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Mindful Breathing: Complete Guide (Updated 2020)

Mindful Breathing: Complete Guide (Updated 2020)

In this post, we reveal everything you need to know about mindful breathing and its health benefits. We will also share some great mindful breathing exercises you can do on your own. Let's dive in!

Introduction

The last few years have witnessed increased attention on mindful breathing, both in the mainstream media as well as in medical research. However, it is important to note that mindful breathing is anything but a new concept. In Eastern traditions and religions, mindful breath works hand-in-hand with meditative and religious practices that have been used for hundreds of years.

More recently, Western scientists and researchers have been confirming what yogis and religious meditation practitioners have known for years: conscious breath can change your life for the better.

Whether your aim is to reduce stress, improve blood pressure or lessen chronic pain, mindful breathing is a free and easy treatment option that can improve your overall wellness even when you do not have specific health-related problems. In this guide, we will discuss what breathwork and mindful breathing involves and the many proven benefits it can have on our lives. Finally, we will share several different breathing techniques that beginners can start using today!

This guide includes:

  • What is Breathwork and Mindful Breathing? 
  • What is the Importance of Breathwork and Mindful Breathing?
  • What is the Science Behind Breathwork and Mindful Breathing? 
  • Mindful Breathing and Its Relationship with Our Health 
    • Mindful Breath and Mental Health Disorders 
    • Mindful Breath and Relaxation
    • Mindful Breath and Other Health-Related Problems 
  • Breathing Exercises for Beginners 

What is Breathwork and Mindful Breathing?

Breathwork and mindful breathing are generally interchangeable terms for the same concept and practices that can be traced back to a thousand years ago. Eastern religions like Taoism, Hinduism and Buddhism have known of the importance of breathing and meditation for centuries. According to these religions, breath is a vital source of energy in our bodies.

In Chinese traditions, this energy is known as qi, while Hindus call it prana. Prana can mean both “breath” and “energy” and is a crucial factor when meditating. Hindus also have a word specifically for breathwork in yogic practices: pranayama, which literally refers to stopping or controlling the breath. Pranayama includes different breathing techniques which aim to regulate respiration in one form or another, such as changing frequency, deepness/shallowness or the ratio of inhalation and expiration.

In addition to religious practices, ancient languages had special words to refer to the act of breathing. For example, the Greeks used the term pneuma and the Hebrews used the term rûah with both terms referring both to breathing and a divine presence. In Latin, the root spiritus was found in the terms for both “spirit” and “respiration.” Breathing is our life force, and when we pay extra attention to our breath our bodies can benefit so greatly it is as if our spirit itself is being nourished. 

Mindful breathing can take the form of a specific kind of breathing exercise or a particular frequency. For example, scientists believe that about six exhalations a minute is the perfect number for that period of time and that this frequency triggers a special and restorative “relaxation response” in the brain and body. And, interestingly enough, Donald Noble at Emory University has linked this particular frequency with many repetitive actions involved in long-standing spiritual practices such as the Ave Marias spoken in rosary prayers and chants in yogic mantras.

For hundreds of years, religious practices, yogic exercises and Eastern meditation methods have been using breathwork as a way to achieve enlightenment, increase feelings of calmness and relaxation and decrease anxiety and stress. It is only now that scientists are starting to understand the mechanics behind our body and mind’s relationship with these special breathing techniques. It is also only now that scientists are learning that the effects are far greater than simply feeling more at peace.  

Mindful breath works when one is prepared to pay special attention to the movement, speed, characteristics and frequency of one's breath. It is as simple as being present in the moment, closing your eyes and inhaling and exhaling through your nose and mouth. Being mindful of such a simple bodily function--one we can perform without even realizing it--has surprising and vast positive effects on our health and wellbeing. Simple breathing exercises have the potential to treat life-altering conditions, pain and chronic issues all without prescribed medication or treatments. Scientific American compares breathwork to solar energy in that it powers relaxation, regulates emotions and boosts overall wellbeing through a resource that is free, accessible 24/7, inexhaustible and easy.  

What is the Importance of Breathwork and Mindful Breathing?

In today’s world, we are overrun and overburdened with stressful day-to-day events. While we may find these small incidences annoying, they can actually have detrimental physical effects on our health and wellbeing. This is because these events can trigger our “fight or flight” stress response. You may already be familiar with this phrase but, if you are not, the “fight or flight” response refers to our body’s sympathetic response controlled by the autonomic nervous system.

Every time we breathe, sensory receptors in the respiratory system send signals to the brain, and how we breathe triggers how the nervous system functions. Therefore, when we find ourselves worried, stressed, frustrated, upset, angry, anxious or scared, we often breathe too quickly or too shallow which triggers the body’s sympathetic (fight or flight) response. When the sympathetic response is triggered, our body is pumped with cortisol and adrenaline and we experience an array of physiological changes from an increase in stress hormones to higher heart rates, higher blood pressure, muscle tension, greater sweat production, immune system suppression and increased anxiety. In other words, anytime we worry about money, get frustrated when stuck in a traffic jam, become concerned about jobs or relationship problems, all of which tend to be daily occurrences, we are hurting our health.

The remedy to this is to trigger the parasympathetic, or “rest and restore” response by stimulating the vagus nerve. The parasympathetic response is triggered when we take slower, deeper and more intentional breaths. When the parasympathetic response is triggered, stress hormones, inflammation, heart rate, blood pressure and anxiety levels all decrease. This is where regularly practiced breathwork and mindful breath can come in handy. By incorporating helpful techniques into our daily routines we can get in the habit of focusing on how we breathe and making sure we are taking deeper, slower breaths.

Habitual breathwork can do wonders for your overall health and can actually permanently modify brain circuits which can make people less vulnerable to stress. Making modifications to how you breathe can be easy to learn but it may take time to train yourself, possibly taking up to six months to replace old breathing habits. However, changing the way you breathe, despite the time commitment, is well worth it. Examples of the positive effects will be discussed in more depth further on, so stay with us!

What is the Science Behind Breathwork and Mindful Breathing? 

There are many peer-reviewed research articles available today on the relationship between breathwork and better health, proving what meditation practices have championed for hundreds of years. Many studies have found that mindful breathing can create positive psychophysiological, neurocognitive, respiratory and biochemical changes as well as combat negative symptoms of greater illnesses. As touched on in the previous paragraph, breathwork mostly affects the autonomic and central nervous systems as well as the respiratory, cardiovascular and cardiorespiratory systems. Researchers at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research identified a strong connection between mindful breathing and activation in the insula. The insula, a small region of the cerebral cortex, is linked to body awareness and regulates the autonomic nervous system. Mindful breathing can also stimulate the vagus nerve which is key to feeling more relaxed. 

According to the Journal of the American Heart, another outcome of breathing more slowly is that it increases baroreflex sensitivity, which is a heart rate mechanism that can regulate blood pressure. Slow breathing exercises also have positive effects on heart rate variability (HRV), respiratory sinus arrhythmia, blood flow dynamics, cardiorespiratory coupling and sympathovagal balance. All of this results in better heart health and lowers the risk of heart disease and cardiopulmonary arrest.

In 2016, an article published by Science Magazine found that the rhythm and type of our breathing, specifically nasal inhalation, can send electrical brain signals through the olfactory “smell” cortex, the region in the brain containing the brain's emotion epicenter, the amygdala. This stimulation can lower fear levels, influence other emotions and help us remember things better.

Another team of researchers at Howard Hughes Medical Institute have discovered a tiny cluster of neurons located deep in the brainstem which is known to link breathing with relaxation, attention, excitement and anxiety. The center, whose technical term is the pre-Bötzinger complex, or preBötC, is affected by breathing and can influence emotions.

Meanwhile, Trinity College Dublin researchers found that breathwork directly affects the levels of a chemical messenger in the brain called noradrenaline. Noradrenaline is released at specific moods and feelings: curiosity, focus, arousal, etc. If produced at a specific level, this natural chemical can help the brain grow. By controlling our breath, these researchers believe we then produce the right amount of noradrenaline to stabilize our attention, increase brain health, improve memory, increase clarity and stabilize our emotions. 

One study published by the non-profit PLOS ONE found that controlled breathing and stimulating the vagus nerve can boost the immune system as well as improve energy metabolism. Furthermore, the relaxation response can result in better insulin secretion which leads to better overall blood sugar management. In addition to stimulating the vagus nerve, deep breathing can increase alpha brain-waves. Alpha brain-waves are associated with feeling relaxed and the practice of meditation. 

When it comes to the perfect number of breaths per minute (b/m), scientists suggest six. An article published in 2019 by Scientific Reports found that six breaths per minute can result in better cardiovascular health by improving blood flow and decreasing cardiac-dependent blood pressure and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pulsatility.

A different study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience has also linked 6 b/m with increased positive energy and pleasantness and decreased arousal levels. Although six seems to be the sweet spot, slow breathing is defined as any rate between 4 and 10 b/m according to Australia’s Hunter Pain Clinic.   

Mindful Breathing and Its Relationship with Our Health 

There are a plethora of benefits mindful breath can have on our health, including: 

  • a greater sense of calm and relaxation 
  • less likely to develop feelings of anxiety or depression 
  • reduced stress levels 
  • a healthier immune system 
  • lower blood pressure 
  • lower heart rate
  • better focus and alertness 
  • improved memory 
  • decreased anxiety and negative thinking
  • better coping and lifestyle management skills 
  • insomnia prevention 
  • emotion control
  • reduced possibility of burnout
  • pain relief 
  • improved diabetic symptoms 

The above are simply examples of the many benefits of breathing more slowly and deeply. The following subsections will discuss in-depth the relationships between mindful breath and specific health issues.

Mindful Breath and Mental Health Disorders 

Mindful breath is most often prescribed as a treatment for anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders. By focusing on the breath, those who suffer from negative or sad thoughts can concentrate on breathing instead of their worries.

A 2020 study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research has linked mindful breath with “reduced burnout, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, and anxiety.” This is because the relaxation response triggered by mindful breath can decrease anxiety and stress levels in the brain.

Another 2010 study published in Behaviors Research and Therapy found that breathwork can decrease negative rumination, a common symptom in people with depression. The Scientific American suggests that breathing techniques can also help those with phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Researchers at Trinity College Dublin also believe that because mindful breath increases focus it could be used in therapies for people with attention compromised conditions like ADHD. Yogic breathing can also help reduce reaction time in specially abled children. 

By practicing breathing exercises daily, overtime you will be better equipped to deal with everyday stressors, anxieties and emotional ups and downs. At the end of the article, we cover several different types of breathing exercises, but if you struggle specifically with stress, depression, pain and anxiety, it may be helpful to check out Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn’s guided meditation program known as MBSR (mindfulness-based stress reduction). 

Some scientists and therapists, however, warn against mindful breath exercises for those who struggle with anxiety induced panic attacks. While slower breathing can decrease fear and shorten a panic attack, for some the increased focus on the breath can cause them to panic even more as their heightened attention on the breath can make them worry about their health. Furthermore, some fast breathing pranayama can cause hyperventilation which would only exacerbate feelings of stress and anxiety since fast breathing increases stress and anxiety levels.  

Mindful Breath and Relaxation

If mindful breath can reduce stress, it can also improve relaxation. One study found that mindful breath can change our behavior in many ways that can encourage relaxation. For example, it can increase overall comfort, pleasantness, vigor and alertness which can help put your mind and body at ease. A literature review about breath-control found that across several patient studies various paced breathing sessions resulted in an increased perception of relaxation compared to the control groups.

In 1932, German psychiatrist Johannes Heinrich Schultz developed a technique to boost relaxation called autogenic training. This technique incorporates breathwork with verbal repetitions, visualizations and concentration to alleviate different stress-induced psychosomatic disorders, which leave patients feeling calmer and more relaxed. If you want to feel more relaxed before bed or you struggle with insomnia, mindful breathing can also come in handy. In 2012, researchers at Harvard Medical School found that more than 20 percent of Americans who experience insomnia use breathing exercises to sleep better.    

