The bustle and hustle of life have become a severe cause of anxiety and stress for many around the globe. You can often notice the anxiety and tension in the faces through the line on the forehead that can indicate the state of mind and body. Everyone is eagerly waiting to find a solution to fight anxiety, and only some find one such solution of practicing mindfulness for anxiety.
Mindfulness got derived from Buddhist traditions known as Sati and based on Vipassana, Zen, and Tibetan meditation techniques. Mindfulness shows extended beneficial effects on anxiety and depression.
Psychiatry and clinical psychology since the 1970s have progressed many therapeutic applications based on mindfulness for helping people in exercising a variety of psychological problems such as anxiety.
Are you curious to know about the mindfulness exercises for anxiety? Well! Read on to discover the various mindfulness exercises for anxiety.
What is Mindfulness?
It is the moment-by-moment awareness and complete consciousness of the present moment. Mindfulness for anxiety has the mental practice that involves concentrating on your own experiences including feelings, thoughts, and emotions(1).
Mindfulness meditation is all about the balance that means not overreacting or overwhelmed to what is happening around or to a situation. It is an innate ability in everyone. Bringing and keeping the ability intact and practicing mindfulness can do that for you.
Mindfulness can help relieve anxiety, stress, chronic pain and lowers blood pressure. Scroll down to learn more about the different mindfulness exercises for anxiety.
How to Practice Mindfulness for Anxiety?
You can practice mindfulness with either Yoga, Tai or Zen, where yoga calms the body and mind and relieves stress, anxiety, and depression. Tai-chi with its ancient Chinese slow and smooth movement provides relaxation of both mind and body, and Zen with the meditation uncovers the workability and innates clarity of the mind(2).
[Also Read: Get Rid of Anxiety with Natural Remedies]
Mindful Attitudes which help to treat Anxiety
Here are the attitudes that play an essential role in working with anxiety mindfully.
- The intention is the primary quality that supports all other attitudes which help to treat anxiety. Bringing intention to treat anxiety develops persistence in seeing yourself as resourceful, and capable.
- Beginner’s mind is an attitude to see from a fresh perspective. Adapt yourself to change to transform your experience and to gain new possibilities, changing feelings and thoughts.
- Patience is the topmost attitude that supports courage and perseverance when thoughts of anxiety are challenging.
- Equanimity and balance are the related attitudes that foster wisdom and provide a broader perspective to see changes. The experience you get is richer and more comprehensive than temporary experiences of anxiety.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a disorder that instigates worry, fear, nervousness, and apprehension. In other words, uneasiness about something with an uncertain outcome. Usually, people with general state worry when they face any hurdles or challenges when you are upset or when fear interferes with your daily activities, anxiety becomes a concern(3).
Factors causing Anxiety
Not just one but many factors instigate anxiety disorders in a person. Here is a list of a few factors:
- Environmental factors
- Underlying medical conditions
- Brain chemistry
- Physical health
- Stressful life
- Personality traits
[Also Read: Treat Anxiety with Yoga]
Exercises and Techniques to Practice Mindfulness for Anxiety
Observe your thoughts for 15 minutes
How to practice?
- The exercise is designed merely to increase the attention of your thoughts.
- To begin, lie or sit down in a comfortable position and try to allow all the tension and nervousness in the body to disappear.
- Concentrate on your breathing, move your knowledge to what it feels like being in your body and finally move on to your thoughts.
- Allow the thoughts that come into your mind and combat the wish to judge these thoughts. You should assume these thoughts are like passing clouds in the sky.
- If your mind distracts to chase a feeling or thought, acknowledge whatever it was that took your attention and slowly guide your attention back to your thoughts.
Observe a Leaf for Five Minutes
How to Practice?
- This mindfulness exercise involves nothing but a leaf and your kind attention to it.
- Pick up a leaf and hold it with your hands and focus for 5 minutes with full attention.
- Note the color of the leaf, the shape, the patterns of the veins in it, and texture.
- It will bring you into the present world and align your feeling and thoughts with your current experience.
