An estimated 6.8 million people in the United States are afflicted with GAD. They cannot stop worrying about issues such as health, money, family, work or school. Their degree of worry is typically out of proportion for the situation and daily life may become a constant state of worry, fear or dread.
There are various prescription medications designed to help people with GAD manage their anxiety, but some holistic and traditional experts say that practice of meditation can also help those with the disorder. Being in a meditative state is said to quiet an overactive mind, one of the traits of anxiety.
Meditation is a state of deep physical relaxation combined with acute mental alertness. It is likened to taking a nap, but you don’t fall asleep. Meditative practices can include silent, repetitive praying or chanting. Other techniques involve sitting and focusing on something that will hold your attention for five to 30 minutes. By progressively relaxing your body’s muscles with a word, calming music or an image, you will naturally cause your breathing to become slower and deeper as you relax.
People with anxiety may shy away from meditation feeling that they are too restless to sit still. The good news is being able to center yourself through meditation is a skill that anyone can learn, once they have the intention and the experience of what it feels like.
Besides reducing anxiety, meditation is known to also help:
- Decrease respiratory rate, heart rate and elevated blood pressure
- Relieve muscle tension
- Causes stress hormones in the blood to drop
- Boost immunity
- Offer a more restful sleep
If you have a family history of anxiety, prolonged bouts with anxiety or have acute anxiety (panic attacks); you will likely need to see a physician for suggested treatment. Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Mental Health Center is centrally located and has convenient hours. To schedule an appointment, call 718-206-7071.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.