Mindful Breath and Other Health-Related Problems 

Other scientific studies have reported that mindful breath can have beneficial effects on other types of health-related problems from cigarette withdrawal to arthritis to cancer treatment related symptoms. One article published by the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology in 2002 found that yogic breath is effective at combating oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the body’s ability to counteract or detoxify these free radicals by neutralization through antioxidants. In this case, deep breathing can lower the free radical load while increasing the amount of an antioxidant called superoxide dismutase (SOD). 

Yogic breathing can also help people undergoing cigarette withdrawal. One 2013 study found that 10 minutes of pranayama helped participants reduce cigarette cravings and the desire to smoke. Mindful breath can also benefit patients with hypertension and cardiac arrhythmias due to the fact consistent deep breathing can lower blood pressure overtime. Decreasing blood pressure overtime also lowers the risk of stroke and cerebral aneurysm and decreased stress on blood vessels. Yogic breathing has been shown to alleviate the symptoms of bronchial asthma as well as enhance pulmonary functions. 

Additionally, mindful breathing is a promising adjunct therapy to cancer patients experiencing cancer related fatigue caused by radiotherapy. It is said that it can also enhance the antioxidant status of radio- and chemotherapy cancer patients.

Mindful breath can also be used as a therapy for patients with chronic pain conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraines and lower back pain. In 2016 a study published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences reported that mindfulness meditation can reduce pain perception in patients with chronic pain conditions and could potentially become an alternative for opioid prescription. 

The Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine found that yogic breathing could also act as an ancillary aid to modify body weight and the symptoms of patients with pulmonary tuberculosis as well as improve quality of life in diabetics.

Lastly, mindfulness meditation strengthens the brain networks, keeping the brain more “youthful.” Youthful brains have a reduced risk of dementia and other cognitive brain disorders. 

Of course, if you have any of the above illnesses or medical conditions, it is important that you contact a medical professional before beginning any new breathing exercises or mindful breath therapies. 

Breathing Exercises for Beginners 

There are many different, beneficial mindful breathwork exercises you can perform on your own. Many of these are simple and easy, making them perfect for those who are beginners in meditation.

Most breathing exercises can be performed while either sitting up straight and relaxed or lying down in a comfortable position. While you should be comfortable and relaxed, be mindful of your posture. Make sure to hold your shoulders back with the rest of your back standing straight without becoming stiff.

Mindful breath can be incorporated into your everyday routine to become a habitual exercise, or you can do exercises during or before specific moments or events in your life, such as before a test, big meeting, presentation or competition. In a stressful moment that causes anxiety or anger, a simple deep inhale for three seconds, holding your breath for two seconds and exhaling for four seconds or more can do wonders for your mind, body and emotions. 

Please note that some of these exercises can do more harm than good in certain circumstances. Please consult your doctor before attempting any of these exercises if you meet any of the following criteria:

  • you are pregnant; 
  • you suffer from serious blood pressure issues; 
  • you have a heart condition; or 
  • you have interoceptive anxiety (anxiety over one’s physical state).

Most of the following techniques can be performed by yourself, but beginners may find they need a little extra help. In that case, there are a plethora of free guided meditations and mindful breathing exercises available online. Finding a guided meditation video or audio can be as simple as typing a specific technique into the YouTube search bar or App store. 

365 Method 

One method often suggested by therapists is the 365 method, which utilizes cardiac coherence (CCT). CCT uses biofeedback to control heart rate variability (HRV), or the time between each heartbeat. According to CCT, slowing and steadying the breath can slow and stabilize the heartbeat. With this method, you will perform the exercise at least three times a day, breathing at a rhythm of six cycles per minute by inhaling for five seconds and exhaling for five seconds. You do this for five minutes at a time every single day. This method is good for anyone struggling with chronic stress and anxiety, phobias, pain perception and management of nicotine withdrawal.  

4-7-8 Method 

The 4-7-8 Method, developed by Andew Weil, an American doctor and advocate for alternative medicine, is a breathing technique that is especially useful for those wishing to fall asleep, improve their sleep, manage their cravings or work on anger management. This method involves counting your breath. As you inhale, count to four then hold your breath to the count of seven, and then finally exhale to the count of eight. You can repeat this exercise as often as needed before bed or during times when you could benefit from feeling more relaxed. 

Abdominal Breathing

To practice abdominal breathing, also sometimes called diaphragmatic breathing, belly breathing or paced respiration, it is often easier to lie down with one hand on your stomach. Simply begin inhaling, inflating your stomach and then your chest as you inhale. When exhaling, empty your stomach first and then your chest.

Placing a hand on your stomach during abdominal breathing can help you be more aware of how your belly inflates and deflates as you inhale and exhale. Belly breathing increases the amount of oxygen in our bodies and, because of this, it is often an exercise suggested for those suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Breath Focus

By practicing breath focus, you are practicing mindful breathing by focusing on your breath without trying to change the rate at which you inhale, exhale or hold your breath. You simply focus and observe it.

To practice breath focus, get comfortable and clear your mind of any distractions and put all your attention on your breath. It may help to be in a quiet place or close your eyes. At first, take a normal breath and then a slow, deep breath. When it is time to exhale, slowly breathe out through your mouth. Begin to alternate between normal and deep breaths. If you find it difficult to rid your mind of any distractions, it can help to focus on how the breath moves throughout your body; focus on the sensation you feel when you breathe in through your nostrils or how your chest fills with air when you inhale during a deep breath. Tune into your natural breath the best you can; you do not need to try to breathe perfectly each time. Instead, stay curious and follow the natural flow of your breath.

Do not get frustrated if your mind wanders; just make sure to put your attention back on your breath when you get distracted. You can do this for however long you wish, or until you feel less anxious or stressed or more relaxed. If, however, you are wishing to incorporate breath focus into your everyday routine, start out doing this routine for 10 minutes at a specific time each day. You can gradually add more time to each session until the exercise is at least 20 minutes long. Breath focus is very similar to traditional meditation, so just try to clear your mind and focus on your breathing. 

Mantra Breathing and Rhythmic Breathing 

Mantra breathing and rhythmic breathing are two separate but similar ways to practice mindful breathing. With these techniques, you incorporate phrases or words to keep a rhythm or to help you focus. In mantra breathing, you choose a mantra, which is a phrase or word, that you can repeat to yourself while breathing.

Your mantra can be anything you choose, but some people find it helpful if the mantra is related in some way to relieving stress, improving confidence or promoting self-care. Examples of mantras include: “I am happy,” “I am content,” “I am accepted,” “I am loved,” “I am inhaling calm and exhaling stress” etc.

By breathing while repeating the mantra, you can focus and become more relaxed. Rhythmic breathing is similar in that you count to yourself repeatedly as you inhale and exhale. As you near the end of your inhalation, pause and count to three before exhaling. Do this between each inhale and exhale. The repetitive nature of counting mentally should boost focus and help you relax more. 

Nostril Breathing 

There are several different types of nostril breathing. Most types of nostril breathing started as ayurvedic or yogic exercises. Single nostril breathing, also referred to as uninostril breathing or Surya Anuloma Viloma/Chandra Anuloma Viloma, is breathing while closing one of your nostrils. To practice single nostril breathing, inhale and exhale through the open nostril at a slow and even pace. 

Alternate nostril breathing, also called Nadi Shodhana/Nadi Shuddi, is a breathing practice where you close your right nostril while inhaling through the left nostril and then close the left nostril while exhaling through the right nostril. Then reverse this by inhaling through the right nostril and exhaling out the left. Keep repeating this process for about 5 minutes or until you feel more focused and relaxed. 

Another type of nostril breathing is called psychic breath, or Ujjayi. To practice psychic breath, steadily inhale and exhale through the nose. While doing this, partially contract the area at the back of your throat called the glottis. While doing this, your breath may sound a little bit like snoring. Focus on your breath and observe its movement though your throat and body. Nostril breathing techniques are great for mindfulness meditation. 

Pranayama Breathing 

As discussed earlier, pranayama refers to the practice of controlling your breath during yoga. To practice pranayama breathing, simply inhale with the mouth closed and then exhale through the nose. This simple technique can clean blood as well as clear the respiratory system.

Clearing up the blood and respiratory system increases the amount of good, clean oxygen that reaches the heart and the brain. In addition to this simple way to practice pranayama, there are other techniques associated with pranayama breathing that were established in yogic exercises. 

One such technique is known as the female honey bee humming breath, or Bhramari. To perform this exercise, take a deep breath, cover your ears and then exhale while making a soft buzzing or humming sound, like a honeybee.

Another pranayama exercise called Kapalabhati, meaning skull shining breath, is said to help clear mucus, decongest the air passages and reduce bloating. To do this exercise, inhale quickly and exhale sharply through the nostrils while moving your naval in the direction of your spine. Do this while counting to 30, rest for a minute and repeat. You can do this exercise for 15 minutes or longer.

Lastly, another pranayama breathing exercise called sitali, which means cooling, can have a cooling effect on your mind and body. If you are feeling overheated or irritable due to hot temperatures, this exercise is great. To start, roll your tongue to have the outer edges touch, forming a tube, or simply make an oval shape with your mouth and lay your tongue flat. Then inhale through your mouth, filling it as much as you can. Hold the air in your mouth and bring the tip of your tongue to the top of your mouth and close your lips. Enjoy the cooling sensation and then exhale through your nostrils. Repeat as needed or up to ten times. These types of yogic breathing have many benefits! 

Square Breathing 

Square breathing is a great technique if you are a more visual person. This technique relies on the visualization of a square to create focus while breathing. To perform this exercise, inhale and visualize just one side of a square. As you exhale, visualize the next side. Keep inhaling and exhaling until you have visualized each side of the square.

Another type of square breathing is often called box breathing. Box breathing is a technique often attributed to a retired Navy SEAL Commander named Mark Divine. This technique slows the breath which in turn can help calm the nerves, regulate bodily functions and improve mood disorders. To box breathe, inhale for 5 seconds, hold your breath for five seconds, exhale for five seconds and hold your breath again for five seconds. Repeat this process for one to three minutes several times a day or during stress or anxiety-inducing situations. 

The Wim Hof Method 

Finally, the Wim Hof Method can be used to invigorate the nervous system by limiting shallow breathing. As we already know, shallow breaths increase feelings of fear and anxiety while causing the body to oxidize and acidify. This guided breathing meditation uses quick successive inhalations and exhalations for 30 seconds and then a 30 second period to hold your breath. You can do this meditation several times a day with about three cycles each session.   

Conclusion 

“Take a deep breath” or “just breathe” can sometimes seem like cliche responses whenever you hear it from someone during a time when you are upset, stressed or sad. However, we hope you now realize that it is some of the best advice you can ever receive! Practicing mindful breath is easy, free and takes just a few minutes each day, and yet the benefits are priceless. Every year, the science on mindful breathing is becoming more clear: for a healthy life, we need to breathe right! 

If you are looking for a way to remind yourself to breathe mindfully or enhance your mindful breathing experience, you should consider making use of mindful breathing jewelry. For more on that subject, see complete guide to mindful breathing jewelry here!

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Anxiety Jewelry: Complete Guide (Updated 2020)

Anxiety Jewelry: Complete Guide (Updated 2020)

In this post, we reveal everything you need to know about anxiety jewelry or mindful breathing jewelry, including our top picks. Let's get started!

Introduction

Anxiety is the body’s natural response to stress, demands or threats. It can motivate us to work harder or give us greater focus. Anxiety caused by ordinary, daily stressors often goes as quickly as it came and does not interfere with your day-to-day life. However, anxiety that persists, is intense or debilitating might stem from an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders, while common, can be incredibly difficult to deal with. 

Whether you suffer from a panic disorder, social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, or other types of anxiety disorders, it is likely that you are looking for treatment. Counseling and medication for anxiety are effective and beneficial ways to battle your anxiety, but there are other, more natural ways to supplement your anxiety treatment. One such way is by wearing anxiety jewelry. Anxiety jewelry, which comes in a variety of different types and styles, helps the wearers in different ways to relieve them of any anxiety they are experiencing by calming or distracting the mind. 

