Using Mindfulness to Break Free From Anxiety

Using Mindfulness to Break Free From Anxiety
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It can be normal to feel a little anxious when things are heavy—uncertainty about money, work or even just a new situation.  But when you’re living with anxiety every day, it can feel impossible to get ahead of the consuming crash of anxiety in your everyday life. 

Are you looking for tips on mindfulness for anxiety that can help you get a grasp on your busy mind and regain your power in your life? In this blog, we’re diving into all the ways that anxiety might impact you—and how we can help!

What is anxiety?

The American Psychological Association says, “Anxiety is not the same as fear, but they are often used interchangeably. Anxiety is considered a future-oriented, long-acting response broadly focused on a diffuse threat, whereas fear is an appropriate, present-oriented, and short-lived response to a clearly identifiable and specific threat”. When anxiety is no longer temporary, an individual may have an anxiety disorder, which will need treatment. 

Different kinds of anxiety disorders exist, such as Panic Disorder, Separation Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and phobia-related disorders. According to the Mayo Clinic, some common symptoms of anxiety include: 

  •  Feeling nervous, restless, or tense
  •  Having a sense of impending danger, panic, or doom
  •  Having an increased heart rate
  •  Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
  •  Sweating
  •  Trembling
  •  Feeling weak or tired
  •  Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry
  •  Having trouble sleeping
  •  Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems
  •  Having difficulty controlling worry
  •  Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety

While medication is often used to treat anxiety, there are other options to explore when you get a diagnosis, such as mindfulness, which includes grounding and breathing techniques.

Why mindfulness is great for anxiety therapy 

Anxiety can bring on intrusive or ruminating thoughts and cause you to spend too much time mentally in the past or the future, and mindfulness is designed to counteract that. Mindfulness is a meditation practice that encourages you to focus on being aware of the present moment and whatever you may be sensing or feeling without judgment. Mindfulness is a great way to calm the mind. 

The seven principles of mindfulness are: 

1. Non-judging 

2. Patience 

3. Beginner’s Mind 

4. Trust 

5. Non-Striving 

6. Acceptance 

7. Letting Go 

Practicing mindfulness teaches us to be open and accept our emotions. By being open, you can also see more perspectives in your situations, which may help quell some of the ruminating or negative thoughts. The goal is to get more in touch with your emotions but also be able to let them go so that they do not disrupt your daily life. 

One of the great things about mindfulness is that it can be practiced anywhere. There are various methods of bringing yourself into the present moment. Grounding techniques are beneficial in pulling the mind away from unwanted thoughts and negative emotions. These techniques are used to treat various mental health issues, from disassociation to anxiety to depression.

Grounding Techniques

If you choose to use grounding techniques, it is best to start them as soon as you feel distressed. Grounding isn’t always easy, so it may be beneficial to practice your techniques, even when you are not in distress. Here are some methods to try:

  • Deep breathing: Take slow deep breaths. Focus on how the air feels as it fills your lungs and when you exhale and release it. 
  • Body awareness: Focus on different parts of your body and how they feel. Curl your toes or pay attention to your heartbeat and the sensations. 
  • 5-4-3-2-1: Pay attention to 5 things you can see, 4 things you can feel, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste.
  • CategoriesThink of a category, such as football teams, then name as many of them as possible.
  • Visualize Your Favorite Place: Think about how you feel when you’re there, the sounds, the sensations, and the things you see.

The Benefits of Mindfulness
Reducing anxiety is a huge benefit to practicing mindfulness; however, many other benefits come with that:

  • Improves sleep quality: Mindfulness helps with insomnia and sleep habits. 
  • Reduces heart rate: Reducing anxiety and stress levels lowers the heart rate.
  • Improve chronic conditions: Some pain and anxiety-induced disorders improve with mindfulness.
  • Sharpen attention span: Practicing mindfulness helps improve one’s ability to focus. 
  • Decrease cognitive decline: Mindfulness has been shown to help Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease patients slow the decline of their cognitive behavior.

It would be best if you aimed to practice these techniques daily. It could take some time to see an improvement, so stay consistent. And it is always advised to seek professional help with getting a proper diagnosis and also if you discover that these techniques are not helping after you receive a diagnosis. Schedule a free intro call with Robin Kulesza to discuss anxiety therapy in Illinois, Texas, and Florida.

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