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International Women's Day: dealing with anxiety

Posted on:08/03/2012 05:10:00

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Maria and Shona from Headspace HQ here- representing all the the ladies on this year's International Women's Day. Today at Headspace we wanted to breach a topic that plays a big and apparently increasingly bigger role in many women's lives- anxiety.

With the constant juggling of work, family, more work, a social life and a general to-do list as long as about 4 arms women are often expected to effortlessly handle all of the roles thrust upon them and all of the roles they take upon themselves and its no wonder many women feel overwhelmed by all of the things they need to do.  Now whilst suffering from anxiety is by no means limited to women, studies have shown that women in the US are 43% more likely to suffer from an anxiety disorder in their lifetime than men. These figures, which are similar in the UK, include mild anxiety, generalized anxiety, panic disorder, phobias, social anxiety, OCD and PTSD- such a big menu of anxiety-types to suffer from that it seems that there is a 'type' for everyone. We know from our personal experience talking to our friends about this topic that anxiety, in all of its many guises really is an issue that crops up often. In fact, both of us have had our own experiences in dealing with some form anxiety at one point or another. 

The great news is that we don't have have to be anxiety-ridden for the rest of our lives.  Studies into meditation and mindfulness in this area have shown amazing results in relieving anxiety.   For example (and this is straight from Nick's research) a study conducted by researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School taught mindfulness to a group of people with clinical levels of anxiety and found that 90% experienced significant reductions in anxiety and depression.

Another group of researchers looked at how mindfulness has helped with anxiety across various types of populations, from people suffering with cancer, to those with social anxiety disorder and eating issues. They looked across 39 scientific studies, totaling 1,140 participants and suggest that the anxiety reducing benefits from mindfulness might be enjoyed across such a wide range of conditions because when you learn mindfulness, you learn how to work with difficulties and stress in general.

We were lucky enough to speak to the lovely Kate, one of our Headspacers and Beginner's Tales star about her experiences with meditation and anxiety.  We really hope that this helps inspire all of you out there who have difficulties with anxiety in their lives.  Happy International Women's Day ladies, in words of Beyonce- who runs the world?  GIRLS. 


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