[Also Read: Music to Reduce Your Anxiety]
Practice the Five Senses Exercise
Five Senses Exercise guides practicing mindfulness in any situation quickly. You can practice mindfulness with your five senses.
How to Practice?
Observe five things that you See
Look at every side near you and bring your consciousness to five things that you see. Notice the unique one, and think “I don’t usually see such as a crack in concrete or a shadow of a man or building.”
Spot four things that you Feel
Feel the four things that you are presently noticing. Bring perception to it like feeling the breeze in your skin or texture of the plants or a smooth surface of the table where your hands are resting on.
Detect three things that you can Hear
Just take a moment to listen to the sound in your backgrounds such as horn sounds of vehicles, chirping bird or a barking sound of a dog in your nearby house.
Make your attention to two things you can Smell
Bring your knowledge to smells that you usually avoid, whether they are scents or unpleasant odors such as the aroma of food restaurant nearby the street or the sweat smell in you.
Concentrate one thing that you can Taste
At this moment focus on one thing that you can taste right now. Now you can sip a juice, eat fruits or vegetables, or open your mouth to feel the taste of air. The five senses exercises can be an easy and relatively quick exercise to bring you a mindful state. Lastly, it brings your attention to the current moment in a little time.
[Read: Acupuncture for Anxiety]
How to practice?
- Mindful seeing is a simple exercise that requires only a kind of view or a window.
- Find a space in your house or office near the window where you can see outside.
- Look everything that you can see and avoid categorizing and labeling. Try to observe the textures, patterns, or the colors of anything visible through the window.
- Pay attention to the movement of leaves and branches in the tree. Notice and observe all the different shapes present that you see in a small window. Try to see the world outside the window from the view of someone who is new strange to these sights.
- If you become stressed or distracted gently pull your mind away from these thoughts and observe the shape and color again to come back in your right frame of mind.
How to practice?
- Take a comfortable erect seated position.
- Allow yourself to settle into your mind and the body.
- Try to let go of thoughts and clear the spirit of its usual considerations.
- Focus your attention on the feeling of being you and ask yourself. Who are you? How does it feel to be you? Why you’re here? What makes your inner self?
- If you’re getting distracted by thoughts, bring your knowledge back to yourself and ask “to whom is this thought occurring?’
- You can continue this exercise for as long as you want.
[Also Read: Essential Oils for Anxiety]
Other Techniques for Mindfulness for Anxiety
Mindful listening involves group activity. Here the listener is free on inner spirit while listening to valuable positive communication skills from the practitioner.
How is it Practiced?
- Inviting participants to think about one thing they look forward to and one thing they are worried about.
- After finishing every participant is allowed to share their views with the group.
- Encouraging every participant to direct attention to how it feels to talk about something stressful and how it feels to share something positive.
- Participants are advised to give attention to their body sensations, feelings, and thoughts when listening and talking to the group.
- After sharing the view and story, breaking into tiny groups and answering the following questions like how did you feel when listening or speaking during the practice, if there was any distraction, mind-wandering during the exercise, and how are you feeling right now? And regroup and discuss the questions answered.
It will have a few precautions and awareness points which are to be kept in mind while practicing mindfulness as a whole.
- Try practicing in a class or a group. You can share your thoughts, and how things are going and have the support from others
- There is no rule that you should practice only in a seated position. You can also try a movement practice or walking such as yoga.
- Start your mindfulness for anxiety under the guidance of professional if you have any mental health challenges.
- Go back to basics for mindfulness if you feel distracted, uncomfortable or uneasy
- Go ahead with your mindfulness practice for anxiety and be patient with yourself.
Mindfulness for anxiety plays a pivotal role in relieving anxiety, stress, and depression in your body and mind. Mindfulness helps you lead a stress-free life as you are focusing at present and living it wholly. The different mindfulness techniques are discussed above and are very much beneficial in curing the most common disorder of today’s generation. Just embrace the goodness of mindfulness, and it will work for you.