While most people spend the majority of their lives thinking about what they should have done, could have done, or hope to do, when we experience overwhelming anxiety, we tend to be particularly focused on the future and the uncertainty of what might occur. As we become so future-focused, we pay little attention to what we are actually doing right now. However, by focusing our attention on the present and practicing mindfulness, we can act to reduce anxiety-inducing thoughts.
Mindfulness is a form of self-awareness training adapted from Buddhist mindfulness meditation. It consists of placing our attention on the present and acting with the intention of being non-judgmental. Practices such as yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, and hypnosis are all mindful in their approach.
Mindfulness holds some particularly attractive benefits for those with anxiety, including that it allows us to be:
-fully present, here and now
-able to stop busy thoughts
-aware of the body and what it may be trying to communicate to us
-aware of what we are thinking and feeling
-able to reduce periods of stress
-able to let go
-supportive of the promotion of overall holistic health
Most daily tasks can be turned into a mindful activity if you are present in the moment. All you have to do is focus your attention on seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, feeling, and breathing.
If you would like to try a simple mindfulness exercise, consider sitting in front of a clock for one minute, and for the entire minute, focus your full attention on your breathing.
How do you feel after this practice?