Anxiety can become a habit, a default setting, or a way of life where we get stuck on an adrenalized loop that requires support and a conscious, committed choice to detach from it. Mindfulness meditation not only helps anxiety and stress, but actually changes the structure and function of the brain to make it healthier and work better. Being on the constant lookout for danger kept our ancestors safe and alive. But in the modern world a hypervigilant mind does you little good. It can cause the fear center of your brain, the amygdala, to grow larger and more reactive leading to a vicious cycle of more stress, worry, and anxiety.
However, your brain has an endless capacity to change, known as brain plasticity. Mindful attending is a tool that we bring to the practice of movement, yoga, dance and other body-centered approaches. This skill supports the body in the process of regulating our nervous system so we can relax. A calm, tension-free body signals safety to the mind.
Researchers from Johns Hopkins University sifted through over 18,000 mindfulness meditation studies and concluded that its best use was for anxiety, depression, and pain management. Mindfulness trains you to view your thoughts differently. Regularly practicing mindfulness meditation actually rewires your brain to be more focused. You learn to recognize and stop “mental time travel” — worrying about the future and ruminating about the past. Instead of following a worrying thought down the path of all possible negative outcomes, you learn to recognize it for what it is — one thought — and then let it go. This trains your brain to be less anxious.
If you’re ready to try an effective new approach to release the cycle of worry, anxiety and panic, call for an appointment—410-790-4340.