Is breathing good for you? Well of course it is we need to it to keep us alive but have you ever noticed in situations that are stressful our rates of breathing change and some of us even hold our breath without even realising it!
Down through the years I have struggled to find something that really works for my depression and anxiety. Don’t get me wrong I have found lots of things that have worked temporarily, but I was sick of being on a roller coaster and simply craved consistency in my moods and my ability to cope with everyday life.
Regular meditation practice has given me the just that! Through meditation I have received the most precious and priceless gift of peace both in myself and also in the world I live in. It helps me to cope with stress, depression, anxiety and the everyday challenges that come with daily life.
In a study called: The effects of Mindfulness based therapy on anxiety and depression, Published by The Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, they found that mindfulness based therapy was moderately effective for anxiety and mood disorders and the results suggest that mindfulness-based therapy is a promising intervention for treating anxiety and mood problems in clinical populations. Their meta-analysis was based on 39 studies totaling 1,140 participants who received mindfulness-based therapy for a range of conditions, including cancer, generalized anxiety disorder, depression, and other psychiatric or medical conditions.
But too be honest the clinical evidence backing meditation and mindfulness now is plentiful and hard to argue with. The reason I actually chose this study was because the results said moderately effective. Sometimes people expect miracles but in my opinion the miracle is the ability to cope with life a bit better.
If we do a lot of little things that are moderately effective imagine how powerful they would all be when they work together?
I really wish I had been given the kind of prescription in this picture when I was a teenager rather the usual pill filled kind we have become so used to today.
Don’t get me wrong I know that there’s a place for medication but there is no way we need the amount of medication being prescribed today. I have swallowed or drank my emotions for well over half my life and making changes is hard, in fact it is very hard at times, but the thing is those changes are so worth it in the long run even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time.
It costs nothing to try meditation and if you are struggling to sit still and focus on your breathing try some guided meditations from websites like Zen 12 or Omharmonics I find these great if I’m very hectic and stressed or in an airport, on a plane, bus or train.
But try my simple “first steps” approach and see how you get on:
Meditation can be done anytime and anywhere and the busier you are the more you need it.
Sitting in a comfortable position with your back straight
Start to notice the natural flow of your breath
Inhale and exhale slowly and keep repeating
Don’t try and stop your thoughts, instead just observe them and let them go by almost like watching a motorway and if your favourite car drives past, let it go and don’t follow it!!
Start small and build – so even a couple of minutes a day building in more time each week. This way you will be able to incorporate it into your routine without you even noticing.