We all inevitably experience anxiety. It can be caused by routine issues, relationship difficulties, or some serious traumatic events. Anyway, it’s present in our lives from time to time. Whether you experience it on a daily basis or once a month, you need to use effective strategies to beat it.
So how can you help yourself relieve anxiety? There are many ways to do it, such as taking medicines, seeing a psychotherapist, or doing a sort of physical activity. Some people also say that another technique to decrease anxiety is mindfulness. But is it really effective? Let’s try to find out how mindfulness works.
Scientists argue that practicing mindfulness can rewire our brain. By bringing our attention to the present moment we can train our brain to focus on what’s happening right now without wondering about the past or the future.
Anxiety usually appears when we think about something that happened a long time ago or about frightening events that might happen in the future. Thus, being present in ‘here and now’ can lower the chance of feeling anxious as the mind gets used to being focused on the things happening right now.
Mindfulness helps not only focus on the present moment but also to become non-judgemental. It promotes acceptance of feelings, thoughts, and reactions without trying to change them.
Accepting everything that happens in your life can also improve your mood and reduce stress responses. Being mindful contributes to lowering blood pressure and strengthening your immune system.
Mindfulness is a kind of art that can be mastered. To gain mindfulness skills, you could try the following techniques:
- Mindful breathing. It’s one of the easiest exercises as it doesn’t require any special actions. All you need is just to focus your awareness on your breath without trying to control it. Feel your breathing and think only about the air coming in and out of your lungs.
- Mindful movement. Pay full attention to your breathing, movements, and surroundings while walking or doing any physical activity, like exercising or yoga.
- Body scan. First, you need to sit or lie down. Then focus all your attention on one part of the body at a time. Start with your feet and gradually move your awareness to your knees, hips, back, belly, chest, neck, and head. Notice all physical sensations in your body but do not react to any of them.
- Mindful eating means that you eat very slowly and focus your attention on tasting, smelling, chewing, and swallowing the food.
- Loving-kindness meditation is an exercise in which you focus on compassionate thoughts about yourself and other people surrounding you. During this meditation, you may wish some positive things to yourself as well as your family and close friends.
Mindfulness is a helpful tool used for stress management and mood improvement. It’s one of the easiest ways to reduce anxiety and get rid of negative thoughts. If you practice mindfulness exercises listed above on a regular basis, you’ll notice how your psychological state changes in a positive way.