Reducing anxiety with a mindfulness practice works. Not only that, it works on a deep level and creates a life-long change in our relationship with anxiety. If you’re skeptical, you’re not alone. After all, mindfulness is largely about being present where you are. If anxiety is constantly with you, does mindfulness mean you’re present with it? How, then, does being mindful reduce anxiety? Let’s explore that and gain some mindfulness tools.
It’s difficult to create inner peace when circumstances around us cause or contribute to stress, anxiety, negative thoughts and emotions, and cognitive dissonance (an uncomfortable feeling that develops when your actions and values don’t match up). Sometimes, to be at peace and decrease the experiences we don’t need, we need to walk away. However, doing so is often easier said than done. Knowing what it involves and how to do it will move you in the direction of wellbeing and inner peace.
Anxious thoughts are annoying at best and quite damaging to our mental health and wellbeing at worst. Part of the problem with these worries, fears, and what-ifs is the fact that once they form, they stick. It’s as if they’re covered in oozing tree sap so when they pop into your mind, they don’t leave. When we try to shake them of, they tighten their hold. When we try to argue them away, they grow because we’re giving them our full attention. We are focusing on all of our anxieties, and they stick together, growing larger and larger and threatening to consume us. Plain and simple, anxious thoughts are sticky so they don’t go away. It can seem as though we’ll never be able to loosen them. That is a common thought/feeling borne out of the frustrations of anxiety. It’s also false. You can remove your sticky thoughts. Mindfulness is a powerfully effective way to do it.