Most people will suffer with anxiety at some point during their life. The whole population being in isolation during the lockdown meant that anxiety was experienced by millions. Little problems seem to become even bigger when you’re confined at home or when you don't have your normal support system in place. Covid-19 is also causing many of us to feel even more anxious, whether it be about catching it or potentially passing it onto someone we love.
When we suffer anxiety, adrenaline along with noradrenaline is released into our body as a stress response. The consequences of which can surface physically and mentally. Interrupted sleep, irritability, butterflies in the stomach, headaches, upset tummy, tightness in the chest, high blood pressure... these are all signs. It can come and go. It can be intense.
Meditation for Anxiety
According to Headspace, anxiety is a cognitive state connected to an inability to regulate emotions. Research, however, indicates that a consistent meditation practice can reprogram neural pathways in the brain. The upshot is that our ability to regulate emotions is improved.
Meditation also enables us to recognise anxiety inducing thoughts and through daily practice we can learn to sit with them, understand they are not real and let them go. We soon remember that in the same way that clouds pass overhead, thoughts pass through our brain and then drift off again and we don’t need to get hung up on them. Meditation is not a quick fix strategy but may be used to complement your overall treatment program.
Reduce Anxiety Through Meditation
Meditation can provide immediate benefits for anxiety. As you meditate, breathe in to invite space, oxygen and relaxation into your body. Then breathe out to release tension.
Another important skill that you can learn through meditation is the often talked about ‘body scan’. This practice teaches us to bring our attention to physical sensations felt in the moment. We’re often so consumed in our daily lives that we simply don’t pay enough attention to how we’re feeling until it’s too late and we’re all het up or besides ourselves with stress or worry.
The technique involves mentally scanning your body, inch by inch and exploring the sensations we’re feeling in each part. By doing this often, we learn how to recognise our early signs of anxiety as soon as we begin to experience them. We can then take action to calm ourselves.
Another benefit of meditation for anxiety is that the body scan can be used when we’re feeling anxious to locate exactly where we’re holding tension in our body and to release it. Later when you’ve mastered such practices and incorporating meditation into daily life, it enables us to go deeper into issues and root causes.
If you’re new to all of this, don’t worry, there are now classes all around the country offering meditation courses. Many are continuing to carry out teachings by Zoom for those who are feeling anxious about returning to the studio.
There are also thousands of apps like Headspace and Calm that provide you with the tools to instantly meditate on the spot. YouTube also has a library of meditation videos that can be used.
The great thing is that meditation is completely practical. Whilst it’s a fabulous experience to join a group meditation, you can easily do it at home or on the move, at any-time of the day. You can do it for 5 minutes or for an hour, whatever works for you.
Aromatherapy for Anxiety
When we inhale aromatherapy products, molecules within essential oils travel from the olfactory nerves directly to the brain and impact something called the limbic system. Emotional life is largely housed in the limbic system, and it critically aids the formation of memories. It’s no wonder that certain smells can trigger long-forgotten memories, strong emotional responses or fond nostalgia about past events.
The limbic system also plays a role in controlling several unconscious physiological functions, such as breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure, some of the key indicators of anxiety. By using aromatherapy, we can have a direct impact on our emotional state of mind and physiological processes. Similar, therefore to the meditative process. Imagine how powerful it can be to combine both.
Aromatherapy and Meditation
Try using essential oils such as lavender, chamomile and frankincense oils with meditation. These oils are great in enhancing your meditation experience, switching off from other distractions and giving you clarity and peace of mind.
The Scentered DE-STRESS Range is blended with Chamomile to promote calmness and uplifting and relaxing Neroli and Mandarin to help soothe tension and support feelings of well-being. A fantastic complement to your daily meditation practice.
If you prefer diffusing oils, try our DE-STRESS Home Aromatherapy Candle. For those that prefer a topical option, apply our DE-STRESS Aromatherapy Balm to pulse points (wrists, neck and temples) and inhale deeply three times prior to meditation.