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common type of mental illness in the U.S, affecting 40 million adults each year. Given the prevalence of anxiety disorders in our world today, it is no surprise that anxiety jewelry has exploded on the market. From “fidget” rings to “chewelry” to diffuser pendants, there is a plethora of anxiety jewelry available. Different pieces of jewelry can target different symptoms of anxiety. Additionally, there are several different styles, types and price ranges when it comes to anxiety jewelry. This article will be your one stop shop for learning everything you need to know about the different types of anxiety jewelry and their benefits. 

This article will include the following:

  • What is Anxiety Jewelry? 
  • What are the Different Kinds of Anxiety Jewelry?
    • Mindful Breathing Jewelry
    • Fidget Jewelry
    • Anxiety Necklace 
    • Anxiety Bracelet
    • Anxiety Wristbands
    • Anxiety Rings
    • Anxiety Awareness Jewelry
    • Anxiety Jewelry with Essential Oils 
    • Men’s Anxiety Jewelry 
  • Benefits of Anxiety Jewelry
    • Does Anxiety Jewelry Work? 
  • How to Use Anxiety Jewelry 

What is Anxiety Jewelry? 

Anxiety jewelry can come in many different shapes and sizes. Essentially, however, anxiety jewelry is any piece of jewelry designed to give the wearer a “sensory experience” that calms, distracts or comforts the mind during anxious moments. For example, some anxiety jewelry allows its wearer to fiddle with it or benefit from its aroma or crystal-therapy.

Other types of anxiety jewelry can serve as mental reminders, while others use magnetic therapy or even acupressure. These unique pieces of jewelry aim to reduce or even prevent anxiety. However, it is important to keep in mind that anxiety jewelry is not a cure for anxiety, but rather a treatment option, relaxation strategy or coping mechanism. 

What are the Different Kinds of Anxiety Jewelry?

As mentioned earlier, there are several different types of anxiety jewelry. Some jewelry is meant to be fiddled with while other types use aromatherapy through essential oils. Others simply use phrases or words to remind you that you are stronger than your anxiety. The various types of anxiety ensure that there is a perfect piece of jewelry for anyone and any need!

Mindful Breathing Jewelry

Mindful breathing jewelry are pieces of jewelry worn and used to help control and slow breathing. Mindful breathing jewelry is often inspired by the meditation practices of Buddhist monks who believed that slower, more intentional breathing has great spiritual benefits. For example, this mindful breathing necklace by Healing Crystals Co. is made of natural crystal and designed to help the user practice more mindful, slower exhales:

mindful breathing necklace

Mindful Breathing Necklace by Healing Crystals Co.

Today, modern science has come to the conclusion that slower, more intentional breathing is one of the best things you can do for your health and wellness, both physically and mentally. In fact, numerous studies have shown that mindful breathing can reduce stress, anxiety, depression, cortisol levels in the body, the risk of dementia, heart rate and blood pressure. It can also relax the mind, increase positive emotions and compassion, lower the perception of physical and emotional pain and improve the immune system.

As Healing Crystals Co. explains, these benefits can be achieved using a mindful breathing necklace, which is easy to use. Start by inhaling slowly and deeply through your mouth or nose to fill your body with air. Do not strain to inhale more than feels comfortable. As you inhale, focus on the moment and the feeling of the air filling your lungs.

As you are completing your inhale, start lifting the tip of the crystal necklace to your lips. As soon as your inhale is complete, start exhaling slowly and gently into the tip of the crystal. Make sure not to hold your breath; it is ideal if you breath flows smoothly back and forth without pause.

As you exhale, focus on the moment and the feeling of the air leaving your lungs and flowing through your crystal necklace. Relax your arms, face, jaws and shoulders as you exhale and feel your stress and anxiety melt away.

Continue to focus on the moment and the feeling of your breath, while putting aside any thoughts or worries.

Repeat as long as is required to bring you into a relaxed state. Once you have finished breathing with your crystal necklace, try to maintain the same slow and relaxed breathing. Over time, you will find that you are able to maintain deep breathing without the use of the crystal necklace.

The science is clear: better breathing better results in better health. As such, some companies have made jewelry that serve as a physical reminder for you to breathe better, more intentionally, more slowly and more deeply. Some pieces of jewelry can actually be used to breathe through, while others simply are engraved with a reminder, such as “just breathe.” 

Just Breathe Hand Stamped Bracelet

Fidget Jewelry

Fidget jewelry, also called “worry” jewelry, are pieces of jewelry that allow wearers to move different parts of the jewelry while wearing them. Types of fidget jewelry include spinner rings, bead rings and worry stone necklaces and bracelets. 

The most commonly manufactured and purchased type of anxiety ring is called the “spinner ring.” “Spinner” rings might conjure up images of the 2017 viral toy, fidget spinners, but that is essentially what they are! These wearable fidget spinners are rings made up of different, moveable pieces.

Most spinner rings have two pieces: a piece of the ring that is worn and a piece on top of that piece that spins when moved. Simply spin the center of the ring with your fingers while breathing deeply in order to calm your mind. Spinning the ring can also help you focus by bringing you back to reality and the present moment rather than being consumed by anxious or distracting thoughts about the past or future. 

Floral Spinner Ring

Other fidget rings can involve several different moveable beads. Instead of spinning the entire ring, these rings feature small beads that can be turned while wearing the ring. Simply fiddle or twirl the beads whenever you feel anxious.

Fidget rings are a great option for those with mild anxiety, those who tend to bite or pick their nails or those who have obsessive and unhealthy thoughts. Fidget rings and other fidget jewelry can also be great tools for people with autism who stim, or repeat physical actions. Fidget jewelry allows them to stim discreetly, whenever and wherever. 

Fidget Ring 

One type of fidget necklace uses a worry stone pendant that is meant to hold between your fingers during anxious moments. Simply move the cool, firm pendant around your hands and feel the metal with your fingertips. While doing this, it may help to breathe deeply or repeat a comforting mantra. 


Fiddle Pendant and Worry Stone Pendant Necklaces 

Another example of a fidget necklace is this collar. The collar is worn on the back of your neck while a chain hangs down from the tubular collar on either side. You can then pull the chain up or down the tubing, which creates a soothing humming sound in addition to giving you something to fiddle with using your hands. 

Anxiety Necklace 

Another type of anxiety necklace is known as the diffuser necklace. This necklace uses a pendant or locket that can hold essential oils and diffuse them one way or another throughout the day. If you want to learn more about this type of necklace, please refer to the section below titled “Anxiety Jewelry with Essential Oils”.

Another type of anxiety necklace is known as “chewelry,” or chew jewelry. These necklaces feature a chewable pendant in varying degrees of softness or hardness. Wearers can safely chew on the pendants as needed to help reduce their anxiety. Chewerly is a great treatment option if your anxiety causes you to bite your nails or cheeks. 

Chewable Gem Necklace 

Lastly, some necklaces utilize gemstones and crystals for relieving anxiety. The benefits and types of crystals used for anxiety will be discussed in the next section about anxiety bracelets. 

Anxiety Bracelet

Anxiety bracelets can include many different types of jewelry. One popular type of anxiety bracelet is known as a healing gemstone bracelet. These bracelets utilize crystals and gemstones known to be healing and helpful when it comes to suffering from anxiety.

Several cultures and religions have been utilizing gemstones and crystals for healing and protection for thousands of years, dating back to the Ancient Sumerians. According to these practices and beliefs, crystals can soothe anxiety as well as heal the mind, body and spirit from the dangerous health effects anxiety can have on the body. Many believe that crystals and gemstones can have a range of healing and beneficial effects such as:

  • Easing emotions 
  • Relieving anxiety, pressure and stress
  • Dispelling negative thoughts  
  • Balancing the nervous system 
  • Lessening feelings of depression 
  • Regulating emotional mood swings 
  • Improving self-love
  • Increasing patience and optimism
  • Balancing the chakras 
  • Improving and harmonizing your communication with others  

Gemstone Beads Bracelet

There are many different types of crystals and gemstones that can be used in anxiety bracelets. Sometimes bracelets will include more than one type of gemstone/crystal, and oftentimes the crystals and gemstones will have specific healing capabilities. 

Lepidolite, for example, balances out stressful periods, as well as the sensation of feeling emotionally overwhelmed or overly worried. Lignite, or jet stone, can dissipate anxious thoughts and fear. Rose quartz crystal is known as the stone of “unconditional love,” and is therefore a great stone for anyone experiencing anxiety over loving themselves or others. Clear quartz crystal can cleanse and balance the body. Smoky quartz can soothe busy minds. 

Blue lace agate is another common crystal used for anxiety and stress relief. It is known for encouraging tranquility, inner-peace and calming energies throughout the body. Blue lace agate is also useful in situations where communication, heightened tensions or stressful situations are giving you anxiety as they can harmonize and stabilize these feelings. 

Amethyst can dissipate negativity in the body. Howlite is known as the stone of “tranquility” and is said to encourage calmness and balance high emotions. It can also be used to promote enthusiasm, ambitions and even patience. Jade can dissipate negative thoughts and irritability while soothing the mind. It can also recharge energy and balance nerves. 

Turquoise can help prevent panic attacks and stabilize emotions. Black tourmaline can balance and stabilize emotions as well. Sodalite crystal can calm the mind and ease panic attacks. Aquamarine can cleanse the mind of negative or evil thoughts. It also helps the body and mind in releasing built-up tension, anxiety and fears. Rhodochrosite can help one overcome trauma. Lastly, shungite is known for boosting energy levels while lowering anxiety and stress. Other healing crystals include: chrysocolla, amazonite, blue sandstone, kambaba jasper, fluorite, lava stone and hematite. 

White Howlite Gemstone Anxiety and Healing Bracelet 

Other types of anxiety bracelets use words or phrases to remind you that you are bigger than your anxious thoughts and feelings. Engraved bracelets can be found with many different phrases from “your anxiety is lying to you” to “breathe” or “I can and I will.” 


Breathe Bracelets

Stacked bracelets or bangles can also also be used as anxiety jewelry. Similar to fidget rings, these bracelets are designed in a way that allows the wearer to discreetly fiddle with them.

Another bracelet option is the magnetic bracelet. These bracelets are believed by some health practitioners to use magnetism to improve circulation, inflammation and pain perception. If you have an illness anxiety disorder or generally experience anxiety or physical pain in your hands or arms, magnetic bracelets might be a good choice for you. 

Stacking Bangle Bracelet 

Anxiety Wristbands

Anxiety wristbands are thick bands that can be purchased or made from rubber bands or elastic hair bands that you already have. If you choose to purchase a wristband specifically for anxiety, you will often find that these wristbands target functional acupressure points to provide anxiety relief. Acupressure can effectively, naturally, and easily relieve you of anxiety, stress, insomnia, headaches, vertigo and even nausea and palpitations. 

The acupressure points used in these types of bracelets target pressure points H6, H7, P6, P7, LU8 and LU9. However, H6 and H7 are best for anxiety. If you are new to acupressure, make sure that you allow your body to adjust to the therapy. It is also important to be consistent and continue to wear the bracelet before you even begin to experience symptoms of anxiety. Typically, you should see positive results within one week after consistent wear. 

Anti-Anxiety Acupressure Therapy Band 

Using simple rubber bands or elastic wrist bands is a bit different compared to purchasing the aforementioned wristbands. With this treatment, you simply use the material to “snap” you back into reality during an anxious episode by literally snapping the band against your wrist three times. As you snap the band, it may be helpful to repeat a phrase, or mantra, to yourself: something to remind you that your anxiety does not control you, or something to help you get out of your head. 

One example might be to remind yourself that nothing is wrong with you, and that your anxiety is lying to you and convincing you that something is wrong. This type of anxiety wristband is a physical reminder to stop you from over-thinking or ruminating over negative thoughts. Hopefully, this method can help bring you back to the present moment instead of letting your anxiety take control. It is a treatment option that is discrete and can be done anywhere anytime, but just make sure to choose a rubber band or elastic wrist band that you do not mind wearing everyday. 

Anxiety Rings

Nearly all pieces of anxiety rings take the shape of fidget rings like spinner and beaded rings. To read more about these pieces and how they work, refer to the section above titled “Fidget Jewelry.”

