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Staying calm and happy in a turbulent time

What with all the sudden shocks and changes going on in the world and the UK, many people are feeling stressed, anxious, panicked, sad or angry. I noticed that, after the Brexit result, more people were arguing on phones in the street, others were angrily taking their stress out on people online, and families and friends were having bitter arguments – sometimes for the first time ever.

One of the ways I find useful in dealing with stressful or quickly-changing situations is to meditate. I'm more alert, calm and happy, and it helps me to deal with outside, unexpected stressors and people that thrive on drama. I take a few minutes out of my day to switch off the phone, put down the ipad, put some inspirational music on and breathe rhythmically. I feel centred and connected with my core again.

I started practicing it more regularly after reading this article in Science Daily, which said that studies concluded that: "In the mindful attention group, the after-training brain scans showed a decrease in activation in the right amygdala in response to all images, supporting the hypothesis that meditation can improve emotional stability and response to stress," and that is during the times when the subjects were not meditating. That was enough for me to start and I'm glad I did. The rhythm of breathing deeply while remaining aware for a few minutes is a good place to start. You can do this in silence, or you could try listening to binaural beats wearing headphones, or listen to a relaxing piece of music for a while. (Note - sitting up works better as its easy to fall asleep laying down). The mind tends to drift off into chatter, when it does just be aware of it and bring it back into meditation. Occasionally it just doesn't work, no matter, just leave off and continue with it the next day.

Though if you have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder meditation may not be beneficial. People with severe depression say that concentrating on a creative activity and making things – like knitting, painting, DIY, woodwork – really helps.

Also some people don't like sitting still, and find it easier to focus on physical movements like tai chi or yoga, which also have a calming effect on the body and mind. Focusing the mind and helping it to switch into a relaxing enjoyable space is the key.

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