Are you constantly feeling anxious, irritable, or tired? Do you have restless sleep and trouble concentrating during the day?
In a world where our schedules are jam-packed with commitments and our brains are overloaded with stress, it’s no wonder most Americans feel this way. On a bad day — and those can come one after another — every little thing can drive us to distraction. We’re itchy, antsy, jumpy, and pulling our hair out. Our digestive health suffers, we stress eat, chronic disease sets in, and a host of other health issues begin.
We need a break but can’t find the time for that break in our busy lives.
However, this is a misconception. All of us can find ways to introduce moments of stillness in our day. Maybe take a 20-minute walk every day and leave your smartphone behind. Unplug all devices during dinner. Try sitting quietly for 20 minutes before bed, with a book or with nothing at all, and just let your mind think about what it wants to think about.
Taking the time for mindfulness in your day is crucial to your mental health.
Mindfulness means awareness. It involves being fully present in your surroundings. When we are mindful, we are alert to the present and more available to respond to others.
“Mindfulness is about being awake in our lives. It is about perceiving the exquisite vividness of each moment. We gain immediate access to our own powerful inner resources for insight, transformation, and healing” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
What are the benefits of mindfulness?
- A calm mind
- Good concentration
- Better clarity
- Improved communication
- Relaxation and rejuvenation of the mind and body
Here are 11 Tips on Reducing Your Anxiety & Stress With Mindfulness
- Slow things down. When we are anxious everything speeds up. At the first sign of things speeding up, move a little slower and see what else you can do to slow things down.
- Come to your senses. When we’re anxious we’re not connected to where we are. Take a few moments to connect with your five senses and release tension where you feel it.
- Do something simple. A simple task like walking, eating, answering emails, gardening, drinking water, etc. helps remind us we’re in control of our choices.
- Do a reality check. When you have an anxious thought, ask yourself, “Is this thought absolutely true?”
- Release the critic. Do your self-judgments make you more or less anxious? The answer is almost always, more. Release those thoughts and be kind to yourself.
- Channel your anxious energy. Not all anxiety is bad. If your anxiety isn’t severe, channel that energy into something productive — go for a brisk walk, clean, organize or garden instead.
- Lie down and look up. A natural experience of mindful awareness sets in when we just lie down, look up at the sky, and watch the clouds.
- Listen. When we pause and listen to the sounds around us, we can get back in touch with the simplicity of life, and anxious thoughts begin to simmer down.
- Know your triggers. What makes you anxious? Being late? Performing for a crowd? Social situations? When the mind feels prepared, it’s more at ease.
- Practice patience. Impatience is to anxiety as patience is to calm and ease.
- Get in some mindful movement. Join us at Integrative Health Matters weekly for our free Restorative Yoga & Just Breathe Meditation Classes.
These suggestions may seem inconsequential, but they are part of changing our habit of mind. We must honor our inner lives. Otherwise, we are prisoners in the modern world we’ve created.