Using Mindfulness to reduce Anxiety
When we become anxious we roll time forward; worrying about the future. In a sense we are trying to predict our lives. Realistically, we know this is not possible but this is what our minds can do.
Each one of us has a mind with great potential. Establishing a way to anchor ourselves in the present moment can lead to a greater understanding of our thoughts, feelings and behaviours and an increased sense of well-being.
The capacity to self-reflect and to observe our internal responses to situations is a trainable skill. Through mindful contemplation we can learn to regulate our emotions and reduce our anxiety.
It is possible to see that our thoughts are not us: to be able to learn how to notice distressing thoughts or images without reacting in ways that heighten our anxiety. Instead, we can observe them without reacting so strongly. It is a kind of stepping back and letting go of the struggle. We can begin to watch our emotions with affectionate curiosity.
As individuals we can perform behaviours in a routine way: a way that we've learned through our life experiences that can feel a little as if we are on 'auto-pilot' and that this way of being is somehow our only option. Our lives can feel repetitive and dull and we can have low energy. Feeling this way can tap into a cycle of worry and cause us to believe that we are stuck. At this point we can move into a place of self-criticism and blame.
Mindfulness encourages us to think more warmly of ourselves. When this begins to happen for us we often relate more effectively to others and our self-esteem increases.
We can choose to wake up from our 'automatic' lives and become able to attune to our process and the newness and possibilities within every-day life experiences.