In today’s frantic world, we are constantly assailed by information, bad or sad news, worries about terrorism, politics, the security of our job, the cost of living, and the impact of global warming on our children’s future. It is not surprising we feel anxious or depressed.
Although we live in a 21st century world, human beings haven’t changed much in thousands of years, and a key part of our make-up is that our nervous system is totally wired for survival. So, if chased or caught by a predator, we are ready to fight, run away or play dead. The difficulty is that there aren’t many sabre-toothed tigers roaming the streets of Clapham or Wimbledon!
The effect of constant bombardment of bad news is that our survival system becomes constantly alerted to danger so we might feel anxious all the time. This anxiety is caused by our survival system pumping adrenaline around the body, ready for us to run away or fight. The difficulty is that we don’t physically run away or fight. Additionally, in these situations, the hormone cortisol is also produced, and this blocks our thinking as you don’t need your brain to run away. However, if you are trying to give a talk or a presentation, the inability to think will cause even more anxiety leading to a possible panic attack.
If the threat level stays high for long enough, we might become totally lethargic and feel very flat, and then become depressed.
In this age of instant communication and social media, there are so many channels of data to grab our attention and we are so accustomed to being on-line all the time that we can become constantly in thought. Our anxiety means that we tend to dwell on circumstances or difficulties, such that they go round and round in our heads. As they go round and round they can feel as if they get bigger and bigger.
The impact on us of all this is that we become overwhelmed and move outside what psychologists call “the window of tolerance”, then becoming very anxious or depressed.
So, what is the answer?
Talking about what worries you to an empathetic non-judging person helps enormously, which is why personal therapy can be so helpful and healing.
To help people more effectively over the long term, Anchor Counselling has teamed up with the meditation guru Meredith Gunderson, (https://modernmeditationmovement.com/) who has twenty years experience in meditation.
Meditation or to use a modern secular name ‘mindfulness’ trains the mind to be more fully present and responsive rather than reactive. Mindfulness can be defined as paying attention to the present moment while dropping any judgement or resistance. It’s a simple concept and anyone can do it, but it is not easy to master especially as a beginner. A course in mindfulness can ensure you will have the tools to use mindfulness in your daily life for years to come. If you are constantly lost in your head, you are not present and therefore not fully alive!
Neuroscience is now demonstrating that meditation helps each of us feel more present and alive. It is also alleviates anxiety and depression, turns down and eliminates internal critical voices, helps us focus, promotes a calmer disposition, increases productivity and boosts our immune system. There is also compelling evidence that it can keep us alive longer! It is a tool not only to decrease stress & anxiety, but to thrive in our modern world.
If you would like to know more, please complete the enquiry form, or contact Meredith directly.