Anxiety can plague anyone. It is so common about 33.7% of the population can suffer from anxiety disorders in their lifetimes. I have patients who come in with chronic diseases and anxiety disorders.
It is normal to be anxious, as it’s part of our defence mechanism to ward off danger. But anxiety can lead to:
- Panic attacks
- Social anxiety
- Separation anxiety
- Different types of phobias
When it has become disruptive to everyday routine, then anxiety becomes a problem. But don’t worry because there are many ways to deal with anxiety.
Managing Symptoms Holistically
I look at the patient as a whole because there are many reasons for anxiety and anxiety disorders. It is mostly due to the imbalance in the activity of neurotransmitters in the brain.
Many factors can impact this balance, and it can be as simple and basic as a nutritional imbalance.
Gut health can affect your mood and may contribute to anxiety, leading to anxiety disorders. Check out the blog on Gut Health and why you should be concerned about what you eat.
Part of my assessment is to look at these imbalances. I help my patients holistically manage their symptoms.
Some patients need medication, and I prescribe those, but usually as a temporary means to manage their problem. I try to make a more natural approach as much as possible.
One way I deal with anxiety before it becomes a problem is to meditate. I encourage my patients to do the same.
Meditation is for Everyone
What many research findings have revealed meditation can help with stress reduction and managing anxiety disorders.
In fact, in one study, researchers applied a stress reduction and relaxation program, which is a highly structured training program in mindfulness meditation to patients diagnosed with panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and other anxiety disorders for eight weeks. The meditation program reduced the anxiety and panic symptoms of the patients.
Everyone can benefit from meditation. Whether you’re 20 years old or 90 years old, meditation can help in managing your stress.
Usually, my patients with chronic conditions and those with different ailments tend to have a lot of stress. Meditation helps even in those with:
- High blood pressure
- Overall health and wellness
There are many types of meditation techniques. Some examples are mindful meditation, transcendental meditation, and mantra meditation.
Whatever meditation you want to pursue, make it work for you. Some people will complain they don’t have one hour every day or thirty minutes to “waste” in this “me” time.
Surprisingly, in one study, a 13-minute meditation gave tremendous benefits to 76 people,18 to 45 years of age. What did the researchers find out?
- Improved mood and decreased anxiety and fatigue
- Enhanced attention and memory
- Helped them deal with acute stresses with less anxiety
- Should be done consistently for at least eight weeks for someone to see significant results. Those who only did it for four weeks did not benefit much from the practice.
Types of Meditation
The study used the Journey Meditation developed by Stephen Sokoler. It’s simple. You need to listen to a 13-minute recording each day, which will guide you to do some breathing exercises.
In between these breathing exercises, you allow time for silence. Even anyone without experience in meditation, like these people in the study, will find this easy to do and receive health benefits from it.
I use a technique that focuses on visualization. I have a space in my home I only use for meditation.
Nothing else is allowed in there. I tried to meditate in my bedroom in the past, but I find that the bedroom is mainly just for sleep and intimacy for me.
You need to have space to relax and clear your mind. Make it conducive by playing some background music.
I dim the lights, play gentle music, and light some candles. I visualize all of the stress as a dark smoke of cloud going out of the window.
Clear my brain and pay close attention to my breathing, replacing all the negativity with something positive instead—the good feelings that I want to feel.
You don’t need to confine meditation to one space. The more you get used to the technique, the easier it is to practice it in the present moment.
In a given situation, people will react differently. Some will find one stimulus to be stressful while another will not respond in the same manner.
Focus on the Right Now
I help my patients think through things differently. Focusing on the “right now” and living the present moment can help ease your anxieties and worries about the future.
One effective way of using mindful meditation based on this one study is to do the following:
- Pay attention to your surroundings and your breathing, feelings, and sensations in the present moment.
- Don’t judge yourself for your thoughts, feelings, and sensations. Just acknowledge that these exist and accept your attitude. Don’t rationalize.
- Detach yourself from the situation and try to observe your thoughts and feelings from an outsider’s perspective
- Be compassionate towards yourself, family members, friends, strangers, and other living beings.
The researchers found this kind of mindful meditation to be more effective than relaxation technique in improving the stability of the emotions in the elderly participants who did it for eight weeks.
I also encourage the use of a gratitude journal. It helps to change your way of thinking once.
Positive affirmations also help. You do this by lessening negative self-talk and speaking more positive things to yourself. These are just some of the coping tips I give that my patients can do daily.
We Can Help
Overall, anxiety and anxiety disorders should not hold you back and ruin your life. The best way to deal with it is to address the root causes holistically.
So, popping a pill may help but is not the only solution. There are many things you can do on your own, using the natural approach to improve your emotional well-being. Simple things like eating a balanced diet and meditation may be all you need to have peace of mind and joyful life.
If you have anxiety and anxiety disorders, we can help you at Rose Canyon Health and Wellness where we offer integrated health solutions that address your:
- Mental health