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When Meditation Fails. Try this to Calm Your Anxiety

Meditation and mindfulness as ways to reduce stress have exploded in recent years and has helped push mindfulness from a niche interest to a full-blown lifestyle. But what if these techniques don’t work for you?

Well, there are some practical alternatives to tackle your stress response, find peace of mind and calm your anxiety

Not all stress is bad. Actually we all need an optimum level of stress to work effectively. Positive stress is called “eustress.” For example, what may be a negative stress to one person may be perceived as a positive challenge to another person.

However excessive or chronic levels of stress, also called as “distress”, negatively affects both out mental and physical health. Diseases like migraines, hypertension, stroke, muscle tension, high cholesterol, coronary artery disease and obesity, are associated with too much distress.

Fact is we can’t avoid all sources of stress and we don’t want to. But all we can do is learn healthier ways to respond such stress. Learn to “switch off” your stress response and “switch on” your relaxation response. This is the key to promoting mental and physical well being. Many people use meditation to reduce stress related health problems. And they have a good response against anxiety, depression, distress, and quality of life, and small effects on burnout.

In spite of these benefits, meditation is not everyone’s cup of tea either because of hectic schedule or it just doesn’t work for them. Or may be someone is in need of immediate mental health first aid. So scroll down to learn five simple evidence-based alternatives to meditation.

(1) Identify your triggers
List out all the events that make you emotionally drained and mention at least one way to reduce the stress for each. Whenever any event triggers, use the list as an opportunity as stress reduction technique. Take a note on what works and what doesn’t.

SEE ALSO: Understanding the types of Depression

(2) A walk in nature
Gentle exercises like walking, swimming and cycling, when done away from urban area in natural environments such as park or forest, are good to relieve stress like a meditation in motion. Exposure to natural environment improves your mood, reduces stress and blood pressure and improve your ability to concentrate.

(3) Breathe in box
Not a real box. It’s a technique of slow and deep breathing to evoke relaxation response. Breath in for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 4 seconds, exhale breathe for 4 seconds and then pause for 4 seconds before taking your next breath.

(4) Relax, muscle by muscle
It’s a simple process wherein you tense up your muscle and then relax them. Start with the leg muscles and gradually work your way up. While doing this make sure you feel the tension in muscle, but not so much that you feel a great pain. Keep the muscle tensed for about 5 seconds and then relax them for about 10 seconds.

(5) Listen music
Music has tremendous effect of relaxation on mind and body. Slow, quiet classical music can slow the heart rate, lower blood pressure, and decrease levels of stress hormones.

It can be frustrating dealing with stress and anxiety, but remember that you’ll never be dealt anything that you can’t handle. Growth takes stress, but it doesn’t have to rule your life in the process.

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Dr. Vishal Jogi

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