Practicing mindfulness can help the millions of people affected by anxiety, Psych Central reports.
People with anxiety often experience quickened heart rate, shallow breathing, lack of focus, etc. when they are triggered. The severity of anxiety depends on each person, but the condition can be debilitating to some.
According to Jon Kabat-Zinn PhD, who founded Minfulness-Based Stress Reduction, being more mindful can help people manage their anxiety.
“Mindfulness,” Kabat-Zinn said, “ [is] paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally, to the unfolding of experience moment to moment.”
The following three tips are helpful tips on how to be more mindful, which should help manage anxiety.
- Regulate your breathing
When anxiety is triggered, difficulty breathing is often one of the main physical reactions. Typically, people experience racing thoughts and an increased heart rate, which normally causes them to breath shallowly. Mindfulness can help with breathing because the act of mindfulness encourages you to be present, to focus, to do something with and on purpose. By being mindful and concentrating on taking deep breaths and slowing down your heart, you will notice your system calming down to a normal, sustainable rate.The next time you feel anxious, take three deep breaths. With each breath, pause for about four seconds, and then release the breath with purpose. By focusing on your breathing, and now your anxious thoughts, your breathing will star to regulate.
- Use your senses
Often people feel most anxious when they start to think about things out of their control or in the future. Sometimes it feels anxiety comes out of nowhere, which also makes people feel out of control. Focusing on your senses helps bring you back to the present moment, which is in your control, and helps soothe your mind and body.It is helpful to apply metrics to this approach so that it is not overwhelming. Look for five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste.Examples for sight include looking at what is around you or picturing a calming, happy place in your mind.Examples for touch include touching your arms and legs, concentrating on how your body is touching objects (your feet on the ground, your legs on a chair), etc.
Examples for hearing include listening to the sounds surrounding you, and even focusing on one in particular, such as a voice.
Examples for smell include smells in the air or lighting incense or candles.
Examples for taste include getting something to eat or chewing a piece of gum.
- Engage in an activity that requires focus
By choosing an activity that makes you focus, your mind cannot wander as easily to thoughts that make you anxious. Instead of watching TV, get an adult coloring book and focus on staying in the lines, take up knitting, play an instrument, etc. There are many activities you could choose that can help you be more mindful and manage your anxiety.