Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to, and seeing clearly whatever is happening in our lives. It is not a way to eliminate our problems, but it is a way to calm our minds in order to respond to everyday stress in a better way and improve our wellbeing. Being mindful helps us to feel less anxious and step away from negative emotional and physiological reactions. If you want yo start experiencing mindfulness, you need to start giving your full attention to the simple tasks you perform throughout the day. As humans we are often not present when doing things. Our minds are easily distracted. We often fail to notice the good things about our lives, fail to hear what our bodies are telling us, or poison ourselves with toxic self criticism.
When we live in fear, we are always thinking about the countless things that could go wrong. Every day we hear about terrible things, and it’s not a surprise that often fear and anxiety affect our lives. The inability to tolerate uncertainty, plays a huge role in anxiety and worry; but is it possible to be certain about everything in life? The answer is no. The truth is that thinking about all the things that could go wrong doesn’t make life any more predictable.
Paying more attention to the present moment, observing your own thoughts and feelings, and the world around you is the best way to fight anxiety and improve your mental wellbeing. If negative emotions and constant worrying are playing a big part in your life, try paying attention to your breath: start counting each breath, four seconds inhale, then four seconds exhale. Once this is comfortable, prolong your breath to six seconds. Since I’ve learned this technique, I’ve noticed that it’s easier to pay attention to things around me. I remember more of what I’ve done, and I feel a lot more creative.
You are only being mindful when you’re intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling at every moment, without interpretation or judgment. All meditation practice starts with mindfulness, because it gives the person the opportunity to become more present with themselves just as they are. If you feel overwhelmed by anxiety, remember that you can accept what’s happening, and live through it, while also observing it in the context of non-judgment. I’ve started meditating to help me manage anxiety in order to change the relationship between my thoughts and my reactions to those thoughts. By remaining present in my body, I’ve learned that the anxiety I experienced was merely a reaction to perceived threats. Mindfulness allowed me to respond in a positive way to threatening events instead of being reactive.
There are many other advantages to mindfulness. When we are aware of our thoughts we can pay more attention to them, and filter incoming thoughts. We are also able to separate thoughts from ourselves, and consequently, don’t take negative thoughts too seriously. Being in the present moment, gives us the chance to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves.
When we make a point of practicing mindfulness every day, it gets easier and easier, and becomes as much of a habit as our normal state of distractedness. If you feel the need to give your negative thoughts some attention, choose a set time and place for worrying. Try to set a worry time every day, during the morning if possible, in order to eliminate disturbing thoughts from on your mind, and remember that the rest of the day is worry-free.
Self compassion allows us to understand our feelings and protect ourselves against big or devastating emotions. Learn to nurture your capacity for acceptance, mindfulness, kindness, and compassion, because this is the best formula to overcome anxiety and live a better, more peaceful life.