Nov 18, 2014

Adrenaline, Anxiety and Meditation, Huh?


Meditation can be perceived as outlandish, however can it help overcome the laundry list of mind clutter that contributes to anxiety?  Anxiety that is escalated when thinking about child related obligations, financial problems, the long list of things to do, issues at work and more.

tinybuddha.com
 
Those of you with anxiety can relate to the feelings of being nauseated and overwhelmed as well as the panicky feeling that comes along with it.  The crippling side effects that come along with it such as depression, lack of or reduced motivation, feelings of worry and self-doubt.  All this is very real and you have probably also experienced the fact that it gets in the way of life.  Not just the symptoms it causes but it also blocks the ability to think as clearly as usual and it clouds the mind so creativity seems to be reduced.  I am not saying that you cannot think clearly at all nor have no creativity but doesn’t it seem to be reduced a little?  Or a lot?
 
I have noticed it is more difficult to have total clarity, when I am experiencing anxiety, which is probably because my ability to focus is reduced or lost.  My mind is full of clutter so it is difficult to direct full attention to the task at hand.  Wouldn’t you love to eliminate the symptoms, the root cause?

Can meditation aid in overcoming anxiety?

We know the physical symptoms and the effects that it has on our mind, body and emotion but what about the internal effects?  These symptoms are not just phantom things that we hallucinate about….. There are real things going on in the body that make us experience these things.  Today I am going to go over what actually happens internally that causes the physical reaction to occur.  The purpose of this is once you realize what is happening internally, it will help you correct it yourself.

kismet14.skyrock.com
 
I was talking to my friend, Janae, and she said one of the things she learned is that many times we have anxiety over something we worry might happen.  She says most of the times these things have never actually happened but we are afraid of it anyway.  Like what if we fall down?  Or having a fear of crowded places.  This constant worry nags at us and she learned that if you focus on the fact that falling has never happened before so it is likely not going to happen now, or crowded places have not caused harm before it will help remove some of the mind clutter and help reduce anxiety in that area.  You may wonder: What does any of this have to do with meditation? Meditation focuses on clearing the mind and bringing what we want to our life.
 
Janae’s tip helps free mind clutter for that one area by just realizing that certain thoughts are unlikely.  And if we do fall, so what?  We get up and keep walking.  It is not the end of the world; we are not going to lose our job, family or loved ones over it so why worry about it.  We acknowledge that the thought is occurring but probably not a reality and move it out of our head.  What about replacing it with the idea that today is going to be fantastic?  Today is the day that we walk freely without falling.  The day that the crushing chest pain and shortness of breath is gone.  Today is the day we will laugh and have a great time!  That is way more positive and nobody has anxiety over that thought!
 
happiness photo: THINK HAPPINESS AttractHappiness.jpg

Why Would Meditation Help Overcome Anxiety

Today we are going to talk about 2 key hormones.  The body has many more hormones but the focus for today is adrenaline and serotonin.  Insulin and cortisol play huge roles in aggression, depression, anxiety and stress but we are going to examine the effects of adrenaline spikes and how they are a major factor that leads to anxious feelings.  Let me add that food plays a big factor in how these hormones act but that is topic for another day.
 
According to Dr. Heller & Dr. Heller (2010), in The Stress Eating Cure, the body has a hormone to help control many aspects of the body’s emotions.  For example, according to McCrimmon et al, (1999) in Physiology and Behavior, research shows higher levels of insulin are linked to increases in feeling anger, even when the research participant was in a setting of non-confrontation.  Another example, per F. Martin del Campo et al., (2002) in Biological Psychiatry, fatigue, tension, anger, depression and confusion greatly increased when levels of cortisol were at the highest points.  These are just a couple examples of what happens to the body as a result of increased hormones.
 
Heller & Heller’s research also shows that when one hormone increases it triggers another to try to correct it.  This increase triggers the next hormone to spike and so forth, thus creating a roller coaster-type effect.  Their research shows that when adrenaline rises it can be counteracted by serotonin so if we practice ways of keeping serotonin levels up that will keep adrenaline at bay.
 
