We are learning more about the importance of meditation in our life. A lot of research shows the connection between mental health and meditation – and how meditation can actually reduce anxiety and improve stress levels.
“Get to know yourself beyond your identity, beyond your personality, beyond the roles that you play in life… you start to discover a deeper aspect of yourself. That deeper aspect of yourself does not suffer. It’s never anxious. It’s never afraid.” – Giovanni Dienstmann
Today you will hear from meditation coach and teacher, Giovanni Dienstmann about mental health and meditation. Giovanni is the author of the best-selling book Practical Meditation.
Anxiety During the Pandemic
The pandemic has put many people’s anxiety into overdrive. That’s why I wanted to have meditation coach, Giovanni Dienstmann on the podcast.
He explains that anxiety is the response of our brains to threat. Because we are in this pandemic, Giovanni says there is the sense that threat is everywhere.
He says although anxiety and fear are natural – we weren’t meant to feel this way all. of. the. time.
Once upon a time, anxiety kept us alive. Now, we have these emotional responses even when our survival is not at stake.
Giovanni says meditation is the answer, “Meditation tells your nervous system that everything is okay.” That’s the mental health and meditation connection.
A Nervous System Made for the Stone Age
One of the most interesting pieces of information I’ve learned in the last few years on my quest for a life of wellbeing is that we are not really equipped for this 21st century life.
Our nervous system was made for a time long before Facebook, computers and – well, basically every modern convince we have today.
Giovanni told me, “When we’re living in the jungle or a cave cave and the object is survival – that brain works perfectly. It fits the job. For the modern person, where survival is a given – the focus of human life has shifted from survival to fulfillment. The response of fear and anxiety is not helpful, it holds you back. Those responses are not meant to hold you from trying something deeper in your life.”
Use the ROAR Method – Take Control of Mental Health and Meditation
In this episode, Giovanni explains his R.O.A.R. method to deal with anxiety in the moment when it arrives..
When anxiety arrives, Giovanni recommends seeing it as a visitor. Instead of taking it on as a character trait – see it as nothing more than a visitor to your home.
You know a houseguest (even if they’re annoying) – will leave. It’s the same concept.
I love how Giovanni calls anxiety by a name like “Miss Anxiety.”
He says you can name it and say “Miss Anxiety is here” or “Anxiety is here.”
By doing this “you are creating a different relationship with anxiety. It’s something that comes and goes.”
That – instead of saying “I am anxious” or even “I’m feeling anxious.”
This step is where you allow it to sit in your body.
Consider where it’s showing up in your body.
Giovanni says this makes it something that is small and controllable.
Once you have recognized what is happening and you have observed where it shows up – Giovanni says it’s critical for you to accept that this is happening.
He says, “It cannot stay. Nothing can stay forever.” (Just like that house guest).
By the time you get to the final step, Giovanni says the anxiety should be manageable.
For more details on the R.O.A.R. method be sure to listen to the full episode.
More on this episode:
– how a negative mindset can impact your anxiety
– what you can do to change negative mindsets
– tangible tools to use the moment you start feeling anxious
– how to deal with the things we cannot control
– how to start meditating
If you like this episode, check out these episodes about meditation:
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