PROJECT RECOVERY WITH CASEY SCOTT & DR. MATT WOOLLEY

How guided meditation can help ease anxiety during the pandemic

May 22, 2020, 4:39 PM
guided meditation...

Many employees are dealing with the most stressful times in their careers according to a recent study published by Human Resource Executive. But frequently practicing guided meditation is proving to be a helpful resource in combating increasing levels of stress.

In the study, 88% of workers reported experiencing moderate to extreme stress over the past 4 to 6 weeks due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Dr. Matt Woolley, a licensed clinical psychologist and assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Utah, believes that the continuation of uncertain times can cause even more damage to our mental health.

“Given just the right type of stress and pressure at the right or wrong time in life, that can bring to light a mental health problem that the person has,” Dr. Woolley described. “The worry is that more and more people will be struggling with mental health issues that otherwise may have been mild or insignificant in their life but now are coming to the forefront.”

One way to combat the increase in stressors is to practice guided meditation. Dr. Matt presented a guided meditation in a recent episode of the Project Recovery podcast which you can participate in at the bottom of this article.

Using guided meditation to relieve stress

Guided meditation is a specific type of mind-body complementary medicine that strives to create a deep state of relaxation. By steadying your breathing and focusing on the moment, you exercise your ability to focus and concentrate according to Dr. Matt.

“The reality is, the frontal lobe of our brain is one of the areas where we focus and concentrate. Functional MRI studies have shown that people who meditate regularly … we can see a strengthening of that frontal lobe of our brain,” he said.

Once you begin to strengthen that frontal lobe, you, in turn, increase your ability to focus, concentrate, and make good decisions according to the Harvard Medical School.

After practicing it for a few months, Dr. Matt says he felt the impacts. “I realized I just feel so refreshed and focused when I meditate on a regular basis,” he said.

The first step of practicing a guided meditation

“The first part is calming the body down,” Dr. Matt said. “What we’re going to do is actually calm your cardiovascular system down. Dry up your adrenaline and you’ll feel a big difference. Your body will start to feel heavy and relaxed.”

Dr. Matt believes the best way to do that is to begin to breathe with a method called relaxation breathing.

“The focus is important. When you’re breathing in … focus on the sensation of how the air feels coming in through your nose and filling up your lungs,” he added. “Then, I’d like you to breathe out through your mouth.”

By breathing out through your mouth, you force yourself to slow down with each breath according to Dr. Matt. As each breath becomes more focused and slow, you can feel the sense of relief and relaxation.

Aligning your mental and physical aspects

Once you have become relaxed through this breathing exercise, the next step is to focus on the mental and physical aspects of your body.

“We know that thoughts lead to feelings, which lead to behaviors. So if you’re thinking about stressful things … you’re going to have a whole rush of emotions that aren’t productive for this exercise,” Dr. Matt said.

Then Dr. Matt recommends that you plant your feet into the ground and repeat to yourself silently who you are, where you are, and what you’re doing.

“Your name is your most personal word, that grabs your attention. [Reminding yourself] where you are brings you right into this moment. What you’re doing helps you concentrate on the activity,” he said.

We want our body to be relaxed and we want to exercise mindfulness by bringing our focus into the present.”

Beginning the meditation

Once you have completed steps one and two, you are ready to begin the guided meditation.

Click play on the following podcast player to begin your own personal 10-minute guided meditation presented by Dr. Matt.

You can find more information on Facebook, KSL TV, or from Use Only as Directed. To hear more from Casey Scott and Dr. Matt Woolley, you can listen below or subscribe to the ‘Project Recovery’ podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.

 

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Project Recovery with Casey Scott & Dr. Matt Woolley

recovery...
Josh Tilton

How a Utah recovery center is innovating treatment for substance abuse

A Utah recovery center owner is redefining how others find recovery after he struggled to live a substance-free lifestyle for years. Jordan Burningham, who was once addicted to heroin and struggling to stay sober, is in charge of one of the leading innovative recovery centers in Utah. He’s currently 6 years sober himself and through […]
10 months ago
Instagram...
Josh Tilton

How Instagram became an outlet for a mother struggling with addiction

After struggling for years with being able to stay sober, Gentry Jones turned to Instagram to try and help curb her addiction to alcohol and get her on the road to recovery. Gentry, now a mother of four kids, began to experiment with alcohol throughout her teenage years. Her substance abuse began to escalate as […]
11 months ago
Tainted...
Josh Tilton

Utah artist on how his addiction help fueled the creation of his new single “Tainted”

Growing up in a traditional Utah household, Tyler Gould was living the all-American dream. He was active in multiple sports and even a member of the Church of Latter-Day Saints. But after getting an itch to sell extra ADD medicine that he had laying around when he was fourteen years old, his life would never […]
11 months ago
Project Recovery host Casey Scott talks to Sarah Frei about their experiences with drunk driving cr...
Ashley Moser & Jared Turner, KSL TV

Sarah Frei Gives Emotional Interview About Losing Legs In Crash

Project Recovery podcast host Casey Scott sat down with Sarah Frei, the young woman who lost both of her legs in a crash caused by a drunk driver.
1 year ago
Coming to understand what Casey Scott’s addiction was truly like for his children only came recen...
Aley Davis & Debbie Worthen, KSL TV

Addiction Through A Daughter’s Eyes: How Teen’s Letter Impacted Casey Scott

Addiction is a family disease. It doesn't just affect the individual struggling, but everyone who loves them. Former KSL-TV feature reporter Casey Scott took that message to heart after reading a paper written by his 16-year-old daughter, Preslee.
2 years ago
promote safe prescription drug use...
Josh Tilton

Helpful ways to promote safe prescription drug use with Know Your Script

SALT LAKE CITY — Between 2017-2020, Intermountain Healthcare has been successful in reducing opioids by 9.5 million fewer pills and reducing benzodiazepine and opioid co-prescribing by 49%. All the while, finding ways to promote safe prescription drug use for Utahns within our state. According to Kim Compagni, AVP Pain Management Services at Intermountain Healthcare, we […]
2 years ago

Sponsored Articles

young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Types of Computer Malware and Examples...
PC Laptops

5 Nasty Types of Computer Malware and Examples | Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Computer and Family Safe

Here are the different types of computer malware and examples that could potentially infect your computer.
tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
cyber security through multi factor authentication setup...
Les Olson IT

How multi factor authentication setup helps companies stay safe

Multi factor authentication (MFA) setup is an important security measure that every company should implement for their workers. It’s also wise to install it for your personal and home accounts.
How guided meditation can help ease anxiety during the pandemic