Why keep adrenaline at bay and what role does it play with anxiety?  Adrenaline triggers the fight or flight response we need if we are getting ready to run a marathon, lift some weights or run from a giant bear.  The body’s natural way of preparing us for these events is to give us a shot of adrenaline and when it is used then there is usually no stress.  However, Heller and Heller state that if our body dishes a dose of adrenaline and we do not use it that is when conflict is created in the body.  The doctors explain stress and anxiety occurs when our body, mind and emotion conflict with one another. For example if we are at work and a customer or client says something extremely rude but we do not respond by telling them what we really think (because we value our job) then our body feels at conflict because our mind and emotions clash.  Basically, we are given a dose of adrenaline that is not getting used – because we bite our tongue.

What Happens With Anxiety when Meditation is Done

Overcoming adrenaline is done by releasing serotonin into the body because serotonin counteracts the feeling produced by adrenaline.  Serotonin is a hormone produced in the body that gives us the ‘happy’ feeling.  Feelings of peace and well-being are associated with serotonin and there are things we can do to produce serotonin in our own body, without the use of drugs.

meditation photo: meditation meditation.jpg

Working out releases serotonin and so does any kind of exercise which is where the term “runner’s high” comes from.  Getting enough sleep, boosting other hormones such as oxytocin, eating right and avoid insulin boosting foods, listening to your favorite music, avoiding stimulants like caffeinated products, the touch of a loved one or pet and even having conversation with a friend are all great ways to produce serotonin in the body.  It helps calm and rejuvenate the mind in turn positively affecting the body.  Last but not least, the Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience lists meditation first due to ‘self-induced’ mind alterations.  Read more on that here:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2077351/

My personal favorites of overcoming anxiety are meditating, music, eating right and working out.  It is extremely important to incorporate several of these activities throughout your day, every day, in order to begin reducing the effects of anxiety by producing serotonin and other ‘pleasant’ hormones.  Eventually, with continuous effort you will be anxiety free.  Wouldn’t you love to eliminate the symptoms, the root cause?

That is where meditation comes in.  Meditation aids the production of serotonin and the process involved with meditation allows the mind to be free of clutter while focusing on more positive and productive ideas and thoughts.  If you would like to read on how to meditate, CLICK HERE.

Sometimes I get into a routine and forget about meditating and find anxiety creeping back into my life so I have to redirect my energy on meditation and specific music.  I find that classical works best for me but it will likely be different for everyone.  Sometimes I use a technique that involves using certain music frequencies.  I work out -even though it is currently limited- and eat properly almost daily so I know that those 2 things, alone, are not quite enough to conquer anxiety.  Since this is a constant battle, it is important to know that meditation will not 'fix' or 'cure' anxiety which is why you should do it regularly.  The more often you are producing "feel good" hormones, the less frequently anxiety will occur until eventually it disappears.  Keeping in mind what I stated above that it can easily reoccur when practicing these good habits stop.

Let me draw a correlation to meditation and the law of attraction.  Individuals use the law of attraction as a way of getting what they put out.  It is a strong and powerful technique to achieve goals in life and a great way to conquer fears and climb to the top of their potential.  Using the law of attraction, individuals will think about what they want in a positive manner and they do it regularly to attract what they want.  Meditation is the same concept and can be used in a similar way to tap into your subconscious mind.

Using your strengths to achieve something great…. To conquer anxiety.
I recognize the fact that many people are not sold on the fact that meditation could have any positive influence, or any influence at all, but I bet those same people have not tried it.  I mean really tried it the way it is supposed to be done by keeping an open mind and actually giving it a chance to work.  It has been scientifically proven through research that meditation, in fact, does boost serotonin AND dopamine.  This production helps quash adrenaline and ease the mind as well as the body.  This eliminates anxiousness.  I never used to believe in meditation but I have changed my views since it worked for me.

What are your views on meditation?  Do you think it is possible to overcome anxiety by using meditation?  Post your comments below on whether you have tried it or if you are willing to try it.


Linking up with Jill for:


let's connect:

33 comments:

  1. I believe in thinking positively and fueling positive thoughts into positive outcomes.
    I believe in meditation - but I don't consciously do it - even though I should make time for it.

