in the story your mind is telling you, (i.e. Ah, here’s the “I’m dying of bowel cancer” story again …)
– Your ability to decrease perseverance, (which is a fancy word for how long you are stuck in the anxious episode).
– Your ability to avoid recursive thought patterns, (i.e. Sad about being angry about being anxious about being anxious).
– Your ability to introspect, (noticing the thoughts that lead up to an anxious episode and dealing with them before they start a “downward spiral”).
There’s a bunch of science about this. I researched a much of it years ago, as I run a blog about science and meditation, but I stopped the blog, as I noticed it’s too easy to cherry pick information – and anyway, I’m more biased about the benefits of meditation than anyone, so why would you listen to me?
A quick google search of anxiety and meditation will produce tens (hundreds?) of thousands of results. Check it out – and see for yourself.
In the end, through my meditation courses, I explain how meditation works in a clear, logical, and rational way, so you can understand in your own way how daily meditation is an effective form of anxiety reduction.
Meditation isn’t going to end anxiety. But it will help. You’ll be genuinely surprised.
And sometimes that’s enough.