Mindfulness is a word that gets thrown around a lot lately. While it’s good that people are talking about it, when something becomes a “buzzword,” it can also often be misinterpreted.
Mindfulness is more than just meditation, although it’s often used as a form of it or along with it.
Instead, mindfulness is more of a practice that allows you to stay in the present. It causes you to pay attention, and focus on your breathing, your mind and body, and your surroundings.
It’s also a wonderful practice that can help to reduce anxiety.
Not sure how the two are connected? Let’s look at how mindfulness can help you with your anxious thoughts, so you can make it a part of your life every day.
Mindfulness Takes Away From Acting on Instinct
When you’re dealing with anxiety, it’s not uncommon to either choose “fight or flight”. Mindfulness helps you to stay focused on remaining present, instead. You can respond to whatever stress is going on in that moment without over-analyzing the past or worrying about the future.
It tends to be those negative “what if” thoughts that fuel anxiety and keep wheels turning. When you choose to practice mindfulness, it pumps the brakes on those thoughts and allows you to stay present. You might still feel stressed, but you’re less likely to act on instinct or think irrational thoughts that will spur on your fear.
You’ll be More Adaptive
When you learn not to act solely on instinct, you’ll be more adaptive both physically and mentally.
Mindfulness helps to bring awareness to your physical and mental state, no matter the moment you’re in. It allows you to be more aware of your internal state so you can process your emotions more clearly.
Additionally, your self-perception can change. When you’re focused on a task (mindfulness), you’re less likely to be distracted by other thoughts. So, you’ll be more adaptive and flexible in that particular moment, rather than letting worries back you into a corner.
Experiencing Your Own Emotions
Sometimes, people combat anxiety by trying to push their feelings down or ignore them. Unfortunately, that often makes things worse. When you practice mindfulness, you don’t have to ignore your feelings and thoughts.
Instead, you can allow them to come freely. But you don’t hang onto them.
A good illustration is to think of your worried thoughts like clouds. One might come into your mind, but you can’t grab onto it and keep it. Instead, you can simply let it pass by. By acknowledging your emotions instead of ignoring them, it will be easier to feel you’re in control of your own anxiety.
How to Practice Mindfulness
You can practice mindfulness every day—multiple times if you wish!
An easy way to start is to just pause whatever you’re doing. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Pay attention to the way you inhale and exhale and how your body feels while you’re doing it.
If your mind wanders or you become stuck on a particular thought, reel yourself back in by focusing on your breath once again. From there, you can take in your surroundings and how they make you feel in the present moment.
Even just a few minutes of practicing mindfulness each day can make a big difference. It’s especially effective when you’re feeling anxious and need to get “re-centered.”
If you want to learn more about mindfulness or need help getting started, feel free to contact me. Together, we can work through the practice together so you can use it as an everyday solution to combatting anxious thoughts.
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