According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA) anxiety disorders are the most common illness in America, affecting nearly 40 million adults. Nearly 20% (18.1% to be exact) of the entire US population struggles with some form of anxiety, and the condition largely goes untreated. The ADAA states that only about 37% of people suffering from anxiety disorders seek treatment. A large number of people seem to think anxiety is just a regular part of daily life.
To some extent this is true. There will always be stress from any number of external sources, such as work or relationships, that are the root of legitimate anxious feelings. However, disorders come from an inability to manage those feelings, and amplifying them with internal issues that, frankly, just aren’t that serious. To a person with anxiety disorder, any slight problem can cascade into a world ending event in their head. So what are some good ways to manage the stress and take back your life?
For starters, seeking treatment from a medical professional is a great start. While your regular doctor may have some helpful tips, you might also want to consider therapy from a licensed counselor or therapist. Thankfully the negative stigma surrounding mental health therapy has decreased significantly over the years, and these days mental health services are often covered by insurance.
Another great option instead of (or in addition to) therapy is meditation. Meditation is sort of an umbrella term for techniques used to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally stable state of mind. Techniques can vary widely, but usually they involve deep breathing and focusing on a particular thought, object, or activity. There’s clear science showing that meditation can be an effective way to treat a number of physical and mental disorders, but it’s especially effective at treating anxiety and depression. Even just a few minutes a day can help restore your calm and inner peace, and anyone can do it.
In the coming weeks, we’ll be bringing you short guided meditations to help you manage your stress and anxiety. Until then, feel free to research meditation on your own to find out if it can help you (there’s a 100% chance it can).