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.
Mindfulness. What, exactly, is it? We hear the term often, but there is much about it that remains a mystery. Beyond living in the present moment, what is the practice? The more we know (I’m always learning), the better we can use it to decrease anxiety or other challenges and cultivate our lives of wellbeing.
Several years ago, when my anxiety was stuck in its intense phase, I decided to give mindfulness, the act and state of being of living fully in the present moment rather than stuck inside our mind, another try. Yes, another try. In my quest for the holy grail, that one thing that would miraculously poof away all of my social anxiety and generalized anxiety, I had tried many things many times. Mindfulness as a technique for soothing so many things, including anxiety, is something that was and continues to be hailed as effective in decreasing anxiety. Yet for quite some time, it eluded me.
I’ve practiced mindfulness for over a decade. I was first introduced to the concept when I was hospitalized in a behavioral health center following a traumatic brain injury. Since then, it’s become a key element in my mental health and wellbeing, and it’s allowed me to both reduce anxiety and live well in spite of any residual anxiety or anxiety flares. Here’s a look at mindfulness and why it is so good for our wellbeing.