A guest writer discusses mindfulness
Anxiety attacks your mind and body, leaving you feeling hopeless and exhausted. However, you don’t have to live in a state of desperation. Mindfulness is a practice of self-awareness through experiences, thoughts and emotions. Here are some techniques to help you relieve your mental stress and overcome feelings of anxiety.
1. Talk to a Professional
You may experience negative thoughts and feelings that you don’t even realize are symptoms of anxiety. Sometimes, the best way to deal with painful emotions is to talk about them. A therapist can help you sort through your state of mind and give you tools for calming yourself. While you can find a mindfulness practice on your own, a skilled professional can teach the following:
- Mindfulness anchors: how to breathe during meditation
- Life integration: employing mindfulness in all areas of life
- Mindful listening: hearing what is said and what isn’t said
- Meditative posture: position of the body reflects the position of the mind
2. Download a Mindfulness App
As a busy person, you may not have the time to call your therapist or the energy to drop in on a yoga class. Thankfully, technology allows you to carry your mindfulness practice around in your pocket. Programs designed by mental health professionals, like those at Unwindinganxiety.com can help you relax while you take your lunch break, wait for the train or ride in the back of an Uber.
3. Take Up Journaling
Starting a journal is a great mindfulness tool because there are no rules. You can write answers to a prompt or you can let your creative juices flow. You can pen as few or as many words as you like in a single setting. Just focusing your thoughts on the task can help calm the storm inside your head and let you feel better.
4. Take a Break From Social Media
Research from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine has shown that the use of multiple social media platforms leads to anxiety and depression in young adults. The simplest way to combat this is to change your own behavior and unplug. Don’t put your own life on hold to follow the highlight reel of someone else’s. Instead, limit your social media usage to specific times, or take a prolonged break to focus on your mental health.
5. Get Outside
Look around and survey your surroundings. Are you in a windowless office for eight hours a day? Sometimes, the quickest way to change your mood is to change your environment. Give your brain a break and go outside for a few minutes every day. Take a walk around your building, go to the park or sit in the grass for a while. Recognize how the sun feels on your skin and notice the breeze flowing through your hair. Breathe deeply and allow your body to relax in nature. Your mind will thank you.
6. Start Each Day With a Purpose
When you wake up in the morning, you regain control of your mind from your unconscious brain. Unless you define your intention for your day, you may have difficulty reconciling your actions and reactions throughout. Give yourself a few moments each morning to define your goals for the next 24 hours. How will you achieve the best impact? How will you take care your yourself? What will make you feel fulfilled? Additionally, check in with yourself at different times throughout your day to make sure you’re meeting your own expectations.
Whatever tool you choose, the key to managing your anxiety is consistency. Find what works for you and stick with it to feel your best each day.