Anxiety Awareness Jewelry

Anxiety awareness jewelry is simply meant to bring awareness to anxiety. Even though anxiety disorders are the most prevalent mental health disorder in the U.S, mental illness remains shrouded in stigma and stereotypes. By bringing awareness to anxiety and other mental health disorders, we can begin to normalize these issues that affect millions. 

You should not be ashamed of your anxiety, and anxiety awareness jewelry can let others around you know of your journey before you even say a word. Anxiety awareness jewelry can also be a conversation tool that can help you open up to others about your journey and reduce the negative stigma associated with mental illness. 

Start the conversation with this “Anxiety” necklace

Anxiety Jewelry with Essential Oils 

Just as the market for anxiety jewelry has grown over the years, so has the popularity of essential oils. Luckily, we can combine the two to create an effective and simple way to treat anxiety. There are several different anxiety jewelry products that utilize essential oils, or aromatherapy, such as beaded jewelry and wearable diffusers. Lava stone is most frequently used in beaded essential oil jewelry due to its porous surface. Other diffuser necklaces utilize felt pads or foam sticks to diffuse the oils. 


Lava Aromatherapy Necklace and Feather Essential Oil Diffuser Necklace

To use the felt pad necklaces, simply use one to two drops of your favorite essential oil on the felt pad and place it back into the locket. The felt will slow the evaporation of the essential oils, and one to two drops will last for hours. Most necklaces come with multiple pads if you want to designate each pad with a scent, but, if not, simply hand wash the felt pad after use and leave it to dry. 

Other diffusers utilize a pendant composed of three different parts: a diffuser, a controller and a container. Instead of using felt or foam pads, this type of necklace is diffused through the control piece. Simply fill the container portion with you essential oil(s) of choice, and let it do the work. 

Essential Oil Diffuser Pendant Necklace 

Aromatherapy can be used to relieve a variety of physical, mental and emotional problems. Whether you are wanting a solution to your anxiety or are stressing over travel or work, a diffuser necklace is a great option. 

There are many different essential oils that work to relieve anxiety. Lavender is by far the most popular choice; it can help with muscle tension, stress headaches and calming and relaxing the mind. Peppermint is another option, as it can reduce pain perception and help with stress headaches. Frankincense helps relax the mind and reduce depression and anxiety. Clary sage can also be used to alleviate depression and anxiety as it works to control the level of cortisol in the body. Orange can boost energy levels and focus, while vetiver and valerian can aid with sleep. Other oils that can be used to alleviate anxiety include:

  • Rose
  • Jatamansi 
  • Bergamont 
  • Jasmine 
  • Chamomile 
  • Holy basil
  • Sweet basil 
  • Ylang Ylang
  • Fennel
  • Marjoram 
  • Lemon balm
  • Patchouli 

Men’s Anxiety Jewelry 

Many of the above styles and types of anxiety jewelry come in colors and designs appealing to men and their style. Makers of anxiety jewelry will often make the same product in different colors and larger sizes for this reason. For example, this lava stone diffuser bracelet would be a great option for men wanting to incorporate aromatherapy on the go. 

Another option for men is this black stainless steel diffuser pendant necklace. 

Benefits of Anxiety Jewelry

If you have anxiety, you know that there are many different kinds of physical and mental symptoms and being in a constant state of anxiousness can lead to even greater long-term problems. Living with an anxiety disorder can result in any of the following problems or conditions: 

  • Always feeling nervous or restless
  • Always feeling as though you are in danger or panicking often 
  • Increased heart rate 
  • Hyperventilation
  • Fatigue 
  • Increased sweat production, shaking or trembling 
  • Insomnia  
  • Trouble concentrating 
  • Immune system suppression 
  • Digestive problems 
  • Greater risk of heart attack and stroke 
  • Being left more vulnerable to other mental health problems such as depression 
  • Muscle tension 
  • Agitation and irritability 
  • Decreased productivity 
  • Increased likelihood to develop unhealthy relationships with recreational drugs and alcohol

The above symptoms of anxiety are scary and can lead to life-long problems, which is why it is important to treat your anxiety now. Luckily, anxiety jewelry can benefit any type of anxiety disorder including panic disorder, phobia, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, separation anxiety disorder, illness anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. By wearing any of the above pieces of anxiety jewelry, you can help ease your anxiety, calm your mind, increase your attention, and soothe your body. 

Anxiety jewelry is also an affordable, chemical-free and healthy way to treat your anxiety. Most of the pieces available can be discreetly accessed anytime, anywhere.  

Does Anxiety Jewelry Work?

Unfortunately, no scientific studies have been completed studying the specific effects and benefits of anxiety jewelry. However, there are studies that prove that the ideas behind anxiety jewelry are accurate.

For example, a 2006 study published in the Journal of At-Risk Issues, which considered the benefits of stress balls, observed sixth graders who used stress balls to keep their hands busy during class time. Researchers found that when the students used stress balls their “attitude, attention, writing abilities, and peer interaction improved.” This suggests that by having something to fidget with, whether it is a stress ball, spinner ring or worry necklace, you can help remain calm and focused. 

Dr. Anna Lembke of Stanford University’s psychology department has compared hand fidgeting with meditation. In this doctor’s opinion, by performing a repetitive hand motion we connect our body with our mind, which can have a calming response that redirects your focus to the present instead of distracting or anxious thoughts. This concept is similar to grounding, also called earthing, which is a well-known therapeutic coping technique using the senses (sound, sight, scent, touch and taste) when feeling anxious. All of the above pieces of jewelry appeal to the five senses in one way or another. By experiencing the senses and grounding yourself in this way, you can help keep yourself in the present instead of focusing on feelings of being overwhelmed or anxious. 

Although these studies do suggest that anxiety jewelry works, the best way to decide for yourself is to simply try it. Many pieces of anxiety jewelry are incredibly accessible and affordable, making it easy for you to try it out without spending too much money. For a great option, consider this mindful breathing necklace by Healing Crystals Co.

How to Use Anxiety Jewelry

After choosing a piece of anxiety jewelry that speaks to you and feels comfortable wearing everyday, use the jewelry as a natural extension of your body and make using it a natural habit to help you through everyday stressors and anxious episodes. The jewelry you choose should soothe you when used.

If you need to try multiple types of anxiety jewelry before you find the one that works best for you, just have patience with yourself. For some it helps to use the jewelry long before feelings of anxiousness set in, which is why it is important to make it a habit. This “habit” can also be referred to as a behavioral connection known as conditioning. Conditioning can be used to connect an action, like playing with your anxiety ring, with a feeling like feeling more calm, relaxed or focused. Using the jewelry in this way will ensure that you are more likely to use it and enjoy significant benefit from it. 

Conclusion 

Anxiety disorders are not conditions that simply go away. However, with a combination of different treatment options, you can greatly increase your quality of life. By incorporating anxiety jewelry into your everyday life, you are inviting in healthy coping mechanisms that will lessen the control that anxiety has over you. By trying out anxiety jewelry, you are opening yourself up to instant, discrete, natural and healthy relief from your anxiety. 

Interested in learning more about the benefits of mindful breathing? For a detailed discussion of mindful breathing and the scientific studies behind it, check out our comprehensive guide on the subject here!

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Komusō and Breathing Zen: Complete Guide (Updated 2020)

Komusō and Breathing Zen: Complete Guide (Updated 2020)

In this post, we reveal everything you need to know about the ancient Japanese komuso, zen meditation and the concept of "breathing zen" or "blowing zen". Let's get started!

Introduction

The komusō (or komuso, meaning “emptiness monk”) were Japanese mendicant monks that lived and practiced Buddhism between the years 1600 and 1868. The history of the komuso is very interesting for several reasons, from their unique meditation practices to their controversial followers, which included masterless samurai and shogunate spies. It is of course their method of meditation that made them recognizable figures in old Japan. Donning beehive-like baskets on their heads, the komuso wandered Japan on a pilgrimage whilst begging for alms and playing the shakuhachi, a bamboo woodwind instrument.

A komuso wearing a basket hat and playing the shakuhachi, as depicted by J. M. W. Silver. (Source: Wikipedia)

The komuso’s unique appearance and practices have lingered in Japanese Buddhism throughout the years, despite the government banning the sect in the 19th century. In fact, people across the world, in both Eastern and Western cultures, have come to appreciate and make their own adaptations to the meditation techniques practiced by the komuso. In this article, we will explore the history of the komuso, their practice of “blowing zen” and how this practice has changed and adapted over time. 

This guide includes:

  • What was Fuke Zen and Who Were the Komusō?
    • The Flute’s Purpose and Use
    • Traditional Apparel 
  • What is “Breathing Zen”? 
    • Benefits of Breathing Zen
    • Scientific Studies on Breathwork 
    • Breathing Zen: Then and Now 
  • Modernized Suizen: Mindful Breath Jewelry
    • How to Use Mindful Breath Jewelry 
    • Benefits of Wearing Mindful Breath Jewelry 

What was Fuke Zen and Who Were the Komusō?

Ensō, the Japanese symbol for Zen Buddhism (Source: Wikipedia)

“Zen” is the Japanese term for the principle of dhyāna, or profound meditation, in Buddhism. Buddhism was brought from China to Japan in the sixth century. Zen Buddhism places emphasis on rigorous self-restraint and encourages meditation practice as a way to gain insight into the nature of the mind and of all things.

Since its introduction, Japanese Buddhism has been divided into three traditional schools: the Sōtō, Rinzai and Ōbaku. Sōtō is the largest school and Ōbaku is the smallest with Rinzai in the middle. The Rinzai school, however, has broken down into even more sects, one of these being the Fuke-shū, or Fuke Zen school. 

Fuke Zen is said to have been popularized during Japan’s feudal era, or Edo period (1603-1867). It was inspired by the teachings of Chinese Zen teacher, Linji Yixuan. The name “Fuke,” however, comes from the sects’ co-founders, the eccentric Zen master Puhua. Puhua, an almost mythical Zen master, was known for his inventiveness, strictness and musical ability. Though Puhua was not known to play the shakuhachi flute, he was said to have played a bell as he walked through towns on his pilgrimage. One of his followers, inspired by his master’s bell playing, began to play the shakuhachi in a similar manner. From then on, Fuke monks and priets, known as komuso, began to play the shakuhachi as a form of meditation called suizen. 

Quickly, Fuke Zen became one of the more popular subsects of Zen Buddhism in Japan. Scholar James H. Sanford writes that by the early Tokugawa period there were more than a hundred Fuke temples around Japan. Although, this number is contested; 40 temples by 1860 is probably closer to the truth. The explanation for its popularity is partly due to the privacy and freedom associated with being a komuso. Their traditional clothing hid their faces and their constant pilgrimage lifestyle was protected by the government. The anonymity and freedom of movement lead to many rōnin, or masterless samurai, joining the sect.  

Suizen was practiced during a komuso’s pilgrimage. Komuso monks practiced mendicancy, owned little to no property and survived on alms. These alms were collected on their constant pilgrimages, when they traveled Japan, preaching and practicing Buddhism. During this time in Japan, however, traveling was heavily restricted by the shogunate. In order to travel for their pilgrimages, the komuso had to obtain special permission from the government. This was done through a treaty called the Charter of 1614. This gave the komuso travel exemptions to wander freely throughout the country.

In return, however, some komuso were asked to spy for the shogunate. Eventually, the shogunate began dispatching their own spies who disguised themselves as komuso. Bandits and masterless samurai also began posing as komuso to travel inconspicuously. As more people discovered this trick of identity, more people began to distrust the komuso. It was this distrust and connection with the government that led to the demise of the Fuke Zen sect in the late 1800s following the Meiji Restoration, which banned the practice of Fuke Zen as well as playing shakuhachi for religious purposes

Source: Wikipedia

Fuke Zen is no longer practiced in Japan to a great extent or on a large scale, though the sect continues to exist, more or less, through the contemporary Kyochiku Zenji Hosan Kai (KZHK) group in Kyoto. Additionally, the shakuhachi is still played by some Rinzai monks, which practice suizen during certain celebrations or when visiting former Fuke Zen temples. 

