In an age where science is aligning more and more with alternative therapies, we are being provided with more options than ever to help control symptoms of chronic issues and, in some cases, heal them completely. With anxiety disorders coming in as the number one mental illness in America, the effects of our stressful modern lives have reached epidemic levels.
As a person that has an anxiety disorder myself, I am always looking for ways to keep my symptoms in check without the use of conventional medications. I have already been down the road of trying just about every anti-depressant and anxiety medication out there- with little to no results. The side effects and long-term effects of some of these medications were enough to make my anxiety worse! My current regimen is aromatherapy with essential oils and mindfulness meditation. I will do a post at a later time on essential oils- for now, I am going to focus on mindfulness meditation(pardon the pun).
Mindfulness meditation is actually quite simple to do- the hardest part is keeping focus. This is why you would start with short sessions of five to ten minutes and work your way up gradually as you are comfortable doing so. First, find a comfortable position, whether this is sitting on the floor with a pillow under you or in a chair- whatever is most comfortable for you. Laying down may or may not work as you could fall asleep in the middle of meditating(if you do this before bed and fall asleep-then this would be a good thing). Begin to take slow, deep breaths in through the nose, hold momentarily, and exhale through the mouth. Do this several times, then let your breath come naturally. Focus on your breathing- how it feels entering and exiting your body and any sensations you feel elsewhere. If your mind wanders, just acknowledge the thought and let it pass. Gently bring your focus back to the breath. Continue this for the time you have allotted, then gently come back into the present.
You can do a shortened version of this when you feel anxiety creeping up. Take five slow, deep breaths – focusing on your breathing and envisioning breathing in peace and calm and breathing out anxiety and stress. This can be done anywhere, anytime to help relieve anxiety and modulate the stress response of your body. Here is a link with more information on practicing techniques- https://www.mindful.org/mindfulness-how-to-do-it/.
It will take persistence and practice to improve your focus. Always be gentle with yourself and move along at your own pace. Try to practice around the same time each day(I like to practice first thing in the morning- it sets a positive tone for my day as well as helping to keep my anxiety better controlled). Give it a try for a week and let me know in the comments how it worked for you!