How You Can Use Mindfulness To Battle Anxiety
Most people have some anxiety in their lives, usually relating to their personal relationships, financial situation, and work obligations.
It’s perfectly normal to be anxious about these issues from time-to-time.
However, if you often find yourself in a state of intense worry or fear about everyday problems, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder.
Fortunately, there are several mindfulness techniques available that can effectively ease your anxiety and improve your mood.
This post will share the best of these techniques.
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the ability to focus your attention on the present moment, becoming fully aware of where you are and what you are doing.
You can bring your awareness to bodily sensations, your immediate surroundings, or your thoughts and emotions to enter a mindful state.
When practicing mindfulness, your mind will be firmly focussed on the present instead of being anxious about the future or dwelling on the past.
This can eliminate the repetitive negative thoughts which often lead to feelings of anxiety.
The effectiveness of mindfulness to treat anxiety has been supported by a growing body of research.
Scientists have found that mindfulness can actually change the way the brain operates as it alters neurones in the amygdala, which can dramatically reduce the amount of anxiety that you experience.
Using Mindfulness To Beat Anxiety
Anchoring is one of the best mindfulness techniques for beating episodes of anxiety that occur throughout the day.
Whenever you feel anxious, focus your attention on the bottom half of your body.
Start by focussing on your feet and how they feel in your shoes or against the floor.
Are they cold or hot?
What do your socks feel like?
Are your feet numb or sensitive?
Slowly move your focus up your legs over the course of a few minutes until you reach your lungs.
At this point, you should begin to focus on your breathing.
Take note of how the air feels as it passes your lips and enters your lungs.
Feel your lungs contract and expand.
If you mind drifts, simply tell yourself “that’s OK, it’s normal” then refocus on your body once more.
You will gradually feel a calming sensation and your anxiety levels will be greatly reduced.
Perform a guided mindfulness meditation
One of the simplest ways to practice mindfulness is through guided meditation.
There are various apps which offer guided mindfulness meditations and you can listen to a guided meditations on YouTube.
As you walk through the steps in the meditation, you will find your feelings of anxiety gradually disappearing.
Make a cup of tea with mindfulness
You can even make the act of drinking a cup of tea mindful.
The key is to focus your attention on every aspect of the tea making process.
How does the tea bag feel against your skin?
How does it smell?
When you pick up the tea cup, is the porcelain cool against your skin or warm?
What does the water sound like as it boils?
When you stir your tea, listen to the sound that the spoon makes against the cup.
How does your brewed cup of tea taste?
Before you know it, you will be so absorbed by your cup of tea that your anxiety has disappeared.
Breath counting can be used in conjunction with other mindfulness techniques including meditation and anchoring.
As you take a breath in, count to 6, then as you breathe out, count to 10.
This will slow down how quickly you are breathing, which increases your oxygen levels and reduces your heart rate.
It is an easy way to calm down and reduce your anxiety levels.
If the numbers 6 and 10 don’t work try another ratio.
Just make sure the out breath lasts at least 2 seconds more than the in-breaths.
Embrace your artistic side
Mindfulness can also be achieved by turning your focus to an artistic endeavour like drawing, playing music, sculpting, or painting.
If you don’t consider yourself artistic enough to create art in one of these ways, purchase a mindfulness colouring book and simply add some colour to it.
Creating art is a wonderful anxiety-busting activity.
Go for a walk outside
Spending time outdoors is incredibly effective at reducing feelings of anxiety.
It works by distracting your mind from any internal dialogue that is causing you to be anxious.
To get the most out of your walk, focus your mind intently on the smells, sights, sounds and physical sensations you experience.
You may be surprised by how effective this simple technique is.
Enjoy some sky-gazing
Most of us live such busy lives that we forget how beautiful the world actually is.
Remind yourself by taking some time to lay on the grass and watch the sky.
You can watch the clouds go by during the day or enjoy the constellations in the night sky.
As you lay there, focus on what you are looking at or how your body feels.
Hold a hand in front of you, with your palm facing upwards.
Use your index finger of your other hand to trace up to the top of your thumb as you breath in.
Pause at the top of your thumb then trace down the other side as you breath out.
Continue along your fingers until you complete your little finger, at which point you can trace back towards your thumb.
This technique can be combined with breath counting to make it even more effective at grabbing your focus.
Thanks for reading How You Can Use Mindfulness To Battle Anxiety.
Give these mindfulness techniques a try the next time you are feeling anxious.
You will be surprised by how well they work.