You’ve probably noticed that there has been a lot of discussions lately about the benefits of mindfulness. But did you know that there are a whole bunch of mindful hacks that are easy to include in your day that will help to manage your stress and anxiety? Mindfulness can interrupt the churn of negative thoughts and worries and give you some space and time to reset.
Although mindfulness and meditation are linked, they are not the same thing. Meditation requires separation from the world for a time so you can focus inwards. Mindfulness can be done anywhere at any time and allows you to be fully present in the here and now. Mindfulness can be a state of mind rather than an activity. See if you can adopt these mindful thought patterns and see how they allow you to step aside from anxiety.
1. Start over
Instead of hashing over past mistakes or failure, allow yourself to start again, with what psychologists call ‘beginner’s mind.’ That means approaching things as if for the first time, with no expectations or fears about what might happen. Tell yourself that this is new, you’ve never done this before, and it is a moment full of possibilities.
2. Be kind to yourself
The fears of the anxious mind need comfort, not self-recrimination. Listen to your inner child’s anxieties and sit with them in patience and compassion. You might ‘know’ your fears are irrational, but they are scary just the same. Just stay in the present and wait for the fear to pass.
3. Don’t judge yourself
People who suffer from anxiety are often their own worst critics. They leap in to judge themselves before the world can. Listen to your self-talk, your self-criticisms. Would you ever speak like that to another person? There’s a message in the fear, take the time to hear it without rushing to judgment.
4. Accept it all
Mindfulness accepts who you are, where you are right now, including feeling anxious, fearful and helpless. Step back for a moment and observe everything that’s going on and every day acknowledge that you are doing your best. Learn to see that your anxiety stems from a deep need to protect yourself from perceived threats. Anxiety is trying to be your friend, but it’s just a bit too enthusiastic. It is not a failing or a curse.
5. Connect with what calms you
Mindfulness can also happen when you choose to do something soothing. Think of a time and place or an activity that made you feel good, whether it’s hiking in the mountains, painting or sketching, or being at the beach. Often being in nature can have an instant calming effect, even if you go and sit in a park in your lunch break. As you develop familiarity with mindfulness techniques, you can use visualization to help overcome an anxiety attack at any time.
When you accept that anxiety is a form of self-protection you can stop fighting it and start to deal with your emotions with greater calm.
To get started with mindfulness, download my free guide: Mindfulness for Anxiety Action Guide
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