One in five Americans suffer from anxiety, according to The New York Times which has been running a series of articles on the subject. The paper notes that for many it is not a disorder but a part of the human condition. Looking at the previous blog posts, I noticed how extensively this blog has covered anxiety and the many different, various prescriptions for cures. But first, do you think you are an anxious person?
Do you find yourself or your friends and family get anxious, very anxious, about the weather? Parents who get incredibly anxious about their kid’s school or college work? Anxiety about getting ill? Fretting over daily routine and chores? Anxiety about catching a plane or traveling? Anxious about the way someone looks, how their house looks, what they say, what they read, what they watch? The list could go on and on.
Every now and then everyone will experience some normal anxiety. But it does become debilitating when it is an almost daily occurrence. From where to eat to going to the doctor, anything and everything seems to provoke anxiety for many people. When I watch, it appears that anxiety is catching and infectious. When others around us are constantly anxious, unless we consciously watch ourselves, our minds start mimicking the thoughts and behaviors of people around.
The mimicking mind is nothing new. Studies have shown that people who have obese friends tend to put on weight. Those who have lean friends tend to be relatively lean. Menstruating women’s bodies synchronize over time so those who live together will be more likely to have synchronized menstrual cycles. Our minds feed off of each other, the environment, and what we expose our minds to in what we read, hear, and see.
The human condition can be changed. The mind can be reprogrammed, rewired, and retrained. It starts with first observing the mind as a spectator or an objective witness. It is also called being mindful. Here are some practical and easy cures but regular practice is essential. The difficult part is making the time and being disciplined, even if it causes some initial anxiety. Find someone to practice with or a support group to make it easier. Listening to music can easy and effective on your own.
Change your breath, change the brain waves of the mind, change the condition of the mind.
Alter the breathing patterns with the guided breathing practices in the blog post below. All the practices are free online audio tracks on www.mahasriyoga.com.
Safe Breathing and Increasing Lung Capacity is a good starting point. The body must be relaxed and breath must be relaxed together. Train the mind to rest on the breath and not on anxiety. Trying to push anxious thoughts out does not. A better strategy is to give them some time to express themselves as the mind watches objectively and then not give attention to them, not to make them the focal point.
How to Lengthen Safely is the next stage. Grounding the mind in the breath: Whole Body, Belly, or Full Yogic Breath starts retraining the mind. The space in belly is a very restful, peaceful place to be.
Balanced Paced Breathing for Calmness changes the breathing pattern. Balanced breathing will help synchronize the brain with more tranquil waves. The brain starts getting rewired.
Music Therapy: Sound waves alter brain waves.
Listening to repetitive music such as chants and kirtans is another cure. The music must be peace-inducing so that the brainwaves will synchronize themselves to the frequency of the music. So just by hearing the right music it may be possible to change the anxious mood.
Meditation, Music, Anxiety, Stress was a popular blog post and readers may want to revisit it.
Power of Music, Rhythm, Chants, and Kirtan is another popular post to revisit.
Yoga Asanas: Certain physical positions and activities slow the mind and body.
Yoga Asanas For Anxiety and Stress gives some simple positions that help reduce anxiety.
Yoga Nidra and Trataka go to the root of anxiety.
These are two extremely effective practices and recommended for anxiety.
Anxiety and Stress: Beyond Asanas explains more fully and will guide readers to the links to the free online audio tracks to the practices on Mahasri Yoga’s website.