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, yet there is much about mindfulness that remains a mystery. Beyond living in the present moment, what is this practice we call mindfulness?
May 15th, the middle of Mental Health Awareness Month, is the first day that the physical copy of The Mindfulness Workbook for Anxiety is available. Whether you’re catching this on the launch day or far past it, mindfulness is relevant. 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.
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.
Mindfulness is so much more than trying to find time in our busy schedules to sit and meditate. In fact, while sitting meditation and mindfulness can go hand and hand, mindfulness doesn’t have to look like that at all.