Anxiety can feel like having a cloud of constant noise in our heads, keeping us on high alert at all times. Within this cloud, we hear comments of self-judgement, fear of the future, and regret for the past. Mindfulness is a way we can quiet these voices in our head.
In a nutshell, mindfulness is the act of pursuing a sense of calm awareness without judgement. The goal is to achieve a greater sense of self-understanding and overall peace. People practice mindfulness through meditation, journaling, prayer, listening to music, deep breathing, and being in nature among other things.
Let’s explore 5 ways mindfulness can help ease daily anxiety.
1. Accepting the World Around You
Anxiety has a nasty habit of taking one tiny stressor in our environment and sparking a spiral of thoughts that distract us for hours. By taking a moment to meditate, you let the stressor exist as it is: neither good nor bad, simply there.
The world becomes easier to navigate when we realize how much of it is neutral and completely detached from our worries. Treat the thoughts you have in response to these stressors the same way: let them come and go with ease.
2. Accepting Yourself
Don’t shame yourself for the thoughts that slip through the cracks of focus—just stop them where they are and gently let them pass through. Return to focusing on the breath.
You can’t control every card that life dealt you. Anxiety may try to convince you that you’re helpless because of your hand, but mindfulness teaches us we have the power to play our cards just right. It gives us the space to better consider how we want to respond to the world and ourselves.
3. Feeling More Energized
Attempting to fight off every anxious thought we have would be an uphill battle.
Let yourself notice the emotions you are trying to fight. What do those emotions look like for you? Do you have an old coping mechanism—a harmful substance, for example—that you instinctively grab for? Is your leg bouncing up and down? Can you feel your eyes falling out of focus?
Take a moment and sit with this discomfort. After a few breaths, accept that these reactions are totally normal. Instead of acting on them, remember that they always have (and always will) move on, eventually. Now, let them.
Your time and energy are valuable. Save it by meditating through the urges to choose energy-sapping coping mechanisms over healing.
4. Staying in the Moment
By regularly slowing yourself down to meditate, you become more capable of savoring life’s little moments. You might feel yourself playing games with more gusto or faring better than you used to after experiencing something stressful.
Exercising your ability to notice more than you judge allows you to stay present more often and for longer periods of time. You may even retain sharper memories and discover a greater sense of purpose that was hiding behind your anxiety.
5. Enjoying Deeper Relationships with Others
It’s simple math; if you spend more time focusing on the present, you have less time to worry about the future, the past, and yourself! This can help you develop deeper relationships with the people in your life.
With a quieter head in control, you’re left with an improved ability to listen and respond to others with confidence.
Once you pause to notice the world around you, you’re likely to start loving it. Meditation can improve overall happiness, though It’s important to note that mindfulness in and of itself cannot heal an anxiety disorder. It is simply a highly beneficial add-on to treatment you’re already receiving.
If you feel like you need more support than mindfulness can provide, schedule an appointment with one of our counselors today.