UPDATED: New York Times story on meditation with techniques.
Anxiety and food allergies, I talk about it, a lot. On this blog. In my book, Allergic Girl: Adventures in Living Well with Food Allergies. With my coaching clients. I talk about it a lot because we all experience it a lot.
One of the techniques that can help with low level, generalized anxiety is meditation. From the New York Times: “M.R.I. brain scans taken before and after the participants’ meditation regimen found increased gray matter in the hippocampus, an area important for learning and memory. The images also showed a reduction of gray matter in the amygdala, a region connected to anxiety and stress. A control group that did not practice meditation showed no such changes.” Even the Mayo clinic agrees.
[This is not recommended for more severe bouts of anxiety. If you feel you are in this group, please see a board certified psychiatrist for an evaluation.]
Why I like it for the food allergic community? Because when you’re feeling anxious you have a place to return to, a calm place. But you need to practice going to that calm place to have it to return to and best to practice when not in crisis. Years of yoga practice helped me go deeper into a meditative state. I can drop into it whenever I like. During a recent MRI? Yes, I meditated throughout and almost feel asleep.
There are many ways to access mindfulness or meditation. Some people call it prayer and you can join a religious organization to do so. There are other strains, unconnected to religion; free meditation centers abound in most large cities; many yoga studios run classes for low cost; and of course, there are online groups and sites. Type "meditation" into google and tons of links will come up.
Meditation in whatever form you are thinking about is worth looking into. It doesn't need to get all fancy, with outfits and pillows and special books or movies or iTune downloads. Really it starts with focusing on the breath. And staying there for a few moments. It is that simple.