Anxiety disorders affect more than 40 million Americans today, and can lead to further mental health complications if left untreated for long periods of time. Anyone that suffers from some form of anxiety understands that it can be a truly debilitating disorder, affecting your daily life in several ways. Though there are many forms of effective treatment out there, few individuals suffering from anxiety ever seek said treatment. If you struggle with the mental vices of anxiety and are not one keen on medication for this disorder, meditation can be just as beneficial without the cost.

Stress and anxiety-inducing situations are hard to avoid, especially for those in the working world, no matter what field. Whether you’re worrying about money, family, your career, or personal issues, negative thoughts can creep into your mind at any time, and can make any situation stressful. Meditation can effectively silence these thoughts, and, in time, train you to suppress them when appropriate. The goal is to detach yourself from any negative emotions you may be experiencing, living within the space that exists between your conscious decision making.

Meditation has been linked to improved levels of anxiety, stress, and lower levels of general negativity. Mental activity has its physical manifestations in the brain which allows professionals to effectively study anxiety and how it affects one’s thoughts and habits. Those suffering from anxiety have displayed higher levels of fear, and studies have shown that consistent meditation is able to reduce those levels of fear and reactiveness in that area of the brain.

The practice of meditation can be oddly intimidating to those who have not tried it before. Sitting still and focusing on your breathing, letting your thoughts drift away can feel awkward for beginners. This is simply a common phase that many must get past in order to truly feel the effects of deep meditation. There are countless resources online for those that may need a guide during their first few attempts, and shorter meditative sessions are nothing to be ashamed of. Like all things, practice makes perfect. It is completely normal for your first few meditative sessions to be clouded with thoughts and distractions. With help and practice, these can be overcome.

It is important to keep in mind that with mental health disorders, physical damage can be done to the body as well. Higher levels of anxiety can cause irritability, which directly affects your sleep schedule. It can also lead to headaches, digestive problems, tightening of muscles, and much more. Meditation allows you to enter a calm, collective state that can both relax your mind and body.

As mentioned before, those suffering from anxiety should seek treatment from a medical professional as soon as possible. Medication exists that can help greatly, but for those who prefer alternative medicine, meditation is the next best thing. For more extreme cases, professional help is highly recommended. Regardless, meditating regularly can help everyone lower their levels of stress, anxiety, and general negativity. Consider this practice if you are struggling with the grasp of anxiety, as it just might be the key to controlling it.