Reducing Anxiety in Everyday Life
by Dr. Jain Wells
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is that feeling of worry or nervousness that we may experience when we feel pressure or resistance around some aspect of our lives. Anxiety makes us feel overwhelmed and in a state of stress. For others it may be even more extreme and experienced every day as an anxiety disorder or linked with depression. There are a variety of anxiety symptoms and circumstances — all of which can be addressed and minimized with the right approach. For example, during the upcoming holiday season many people will feel some form of social anxiety with the pressures of socializing and meeting new people, or at family events. Anxiety is that feeling of panic that gets in the way of us really relaxing and enjoying our down time. The truth is, any type of stress or anxiety are indications that we are out of balance.
How to stop suffering from anxiety
Reducing anxiety in everyday life involves becoming more attuned to and mindful of your own moods and energy, knowing that they are under your command to transmute. The states of anxiety and stress are not who we are, they are conditions of our energy that can be shifted. The first step is to acknowledge the anxiety symptoms as they are happening… do you feel an increase in your heart rate? an increase in body temperature? nervousness in the company of someone in particular? Stop and take a few moments to begin breathing consciously into the anxiety and areas of tension in your body. Conscious breathing brings more oxygen flow into the body to help relieve stress. You will feel the calming effects immediately.
Conscious breathing is also an important aspect in certain forms of meditation practice because of its immediacy and connection with our energy — and is crucial for minimizing anxiety symptoms. When you engage in taking long deep breaths of air into your belly it oxygenates your blood. We breathe into our abdominal area when we breathe consciously because it correctly positions the diaphragm to allow for optimal oxygen flow. Conscious breathing can be practiced while you are engaged in many types of activities – while walking, driving, cooking, or around people. It is a simple task that can benefit your emotional, physical and mental health. Take a long slow breath through your nose, into your belly, and then slowly push the breath back out…long and slow. Keep a steady rhythmic flow between the in-breath and out-breath.
As you are coming into awareness of your body and the state of your anxiety, acknowledge yourself in the present moment. Be present with what is happening now, with all of your sensory faculties. If you can be present and in a state of acceptance and non-judgement this will help dissipate the anxiety symptoms further. Similarly, the act of resistance and non-acceptance will intensify the anxiety.
Meditation for Anxiety, Stress & Depression
If you are able to sit down, close your eyes and continue with the conscious breathing, you can relax into a seated meditation practice. Meditation more than any other single practice will have the most stabilizing long term effect on your energy if you practice consistently. Feel the anxiety immediately lighten in your body. Keep your spine straight yet relaxed with your hands in your lap and feet on the floor. Keep your attention focused on the inflow and outflow of the breath. As you keep your attention on your breathing you are loosening the energy and tightness in your body. Meditation is keeping your mind focused and in the moment with whatever you are sensing, and remaining present with your own awareness of yourself. This means you are acknowledging any anxiety, depression and areas of stress while keeping your attention on your breathing. When a thought comes to mind of the past or future, simply acknowledge it and let it go, returning your focus to your breathing. If you can keep the long, slow breaths of air moving you will observe your anxiety symptoms lightening up. You will glide into being present with your own inner peace. Practicing this regularly will greatly help your mental and emotional health. In addition to practicing conscious breathing throughout your day, if you can maintain this seated meditation practice every day for 20-30 minutes you will establish a new relationship with your mind, body and anxiety.
Technology and Anxiety – Stress Reduction
Once you learn how to keep your mind centred and in the moment during your meditation sessions you will also be slowing down your brainwave frequency – which directly corresponds with minimizing your anxiety and depression symptoms, and moving into a state of inner calm. Consistent practice will keep your average waking brainwave state at a much slower rate which naturally feels more calm and relaxed.
Another approach for those who seek relief from anxiety symptoms is through brainwave synchronization technology. Through specific soundwaves we can alter our brainwaves and achieve deep states of relaxation. I have created a meditation CD called Luminosity One that utilizes this synchronization technology to assist in the ‘slowing down’ process to help people learn to meditate, experience deeper states of awareness, and alleviate stress and anxiety symptoms for better emotional and mental health.