The Flute’s Purpose and Use

The shakuhachi’s origins are both Japanese and Chinese. This end-blown flute, traditionally made of bamboo, was used within the Fuke Zen sect of Buddhism for meditation. The instrument gets its name from its size. Shaku is a unit of measure equalling about one foot, while hachi means eight, which represents a measure of eight-tenths of a shaku.

The shakuhachi is composed of three joints of bamboo, which are then divided into two sections. These elements represent several things. The three joints, for example, are the Three Powers: Heaven, Earth and Man. The four upper finger holes represent the sun and the one lower finger hole represents the moon. Lastly, each finger hole represents one of the Five Elements: Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Space.

The shakuhachi is played using different fingering and blowing techniques and is tuned to minor pentatonic scale. A professional player is able to produce virtually any pitch they wish by changing finger positions or embouchure. 

Source: Wikipedia 

Traditional bamboo shakuhachi are very expensive to produce. Each instrument is made from a piece of high-quality cured bamboo and shaped using Ji paste, a process which takes over a decade. This time and labor intensive process results in bamboo shakuhachi costing anywhere from $1,000 to $8,000 USD. Today, you can find more affordable shakuhachi made from ABS (a common thermoplastic polymer), hardwood, plastic or PVC. These versions can be mass produced, are extremely durable and usually cost less than $100 USD.  

With the shakuhachi, the komuso practiced suizen. Suizen is meditation through playing the shakuhachi. So, instead of chanting sutras or other Buddhist texts like other Zen monks, the komuso used the shakuhachi to play music called honkyoku. Honkyoku pieces are beautiful compositions that benefit both the musician and anyone listening. A beautiful example of shakuhachi music can be found on YouTube by the musician Rodrigo Rodriguez

Rodrigo Rodriguez playing the shakuhachi flute

Traditional Apparel 

In addition to their recognizable bamboo flutes, the traditional apparel worn by the komuso is also unique. As previously mentioned, komuso donned beehive-like basket hats which covered their faces completely. These woven hats/baskets, usually made from straw, sedge or reed, are called tengia or tengui.

The tengia was a symbolization of the komuso, the monks of emptiness. It was said that by wearing the tengia, the komuso could abandon their ego. However, the tengia is also what provided shogunate spies, ninja, rōnin and bandits a convenient disguise. The tengia was to be worn at all times and could only be removed within the confines of a Fuke temple

Water Mirror by Harunobu (Source: Shakuhachi Zen: The Fukeshū and Komusō)

Komuso were also known to wear either kesas, traditional garments of Buddhist monks, or more formal kimonos. Other articles of clothing worn by the komuso include an obi (a traditional sash for men’s kimonos), kyahan shin coverings, tabi socks and waraji sandals. The komuso also carried several things with them in addition to their shakuhachi. They carried a second “shakuhachi”, which was actually a short sword, a netsuke, which was a container used to carry medicine or tobacco and a gebako, which was a box they used for collecting alms and carrying documents. 

What is “Breathing Zen”? 

There are five main types of meditation according to the Dhyāna sutras but the meditation method closest to the meditation practiced by the komuso is ānāpānasmrti, or mindfulness of breathing. Mindfulness of breathing meditation involves regulating the breath in order to regulate the mind. With this type of meditation, Zen students will often focus on and count each breath. By counting and focusing on the breath, over time, breathing will become smoother, deeper, more even and slower, all the while calming the mind and body.

Komuso monks, while they do not practice ānāpānasmrti, do practice something similar: suizen. Suizen, a form of Zen meditation that also deals with control of breath, consists of playing a shakuhachi flute in order to attain self-realization and enlightenment. Suizen, which literally means “blowing zen” or “breathing zen,” is a spiritual exercise that is at the core of Fuke Zen. With this meditation, komuso playing the shakuhachi flute were able to prioritize the precise breathing control that is necessary for Zen mindfulness. 

Steps to Blowing Zen: A YouTube meditation video featuring a shakuhachi flute, how to use it and ways to meditate with it.  

Benefits of Breathing Zen

From the first moment one plays the shakuhachi, they begin to return to a more natural breathing rhythm which soothes the mind and regulates the nervous system. Many yogis and Buddhist practitioners believe that our health and wellbeing depends on harmony of breath. If we are anxious or upset, our breath is shallow and uneven. If we are relaxed and content, our breathing rhythm is more natural and healthy for our body.

Furthermore, the sound and unique resonance of the shakuhachi is capable of entraining and harmonizing the natural resonance of our bodies. By “blowing zen,” the komuso, as well as anyone wanting to try this kind of meditation, are able to focus on the breath, relax and achieve greater levels of mental clarity, which can lead to awakening and enlightenment

Today, there are mindful breathing necklaces such as this one offered by Healing Crystals Co. which can be used to simulate playing a shakuhachi and helping achieve mindful breathing states:

Mindful Breathing Necklace

Mindful Breathing Necklace by Healing Crystals Co.

Scientific Studies on Breathwork  

Today, modern day scientists have studied and discovered what yogis and Fuke Zen meditators have known all along: meditation, breathwork and mindfulness can provide one with powerful and enriching mind and body benefits.

According to Dr. Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, “[t]here is a very direct relationship between breath rate, mood state, and autonomic nervous system state.” The autonomic nervous system is responsible for controlling our body’s sympathetic (fight-or-flight) and parasympathetic (rest-and-restore) responses, heart rate, respiration and digestion. When we breathe, sensory receptors in the respiratory system send signals to the brain. How we breathe triggers how the nervous system functions.

For example, if we are breathing too quickly, the body’s sympathetic response is triggered, which results in an increase in stress hormones, a higher heart rate and blood pressure, muscle tension, greater sweat production and increased anxiety. Slower, more even breathing triggers the parasympathetic response, which results in the opposite effects that the sympathetic response has.

Other studies have found that how we breathe even affects how we feel. According to an article in the journal of Cognition & Emotion, how we breathe can greatly alter our feelings of anger, fear, joy and sadness. 

Therefore, it makes sense that training and regulating your breathing can result in many benefits. Research has found that meditation focusing on breath control can:

  • Reduce levels of stress and anxiety in the body  
  • Reduce feelings of sadness and depression 
  • Increase positive emotions 
  • Reduce cortisol 
  • Increase density of gray matter in the brain 
  • Relax the mind
  • Improve concentration 
  • Stimulate compassion 
  • Reduce risk of dementia 
  • Alter brain structure 
  • Ease physical and emotional tension 
  • Ease physical and emotional pain
  • Increase muscle 
  • Improve posture
  • Increase exercise stamina by improving lung capacity
  • Release toxins 
  • Lower heart rate
  • Lower blood pressure 
  • Improve diabetic symptoms 
  • Boost metabolism 
  • Assist in weight control
  • Strengthen the immune system 

Breathing Zen: Then and Now

Old and New Japan blending together by David M. Weber (2008)

Although playing shakuhachi is traditionally associated with Buddhist monks, nowadays both religious and nonreligious musicians have picked up the shakuhachi to play a wider array of musical pieces both for meditative and entertainment purposes.

In addition to secular musicians playing the shakuhachi, more women have begun to play the ancient instrument. Beginning in the 19th century, shakuhachi guilds were formed to keep the tradition of shakuhachi music, honkyoku. These guilds kept a verbal and written lineage of honkyoku pieces, many of which are now performed by entertainers in concert or performance settings. Generally in these cases, the shakuhachi is played with other instruments. When this happens, the musicians are no longer playing honkyoku, but sankyoku or shinkyoku. A sankyoku is an ensemble of three instruments: the shakuhachi, a koto and a shamisen (two Japanese string instruments). A shinkyoku is music performed by a shakuhachi and koto but the composition is influenced by Western music. 

Today, the shakuhachi is played across the world. Some notable Western musicians like Ray Brooks, Jim Franklyn and John Palmer have found inner peace and purpose by studying and performing the ancient music of the shakuhachi. Meanwhile famous musicians and artists who have generally not been associated with Japanese culture or Buddhist tradition have also found the shakuhachi’s beautiful sounds to pair nicely with their modern music, allowing us to hear the shakuhachi in songs from Duran Duran to Björk to Linkin Park

This YouTube video shows three musicians playing a traditional sankyoku piece. 

Modernized Suizen: Mindful Breath Jewelry 

With the relatively recent popularization of holistic healing and wellness in the West, we have seen ancient traditions and healing methods adapted to fit the uses of modern society. One such growing trend is mindful breathing jewelry, which has been described as “wearable wellness.”

These pieces of jewelry are worn and used to help control and slow breathing. These pieces of jewelry are inspired by the komuso and their practice of “blowing zen” with their shakuhachi.

As we have discussed, shakuhachi are expensive and can be difficult to master, making them inaccessible to the causal meditator. However, modern jewelry is being made to imitate the breathing exercises associated with playing the shakuhachi. These pieces of jewelry can be worn whenever, wherever, allowing you to practice slower breath anytime you need to relax and refresh your body and mind. For a great example, see this mindful breathing necklace made of 100% crystal by Healing Crystals Co.

How to Use Mindful Breath Jewelry 

Mindful breath jewelry is made with the shakuhachi in mind. By breathing through the jewelry, you can train your breathing. To use a piece of mindful breath jewelry, inhale deeply through your nose and then breathe through the pendant. Your exhale (ideally eight to ten seconds) should last longer than your inhale (ideally more than three seconds). As you repeat this process, relax your body and slow your thoughts. Focus only on the sound of your breathing. Count the seconds it takes to inhale, and then to exhale. By doing these exercises, you will trigger the nervous system’s parasympathetic response. 

Benefits of Wearing Mindful Breath Jewelry 

Mindful breath jewelry is a good alternative to purchasing and learning to play the shakuhachi for several different reasons. Jewelry is more affordable than shakuhachi flutes and mastering breathing is much easier than playing honkyoku for the non-musically inclined.

Mindful breath jewelry can also be used anywhere, anytime, providing you refuge in even the most public or stressful situations. To put it simply, this type of jewelry is a modern solution for modern problems, and yet it is inspired by scientifically-backed ancient techniques.Between the modern day expectations of perfection and productivity, the constant flow of emails, texts and breaking news stories, the body just needs some peace. Breathing exercises, like the ones used with mindful breath jewelry, can help the body in many, many ways. 

Conclusion

There is a reason one of the most logical things to do when stressed or worried is to take a deep breath. This is because how we breathe affects our overall health and wellbeing.

The komuso started blowing zen in the 1600s, using the shakuhachi flute to meditate and achieve enlightenment. Today, this tradition still exists in different and accessible forms for those who wish to use breathing meditation as a way to relax and improve the mind and body. Fuke Zen, a 400-year old religion, which has a rich and interesting history, can also be used as a modern solution to the everyday hustle and bustle of a busy life. 

Whether you want to practice the art of ancient suizen like the komuso of the past or are purchasing mindful breath jewelry, rest assured the breathing exercises you do now will help you far into the future. Intentional, mindful breathing is a simple way to give yourself peace of mind. 

If you are interested in exploring mindful breathing jewelry, see this mindful breathing necklace made of 100% crystal by Healing Crystals Co. For more information on mindful breathing jewelry, also known as anxiety jewelry, see our comprehensive blog post on the subject here.

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15 Best Crystals for Anxiety (Updated 2020)

15 Best Crystals for Anxiety (Updated 2020)

In this article, we reveal the 15 top crystals to use to combat anxiety. We also discuss how each of these crystals works to help combat your anxiousness. Let's get started!

Introduction

Anxiety can drive people to the ends of the Earth in search of treatments and relief. Some find it in Western medicine, and some find it in nature and metaphysics. 

Crystals fall into the latter category, and, when used correctly, they can affect the presence of anxiety in your body. Here are the 15 crystals and stones for anxiety that you need to know about.  

In this article we discuss the following:

  • How Can Crystals Help Anxiety?
  • How to Use Crystals for Anxiety
    • Clean Your Crystals 
  • 15 Best Crystals for Anxiety
    • Amethyst for Anxiety
    • Rose Quartz for Anxiety
    • Clear Quartz for Anxiety
    • Sodalite for Anxiety
    • Kyanite for Anxiety
    • Citrine for Anxiety
    • Jasper for Anxiety
    • Obsidian for Anxiety
    • Tigers Eye for Anxiety
    • Lepidolite for Anxiety
    • Shungite for Anxiety
    • Blue Lace Agate for Anxiety
    • Moonstone for Anxiety
    • Howlite for Anxiety
    • Fluorite for Anxiety

How Can Crystals Help Anxiety?

