I’ve written before on this blog about my long struggle with panic attacks and anxiety. Every now and then, my brain chemistry gets screwy, and the highly unpleasant experience of major anxiety/panic returns for a time. I’ve recently been suffering through one of these periods, and, as usual, I’ve found significant relief from meditation.
In the past, I’ve tried various methods of meditation, but recently, through the magic of the internet (and particularly YouTube), I’ve been focusing on mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness has become a hot topic in medical circles over the past few years. The discipline was probably given its biggest boost in the West by the wonderful Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, who combined his Western education in science (Ph.D. in molecular biology) with his Eastern practice of Buddhist meditation to found the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Kabat-Zinn’s first stress reduction workshop began there over 30 years ago; since then his mindfulness program has since spread to health centers all over the country (indeed, all over the world).
The practice of mindfulness has been shown in many scientific studies to help people learn to cope with the stress in their lives. Since coping with stress generally improves health outcomes (not to mention making people happier and more content), the impact of mindfulness can be broad. I’m still in the early stages of learning about mindfulness, but it is already helping me feel more calm, more joyful, and more likely to regard the various events in my life (yes, even panic attacks) as adventures rather than tribulations.
There are some links on Youtube to Jon Kabat-Zinn’s videos, although one of my favorites has been taken down. Check it out, though, by searching on his name and on “mindfulness” for the current videos. Enjoy!
This article was written by Linda