Anxiety relief from Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a time and place that I have a deep fascination with. The culture, the art, the theatre, the stories - but probably most of all because it was a civilisation built on skeptical enquiry.
The ancient Greeks were pioneers in so many fields, from the foundations of mathematics to philosophy - which gave us one of humanity's earliest ideas of mental health.
It was a world of philosophy and rationalism. This is a view that did not last - but there are still lessons to be learned from the ancient Greek anxiety remedies for anxiety sufferers today.
So, what can we learn from them?
First, anxiety is nothing new. It's been around forever, even if the name has changed. From Aristotle to Socrates, everyone knew anxiety existed and tried to find ways of reducing it - even if they didn't know anxiety's exact cause or what anxiety was exactly.
The ancient Greeks had some interesting ideas about anxiety and the rhythm of life. They were big on the idea that anxiety came in certain rhythms, or cycles. This meant anxiety remedies included things like syncing cycles of sleep, eating and natural cycles like the tides or seasons.
The anxiety remedies that are most interesting though are the ones that go back to their philosophy on anxiety - what anxiety really was. The ancient Greeks believed anxiety came from a lack of control. For them, anxiety was caused by feeling unable to influence situations - which is one reason why anxiety remedies included things like meditation. Meditation is a great anxiety remedy, because it gives you back control in your anxiety treatment process and can update feelings of anxiety to more positive thoughts. It's even been scientifically proven to reduce anxiety in the brain through a process called neuroplasticity. The ancient Greeks were well aware of the benefits of meditation - the philosophers called certain anxiety relief strategies, such as meditation, "melete" which means reflection.
It's also worth noting that anxiety disorders were not always viewed as anxiety conditions. A lot of people back then attributed anxiety to other physical conditions, like imbalances in blood flow and bodily fluids.
The solution was to improve the circulation and flow of the body, through exercise. Ancient Greek anxiety remedies included going for a walk or run up and down hills which would naturally cause you to become out of breath. These days, we know that exercise is one of the best anxiety remedies because it releases endorphins and gets your body moving. It also helps you to focus on the present moment instead of your anxiety. This is a great way to reduce anxiety and improve your overall wellbeing.
There were other anxiety remedies such as purging and emetics which involve disgusting substances like chamber-pot water or moss from a roof - it's no wonder anxiety sufferers today tend to look towards more palatable anxiety remedies such as tea or meditation instead!
In the end, anxiety is anxiety. It's nothing new and it's always been around in some form or other - whether that be nervousness, dread or pure terror. There are so many ways to treat anxiety - it's all about finding your unique blend of treatments that work for you. And while ancient Greek anxiety relief included some rather harsh anxiety treatments, there were also ideas there we can still apply today... such as meditation, exercise, and a good cup of tea.
Meet Eva Lane
Eva Lane is a certified reiki practitioner and meditation guide. She helps people heal anxiety by teaching them how to be in their bodies and connect to themselves on a deep level. Her big message is "The way to peace and happiness, and a life free from anxiety, is through reconnection, not control". Get free meditations for anxiety, panic attacks, dizziness and more at https://www.anxiousrelief.com/free-guided-meditations-for-anxiety/