Despite there being no scientific evidence to back the use of crystals for healing, there remain mass amounts of people who seek out the use of these energetically charged rocks from the Earth for the purpose of attaining wellness. 

One can work with crystals for a myriad of purposes. Some use them to dispel negative energy, attract opportunity, or amplify love. Others use them to relieve stress or manage chronic pain. There are some crystals that supposedly even work to connect one to plains of psychic ability. 

It’s unsurprising then that there is help in the form of specific crystals for anxiety and PTSD. If you’re looking for hard facts about how these anxiety crystals work on the human body, you’ll be searching until the end of time. 

Understanding how crystals can help with anxiety requires a certain level of surrender to the powers that be: those that are beyond what can be observed physically with the eyes and only experienced on an energetic level. 

Crystals work by affecting the energy of objects and beings within close proximity of the stones themselves. These crystals are naturally occurring rocks found in the Earth (although, some are derived from meteorites that originated in outer space), and they are charged with the energy of the elements. 

This gives each crystal a particular vibration, which is usually higher in frequency compared to other physical matter, including the human body. By being in contact with these vibrations, there can be physical and emotional changes in the user, which explains why some people use crystals to manage aches and pains in the physical body. 

All healing crystals work within the light spectrum. They absorb and refract light, and the different colors are experienced as wavelengths. These same wavelengths are found in the human body in what are known as the chakras. Chakras are energy centers that are responsible for creating energetic flow in the body, and as a result in one’s life. 

When we introduce energy specific crystals into our personal vibratory field, we can attract relief from various conditions, including anxiety and stress.

How to Use Crystals for Anxiety

The first thing to adopt when using crystals for anxiety is an open mind. The mind plays a vital role in how effectively we are able to receive healing. This goes for all forms of medicinal and metaphysical healing, including Western medicine. Placebo clinical trials are testament to this, as people receiving mock medications made from sugar often heal even more significantly than those who received the actual medicine. 

An open mind allows all forms of treatment the space and respect they need to properly penetrate the body and mind. Since crystals are largely energetic; this is a vital component. 

How you use your anxiety crystals is dependent on your familiarity with stones and your general lifestyle. Once you dive into the comprehensive list of the 15 best healing crystals below, you’ll read the properties of each and hopefully be called to a few of them that ring true to your specific experience of anxiety. There is no single best crystal for anxiety, there are merely many crystals with the potential to alleviate certain symptoms associated with anxiety. 

Ideally, you want to have your chosen crystal on your person as much as possible. Some will wear their stones as jewelry, either in rings, earrings, or neck pendants. 

Those who aren’t so partial to crystal jewelry might prefer to simply keep the stone in their pocket, or in their office cubicle next to their laptop or work instruments. Even from a distance, the stones are able to have an effect on your overall stress and anxiety levels. 

If you’d like to reserve your crystal healing for the comfort of your own home, then you can work with the selected crystal on the chakra/energy center that feels most vulnerable to your anxiety levels. 

You can also hold your chosen stone in the palm of your hand during meditation, directly drawing the energy through your skin and into the rest of the body. We like to keep stones that help with anxiety at the bottom of a water glass or use a crystal water bottle. The stone will charge the water, which is carried out through the rest of the body when consumed. This can be incredibly calming. 

If you’re new to all this, and feel like you’re not quite ready to fully submerge yourself in crystal healing, but feel a pull toward this kind of therapy, then simply keeping a crystal nearby at all times can be a great introductory experience.

What we mean is this: you don’t need to make an effort to think about using your crystal everyday, or set aside time to do so. Instead, you can simply place your stones in places where you are likely to encounter them regardless of what you do in a day. For example, keeping a stone in the console of your vehicle means you’ll probably see/touch it by accident quite regularly. Or you could keep a crystal next to your toothbrush in the bathroom; this spot guarantees you’ll interact with the crystal at least twice a day (we hope). 

Clean Your Crystals

Like anything energetic, crystals can become compromised by negative energy after long periods of exposure to the outside world. As a result, one should make the time to cleanse crystals at least once a month. 

This can be done by burying said crystal in the garden and leaving it overnight. Another easy method is to leave the stone outside during the full moon, so that the light can be reabsorbed into the stone body. 

The goal is for your crystal to become fully attuned to your personal vibration. This can be compromised if someone decides to touch your crystals and handle them out of interest. They can leave behind their own energy and intentions, which may not always be of benefit to the user. 

Keep your crystal for anxiety as personal as possible, and cleanse them as frequently as is realistic to your lifestyle. 

15 Best Crystals for Anxiety

Everyone experiences anxiety differently. It can manifest as mild stress, or it can generate severe imbalance to the point where a panic attack is imminent. 

People can also often describe the physical location of their anxiety. Some feel it more in the chest, while others might feel it in their head, stomach, lungs or even knees. There is no blueprint for how and when anxiety expresses itself; it simply does. 

The following are all crystals for anxiety and depression. They have properties that can possibly work to alleviate the more general symptoms associated with anxiety, namely stress, panic, a racing mind, displacement, mania, physical trembling, difficulty breathing, sensory overload and lack of concentration/focus. 

Some of the best stones for anxiety will be more effective for certain symptoms, and less for others. Read through each one, and feel which properties of which stones ring most true. 

Something to keep in mind: some crystals are more scarce in the Earth, and therefore more difficult to source and mine. This drives the retail prices up, and some suppliers choose to manufacture mock stones made out of cheap materials such as dyed glass. 

It goes without saying that such “crystals” will come with no energetic charge, and thus no actual healing properties. Quality is important when investing in crystals and, when in doubt, opt for raw stones that have not been polished; it is not possible to recreate these with fake materials. 

Amethyst

Amethyst is one of the most abundant of Earth’s rocks. It is easy to find and mine, and thus easy to purchase if you have internet access, or a local wellness shop near you. 

This is the stone of deep purple; if you’ve been involved with crystals in the past, it is likely you already have this stone laying around the house. 

Amethyst may be the best stone for anxiety, due to the fact that it has such an undeniable presence in both the physical and metaphysical world. It brings clarity to the different energetic bodies and, more specifically, the mental and astral bodies. This clarity works to help one better understand the source of their anxiety and stress, and possibly better manage it from there forward. 

As far as crystals for stress go, this one can work to help those whose sleep patterns become disrupted as a result of anxiety. Insomnia is common in people suffering from anxiety, so a stone that can help balance the chaotic sleep time ritual is a wonderful tool. 

Physical properties of amethyst include cleansing of the blood and the promotion of hormone production. 

Rose Quartz

Rose quartz is a gentle pink stone which can be found in abundance. This is the stone of love, and people use it to amplify the levels of love present in their personal relationships, and even the workplace.

Rose quartz is one of the most affordable crystals for anxiety and stress. You can place a piece of this stone in every corner of your house and create a bit of a healing grid without spending too much money. 

Rose quartz works on the emotions, which for some is the leading trigger of their stress and anxiety. If this sounds like you, then you’ll find rose quartz works to balance said emotions, making the follow up reactions more thoughtful and conscious. This can reduce the onset of anxiety over time. 

If your external relationships tend to cause you anxiety (perhaps you have a complicated partner, or are a mother to children who you constantly worry about), then rose quartz can be a powerful means of balancing the amount of influence you give others over your mood. 

Clear Quartz

Quartz is a commonly used crystal, but it is also a commonly replicated one. Clear quartz looks like glass, so a lot of warehouses have cut corners and eliminated the mining step by simply fashioning crystals out of glass. 

Clear quartz is known as the master healer, making it one of the best crystals for anxiety. It has a noticeable effect on the physical body, which is why so many people use clear quartz for the treatment of physical pains. People with arthritis wear clear quartz on their wrists and find relief from the discomfort. 

If your anxiety and stress feels as though it is related to an imbalance within the physical body, this would be a wonderful stone to work with. 

Be sure to purchase your clear quartz from a reputable retailer; as we said, these are far too often mimicked with glass. 

Sodalite

Sodalite is a marbled stone of dark blue and white. Blue stones tend to work directly with the throat chakra, as this energy center is represented by the wavelength of blue light. 

Despite being incredibly calming, we find sodalite to be one of the stones for anxiety and panic attacks because it alters the frequency of the throat. The throat is our expressive hub. When we feel unable to properly express our thoughts and feelings, this can lead to anxiety. 

In the process of opening the throat for communication, the emotions become far easier to manage, thereby reducing the levels of anxiety for that particular trigger. 

Tumbled sodalite makes for a great stone to keep in your pocket or handbag at all times. 

Kyanite

Kyanite is a unique crystal due to its very recognizable formation. Pieces of kyanite look like mottled blue icicles that have fallen from the sky. You can actually see each level of formation within the stone, which makes it fascinating to work with and look at. 

Like sodalite, kyanite works within the blue energetic wavelength, making it a good stone for all of the throat-based benefits listed above. In addition to this, kyanite is also a powerful stone when used during meditation; it’s via this practice that the most optimum effects of kyanite can be ignited and received by the user. 

The best thing about these particular healing stones for anxiety is that they are incapable of carrying negative energy. They are one of very few crystals that don’t require any type of cleansing. If you’re suffering from anxiety, you probably feel you’ve got more important things to worry about than leaving your crystals under the moon once a month. Kyanite is the best worry stone for anxiety!

Citrine 

There is something about citrine that you just can’t help but enjoy. Even if it’s just to look at from a distance, citrine has a cheeky yet alluring vibe to it, one that is ever so inviting. 

These are gentle orange and yellow stones. Some will exhibit darker patches of orange embedded in sporadic yellow. 

Citrine is all about enthusiasm and enjoyment; it seeks to amplify and attract both of these in all elements of the user's life. One becomes tempted to meet instances of fear with great optimism, and if life’s fears are what fuel your unease, then this has got to be one of the most effective crystals for anxiety and stress. 

Jasper

To those new to  crystal work, some might find jasper to be the least enticing stone in terms of appearance. 

It’s a stone in the color of red sand. Occasionally, these stones might have sections of brown, yellow, black and other natural hues. 

Once you dig a little deeper into the world of crystal healing, you’ll learn that jasper is actually known as being the supreme nurturer. People who feel that negativity is constantly seeking them out might find that jasper helps them to block the attacks without becoming overwhelmed. It’s always about quick thinking and confidence. 

If you work in a high pressure environment, this kind of stone could be instrumental in helping you perform better and make the best decisions, every time. Similarly, if you feel like your external environment is toxic or polluted, jasper is a stone that purifies the outside world of toxins and radiation. These are things that could be contributing to your anxiety levels, even if you aren’t fully conscious of it. 

There are many creative brands that have started making household items out of jasper. You can find full sized vases and trinket boxes made from this sandy-looking stone. This is a great way of inviting the stone into your home, and allowing it to take effect of your spatial anxiety. 

Obsidian

Black obsidian is one of our favorite crystals for anxiety and panic attacks because of its powerful absorption abilities. Black stones are known for absorbing any negative forces that seek to implicate the user. Anyone who has lived to see the other side of a panic attack will know how valuable this kind of companion could be. 

It’s a stone of great protection, and, as a result, it can help to expel emotional blockages that may be holding you back at a subconscious level. 

If you’re feeling stagnant creatively, obsidian can work to release these blockages. It aligns one with the essence of self control, which helps to better manage everyday life, particularly when an anxiety attack feels like it’s brewing. 

Sometimes anxiety arises as a result of unloving thoughts toward ourselves, or others. This is something that is easy enough to manage, if you can take control of said thoughts. Obsidian helps one do that, and works to remind the thinker of who they really are every time the urge to think in an unloving way arises. 

Tiger’s Eye

Tiger’s eye is a stone that we’ve loved and appreciated from the start of the global crystal movement. We find it to be underrated in many regards, and pleasantly surprising once given the time of day. 

