Stress Management: Supply & Demand Of Emotional Resources
Do we have the space in our minds to figure out which tasks are actually essential and which are not so important? This is where mindfulness meditation for stress and anxiety, the feeling that continues after the stressors are gone, can provide relief.
How does meditation relieve stress? It gives us the space to sort out which demands on our energy, attention, and emotions are valid and which are not. Just thinkif we had the ability to distinguish between the two, our experience of stress and anxiety would be much different. We feel pressure when we dont have this space in our minds and in our lives. We experience relief when meditation gives us the space and clarity we need to organize our priorities. This is the demand side element of stress management.
The other key element is the supply side: increasing our resources. Science has shown that brain plasticity the brains ability to change and adapt throughout life is extraordinary. By using meditation techniques to train our minds, we increase our mental resources and become more capable.
As a society, we have become very conscious about how important it is to have a fit, healthy bodythe gyms are full. It is just as critical to have a fit, healthy mind. Through mindfulness meditation practice, our minds can become more capable, focused and clear, enabling us to better handle stressful and demanding situations. This is how meditation for stress reduction enables us to experience a calmer life.
What Are The Best Types Of Meditation For Anxiety
Fortunately, there are a number of ways to practice meditative acts with or without strict meditation. Many of the practices listed below can help to slow down a persons thoughts, foster awareness, and help to strengthen the part of the brain that allows this process to be available when needed.5 It is recommended to try out more than one way of meditating and decide what works best for you.
When youre ready, take a moment to slow down with any of these meditation practices:
Research Proven Method For Reducing Stress: Meditation
Meditation has been practised for thousands of years across various different regions and cultures, but its only in recent years that mindfulness meditation has been used more widely to manage stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Taking the time out of your routine to incorporate mindful breathing and meditate daily can restore your inner peace by bringing you closer to who you truly are.
The benefits of meditation have been proven by numerous studies over the last few decades. In fact, there is so much evidence that shows the positive effects of meditation on our lives that in recent years, the American Psychological Association has recognized mediation as a useful strategy to enhance metacognition and decrease rumination through disengaging from our persistent cognitive activities such as changing our response to stress and improving our attention through better working memory. In turn, these gains make it easier to manage emotions like stress.
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Going Deeper: Nurturing A Personal Meditation Practice
The above practice is a good place to start. However, its also just scratching the surface.
If you are ready to dive deeper, consider learning from a trained teacher or meditation expert. Like driving a car or learning a sport, meditation is best learned from a teacher. Investing some time and resources to take a live class with a mentor that you can talk with is totally worth it!
There are many meditation techniques. Some of the most well-known techniques include mindfulness meditation, transcendental meditation, loving-kindness meditation, concentration meditation, breathing, and mantra meditation, to name just a few! As you can see there are many meditation techniques and meditation programs available.
An important tip here is to choose a style that is easy yet profound, sustainable, enjoyable, and is backed by tradition as well as science.
I have explored quite a bit. And I would recommend that beginners consider SKY Breath Meditation, in which rhythmic breathing is your anchor. I have practiced this technique every single day for a decade. The quality of my meditation, as well as my life, has transformed for the better in every way as a result.
When The Survival Mode Becomes The Norm
Unfortunately, however, our bodies cannot tell the difference between meeting a beast in the jungle and encountering an angry boss, getting stuck in traffic or finding 23,746 unread messages in the Inbox first thing Monday morning.
We still get the rush of the stress hormone, which prepares our body either to fight or to take off. When this happens too often, our vital organs are under constant pressure and stress becomes a real health hazard.
Study after study has shown that frequent experience of stress causes problems, namely,
mental problems e.g., depression anxiety panic attacks problems with learning, memory and emotional regulation insomnia oversensitivity to new stressors irritability destruction of neurons etc. and
physical problems e.g., weakened immune system, high or low blood pressure, heart disease, higher stroke risk, migraines, aggravated cancer, premature aging, digestive problems, high cholesterol level, unhealthy food choices, increased alcohol consumption, etc.
So the vital question in our hectic modern lives is not whether to manage stress, but how to do it most efficiently.
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Begin At A Relaxed Time
Even if you plan to use it only as needed and not as a daily exercise, it is a good idea to practice meditation when you aren’t feeling particularly stressed first, rather than trying it for the first time when you’re feeling overwhelmedunless, of course, you can’t find a time when you don’t feel this way.
The most important thing to remember is to practice meditation for a few minutes per day and to try to sit for at least five minutes each session.
