Can You MELD-ITATE Anxiety?
Do the words Mindfulness and Meditation make you want to run for the hills? Or better still, the closest pub? Let’s put it this way. The hills are a very long way off and the pubs remain closed. You now have oodles of time to learn about some new stuff. This is the perfect time to give meditation a go.
Simple answer—Corona Virus!
This virus has not only invaded our lives, it has taken over our peace of mind! Many of us have become hyper anxious, hyper vigilant and super stressed. Our sympathetic nervous system, which kicks in and alerts and protects us in times of danger, seems to be in overdrive, and it may not be switching off. We may find ourselves sleeping fitfully and perhaps feeling dazed, tired, confused— even depressed— during the day. Being in a state of high alert over a long period of time is unhealthy, and makes us more susceptible to getting ill. To help us understand the effects of stress on our nervous system, here is a statement released by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, “to help Canadians protect their mental health as they strive to safeguard their physical well-being and that of their loved ones."
It’s normal to feel anxious in the face of a threat. Our body’s fight-or-flight response is designed
to keep us safe by heightening our response to perceived danger. Part of that response is the
release of stress hormones, which increase heart rate, blood pressure, and overall alertness. The brain is continuously seeking new informational cues to re-assess the threat level. Unfortunately, if we bombard ourselves with COVID-19 details, headlines, and images, we reinforce the threat signal and perpetuate the stress response. Remember, the information we allow in will affect how we feel and we should monitor that intake with care. Because of the impact stress has on our body’s immune system, managing it during a pandemic is critical to the success of strategies designed to reduce contagion or the severity of the illness.
Meditation can be FUN! Best of all, no equipment is required—and it’s free!
A wonderful way to switch off from the fight/flight/freeze response of the sympathetic system is to engage the parasympathetic system, which helps us conserve energy and slow down. We can turn that sympathetic switch off by engaging in activities that bring us joy, like dancing or singing or walking or running or painting—any activity that allows us to detach and to focus our energy on something we truly enjoy. Creative processes like writing, painting, dancing can be very meditative, but so can physical activities like running, skiing or playing sports.
The positive effects of meditation
In addition to keeping ourselves well hydrated, eating a healthful diet, sleeping well, exercising, and perhaps taking additional supplements, meditating can help our immune system stay strong and healthy. The positive effects of meditation have been recognized in the East for thousands of years. Meditation is proving to be a powerful practice which can have a myriad of positive effects on all aspects of our lives including better sleep and a more positive outlook on life overall. Still skeptical? You may wish to check out what esteemed sources such as the Mayo clinic have to say here. You can check these out here.
Now go ahead and meld your worries away with some meditation!