This is a marbled stone of brown and gold which may sometimes exhibit streaks of black. It looks like the fur of a tiger, only more glossy and alluring, which explains the name. 

Tiger’s eye is another powerful protector crystal; those who have directly experienced this effect usually keep the stone close by, either on a ring or hanging from their ears. 

Tiger’s eye is relaxing, and when it can’t directly reduce your fears and anxiety it can influence you to receive them from a more relaxed physical state; this oftentimes gives the illusion of reduction in stress and anxiety. 

If you could use a bit of luck, this is the stone for you. Tiger’s eye is a luck bringer and loves giving the user more opportunities, especially career opportunities. 

Brown hued stones are generally great grounding forces. When anxiety is making you feel like you’re in another realm, this stone can Earth your energy and make clearer what is reality and what is not. 

Lepidolite

Lepidolite is another stone that attracts you with its dreamy aesthetic and then pleasantly surprises you with some quickly noticeable benefits. 

The lepidolite stone contains lithium, which is a compound used in anti-anxiety medication. In fact, lepidolite is the most abundant mineral to bear lithium for medicinal purposes. As far as crystals go, it doesn’t get more familiar than this. These stones know the vibration of anxiety, and they also know just how to treat it. 

People who tend to worry or stress in excess find that lepidolite brings them back into their most present states, allowing them to spend less time drowning in these states. 

Not to be confused with amethyst, lepidolite is more of a lilac-gray color, whereas amethyst is more regal purple. We find that keeping a piece of it next to one’s bed, so that the stone can work in the mind of the user as they sleep, can be an effective way to use the crystal. During the day, chaotic thoughts can hinder the stone’s ability to penetrate deeply. 

Shungite

Shungite is a very ancient healing stone that can be traced back to civilizations who actually relied on these forms of healing to bring harmony to their people. As a treatment for anxiety, shungite works by absorption: it absorbs the angst you are feeling, and carries the load so that you don’t have to.

Shungite’s absorption abilities aren’t limited to the metaphysical: the stone can be placed next to laptops, microwaves, WiFi dongles, microwaves and other appliances that give off electromagnetic emissions. The shungite absorbs these waves and transforms them into energy that is more gentle on our own electromagnetic frequencies. 

If you’ve got anxiety that you feel unable to link to a single trigger, then your electronic appliances may be contributing to the contamination of your energy, in turn causing anxiety. Anyone with unexplained anxiety will do well to keep a piece of shungite around, just to be able to rule out these external forces as a possible trigger. 

Blue Lace Agate

This dreamy stone looks like how a renaissance artist may have painted a slightly cloudy day over Paris or Rome. It’s a light blue crystal, often with swirls of white within the layers, comparable to pouring coconut milk into an existing broth. 

Being a blue stone, this one also works with the throat and tries to clear up any instances where communication is being hindered. When your lack of communication with others is lacking, tension can be high (both inside and outside of the body), with the result that you need a stone that seeks to bring balance to this disharmony. 

A lot of women experience anxiety as a result of hormonal imbalances and thyroid issues. The blue lace agate works closely with the thyroid and helps to regulate one’s natural hormone cycle. 

Anxiety can make the body feel physically hot from a build up of energy, and this is often the case just before a panic attack. This is one of the most overwhelming side effects of this condition, and any stone that can bring a cooling element into the mix is welcome. Blue lace agate is known for being perpetually cool, and, if used during meditation, it can share this property with the rest of the body. 

Moonstone

Anxiety is no stranger to motherhood, as moms are known to hold an endless supply of stress relating to raising other human beings. 

Moonstone is connected to our superior feminine force, the moon. The nurturing, soothing and intuitive energy that the moon gives us is deeply accessible through this charming stone. The milky white facade is often embedded with the ability to refract light, making it look like all the colors of the rainbow live inside of a single piece. 

Most users of moonstone report an enhancement in their psychic abilities. Tapping into psychic power tends to come with a sense of deep understanding and clarity, two things that can work to alleviate the presence of anxiety in everyday life. 

Because moonstone looks like pearls, there is a massive market for moonstone earrings, pendants and rings. This is also the official birthstone for people born in October, so those that resonate with it like to wear it where others can see it!

Howlite 

Picture turquoise, but white — that’s howlite. 

This stone works with the memory and the mind. It fuels a desire for knowledge and more sustainable communication, which as a result usually leads to better expression of emotions. 

Many users report that howlite seems to physically remove anxiety from the mind. While not all people necessarily experience their anxiety in the mind, this is only helpful for some. But it’s a quick fix for those that do, and we find keeping the stone next to one’s bed is the prime position for said clearing to take place. 

Keeping howlite next to your bed is also a good idea because when it’s at work it tends to make the user drowsy. People suffering from insomnia swear by the howlite that is kept next to their bed.

This is not an uncommon stone to find in jewelry. Howlite is also very easy to make fake renditions of by using weighted plastic. We recommend hunting down a raw piece that has merely been cleaned, and not polished. Polished howlite made from weighted plastic can be impossible to distinguish from the real thing. 

Fluorite

Fluorite is a predominantly purple and pink stone with transparent sections. It sometimes looks like a rainbow, which is similar to the essence that the stone exudes. There are also versions of fluorite that are turquoise and aquamarine in tone. 

With fluorite, life is all about fun and lightness of being. It takes negative energy and transforms it into some sort of enlightened version of itself, enabling the user of the stone to take things a little less seriously. Stress can be present, but never debilitating. 

Fluorite is concerned with neutrality, which is a great state to be in if you are finding yourself drowning in angst. By coming to a more neutral frame of reference, you can quite easily pull yourself out of a downward spiral before it goes too far. 

This stone works closely with the third eye, and the chakra center associated with it. As we’ve mentioned previously, gaining a better understanding of your psychic connections is one step in the direction toward a less anxious existence. 

If you find that you struggle with coordination, then fluorite can bring the body into a more controlled state. People who work in stations that require a lot of physical balance may find that fluorite helps them stay stable.

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed this article! If you are interested in incorporating crystals into your life to help combat anxiety, you should consider a mindful breathing necklace made of a crystal that resonates with you. Mindful breathing jewelry made of crystals not only help provide the benefits of the crystal you choose to wear, but they can also be used to help slow your breath, leading to a greater sense of calm and serenity. Also, if you are interested in reading more about anxiety and crystals, check out our comprehensive blog post on the 13 Best Crystals for Depression!

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13 Best Crystals for Depression (Updated 2020)

13 Best Crystals for Depression (Updated 2020)

In this post, we reveal the 13 top crystals to help fight depression. From Amber to Rose Quartz, and everything in between, we have you covered. Let's dive in!

Introduction

Sometimes the best aid to depression is simply the right companion. This is how crystals work to heal those who are suffering: by introducing the physical world to the metaphysical. If you, or someone you know, is suffering from depression, these are the top 13 energetically charged rocks that you need to know about.

In this article we discuss the following:

  • How Can Crystals Help Depression?
  • How to Use Crystals for Depression
  • 13 Best Crystals for Depression
    • Carnelian for Depression
    • Rose Quartz for Depression
    • Sunstone for Depression
    • Smokey Quartz for Depression
    • Kunzite for Depression
    • Citrine for Depression
    • Labradorite for Depression
    • Amber for Depression
    • Tigers Eye for Depression
    • Lepidolite for Depression
    • Fire Opal for Depression
    • Pyrite for Depression
    • Lapis Lazuli for Depression

How Can Crystals Help Depression?

Depression has been a silent pandemic plaguing the world for centuries. There seems to be no standard catalyst for this condition, leaving its trigger open to everything from existential crisis to something as basic as the weather. 

Those who suffer from this disorder will know that in the darkest moments there are few things they aren’t willing to try, even just to gain five minutes of solace or relief. Even though there is little to no scientific evidence to back the validity of crystals used for healing, there are mass communities of people who seek out these energetically charged objects in hopes of attaining wellness.

Crystals are types of rocks that occur naturally in the Earth. They are charged with electromagnetic energy stemming from the Earth’s core, as well as energy from all other minerals and elements that they come into contact with during their formation phase. This gives the stones unique vibrations that are measurably higher than the vibrations of most physical things in the world: namely, humans and other physical objects. 

Science may be yet to give crystals the time of day, but it has never disagreed that vibrations can have an influence over matter that comes into contact with them. And this is exactly how crystal healing works. 

The myriad of stones found in the Earth’s crust means there is basically a crystal for everything. Some use specific stones to dispel negative energy as a form of protection. Others use stones that amplify love and attract opportunity. There are stones that can neutralize physical pain in the body, and there are even crystals that seem to have a positive effect on symptoms of depression and anxiety. 

If you need hard facts and data before you’re able to believe in certain types of healing, then perhaps crystals are not the treatment for you. Crystal healing requires a level of surrender to the unseen: a belief in the powerful existence of energy, and its ability to affect our mind, body and spirit. Without an open mind, you’re likely to block any form of benefit from crystals from coming your way. 

Crystals work by affecting the energy of objects and beings within close proximity to the stones themselves. When you select a stone for personal use, it starts to attune to your energetic body, and through the process of intention it will be able to attract, repel or neutralize the things you most desire it to. 

All crystals work within the light spectrum. They absorb and refract light, and  the different colors are experienced as wavelengths, just as they are to plants. These same wavelengths are found in the human body through what are known as the chakras. Chakras are our energy centers, and are responsible for creating flow in the body. Different crystals resonate with different chakras, making some more effective at healing certain ailments than others. 

When we introduce these zone specific crystals into our personal vibratory field, we can attract relief from various conditions, including depression. 

How to Use Crystals for Depression

Whether you’re looking at Western, Eastern or metaphysical medicine for healing from depression, the first thing anyone needs to adopt is an open mind. Look at any medicinal trial where placebo drugs were used and you’ll see the major role that the mind plays in the process of healing. Subjects unknowingly fed the placebo medicines often heal better and faster than those subjects taking the actual drug. 

It’s what we brush off as miracles, but really it’s the power of the human mind. Tapping into it is one of the most life changing things a person can do, and with the aid of crystals your potential is uncapped. It’s simply up to you to adopt this as truth, as and when you feel ready.

How and when you choose to use your crystals for depression will depend on your personal point of view when it comes to this kind of treatment. It will also largely depend on your individual lifestyle and how the stones are able to fit into your days. 

All crystals come with a unique list of properties that make them effective or ineffective to different ailments. There are some stones with powerful energetic properties that would simply have no effect on someone suffering from depression, simply because that specific stone may be more concerned with attracting monetary wealth, or making the physical body more agile. 

There’s a world of possibility in the crystal healing world, which is why we’ve put together a more concentrated list of just 13 stones that we think work well for individuals living with depression. As you read through their unique properties, you’ll likely feel more drawn to certain ones, and less to others. This is intuitive knowledge, and a good indication of which crystals you should probably look at investing in. 

Once you own the stone, it’s time to incorporate it into your life so that the properties can begin to attune to your energy field. Most people find that keeping the crystals as close to their physical body as possible is the way to reap the optimum rewards. Crystal jewelry has become very popular for this reason; it places the stones on your ears, neck or fingers at all times during the day. Some crystal jewelry, known as anxiety jewelry, also has the ability to help slow your breath, restoring calm and serenity to your mind and body.

Not everyone is partial to crystal jewelry, and you don’t have to have your stones on your person all day long in order to receive their energetic benefits. Placing your chosen crystal for depression nearby is good enough; this may be next to your computer at work, or in the console of your vehicle. You can also keep these stones in your pocket, or handbag, which means you’ll make frequent contact with them without much thought. 

If you’re really looking to work one-on-one with crystal healing, then there are different techniques that can be adopted in your free time. You might find that laying in bed and placing your crystal over its corresponding energy center on the body works wonders for your depression levels. It’s even possible to invest in seven different crystals (one for each energy center) and form a personal grid over your entire body once a day. 

Holding healing crystals in the palm of your hand during meditation is a great way of absorbing the benefits they have to offer. People suffering from severe depression might find it difficult to quiet the mind for 15 minutes a day, but once it becomes a habit the rewards truly are boundless. 

You can also place your healing crystal in your water bottle or drinking glass, allowing it to change the liquid energetically. This can result in the crystal charge being carried out to the rest of the body with every swallow. 

