The answer to this question is it can be both. At normal levels it is your body’s natural response to stress which is a normal level of anxiety and can help you stay alert and focused. For example, it motivates you into taking action over certain circumstances so a manageable amount of anxiety, from time to time can prove to be helpful thus making it our friend.
However, too much anxiety can be bad for us which is when it falls into the bracket of being a foe. When you experience high levels of anxiety, this produces very debilitating symptoms which are physical and psychological and can include feelings of light-headedness and dizziness, grinding your teeth (this is referred to as bruxism), feeling sick, an irregular heartbeat, to feelings of impending doom. If that wasn’t unpleasant enough, in extreme cases an individual can experience derealization and disassociation and, when first experienced, can be mistaken for psychosis which is some of the nastier symptoms of anxiety.
So what can we do about anxiety? Well, it turns out in actual fact quite a lot!
Healthy eating, regular exercise, cutting back on caffeine and not smoking are a few things you can do. If you look online you will find no end of self help tips and if you ever get to the point with anxiety where you need to go and see a general practitioner, you will probably be prescribed antidepressants and referred for counselling.
This is often the way forward for a lot of people but there is something else that the vast majority of individuals overlook.
I’m talking about meditation. Once properly mastered the benefits are immense and include managing anxiety and reducing stress. It can promote emotional well-being and also enhances self awareness and improves sleep. In some cases even helps to control pain and can decrease blood pressure.
So why is something so powerful so overlooked and how does it work?
Explaining in it simple terms, meditation allows us to move from high frequency brain waves to lower frequency thus enabling us to calm the mind, which in turn offers us the ability to skilfully choose the thoughts that we invest in. For it work it has to be practiced daily for around 15 minutes which is probably the amount of time it takes to drink a cup of tea or coffee. However 15-minutes spent meditating as opposed to drinking a caffeine based drink will be a lot more beneficial.
So why don’t more people meditate? There seems to be many reasons for this and the major one being that some people believe that they need to have a quiet mind, saying that their mind is too active to meditate. When you think about that it’s like saying that you need to be fit to go to the gym, or that you need to be relaxed to go to the spa. In truth, it’s up to the individual to make up their mind and be determined that they want to learn meditation.
Going back to an earlier point about the benefits of meditation being vast, one of the most powerful is how scientific studies have shown that after just 8 weeks of meditation the Amygdala, which is the brain’s fight or flight centre and the part of the brain that is responsible for anxiety, appears to shrink. As the Amygdala shrinks the prefrontal cortex, which is the part associated with higher-order brain functions such as concentration decision-making and personality development, becomes thicker which then makes anxiety harder to experience.
This, in turn will help improve your self esteem and when this happens your anxiety will take a back seat and let you get on with what you’re meant to be doing – enjoying your life, living rather than existing!
If after reading this you feel that anxiety is not for you, but meditation is then please look out for my next blog as I will be explaining the form of meditation I use and how to practice it.
For me, meditation replaced being in a psychiatric unit suffering from poor mental health (and eventually even losing a well paid job) to going on to building a business where I am now qualified to help people with the same conditions.
In a world of negativity you need to find positivity and meditation is the way to do this.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this as much as I have enjoyed writing it and please feel free to like my Facebook page and follow me.
Wishing you all positivity and good fortune.