Anxious thoughts, physical discomfort, moodiness and difficulty sleeping? What are you getting from worrying? Is it solving the problem? No 

Transcending thought in meditation is a mind-changing, science-based way to overcome our pandemic of anxiety

“After a  mere 20 minutes of meditation, I have observed a significant change to the way my brain works and handles day-to-day tasks and situations” 

You wake at 3.30am heart pounding and a visceral body sense of anxiety, tight stomach, racing mind.  It’s a thought storm of worry which triggers the mental reaction of anxiety.   Its a cognitive thought overlay.  Uncertainty, the pandemic, lockdowns, everyones anxiety has skyrocketed bc our brain doesn’t process uncertainty well( see my blog on uncertainty) There has been a three fold increase in the diagnosis of anxiety disorders in the last year.  Worry  might make you feel as if you are doing something, have some control, but worry doesn’t change the situation. When the mind is overwhelmed by thoughts you have to get up and try and change your state, break the minds obsession with thinking and attaching this feeling to anything, to justify the cortisol pulsing through your veins forcing the mind into action. 

How do you prevent it happening? 

 80% of people don’t get a significant reduction in anxiety from medications, many more want a natural way to treat anxiety. Anxiety is a chemically driven issue. Reducing cortisol will reduce the minds stimulation and the amount of thoughts. You cant think about nothing, so your mind grabs hold of events today or tomorrow and justifies its need to think when cortisol is too high. 

How do our brains work?

The event we are thinking about is not the issue, our brans just dont like uncertainty,. Our ancient survival mechanisms, parts of the brain that learnt  thru fear what was dangerous and not to do t again. Thats our old survival brain. Onto top of t s layered our neocortex , the new brain that helps us survive in a different way by projecting into the future past experience. When it doesnt have accurate info it goes into worry mode and freaks out and we can have a panic attack. 

 

How do you change this state?

The antidote is rest, when the mind settles down deeply and experiences its most settled state of wakeful awareness, then your body is simultaneously gaining profound rest 2-5 x deeper then sleep. In 20 mins of meditation we transcend many times, re setting cortisol and dropping the levels in the blood by 40%-it takes 7 hours sleep to drop it by 10%. This is how transcending ireduces mental activity by balancing your cortisol -the mind is clear but settled, able to sleep deeply, without many dreams, focus during the day, your attention increases. Transcending is the opposite of stress. It de activates the default mode network in the brain which gets activated when we are caught up in anxiety. This opens us up to welcome uncertainty with curiosity and coping with the one certainty in life that the world is constantly changing. Imagine openness replacing uncertainty automatically after meditation.

This is peace of mind  A calm mind is self referral, its aware of how you feel when you worry . This spontaneous self awareness updates your reward wiring to down grade the reward rating for anxiety re setting you brain to avoid worry. What we resist persists, after meditation we stop resisting and fully experience how we feel and think, resetting our wiring to stop that habit of worry. This opens the door for the brain to look for something better, what is most rewarding is the bliss of transcending.  and with it spontaneously comes awareness making us see how painful it is to continue to worry and how great it feels to let go. Now we have a new cycle of desiring what is good for us. Both the habit of worry and chemical cause of it have been changed by experiencing transcending in meditation.                             

All meditation is good for anxiety, some do it much better and transcending in meditation is twice as effective as mindfulness plus  it uniquely creates resilience to stress and anxiety. How long does it take for meditation to help anxiety? Again it depends on what type of meditation you choose. A Stanford study found you’d get more rest physically and mentally from taking a nap than doing meditation which involves focus or concentration(breathing ) or contemplation(visualisations, mindfulness) The 3rd type of meditation-effortless transcending as its called in the literature provides rest much deeper than sleep while creating a unique state of rest and alertness simultaneously, termed, restful alertness.  This is the state that brings the wholistic benefit from meditation , especially anxiety where transcending its twice as effective as other types of techniques.  Learn more here 

A review study last year at Johns Hopkins looked at the relationship between mindfulness meditation and its ability to reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and pain. Researcher Madhav Goyal and his team found that the effect size of meditation was moderate, at 0.3. If this sounds low, keep in mind that the effect size for antidepressants is also 0.3, which makes the effect of meditation sound pretty good. Meditation is, after all an active form of brain training. “A lot of people have this idea that meditation means sitting down and doing nothing,” says Goyal. “But that’s not true. Meditation is an active training of the mind to increase awareness, and different meditation programs approach this in different ways.” Meditation isn’t a magic bullet for depression, as no treatment is, but it’s one of the tools that may help manage symptoms.