Uncontrollable anxiety gets in your way.
It runs threads of constant worry and fear through your life.
It wedges itself between you and the people that matter most to you.
If you’re exhausted from the insistent anticipation of danger that never comes, it may be time to consider treatment.
Better yet, it may be time to consider Mindfulness.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the practice of being present.
Learning to be in the “here and now” is the goal.
Being present allows you to acknowledge and observe the thinking and sensations that accompany your disturbing thoughts or emotions without the need to automatically combat them.
Mindfulness teaches you to disconnect from negative thinking, redirect your thoughts, and refocus on the present.
What’s the difference between mindfulness and other approaches?
Learning to relate differently to anxiety may prove much more helpful than other approaches which attempt to get you to replace or correct your negative thoughts with different, more reasonable thoughts.
Constantly trying to corral and control your negative fears and responses often leads to more intense discomfort.
Mindfulness disengages that process and gives you the skills to reduce, rather than amplify, your fear by changing how you experience anxiety.
With mindfulness, anxiety still happens. You just have the skills to keep you from being sucked in.
What does a mindfulness approach to anxiety look like?
Developing a mindful approach to anxiety takes time.
You will, with practice, learn to respond to anxiety in a less automatic way.
The practice of being mindful generally includes the following key components and the help or guidance of a therapist or counsellor:
Learning to Observe
Viewing your anxiety directly, as something you sense, rather that think about is key. Many anxiety sufferers overthink. Their minds are literally racing with worries, possibilities, and consequences.
Mindfulness encourages a shift from thinking to gently observing your thoughts, emotions, and bodily responses in a relaxed, attentive manner.
You are not answering your thoughts or attempting to change them.
You are learning to let anxiety happen, becoming more curious about it than controlling of it.
Full Awareness and Attention
This is the detail work.
Mindfulness encourages full attention to an experience beyond just observance.
Notice your body’s responses fully. You may start with your breath.
What does it feel like in your chest, belly, or passing through your lips?
In time, you’ll learn to pay similar attention to your meals, activities, and interactions with others. Paying full attention to the current moment leaves less mental space for worry.
Anxiety run amuck is often about control.
Too much mental energy is spent ruminating about, preparing for, preventing, or anticipating disaster.
Mindfulness means no attempt is made to assess your experiences.
Seeing a moment or circumstance for what it is, without trying to control or trying avoid it, is a challenging part of mindfulness.
It takes practice and dedication to not place a label of “bad” or “wrong” on your anxious responses. It’s important to remain curious not controlling.
Observing your anxiety mindfully will take a great deal of patience and focus. That’s not easy.
There will be times when you’ll be distracted or your thoughts will drift back towards control, avoidance, or unproductive thinking.
It’s only natural. Don’t judge yourself harshly.
Simply acknowledging your brief mental detour and refocusing is part of the process.
Mindfulness teaches that the best approach to your anxiety is to actually let it be.
To watch it, accept it, and relate to it peacefully.
If you need a guide, reach out to counsellor who can help you learn to relax in the here and now.