Local Blogs

Couple's Net

By Chandrama Anderson

E-mail Chandrama Anderson

About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and have lived in and around Palo Alto since 1969. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in Silicon Valley for 15 years before becoming a therapist. My background i...  (More)

View all posts from Chandrama Anderson

Dear Chandrama, Everywhere I turn . . .

Uploaded: Apr 21, 2014
. . . these days there is talk of meditation. My partner is pushing me to take a class. What's the deal?
Stressed

Dear Stressed,
While people have been meditating for thousands of years, research on meditation is still in its infancy. Scientific American Mind states that Goyal reports in January's JAMA Internal Medicine that Mindfulness meditation "helps with pain, anxiety, and depression -- the latter two as much as an anti-depressant."

Wow, I find that news very exciting, because while I do think anti-depressants have their place, being able to manage anxiety and depression without a pill and its side-effects is a tremendous boon.

Stress causes the hormone coritsol to course through our body, and is associated with many poor health conditions.

I do recommend that you take a class in Mindfulness meditation, and practice it for a while. And while you're at it, you may try being present in each moment. For example, if you're running or bicycling, feel the air and sweat on your skin, notice what you hear around you (birds, cars, squirrels, talking, etc.), feel your heartbeat, the ground or pedals under your feet, look around and see the details of where you are such as grass, flowers, dirt, concrete, clouds, trees, people, and so on; pay attention to what you smell (flowers, exhaust, eucalyptus). When your mind wanders back to work, come back to this moment. Do the same while driving, working, loving your spouse and kids, grocery shopping, etc.

Devices are wonderful tools, and they can take us away from the present. Random ideas may float into our head while we take a deep breath or two before getting in the car. We may miss those opportunities if our nose is down in a device. Make sure your devices work FOR you, not the other way around.

Meditation may not be easy in our high-success, fast-paced environment. A pill may seem preferable in certain ways. Unfortunately, many people stigmatize taking medication for anxiety or depression, yet not for high-cholesterol or other "medical" reasons. Meditation has no stigma.

And truly, being happy and healthy is worth it – for ourselves and those around us.

Comments

Posted by Chelsea, a resident of The Crossings,
on Apr 22, 2014 at 8:09 am

I've struggled with bouts of depression and anxiety for years. A friend of mine recently introduced me to mindfulness meditation, referring me to an online self-study course that he had taken. I took the course and and have been practicing consistently for several months now. It has had an enormous impact on my ability to handle daily stressors that contribute to my anxiety and depression, and my overall outlook on life has improved, as well. I say go for it. Even if you don't find it to be a replacement for your medication, it's a wonderful supplement to it!

Here is a link to the meditation course I was talking about:

Web Link

Good luck!


Posted by Chandrama Anderson, a Almanac Online blogger,
on Apr 22, 2014 at 8:18 am

Chandrama Anderson is a registered user.

Chelsea,
Thanks for your openness about your life and telling us about the help you've gotten from mindfulness meditation. I am so glad to hear you're feeling better and managing stressful situations more easily.

Great point about it supplementing medication. (I want to be clear that I am not advocating anyone changing medication without their doctor's intervention. I was thinking of those who would not even begin medication.)

Especially thanks for the online course info.

Anyone else have course recommendations?


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Local picks on 2015 Michelin Bib Gourmand list
By Elena Kadvany | 6 comments | 3,325 views

Ode to Brussels Sprout
By Laura Stec | 20 comments | 2,561 views

Go Giants! Next Stop: World Series!
By Chandrama Anderson | 1 comment | 1,907 views

Charter School Proposal Steeped In Unintended Consequences
By Erin Glanville | 40 comments | 1,771 views

Measure M-- I am not drinking Greenheartís expensive potion
By Martin Lamarque | 11 comments | 537 views