    I believe that overcoming anxiety and many mental "illnesses" is possible with meditation and positivity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a bit of a stretch since mind clutter can get in the way but with guided meditation, it can provide extremely wonderful results!

      Delete
  2. I am a firm believer in meditation. And I think it is missing in a lot of healthy individuals "tool belt". Sure, eating healthy is great and working out is too, but stress management is SO important! Thank you for posting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The health of the mind is so important and I think your are correct, it can be overlooked.

      Delete
  3. Meditation has seriously helped my husband and he swears by it! Sadly for me I just cant seem to unwind and let my mind be blank!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should try guided meditations. It helps eliminate the mind clutter or the thoughts that pop in while you are trying to meditate.

      Delete
  4. I'm not big on practiced meditation in that I don't set time and intention aside for it, but I do think I accomplish a level of it in some way every day.

    MFD is big on meditation overall in various forms. He makes time for it. It has made a huge difference in his life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am impressed that your hubby does it! It is not always a *manly* thing to do. Good for him! I am glad to hear it made a difference :)

      Delete
  5. I've tried meditation when I'm lying in bed trying to sleep and it seems to work! I'd like to try it even more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Meditation before bed can help you achieve a better level of sleep and fall asleep faster. Try more!

      Delete
  6. Meditation is so powerful. The brain scans done of people meditating are fascinating, showing the different areas of the brain affected by the practice. That said, I find it incredibly difficult to do - it is something I'm working on, though!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It IS difficult! I have found guided meditation to be practical because your focus is on someone else which has a tendency to allow us to eliminate the other thoughts that pop into our minds.

      Delete
  7. I've had a hard time making myself sit still for long enough to have a successful meditation! I've started yoga recently, and it's such a calming exercise...hopefully it will help me learn to center better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is really hard to just let your mind be still when there are million and one things to do. Plus that many more we *want* to do.

      Delete
  8. I try to think positive to ward off anxiety. It helps for the most part, but I still have my moments.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anxiety is a struggle for me because I have always been so positive, happy and go lucky. So when positive thinking stopped working, I had to find another way.

      Delete
  9. I find this topic so fascinating. The interplay of hormones is something I am discovering for myself right now. I've tried meditating many times but haven't been terribly successful. I find a walking or running meditation to be a great destressor.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amazing, huh?! That is a great way to help soothe the influx in hormones as well! It does this by releasing serotonin and other "happy" chemicals.

      Delete
  10. this is so interesting! i am not sure if i am meditating 'correctly' but seriously when i'm in one of my stressed out worrying moods.. just sitting there and forcing myself to breathe, calm down and think positive happy things really helps!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Breathing is part of meditating and is extremely soothing and relaxing. You could even try guided meditations to get an idea of what to do to gain max benefit.

      Delete
  11. I have never really tried meditating, but I think that it is something I would really enjoy. I am not against it, it is just something I've never really thought about. I think I could benefit from it though, I may just have to try it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Give it a try! It's really cool all the things you can use meditation for!

      Delete
  12. I'm just now getting into meditation and love reading all about it. It takes regular practice but the benefits are worth it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Practice is something I am still learning!

      Delete
  13. This is such a great post. I think there are some real benefits to meditation
    www.amemoryofus.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, I am glad you like it. The benefits are amazing!

      Delete
  14. I have never tried meditation but I have tried yoga. I like the active part of it but at the end, when you're relaxing, I can't quiet my mind enough to really appreciate the full benefits of what it can do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The quiet mind is the hard part. I find guided meditations to help with that. Also, yoga is pretty similar - and you are guided so that helps

      Delete
  15. I need to make more time for meditation. I think it totally helps if you are intentional about it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it is all about intention. With all the wonderful hiking areas you have, you could find an awesome place to meditate. or you can just do it at home :)

      Delete
  16. I have never tried meditation but I do focus on my breathing some when I get anxious or upset. It usually does help.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I love meditation. For a long time I put my meditation and yoga practice off. Until my anxiety started to get really bad. I was using all my energy just to get through the day. So, I would come home exhausted. But, since I've gotten back to my practice I do feel the anxiety getting less and am feeling more peace. I also have more energy to exercise and do my yoga practice.

    ReplyDelete