Mindfulness and meditation can calm down anxiety and bring back focus in a matter of minutes - here is why you should try it.
Have you ever felt like there are hundreds of different thoughts buzzing in your mind and you cannot focus on any of them? Have you ever experienced anxiety about the past, future or even present? You’re not alone. Some 264 million people in the world admit to being affected by anxiety while over 30.5 million people use anxiety medication in the US alone. However, not many are aware that there are other ways of dealing with anxiety and excess worry in a more mindful way.
What is mindfulness
Mindfulness is simply the ability to feel present in the current moment. That’s it, nothing fancy. However, it is a skill that has to be practiced. The main reason for practicing mindfulness is to be concious of our surroundings and avoid worrying about things that haven’t happened, or occurred in the past.
Mindfulness brings awareness to emotions and physical states, while recurring practices remodel brain structure which can help with stress-management and coping.
What is meditation
Meditation is exploration. It is a tool that helps us achieve mindfulness through conscious awareness and curiosity about the natural processes that occur within or around us. The goal is to observe and be curious through various practices and exercises.
Why is it useful
There are numerous benefits to mindfulness meditation. Some of the main ones include:
Stress and anxiety relief
Improved mental wellbeing
Reduced negative emotions
Improved physical health
How to practice it
The ways in which mindfulness meditation can be practiced are endless. However, there are simple exercises which are available to everyone and do not require special prep or tools:
Timed breathing. Sit or lay down, close your eyes, set a timer for two minutes and observe your breath. The key is to notice when your mind starts to drift off and return back to the breath.
Five Senses Exercise. Simply notice five things you can see, four things you can feel, three things you can hear, two things you can smell and one thing you can taste.
The Observer. Sit comfortably, close your eyes and envision yourself from the outside. Continue by envisioning your skin and shifting awareness to the physical sensations that you’re experiencing (such as contact with the chair). The key is to separate yourself from your emotions instead of engaging with them.
Becoming more mindful
It’s not easy to start, but it is possible to build mindfulness skills through daily meditation, observation and exercises. Just like the body, the brain is flexible and can be trained. Mindfulness is a great tool for developing awareness and becoming more conscious of yourself and your surroundings. Hope you give it a try!