Mindfulness & Meditation Work But Arent For Everyone
Although meditation is a wonderful tool for many, it may not work for everyone. Meditation has been found to be widely effective for a variety of health-related concerns, but some individuals will not benefit or are at risk of a deeper concern as a result of mindfulness techniques. Some researchers noted that certain counseling theories posit that meditation encourages dissociation.12 Overall, meditation can be highly effective in mental health treatment but may not pair well for those with trauma and major life stressors.
While mindfulness is considered an effective tool for anxiety, this does not consider those who have experienced trauma. During one study, those who had histories of trauma and life stressors reported significant levels of distress while meditating.13 Another study further supported this with documentation of meditation-related adverse effects a significant amount of individuals experienced MRAE, even over a month later, including the most common MRAEs of feelings of anxiety and traumatic flashbacks.14 These researchers noted that difficulty in childhood was a factor in risks for MRAE.
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How Stress Affects Us
Stress is an unavoidable part of life. The term’s true definition is that its simply the bodys reactions to lifes experiences. However, its not always pleasant. Stress can keep you from relaxing, getting enough sleep, and enjoying life. Furthermore, prolonged or chronic stress can be seriously detrimental to your physical and emotional health.
Contrary to what you might think, working with stress is not about figuring out how to make it disappear completely. Instead, its about learning how to handle stress and navigate its rough waters, coming out on the other side intact. Meditation is a fantastic tool to manage stress, decrease anxiety and help tackle negative emotions.
How Popular Are Meditation And Mindfulness
According to a 2017 U.S. survey, the percentage of adults who practiced some form of mantra-based meditation, mindfulness meditation, or spiritual meditation in the previous 12 months tripled between 2012 and 2017, from 4.1 percent to 14.2 percent. Among children aged 4 to 17 years, the percentage increased from 0.6 percent in 2012 to 5.4 percent in 2017.
Mindfulness programs for schools have become popular. These programs provide mindfulness training with the goal of helping students and educators manage stress and anxiety, resolve conflicts, control impulses, and improve resilience, memory, and concentration. The mindfulness practices and training methods used in these programs vary widely. Studies on the effectiveness of school-based mindfulness programs have had small sample sizes and been of varying quality.
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Ways Meditation Can Help With Stress
Quick tip: Meditation can help with stress in a number of ways including – reversing the effects of the stress response releasing neurotransmitters that enhance focus and inner calm promoting relaxation and restful sleep changing your brains stress patterns and, connecting you to your true self.
Well, stress is a normal part of life. It is the body’s reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. You get stuck in traffic. Youre preparing to go for a life-changing interview. You get your dream job and are preparing for the first day at work.
All of these activities can trigger the stress response.
While most people assume stress comes only from unpleasant occurrences, positive experiences such as preparing for your wedding, adjusting to the new requirements of a promotion at work, or even going on vacation — can trigger the fight-or-flight response.
When youre in stress mode, hormones like cortisol and adrenalin surge through your body, leading to increased heart rate and blood sugar — as well as a suppressed immune system.
Prolonged stress also leads to increased inflammation and could put you at a higher risk of health issues such as migraine headaches, diabetes, depression, obesity, etc.
So, now that you know what stress is and what it can do to your body if left unchecked, here are 5 ways meditation can help deal with stress:
Stress Reduction In College Students
The power of Transcendental Meditation as a stress-buster in real-life situations has been studied in various settings.
For example, research shows that college students who practice Transcendental Meditation have
- less stress
- less harmful fight or flight response to stressors
- faster adjustment to and recovery from stressful stimuli and
In order to graduate not just with a diploma but also with great mental and physical health, it seems a good idea to make the Transcendental Meditation course part of your personal curriculum!
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Q Should I Choose Mbsr Or Mbct
As we discussed before, choosing between Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy depends on what you hope to tackle with your mindfulness intervention therapy. It is important to point out that MBCT takes a deliberate approach to deal with low moods and negative thinking early on in the program, so participants gain confidence in their ability to recognize these symptoms and respond to them effectively. So if you are dealing with episodes of depression as well as the negative impacts of stress, MBCT might be the better choice for you.
The Forward Guide To Meditation For Stress Management
Stress is an important risk factor for a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Meditation is one of the most effective tools you can use to manage your stressand it helps reduce anxiety and depression as well, which often co-occur with stress.
Although meditation was, just a couple of decades ago, considered a novel practice in the United States, it has been used in Eastern religions for millennia to connect with spiritualitymuch in the same way contemplative prayer is used in the Christian tradition. In recent years, as a result of scientific research on meditation, its become a mainstream practice in the West as a complementary treatment therapy to help reduce stress and anxiety, relieve pain, and promote better sleep.
