Mental Health

Meditation, Anxiety and Blood Pressure

Do you ever feel anxious throughout the day? I do. In fact, I’ve been living with generalized anxiety disorder for many years and with the help of skilled mental health professionals and doing lots of reading and work on my own time, I’ve built a good set of tools to manage anxiety. I’d love to share what’s been helpful for me.

Anxiety can cause the body to release stress hormones. That makes sense right? If a bear is chasing you, your body is going to break into “fight or flight” mode; basically it’s geared up and ready to act! But what if you feel anxious frequently throughout the day about smaller things that perhaps shouldn’t set you off as much? You have an exam the next day and you’ve studied for it but still it’s keeping you in a heightened state of stress and anxiety?

This can definitely cause spikes in your blood pressure. The point is, while some anxiety is necessary and protective; too much isn’t healthy for our mind and body. The continuous spikes of high blood pressure can be damaging.

Today I’d like to introduce you to a cellphone app that I use to do my daily meditation. It’s called “Calm” and there is an annual subscription price but for me it’s worth it to have a portable tool like this that I can use. Meditation helps me feel more balanced and calm, lowers my overall anxiety, so that when something unexpected comes my way, I can better handle it in a different way.

This meditation app can be helpful in building good habits to manage anxiety, and in turn improve mental health and lower the spikes of high blood pressure.

3 Tips for a Beginner to Meditation

1. Start with Guided Meditation: This means the audio clips that has someone talking and giving you direction on what to do. As a beginner, it can be hard to just “clear your mind” and do that to silence or music. Many apps (including Calm as seen above) and also YouTube videos have guided meditation.

2. Set a Schedule: For meditation to be maximally effective, I’ve found it helpful to set a daily schedule. Even just 5 minutes at lunch and then 10 minutes before bed is a great start. Habits take time to build. The Calm app and many others have the option to set a reminder.

3. Be Okay with Imperfection: Meditation is an art and a skill that takes time to build. If you find the anxious thoughts to be disrupting your meditation time, simply observe and accept that it is occurring, don’t be too hard on yourself. In time, just as any new skill, you will become better at it!

Have you noticed how meditation can lower your blood pressure and anxiety levels naturally? I’d love to hear about your experience!

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