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  • Carol Braverman

Meditation Practice

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Meditation Practice to Tame Stress and Anxiety

In an anxiety-ridden world, learning to take a time out will calm the nervous system, strengthen your sense of self-agency, and make you more resilient to outside influences.


Initiating the Change

I’ve written a lot about the nervous system on this blog over the years. My intention was to educate the reader about the basics because I find comfort in maps: once I know where I am, I can plot my course to where I want to go.


The reason I’ve been writing about the nervous system so much is because I know stress is the underlying cause of chronic diseases. I'd like to believe that by strengthening our sense of self-agency, of putting ourselves in the driver's seat of our lives, vs reacting to incoming thoughts, emotions and impressions, that we can turn down the volume on stress.

How to Influence Your Nervous System

Everyone has their way of coping with stress and anxiety. On my intake form, the three most common answers people give are 1) talking with either a therapist or someone close 2) exercise 3) craft, create, read or watch tv.


My best way to manage stress is to drop into my breathing, then concentrate for a few breaths. This has the effect of short-circuiting what was on my mind and/or feeling at that moment. And I like the efficiency of momentarily stepping out of the stream and getting some perspective instantaneously. The tricky part is to remember to do so in the midst of feeling overwhelmed.


Other go-to’s for me are forms of movement that are rhythmic, such as qigong, yoga, walking, cycling or lap swimming. I mention mine to jog your thinking around your tried-and-true activities that get you into the zone of greater sanity, too.

Summary

The research shows that after 8 weeks of practice the brain is altered so that the nervous system is much more resilient to incoming stimulation. May I suggest that you explore what works for you, then settle on one method or technique and stick with it for a month to see where it takes you.


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