Crystal healing is somewhat of a Pandora’s box; once you dip your toe into it it, is very difficult to stop. This is mostly because the benefits are actually tangible once you figure out how to work with them. 

Clean Your Crystals 

All energetic entities are capable of contamination, and certain crystals (with some exceptions) can become ridden with negative energy after long periods of use. This may be a build up of energy that they have been absorbing on your behalf, or energy that has been placed onto them unknowingly. 

As a standard rule, make time to cleanse your healing crystals at least once a month. Leaving them out under the light of the full moon is one way of doing so, but you can also bury them in the Earth for 24 hours, or soak them in salt water for the same effect. Some crystals dissolve in water, so make sure yours is not one of them prior to doing so. 

The goal is to allow your crystal to become attuned to its most optimum vibration, and thus able to better attune to you. Try not to allow friends or strangers to handle your crystals for fun, as they will be unconsciously leaving their own energy and intentions in the rocks, rendering them less effective for your needs. 

13 Best Crystals for Depression

Everyone experiences depression differently, and to varied degrees of severity. Depression can manifest as mild imbalance, or it can be a debilitating condition to the point where an individual is unable to engage with the outside world. 

Depression and anxiety often go hand in hand, and users of crystals have found that alleviating the one often brings relief to the other. That being said, the physical location of anxiety differs between beings. Some feel it more in the chest, whilst others might experience their heaviest angst in the stomach, lungs, head or even knee caps. There is no blueprint for how this condition expresses itself, especially when in the midst of depression. 

The following are all crystals with the ability to address anxiety and depression. They have properties that can possibly work to alleviate the more general symptoms associated with both conditions, namely stress, panic, a racing mind, displacement, mania, physical trembling, difficulty breathing, sensory overload and lack of concentration/focus. 

Some of the best stones for depression will be more effective for certain symptoms, and less for others. Read through the description for each one, and feel which properties of which stones ring most true to your unique experience. 

Something to keep in mind: some crystals are more scarce in the Earth, and therefore more difficult to source and mine. This drives the retail prices up, and some suppliers instead choose to manufacture mock stones made out of cheap materials such as dyed glass. 

Not all retailers are acting out of integrity; they’re on the crystal healing train to make a quick buck and are not concerned about who gets duped in the process. Quality is important when investing in crystals. Do your research and, when in doubt, opt for raw stones that have not been polished; it is not possible to recreate raw, unpolished stones with fake materials. 

Carnelian

Carnelian is a powerful healer in that it works to shift the human mind and help achieve a bold, motivational point of view. It does this by first eradicating all symptoms of fatigue, which is instrumental for individuals who are battling the kind of depression that makes one want to remain bed-ridden all day. 

If your depression is rooted in a lot of anger and resentment, this is a stone that works to counteract these feelings quite directly. It’s a promoter of forgiveness, even in the worst cases of abuse or neglect. 

Living with depression is a game of endurance, and carnelian resonates with this. The stone is all about life’s toughest endurance and finding ways by which to meet these experiences with passion and action, as opposed to simply becoming bogged down by them. 

Rose Quartz

Rose quartz is a gentle pink stone, and another one that can be found in abundance. This is the stone of love, and people use it to amplify the levels of love being presented in their personal relationships, and even in the workplace. 

Rose quartz is one of the most affordable crystals for depression. You can place a piece of this stone in every corner of your house and create a sort of healing grid in your personal space, without spending too much money. There are bags of raw rose quartz that retail for under $10. 

Rose quartz works on the emotions, which for some is the leading trigger of their depressive spirals. If this sounds like you, then you’ll find rose quartz works to balance said emotions, making the follow up reactions more controlled and conscious. This can reduce the onset of depressive spells over time. 

If your external relationships tend to contribute to your depression (perhaps you have a complicated partner, or are a mother to a child who is not coping), then rose quartz can be a powerful means of helping to balance the amount of influence you give others over your mood. 

Sunstone

Some forms of depression are seasonal, meaning they get triggered by the change in seasons and emergence of less than desirable weather. People living in places with extreme weather patterns (intense summers, below freezing winters) are more likely to experience this form of depression. 

Sunstone is a crystal that comes up often as beneficial for patients with seasonal depression. These crystals are charged by the light of the sun, and they radiate it outward even in the darkest of times. 

It’s a high vibrating stone, and it has an undeniably soothing effect on the user, pulling them back into their own presence every time there is temptation to spiral. 

Smokey Quartz

All dark stones are powerful forces against negative energy. They are able to absorb the negativity on your behalf, limiting how much is able to penetrate your personal being and affect your mood stability. 

Smokey quartz does just that. Not only does it absorb said negativity, it also diffuses it within the rock itself. This works to ease symptoms of depression, stress and grief. 

All forms of quartz work closely with the physical body. They absorb and diffuse physical pain, which is a symptom of some individuals suffering from severe depression. Certain depressive states can give the illusion of pain in the body, despite there being no actual ailment. Smokey quartz becomes an ally in this sense; place it directly onto the body for best results. 

Kunzite

Kunzite is a less common stone, but avid users make a point of sourcing it as they know there are few other stones that compare to the vibrations of this one. 

Depression is the opposite of tranquility, so kunzite works to introduce this opposition into the life of the user in the most gentle way possible. When the heart and relative channels of communication become blocked, it’s unsurprising for an individual to become depressed. Kunzite can provide an unblocking of these channels, allowing for communication to flow and healing to take place. 

Depression often feels like a lack of love, but kunzite knows there is no such thing as lack in all of existence. Being guided to learn this, through direct experience, makes kunzite a powerful teacher in how to better navigate the physical works from an abundant mindset, and not from a scarcity one. 

Citrine 

Anyone who has ever laid eyes on a piece of raw citrine knows that it is a magnetic force. Citrine is alluring, yet cheeky. It communicates with everyone who looks its way, inviting them into the world that it has to offer. 

These are gentle orange and yellow stones. Some will exhibit darker patches of orange embedded in sporadic yellow. 

Citrine is all about enthusiasm and enjoyment; it seeks to amplify and attract both of these in all elements of the user's life. Depression can inhibit one from meeting instances of fear with great optimism, and if life’s fears are what fuel your unease, then this has got to be one of the most effective crystals for the condition. 

Anxiety and stress are also no match for citrine; it’s almost as though the stone simply rejects them, requiring little effort on the part of the user other than surrender and acceptance of what is happening. 

Labradorite

Often depression occurs as a result of change happening in the life of the individual in question. Not everyone is able to cope with change in the most optimal way, so it can cause our beings to become destabilized. 

Labradorite is one of our favorite stones because its sole focus is aiding in times of change. It becomes a crucial companion to the user, allowing them to meet the times with great strength and less inclination to become overwhelmed. 

During change, one’s aura can become compromised and even contaminated. If you’re carrying around an aura that is in a bad way, it can make everyday life feel a lot darker than it actually is. Labradorite works to nurture and protect the aura, which gives us the ability to face life head on without feeling like the weight of the world is on our shoulders. 

More than this, labradorite is an aesthetically mesmerizing stone. There are holographic layers embedded in the dark greens and blacks that make up this rock formation; you’ll find yourself staring into it for hours. 

Amber

Sometimes amber is fondly referred to as “drops of the sun”, or “tears of the gods”. These stones carry energies far greater than what humans are able to comprehend, which is why working with them feels as though god-like energy is coming into play. 

Negativity is no match for amber; the crystal will set the mind free of even the most severe downward spirals involving negative thought toward oneself or others. 

Amber doesn’t come cheap, so if you find a seller whose prices seem too good to be true, they probably are. Amber is an easy stone to replicate with glass, so be aware of where and who you purchase from. 

Tiger’s Eye

Tiger’s eye is a stone that we’ve always had a soft spot for, which is ironic considering the very hard energy that this crystal embodies. It is one of the most pleasantly surprising stones in the crystal healing world.

This is a marbled stone of brown and gold, although it may sometimes exhibit streaks of black. It looks like the fur of a tiger, only more glossy and alluring, which explains the name. 

Tiger’s eye is another powerful protector crystal; those who have directly experienced this effect usually keep the stone close by, either on a ring or hanging from their ears. You don’t need a very big piece of it for it to take effect, and even the smallest of pendants are powerfully protective over the individual wearer. 

Tiger’s eye is relaxing, and when it can’t directly reduce your fears or depression, it can influence you to receive them from a more relaxed physical state which, oftentimes, gives the illusion of reduction. 

If you could use a bit of luck, this is the stone for you. Tiger’s eye is a luck bringer and loves giving the user more opportunities, especially in terms of career. If this is a concern in life that contributes to your depression, then you may have found your match. 

Brown hued stones are generally great grounding forces. When depression and anxiety are making you feel like you’re floating in another realm, this stone can help to ground your energy back to Earth, bringing you back into your presence. 

Lepidolite

Lepidolite is another stone that attracts you with its dreamy aesthetic, and then pleasantly surprises you with some quickly noticeable effects. 

Lepidolite stones contain lithium, which is a compound used in anti-anxiety medication. Certain lithium-based medications are often prescribed to individuals suffering from depression. As far as crystals go, it doesn’t get more familiar than this. Lepidolite literally knows the vibration of depression and anxiety, and thus the best way to heal from them. 

People who tend to stress in excess find that lepidolite crystals bring them back into their most present states, allowing them to spend less time drowning in the lower vibratory realms. 

These rocks bear an uncanny resemblance to amethyst, though lepidolite is more of a lilac-gray color, whereas amethyst is a more regal purple. During the day, chaotic thoughts can hinder the stone’s ability to penetrate deeply, so we find that keeping a piece of it next to one’s bed is the most effective way of giving the stone access to the mind of the user as they sleep.

Fire Opal

Some ancient medical practices view depression as a manifestation that occurs as a result of lack of flow in the body. The flow of sexual energy is an important one that has been muted over time with shame and oppression (especially in women).  

Tantra speaks of a natural flow of sexual energy through all beings that is directly responsible for the flow one is able to experience in all facets of external existence. When this energy is blocked or compromised, life can feel less than opportunistic and depression becomes imminent. 

If this rings true to you, then fire opal may be the crystal you’ve been looking for. This stone is a powerful force in unlocking that tantric energy that may have been stagnant in your body for far too long. In the process, the stone will attract opportunities to the user, especially in the field of your career. 

This stone will balance your sexual organs and hormones, as well as the functioning of the adrenal glands. Adrenal dysfunction has been repeatedly linked to depression. 

Pyrite

If your solar plexus energy center has become blocked due to life experience, it could be contributing to the intensity of your depressive states. 

Pyrite, also known as fool’s gold, works on this energetic hub and intends to rebalance whatever has gone wrong or cannot be released by the user themselves. The location of this energy center is between the rib cage and navel, so there is bound to be positive effects on the gut as well. 

There are many studies that link depression to imbalanced microbiota in the gut, so healing this zone in the body can bring drastic improvements to the ways in which depression is able to manifest outward. 

Lapis Lazuli

Any existential crisis is bound to bring with it some sort of depressive inclination; the two go hand in hand, and have for centuries. 

Lapis lazuli is a radical stone that wants everyone to identify with their innate truth. This is never intended in an unmanageable way, but rather from a place of overwhelming compassion and self acceptance. 

Lapis lazuli allows the user to remain clear headed, objective and creative, even in times of extreme despair. Confidence is key to navigating the external world, and when we feel a lack of this we can easily spiral into depressive states. This is the stone to restore lost confidence, helping one to take up space in the world without feeling the need to apologize for it. 

As with most blue stones, lapis lazuli will work closely with your throat chakra to allow you to communicate your needs and wants more significantly. 

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed this article! If you are interested in incorporating crystals into your life to help combat depression, you should consider a mindful breathing necklace made of a crystal that resonates with you. Mindful breathing jewelry made of crystals not only help provide the benefits of the crystal you choose to wear, but they can also be used to help slow your breath, leading to a greater sense of calm and serenity. Also, if you are interested in reading more about anxiety and crystals, check out our comprehensive blog post on the 15 Best Crystals for Anxiety!

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