Symptoms of general anxiety can often be eased through the use of mindfulness techniques. As someone who has been challenged with anxiety at times, since a young teen, I wanted to share my experience of using these techniques. If you’d like to be introduced to this concept and discover ways to try it out for yourself, then keep reading…
What is “Mindfulness?“
I describe mindfulness as the act of being present and aware through gentle observation. It’s about slowing down to fully appreciate the moment you find yourself in.
When written so simply, it’s surprising how often we don’t do this. But external pressures and copious distractions can all too easily get in the way.
What are the Benefits?
Performing mindfulness techniques can have a number of benefits. Consistently is key.
Observing my own anxiety, I’ve noticed that practising regularly has reduced it considerably. It has given me a sense of stability for it allows me to recognise that there are no immediate threats to feel anxious over. Even when I’m not feeling overwhelmed, it helps. I’m constantly feeding myself with this peace and as a result I am less likely to create anxiety in the first place.
It’s also worth mentioning that practising mindfulness can also aid symptoms of depression and other stress related issues. *
How Can You Practise It?
Here are three ideas based on my own experience, but there are many more that can be found through the resources below.
1. Stop and observe
This activity can be performed throughout the day. It’s about stopping the task you’re in the middle of and checking in with yourself and surroundings. Notice the things around you by sight and/or sound. Pay attention to thoughts and feelings and allow them to come and go.
It can be for as long or as short as you feel necessary. I’ve made a habit of doing this at least a couple of times in a day and it slows down time almost. It’s especially beneficial if you’re working on the same task for a number of hours as you give yourself permission to take care and take a break.
2. Practise meditating
This could be any form of meditation and can be done for any duration. The most important requirement is to make it a habit. (See resources below for more on this.)
From my own experience, I found that trying to do it before bed didn’t work because I would normally leave it too late and be unable to concentrate. However, doing it in the morning has been a wonderful way to start my day. Experiment and see what suits you!
3. Seek nature
This may not be for everyone, but I find great pleasure and calm within nature. Some time ago I made a ‘tradition’ of sorts to always touch one tree when I was outside.
The reason I did this was because it reminded me to be present. The physical element could connect me to the moment and was helpful in raising my awareness. It also reminded me to slow down when I was out.
Practising mindfulness is pretty simple, although it does require effort and consistency to feel the benefits. Personally, I feel so much calmer after taking time out of my day to do so and over-time, my anxiety truly has eased as a result.
Its ability to raise awareness reminds us to care of ourselves. It slows us down to noticing the little things, allowing us to relax and appreciate our surroundings.
What’s on your mind?
Have you tried to practise mindfulness before? What benefits have you found? Leave a comment below!
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