woman of color meditating hand up close to prevent overthinking, back pain and more

Meditation for Overthinking, Back Pain, and Everything Else

Feeling overwhelmed by constant overthinking or nagging back pain? You’re not alone. Millions of people experience these issues, and the good news is that meditation for overthinking might be a helpful tool to find some relief in many aspects of your life.

What is Meditation?

Meditation is an ancient practice that involves focusing your attention and achieving a state of calmness. There are many different meditation techniques, but some common ones include mindfulness meditation (focusing on the present moment) and mantra meditation (repeating a calming word or phrase). The key thing to remember is that meditation is a practice, not a state of perfection. Don’t get discouraged if your mind wanders – that’s perfectly normal! With consistent practice, you can develop the skill of bringing your attention back to your focus point.

How Does Meditation Work?

Meditation has been studied extensively by scientists, and there’s growing evidence to support its positive effects. Here’s a glimpse into what might be happening inside your brain according to the research:

  • Affects the brain’s neuroplasticity: Our brains have an amazing ability to change and adapt, known as neuroplasticity. Regular meditation practice has been shown to increase the thickness of certain brain regions associated with attention, emotional regulation, and empathy.
  • Activates the relaxation response: When we’re stressed, our bodies go into “fight-or-flight” mode. Meditation can activate the opposite response, the relaxation response, which helps reduce stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, leading to a calmer state of mind and body.
  • Reduces the default mode network activity: The default mode network (DMN) is a group of brain regions that become active when our minds wander. Overactivity of the DMN has been linked to anxiety and depression. Studies suggest meditation can reduce activity in the DMN, potentially leading to a quieter mind and reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression.
  • Increases production of positive neurotransmitters: Meditation may also increase the production of feel-good neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which contribute to feelings of well-being and happiness.
  • Reduces inflammation: Chronic inflammation is linked to various health problems. Meditation might help reduce inflammation in the body, potentially lowering the risk of certain conditions.

Remember, this is a simplified explanation. There’s still much to learn about the science behind meditation, but the research is promising!

According to Stanford Medicine, practicing meditation may reduce blood pressure, symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression, insomnia, and the incidence, duration, and severity of acute respiratory illnesses (such as influenza).

Can Meditation for Overthinking Help?

Feel like your mind is constantly racing with thoughts? You’re not alone. Many people struggle with overthinking. Here’s how meditation can potentially help, as supported by research:

Meditation helps quiet the mind by focusing your attention on the present moment. By anchoring your awareness on your breath or a mantra, you can learn to detach from those repetitive thought patterns that can cause overwhelm. With regular practice, meditation can cultivate a sense of inner peace and reduce the hold overthinking has on your daily life.

For instance, a study published in the journal “Behaviour Research and Therapy” found that mindfulness meditation helped participants decrease rumination (dwelling on negative thoughts) and improve their overall well-being.

Can Meditation Help with Back Pain?

While meditation isn’t a direct cure for back pain, it can be a helpful tool for managing stress, which can contribute to muscle tension and pain. By calming the mind, stretching, and reducing stress hormones, meditation may indirectly help with back pain management.

It’s important to remember that meditation is a complementary practice, and it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional for any chronic pain you might be experiencing.

How Long Does it Take for Meditation to Work?

There’s no magic number. Meditation is a practice, and the benefits may vary depending on your consistency and individual needs. Some people experience positive effects within a few sessions, while others may take longer. The key is to start with short sessions (even 5 minutes!) and gradually increase the duration as you become more comfortable.

Does Meditation Work for Everyone?

Meditation might not be for everyone, but it’s worth giving it a try with an open mind. If you find sitting meditation challenging, there are alternative practices like deep breathing exercises that can also help promote relaxation and focus.

Getting Started with Meditation

Ready to give meditation a try? Here are some practical tips for beginners, directly from the client’s notes:

  • Find a quiet space: Choose a comfortable place where you won’t be interrupted.
  • Set a timer: Start with short sessions (5-10 minutes) and gradually increase the duration as you become more comfortable.
  • Focus on your breath: A common technique is to focus on your breath. Notice the sensation of the air moving in and out of your nostrils or the rise and fall of your chest.
  • Don’t judge your thoughts: It’s normal for your mind to wander. When this happens, gently bring your attention back to your breath without judgment.
  • Guided meditations: There are many guided meditations available online and through apps. These can be a helpful resource for beginners, as they can provide instruction and support throughout the practice.

Lakewood’s Premier Chiropractor

While meditation for overthinking is a powerful tool for managing stress and promoting overall well-being, it’s important to address the root cause of physical discomfort like back pain. Contact us here at Comprehensive Chiropractic in Lakewood, CO. Our experienced chiropractors can provide personalized treatment plans to address your specific needs. We combine gentle chiropractic adjustments with other techniques to promote pain relief, improve mobility, and enhance your overall health.