Attempting to Train my Brain with Meditation

Bonus picture of my dog, April, relaxing on the couch!

Bonus picture of my dog, April, relaxing on the couch! Dog meditation 🙂

Ohm… Ohm… Ohm…

I’m just starting to take up meditation, but so far, so good! In my last post, I wrote natural about ways to alleviate stress and anxiety, and I mentioned meditation as one of the tips.

I finally decided to take my own advice and try meditating to relieve some of my anxiety. After reading up on meditation apps, I found really good reviews for an app called Headspace. The first 10 meditation sessions are free, so I thought, what the heck? I’ll give it a try!

Unfortunately, you have to pay a subscription fee to continue meditation sessions after the first 10. I’ll have to find another app to use once I finish the free trial because I’m too frugal to justify spending money on meditation (when it’s something that can be done for free).

I’m on day five right now, and so far, it’s great! The first couple days were hard, but that’s to be expected. Meditation takes training. The Headspace narrator explains this throughout the 10-day trial.

While I’m meditating, I feel so relaxed. One day, I even fell asleep during the session because I was so relaxed. If you have trouble falling asleep, you should try meditating before bed!

I’m trying my best to meditate every day. I’ll be sure to keep you all updated on my progress and let you know how well meditation really helps relieve stress and anxiety.

I’ll be doing more research on meditation over the next few days, so in my next post, I’ll describe the benefits of meditation in detail!

  • Does anyone have experience with meditation?
  • How well did/does it work for you?
  • Does anyone have a recommendation for a good meditation app for Android?

Let me know in the comments!!

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10 Natural Remedies to Alleviate Anxiety

Image from anandamarga.org.

Image from anandamarga.org.

Have you been feeling anxious and stressed lately? Me too, don’t worry. After scouring the Internet for ways to ease anxiety, I found lots of natural ways to help you feel more relaxed.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 18% of the adult population. Anxiety is characterized by nervous behaviors, such as ruminating thoughts, worries, and fears. These behaviors often cause muscle tension, poor concentration, restlessness, and fatigue.

There are many ways to treat anxiety, including counseling, therapy, prescription medication, and natural remedies. Due to unpleasant side effects of anxiety medication, many sufferers turn to natural, holistic approaches to manage their anxiety. Here are 10 natural remedies that can help ease anxiety.

Acupuncture

This ancient Chinese method restores the body’s energy force, called Qi. According to acupuncturists, Qi regulates your body’s overall health and restores balance. Acupuncture causes the nervous system to produce chemicals that jump start the body’s natural healing ability to calm your brain and relieve tension.

Chamomile

Whether you prefer chamomile tea or a chamomile supplement, this ancient medicinal herb can help to relax your blood vessels, smooth your muscle fibers, and improve your sleep, all of which contribute to anxiety relief.

Exercise

Exercise causes your brain to release feel-good chemicals called endorphins, which reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Any physical activity helps, especially those that get your heart pumping and increase blood flow to your brain, such as yoga, jogging, or walking.

Deep Breathing

There are many deep breathing techniques, but they all center around the same idea: breathing deep into your abdomen. Take a slow breath in through the nose, hold for a couple seconds, and exhale slowly through your mouth. Just a few deep breaths can have a lasting feeling of relaxation.

Omega-3s

Omega-3s are a type of essential fatty acid that promotes cardiovascular health. These fatty acids increase your brain’s serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is lacking in those who suffer from anxiety. Good sources of omega-3s include fish, seeds, nuts, and green, leafy vegetables.

Meditation

This relaxation technique eases anxiety by quieting overactive minds and relieving stressful thinking. Meditation helps you become more aware of the present moment, eases muscular tension, and promotes deep breathing techniques.

Lavender

This soothing oil acts as a sedative with the brain centers (amygdala and hippocampus) that regulate emotion. Just add a few drops to a hot bath, put some in an oil diffuser, or dab a tiny bit on your temples.

Sunlight

When you are exposed to sunlight, your body produces vitamin D. This allows your brain to produce more serotonin, leading to a calming effect in your body. If you are on anxiety medication, be cautious of getting too much sun. Some medications may make you more sensitive to light, so be sure to use sunblock and talk to your doctor.

Hot Bath

Not only will a hot bath allow you some time to yourself in a quiet, peaceful atmosphere, but it is also a great place for some aromatherapy. Add a few drops of oil to your bath for the ultimate stress-relieving experience. Some relaxing oils include lavender, sage, rose, jasmine, and sandalwood.

Keep a Journal (or a blog!)

Set aside some time each day to document your thoughts. This helps you become more conscious and aware of your thought patterns, so you can see how thoughts cycle through your mind. It can be soothing to write and spend some quiet time reflecting.

These natural remedies should help you manage your anxiety and relieve stress. However, they might not work for everyone, so if your anxiety symptoms persist, see a doctor or counselor.

What do you do to reduce your stress and manage your anxiety? Let me know your tips in the comments! 🙂