All my spoons are in all the right places, if you know what I'm talkin' about...
I posted a while ago about certain holistic treatments that have stigmas attached to them. (here)
I wanted to point out that certain alternative treatments that people look down on have actual science behind them, and are not just placebos or hokey guess-work.
I never mentioned meditation in that list because I sort of felt that the science behind meditation seemed flakey. But I’m a jerk, and I was wrong. I mean, I felt personally that meditation was a valid treatment, but I assumed that most people would assume that I was some hippie with an agenda.
Check this shyte out though! Here, they’re saying that even the smallest amount of meditation (that’s 28 hours spread over 8 weeks! Hardly anything substantial) can actually change the structure of your brain!
In small amounts, we’ve basically found a lot of change in the parts of the brain responsible for anxiety and depression. With more study, I’m sure there’s more that can be affected. But isn’t that enough to validate this as a helpful medical tool?
For people with Chronic Illness, I think it might be. Chronic Illness can often lead to higher levels of anxiety and depression (for obvious reasons), but it’s a self-servicing cycle! Your anxiety and depression levels increase, your physical symptoms increase due to the emotional stress, you get more anxious and depressed, and the loop continues!
I have Chronic Anxiety (due to PTSD) and Depression (Lupus symptom) and I have used meditation as a long term treatment. I used “conventional” medications when I was first diagnosed and I needed immediate relief in order to continue my daily life (paxil, klonopin), and I generally keep Klonopin on hand in case of an emergency situation (i.e. meditation fails and I need to be able to calm down quickly). But my anxiety and depression are less severe in general now and I can control them mostly with meditation and relaxation techniques.
Here are some breathing techniques that work well:
And there is also a technique that I’ve found EXTREMELY effective called Hook-ups. I can’t find a simple description online, so here’s my best shot.
Stand up straight. Take your foot on your dominant side and cross it over your other foot. (So now my right foot would be on the ground to the left of my left foor)
Put your arms out in front of you, and cross your dominant arm over your other arm. Make your palms face each other, and clasp your hands together.
Then you want to bend your elbows so that your arms fold in to your chest, with your clasped hands resting under your chin.
The last step is to, with your mouth closed naturally, place your tongue on the roof of your mouth.
it shouldn’t be an uncomfortable position to be in, but if you feel like you can’t keep your balance, sit, and cross your legs (dominant over). Then do the rest the same. Hold that position for a few minutes, focusing on your breathing. You should start to feel less anxious/stressed the longer you remain in that position.