There are a lot of people who suffer from anxiety and are always looking for natural ways to manage their condition. In the quest to find natural working ways to manage anxiety, meditation always pops up and comes in highly recommended, which has lead many people to asking the question: does meditation really help decrease anxiety?
If you are one of the people curious about the answer to that question then this going to be a very interesting read for you, because meditation does indeed help you decrease anxiety and we will explain how down below.
In order for you to clearly understand how meditation works in reducing anxiety you have to understand what anxiety is. Simplified, anxiety is an unpleasant emotion of worry and overreaction to a situation. It is often shown by certain signs like nervousness, uneasiness, trouble with sleep, concentration problems and general restlessness.
Often people confuse anxiety with fear, which is a psychological response to a real threat or danger; instead anxiety can just happen without a reasonable cause often developing into an anxiety disorder.
Most people who have anxiety issues usually suffer from stress and panic attacks as well.
The physical effects of anxiety
The mind and body are connected; the state of the mind can have physical effects on the body therefore allowing psycho-neurological conditions like anxiety to exert certain undesirable effects on your body. When you suffer from anxiety you will find yourself struggling to sleep and probably sleeping at odd hours including during the day at work or at school thereby causing you to feel fatigued and become irritable.
Depending on the severity of the anxiety, you will begin to experience headaches, muscles tension and inability to relax. When you do not relax you will start to develop troubling trembling, twitching with will have an effect on your breathing cycle thereby giving you that shortness of breath and sweating effect that is common among people having a panic attack, or overly difficult anxiety.
The key to managing anxiety therefore lies in controlling the mind, since the mind and body are linked, if you are able to relax the mind you will be able to reduce the signs brought by anxiety on your body. Meditation has an incredible ability to put your mind at rest and achieve incredible results with the body as well.
Meditation and anxiety
The main concept of meditation is to put the mind in a certain state of absolute calmness and peace. The best part about it is that anyone can reach this kind of mental state with proper meditation, guidance and instructions. Since meditation puts your mind at rest, it effectively helps calm down an overactive mind as seen in people with anxiety. Instead of dwelling on your worrisome thoughts, you can start identifying with the silence that exists between every mental action, you learn how to detach yourself from these thoughts to choose instead a zone of calm and peaceful thoughts.
This gives you a strong center to fall on or go to every time you are feeling troubled. Of course, achieving this takes some practice, but when done well the results are amazing, better than any medication or herb really, mostly because it’s so authentic and comes from your own experience.
Meditation allows people suffering from anxiety to be able to get rid of the feeling of uneasiness and helps them clear their minds of any negative thinking. With time and practice, you can tune-in into a meditative state anytime you feel like you are about to build up intense feelings of anxiety.
Now since you are controlling and calming your state of mind with meditation, you will start to notice the physical effects of anxiety pealing away as well. In addition, meditation involves helpful physical exercises like breathing techniques that are instrumental in calming an overeating mind and help the body cope.
How meditation works to reduce anxiety
Studies, research, and peer reviews have shown absolutely amazing evidence in how meditation helps to gain control over one’s own emotional and mental state of mind. It’s absurdly easy to learn meditation, and majority of modern countries have yoga and meditation classes available anytime of the day.
- Rewiring the anxious and restless mind — Repeated practices of meditation allow you to manipulate a certain function of the human mind called neuroplasticity. Having control over your brain’s neuroplasticity gives you the control to stop any thoughts whenever you want and redirect or replace them with other more positive thoughts. The silence or soothing meditation sounds you use are the ones that allow you to reach the areas of your mind you never thought were reachable.
- Optimizing brain chemicals — Your brain has certain chemicals called neurotransmitters that condition its function. Different neurotransmitters are released in certain situations and they are the ones that tell the brain how to behave and eventually the rest of your body. Meditation promotes the secretion of serotonin and a neurotransmitter called GABA, which are vital in maintaining a happy and positive mood in people suffering from anxiety. In addition a hormone called cortisol that is responsible for anxiety and depression is reduced through well-executed meditation sessions, this alone plays a big role in reducing your anxiety.
While many people have experienced amazing benefits of meditation and have had their anxiety reduced to a bare minimum, and in some cases it goes away completely (depending on the severity), it takes a little bit of patience to create a sustainable meditation habit, but it’s totally worth a try and the risk of doing that is non-existent.