Here, we look at what scientific research says about the effectiveness of meditation for stress managementand how to get started with your own meditation practice.
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How Meditation Can Help With Stress
Meditation involves taking responsibility for our own mental states, and training ourselves to alter how we respond to experiences so that we produce outcomes that are more conducive to well being and happiness.
There is therefore a lot that meditation can help us to achieve in dealing with stress, although it is not the only tool we can use.
In meditation we cultivate the faculty of mindfulness, or awareness. Mindfulness helps us to become more deeply aware of the patterns that our mind and emotions give rise to including the patterns of responses that we experience as stress.
We can become more aware, for example, of how we blow things out of proportion, so that we add to our woes.
We might become aware of how we indulge in anxious thoughts, so that a neutral thought about something we have to do leads to worrying about what will happen if we dont do it, and how this leads in turn to us actively seeking out things to worry about.
Once we are aware of these internal activities, we clearly are in a better position to do something about them.
With awareness comes choice. Once we have become aware of a pattern of experience, we are able to choose to act otherwise. No awareness = no choice.
Meditation can also help us become more aware of how to make choices that lead to outcomes that are more supportive of well being and happiness.
Mindfulness Meditation For Stress And Anxiety
Stress and anxiety result when we feel we cant handle the pressures and adverse situations of everyday life. Its a simple question of supply and demand of available emotional resources.
Its not about whether the perceived stressor is valid or notwe feel a responsibility to respond to all of the pressures and demands. When we are stressed, the first question we need to ask is whether or not a response is truly necessary.
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Depression Relief And Mood Enhancement
A research review published in JAMA Internal Medicine in January 2014 found meditation helped relieve anxiety, pain, and depression. For depression, meditation was about as effective as an antidepressant. Professor Ronnie Newman Ed.M., C.A.S.a Harvard-trained, award-winning researcherfound that there was a 68-80% remission rate for both depression and anxiety with SKY Breath Meditation from the very first session. Research has shown SKY provided substantial relief from symptoms of depression within three weeks. And after three months individuals remained asymptomatic and stable.
Research On Meditation And Anxiety
Multiple studies have indicated that meditation, and more specifically mindful meditation, helps to manage symptoms of anxiety, stress, or panic. Studies have reported behavioral, mood, and brain changes associated with meditation practice. It is widely supported in the mental health community both as a self-practice and as a therapeutic tool, often utilized in counseling sessions supported by organizations like the American Psychological Association, Mental Health America, and Harvard Medical School.3,8,9
Due to the popularity of this approach, many studies have been conducted with different testing styles, time frames, and on different populations. As a result, the level to which meditation is effective varies from test to test. Meta-analysis of multiple studies indicates that subtle differences in the way people practice meditation are difficult to isolate.1
Regardless, studies consistently show that it is completely harmless, and that it can be helpful.1,2 Meditation is not a cure-all, and should be approached with an open mind. All individuals are different, and what works well for one person and their anxiety may not work for another.5
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What Is The Best Type Of Meditation For Anxiety
The best type of meditation for anxiety focuses on the breath. With mindful awareness, start by imagining your breath going slowly into your lungs, and out slowly, in slowly, and out slowly, in and out. As you experience mind wandering, continue to bring your attention back to the breath every time.
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How Meditation Can Benefit Teenage Students
For adolescents, it is not just the educational stress that bothers them. The changing body, emotional ups and downs, identity issues, and often family discord everything impacts their mental health altogether. Battling teenage stress is not an easy task.
The science of meditation has proved that some daily practices can help youngsters get a better grip on their emotions and actions. Teenagers who practice mindful relaxation and meditation practices are less prone to substance abuse, depression, aggression, and self-harm.
We know how meditation impacts the brain, the hormones, and the whole body. Many youngsters who found it challenging to sit at one place or focus on a single task for a long time, improved a lot after practicing meditation daily, individually or within a group.
Besides the core benefits that we all derive from meditating, there are some additional advantages teenage students can get from it.
Try 18 Meditations For Stress
Looking for meditations that help in managing stress? The Headspace app has a Reframe stress and relax collection that offers subscribers several courses and single meditations for immediate and long-term stress reduction, including:
Ultimately, the teachings of all exercises in the app point to the same lesson: we canât change or control everything that is around us or happens to us, but we can change the way we relate to those things.
DISCLAIMER: General meditation practice and apps like Headspace are not a replacement for or a form of therapy, nor are they intended to cure, treat, or diagnose medical conditions. Meditation can, however, be a component of an overall treatment plan, when monitored by a healthcare professional.
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