Dropping The Pills: Yoga and Meditation for Anxiety
My feeling is that fear and anxiety are some of the worst nightmares that could come into a person’s life, and that’s what a friend of mine was able to overcome after a period of 4-5 years. My friend, (let’s call her Sara) was battling her fear and anxiety without the proper tools for several years until she was able to identify the best solution to her challenges and breakthrough to emotional freedom. I recall that she was living with anxiety from the moment that she awoke until the moment that she went to sleep, and one of the most prevalent factors was her rumination – Constant thinking processes that would result in fearful or anxious states. Would she ever successfully discover an effective anxiety treatment without medication?
She confided in me that life was going well for she and her husband, and that the newlyweds were enjoying their lives to the fullest. During that time her husband had become a sales executive in a respected automobile company with high levels of compensation, and on their honeymoon she insisted that he did not to respond to any work-related calls while they were together on their trip. However, he was a workaholic, and he secretly accessed his cell-phone to check-up on business development. As a result of his constant connection with his phone he was the first to receive the call from Sara’s mother, and with only a single day remaining on their honeymoon, he relayed the heart-breaking news.
The news was that Sara’s father had just passed away 2-hours prior to the call due to a heart attack, and Sara was so affected by this event that she was overwhelmed with sobbing and eventually passed-out due to the shock. The next time when she woke up, she was in a hospital bed, and she described this as the moment when she felt the most helpless, because she couldn’t even talk to her father before he passed away. The next day delivered a powerful blow to an already tenuous situation when her husband was informed that he would be fired due to his failure to complete a project within a specified deadline (They were on a honeymoon). Sara attempted to contact his boss and explain the situation, but this did not produce any results. The combination of these events precipitated the onset of what could be described as Sara’s new Generalized Anxiety Disorder and a nervous break-down.
Sara found herself unable to focus upon her part-time jobs, which were necessary to support her family, and thoughts began to accumulate in her mind, which were focused upon fears of what would happen to her on the next day. Watching her husband’s state also worried her and exacerbated her internal challenges, but she felt that she couldn’t share these feelings with her husband, and so she began to spend more and more time looking inward. One of her close friends came to understand her situation and decided to guide her to a meeting with a well-respected psychiatrist who had already been informed about the situation. This was actually a very powerful opportunity for Sara to begin her interior transformation, which brought her out of her anxious state and back into balance. Suprisingly, the next step with the psychiatrist was to begin anxiety treatment without medication.
The first thing that the psychiatrist prescribed was a daily practice of Yoga and Meditation, which was designed to provide Sara with an opportunity to re-create herself. This required nearly 1 full month of constant meditation and yoga practice in order for Sara to return to a state of equilibrium, where the practices taught her how to give her body the break that it needed and to allow her concentration to return to optimal levels. The exercises rejuvenated her body and prepared her to return to her daily chores while also assisting with increasing the quality of her thinking processes. The psychiatrist helped her to realize that the best solution to her problems involved recognizing that one must “Heal Thy Self”, and no prescription medication would restore harmony to her body and mind - Anxiety treatment without medication was the path for Sara.
The psychiatrist also asked Sara to take a long and slow walk in nature and on some of the nearby beaches with her husband in order to share each other’s company. The open air was relaxing, serene, and beautiful – These were the first steps that she took toward recognizing that the natural world provides a relaxing and pleasant experience whenever stress begins to set in. This small exercise helped her to re-align her thoughts in synchrony with her work and emotions. This may seem counterintuitive, but the psychiatrist also recommended that rather than turning from her fears, she should embrace them, move into them, and find a positive way of transforming herself through those feelings. Avoidance had never worked before, so she decided to give this a shot, and she recognized that avoidance of fear only dampened her spirits further, while embracing them helped to reveal her true self and display how effective at emotional management she could be. These practices increased her productivity and assisted her with finding the strength to make tough decisions with greater ease.
Yoga and meditation
Sara was still prescribed anxiety medications, but she learned that the pills were addictive because she couldn’t go a single day without them. Through the practice of yoga and meditation she was able to gradually reduce the dosage, and after 1-month she felt that she no longer needed them at all. That’s how my friend Sara overcame the challenge of her fear and anxiety. Now her life is smooth and she is running a Salon and Spa business while her husband is back to work as a bank executive. Based upon Sara’s story, I feel that through following a regular routine, anybody can overcome these challenges.
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