Local startup uses "Playful Meditation" to cope with anxiety in the new year

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (NEWSPLEX) -- As the second week of 2017 begins, many people are dealing with the anxiety a new year can bring.

Playful Meditation is a weekly session offered by The Mind Body Project at the Yellow Door in Charlottesville.

"My class is to remind you that meditation can be playful," said meditation teacher, Dana Wheeles. "Meditation can get you in touch with a happier and more peaceful part of yourself."

At the first class of the year on Sunday, Wheeles focused on how to use the art of mediation to tackle anxiety.

"Anxiety is something that we all struggle with," she said. "I, myself, have struggled with anxiety for most of my life and the reason I am a meditator is because I have found that meditation works."

According to Wheeles, using meditation to cope with anxiety starts with a change in lifestyle.

"From the morning you wake up, there are things that you can do to help make your day better and help you deal with your anxiety," she said.

She said she wants people to see how meditation can affect their lives in manageable and visible ways.

"Anxiety makes you feel like you're out of control," said Wheeles. "There are routines that you can put into your life that make you feel like you have more control but not the rigid sort of control that anxiety can bring on. A more peaceful, a more gentle sort of control that lets you know 'I've got this.'"

Wheeles added that when it comes to wellness and meditation, one doesn't have to go it alone.

"Coming to a place like The Mind Body Project, going to a yoga class, these are ways in which you are sharing your experience with others," she said. "And connecting with other people burns cortisol which is a stress hormone which fuels anxiety."

The Mind Body Project launched its first class at Yellow Door in Charlottesville in June.

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