Anxious thoughts can be overwhelming, they can hinder our decision making, and prevent us from taking action. They can even create a cycle of worry and overthinking that keeps us trapped in a never-ending loop of growing anxiety, where each thought brings on the next, intensifying our distress. So how can we break free from this exhausting cycle? Fortunately, research has shown that various techniques, including meditation, can effectively alleviate anxiety. In this article, we’ll look at the symptoms of anxiety and explore the benefits of meditation for cultivating a healthy mind and reducing anxious thoughts. To help you practise controlling anxious thoughts through meditation, we have selected a Kyan meditation at the end of the article for you to try. So keep reading to learn more about anxiety, and discover the power of meditation to find inner peace and calm!
In this article you will learn about the following topics:
- What is anxiety?
- Facts and statistics about anxiety
- Symptoms of anxiety
- Common signs of anxiety in the workplace
- How to treat anxiety
- Tips to help ease anxiety
- Proven benefits of meditation for anxiety
- Try a Kyan Meditation
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a common mental health condition characterised by increased feelings of fear, worry, and apprehension. It can take a variety of forms and can have a significant impact on a person’s daily life and overall well-being. While it is normal to experience anxious thoughts when faced with challenging work problems or important decision-making situations, it is important to know that for people with anxiety disorders, these fears are not temporary, but can become overwhelmingly intense and persistent.
Facts and statistics about anxiety
Anxiety is among the most common mental health issues across European countries. It is estimated to affect 25 million people, or about 5,4% of the population. In the United States, an estimated 31,1% of adults also suffer from anxiety at some point in their lives. In the workplace, 12 billion working days are lost globally each year due to anxiety and depression, which leads to a remarkable loss of $1 trillion annually in productivity.
Symptoms of anxiety
Anxiety can manifest differently in each person, but there are common symptoms that indicate its presence. These common signs include:
- Intrusive thoughts: persistent, unwanted thoughts or images that keep popping up in a person’s mind.
- Feeling oppressed: feeling overwhelmed or trapped by anxiety, which often leads to a feeling of suffocation.
- Mood swings: emotional fluctuations, such as irritability, restlessness, or feelings of sadness or fear.
- Social withdrawal: the tendency to isolate oneself from social situations or relationships due to anxiety-related concerns.
- Sleep disturbances: difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or experiencing restless and non-restorative sleep.
- Cognitive difficulties: difficulty concentrating or mental fog.
- Restlessness or constant agitation: feeling unable to relax or being constantly on edge.
- Dependent behaviour: excessive reliance on others for comfort or support.
- Fear of imminent danger: persistent and irrational fear of impending harm or catastrophic events.
- Physical symptoms: increased heartbeat, sweating, dizziness, shortness of breath, or unexplained aches or pain.
Common signs of anxiety in the workplace
In the workplace, anxiety can take various forms, such as difficulty focusing on tasks or making decisions, and excessive worry about performance, leading to self-doubt and perfectionism. Workers who suffer from anxiety may avoid certain work-related situations or responsibilities. They may also have strained relationships with colleagues due to irritability or social withdrawal. Anxiety may also affect productivity and lead to difficulty meeting deadlines and completing tasks, as well as feelings of overwhelm and panic attacks.
How to treat anxiety
Anxiety can be addressed using various treatment approaches. One commonly used method is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which equips individuals with coping mechanisms for dealing with anxiety. Additionally, certain medications such as antidepressants and sedatives may be prescribed to restore chemical balance in the brain (which can be impaired in people with anxiety) and relieve severe symptoms.
Tips to help ease anxiety
Luckily, there are also many natural ways that can help people manage stress levels and calm anxiety. Here are some tips and techniques to help you develop a calmer, less anxious state of mind in a natural way:
- Limit your caffeine intake: caffeine can increase heart rate, stress hormones, and blood pressure. Even though coffee is mostly known as the most popular source of caffeine, it is important to know that it is also present in chocolate, tea, sodas, and energy drinks.
- Move your body: exercise helps reduce anxiety by decreasing stress hormone levels in the body, contributing to a sense of calm. Exercising also involves high focus on the activity which can divert attention from anxious or repetitive thoughts.
- Practise journalling: journalling promotes self-compassion, and helps people gain awareness of the connection between their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours.
- Speak with a counsellor: if you’re experiencing anxious thoughts, reaching out to a professional is a great solution to calm your mind. Counsellors provide a safe and confidential environment for you to explore your anxious thoughts as well as evidence-based techniques to help you address them.
- Prioritise good quality sleep: sleep has been shown to be an important element of good mental health. Establishing a consistent bed routine, limiting exposure to electronic devices, and avoiding consuming large meals can help you sleep better.
- Meditate: meditation is about being fully aware of the present moment, which includes noticing all your thoughts without judgment. Meditation also fosters a state of tranquility and strengthens your capacity to accept and manage thoughts and emotions.
The link between meditation and anxiety
Studies suggest that meditation can be as helpful as medication in treating anxiety! Let us dive into the remarkable effects of meditation in reducing anxiety and its associated symptoms.
- Increased attention span, concentration, and memory: meditation can help us strengthen our ability to focus and retain information, leading to improved cognitive function and mental clarity.
- Fewer anxious thoughts: meditation helps activate the body’s relaxation response, reducing anxiety and promoting a deep sense of calm.
- Relief of depression symptoms: meditation has been found to increase emotional well-being and promote a more positive outlook on life.
- Improved brain function: regular meditation stimulates the growth of neural connections, and improves cognitive function and performance as well as emotional well-being
- Improved sleep quality: by promoting relaxation and reducing stress, meditation helps regulate sleep patterns and improves the quality of rest, leading to more restful sleep.
- Reduced stress: meditation helps individuals recover more efficiently from stressful situations by promoting resilience.
- Enhanced creativity: regular meditation stimulates divergent thinking, unlocking the potential for new ideas and innovative problem-solving, which in turn enhances creativity.
In summary, anxiety is a common mental health issue that can significantly affect an individual’s work and personal life. It can have an important impact on the workplace, making it a crucial topic to address.
Fortunately, there are several effective methods available to ease anxiety symptoms, and among them, meditation stands out as a powerful tool for reducing anxious thoughts and fostering overall well-being. The Kyan team has selected one of our meditations to help you embark on a journey of self-awareness and inner peace. Try our “Observer Self” meditation below and experience a sense of inner calm in just a few minutes!