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Meditation: A Powerful Tool to Reduce Stress & Anxiety

We live in a fast-paced world today and it does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Anxiety has increasingly become a common concern for may individuals, couples, and families. There are many pressures of work, domestic responsibilities, and the constant information ‘overload’ you may be receiving about the unrest in other parts of the world which contributes to your level of stress. Good news… meditation offers a simple yet effective way to combat anxiety and promote a healthier overall well-being. In this blog, we will explore the numerous benefits of meditation in managing YOUR anxiety.

Benefits of Meditation:

  • Stress Reduction: One of the primary benefits of utilizing meditation in your daily life is to reduce your levels of stress. Anxiety often stems from stressors in your daily lives and meditation helps counteract your body’s response to stress. Mindfulness meditation can assist you to stay in the present moment and let go of the worries for the future.
  • Enhanced Relaxation Response: Meditation promotes the relaxation response instead of the stress response. Focusing on your breathing can help activate your body’s relaxation mechanisms, leading to a sense of calmness and tranquility.
  • Improved Sleep Quality: Anxious thoughts and/or feelings can lead to sleep disturbance. Have too much on your mind? Worried about what may happen tomorrow? Utilizing meditation can significantly improve your sleep quality by quieting your mind and reducing racing thoughts. When you experience sufficient and adequate sleep, you will be able to be equipped to manage challenging situations of the day, leading to a reduction in anxiety.
  • Enhanced Coping Strategies: Meditation encourages you towards a non-reactive and non-judgmental approach to thoughts and feelings. This will allow you to face challenges with a clear mind, rather than being overwhelmed with anxiety.
  • Improved Emotional Regulation: Have you noticed that when you are feeling increasingly anxious, you are more challenged regulating your emotions? This happened to me recently and I had to take a step back and focus on my breathing until my mind was calmer. I was then able to regain focus on the challenging situation and make logical decisions, instead of being directed by my emotions. When you regularly practice meditation, you can become more attuned to your emotions and better manage them.
  • Increased Resilience: By using meditation, you can build resilience to stress and anxiety. As you become more adept at managing your emotional responses to difficult situations, you’ll find it easier to move forward from setbacks and maintain a positive outlook for your future.
  • Improved Self-Acceptance: Self-doubt and self-criticism can be a contributing factor to provoking your anxiety. By learning to be kinder to yourself through meditation and giving yourself time to focus on You, you can reduce negative thought patterns that fuel anxiety.

Anxiety Treatment Through Meditation

Here is a list of tips on what you can begin to do for yourself and begin experiencing the positive results of meditation:

  • Close your eyes and get comfortable in your seat. Count 4 seconds as you take in a breath, hold the breath for 7 seconds, and slowly release your breath externally through your mouth. You may find your mind wandering from time to time while using this exercise, yet gently remind yourself to return towards focusing on your breath. This will take some time to get used to but the more you practice the breathing exercise, you will become the master of your anxious thoughts.
  • Focus on tensing different parts of your body and then slowly releasing allowing the tension to melt away. Try clenching both of your fists as hard as you can for 10 seconds and then release your fists slowly feeling the tension fade away. Try doing this to different parts of your body and begin to feel calmness and relaxation in your body.
  • Encourage yourself to go out for a walk. While walking, practice the 5-4-3-2-1 meditation awareness of your surroundings. Bring along with you a water bottle. Follow these steps while walking using your five senses:
    1. What do you See: Begin by looking at 5 things that stand out to you and in your mind, fully describe the object.
    2. What do you Hear: Listen for 4 sounds and again describe them in your mind.
    3. What do you Feel: Find 3 objects to touch and feel the item’s texture (is it smooth, rough, rugged, sharp, etc.?)
    4. What do you Smell: Be mindful of 2 aroma’s that you sense and what does that smell remind you of (pleasant, sweet, fresh, disgusting, etc.)
    5. What do you Taste: Take a sip of your water bottle and swirl it around your mouth. Does it have a taste? Is it sour or sweet?

Mindfulness exercises are beneficial to reducing your stress levels and anxiety. Anxiety treatment is available through these exercises. If you feel you need additional assistance and find it too challenging to use the grounding techniques, our skilled therapists are available to help you.

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