We all have events we dread attending; situations we avoid; or people we’d rather not see. However, sometimes we just can’t escape the reality of certain activities or people in our lives and this may produce a significant amount of anxiety. How do we approach an unwanted situation with as little anxiety as possible? We use mindfulness.
What is mindfulness and why, should we use it? According to Greater Good Magazine, mindfulness is simply a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, sensations and environment. In other words, you live for “now”, instead of worrying about the past or future, or things you can’t control. This may sound impossible, but I actually have inspiring people in my life who live this way every day. Another part of mindfulness is acknowledging our thoughts and accepting them without judgment. Benefits of mindfulness include:
- improved well-being, as well as physical and mental health
- less stress
- improved self-esteem
- lower blood pressure and risk of heart disease
This video is Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program, discussing mindfulness.
Here is a link to a 10 step Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program (downloadable PDF)
I found a wonderful PDF, from migrantclinician.org, titled: 9 mindfulness exercises for anxiety. It discusses why mindfulness is helpful and gives 9 exercises with links to very helpful worksheets, to walk you through each exercise. How do we develop mindfulness?
- Release the pursuit of perfection (No one is perfect, thus the pursuit of perfection is a pointless endeavor that only leads to stress, and ANXIETY.)
- Practice non-judgement of your experience (Instead of denying negative feelings, acknowledge and accept them)
- Guide the mind into your heart-space (Draw attention to your heart when your mind wanders into a negative direction)
For more information and to see the mindfulness exercises for anxiety, follow the link below.