Meditation against fear | properties

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First the invading, unwanted thoughts. The fear – about the bills, things that are left unsaid, being badly said, even things that might only happen – spreads and everything becomes a frustrating mess.

Anxiety disorders affect about 18.1 percent of adults in the United States, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. However, some estimates put that number closer to 30 percent, which is staggering.

And such disorders come on a wide spectrum – generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder are just a few.

However, there is help. And among the many avenues anxiety sufferers can take, there is one that doesn’t require a doctor, medication, or even a phone call: meditation.

While it isn’t for everyone and isn’t a cure, local experts say it can be an effective tool for dealing with unwanted, intrusive thoughts that can make your days tougher than they need to be.

“For my master’s degree, I looked at how meditation affects parents who look after very sick children at home,” says Julia

Theisen, owner of the Body & Soul Wellness Center and Spa. “And some of these children had life-threatening illnesses. I’ve used this tool that measures anxiety, depression, physical symptoms, and social symptoms. It showed that meditation helped in every area. “

Theisen practices daily meditation in a room in her home, something she has been doing for nearly two decades that has “changed everything” in her life.

“I immediately felt calmer, less anxious, and grounded,” she said.

This feeling is confirmed by Don Marlette, who teaches meditation classes at the Center of I Am in Dubuque. He said meditation helped suppress some of the fear he was experiencing.

“Personally, I’d say it’s one of the most helpful things you can do to manage anxiety,” said Marlette. “Fear is like my little friend that I carry around with me. When I was working with this, I had been taking some of the standard drugs used to treat anxiety. And they were fine. But at some point there was a point where they were no longer doing so well because my brain basically became addicted to the drugs. “

A doctor recommended that he try meditation, which has been shown in several studies – conducted by organizations such as Johns Hopkins University and Harvard Medical School – to be an effective stress management tool.

Marlette found that meditation was particularly effective at reducing the constant, low-pitched hum of fear that often characterizes generalized anxiety disorder, but can be a symptom of many other things as well.

“The other thing about fear is that people experience it more,” said Marlette.

There are many reasons for this, he said. This has in part to do with the fact that the medical definition of fear has expanded to include more types, but also the constant pressure from social media and “a greater feeling of being out of control, that things are getting out of hand in life “. of control.

“As a result, they’re trying to get control, and that’s where fear comes in,” Marlette said. “You get into this very Buddhist approach that says there is always suffering when you are fighting against the reality that is right in front of you. It is this constriction – wrapping – around an idea. To believe that the illusion is reality when in reality it is not there at all. “

Marlette compared it to the difference between knowing your car was parked on the street in front of the building and being mugged because it was parked there.

“You don’t have to go to your therapist to practice mindfulness or meditation,” said Melissa Digmann, therapist at the Harbor Wellness & Counseling Center in Dubuque. “It doesn’t even necessarily take a lot of time. Pepole can do her breathing exercises or breathing work and it becomes part of her routine and lifestyle. “

Its readily available nature – taking time to practice mindfulness can be done quickly and almost anywhere – is a benefit, but Marlette also recommends that people check out regular exercises and / or classes.

And don’t forget that like medication, it’s not a cure.

“The point of these drugs was never to fix the problem – it was a management tool,” said Marlette. “It was something to lessen the severity of the symptom so that you can deal with the problem below. You need to back this up with the actual therapeutic reality of talking through the problem.

“Just like the medical article in which you begin to turn the medicines into the panacea, there is also the meditation article in which meditation becomes the panacea. That is just as problematic. You turn it into a product again. It’s not the meditation that does it. Meditation offers you the chance to change your perception. “

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