Advertising
Advertising

Three Mindfulness Exercises To Reduce Anxiety

Three Mindfulness Exercises To Reduce Anxiety

How to defeat anxiety with mindfulness

Anxiety is one of the most common mental health disorders. Left untreated, it can result in a significantly lowered quality of life, reduced productivity, and even depression. Fortunately there are a number of self-help methods that can reduce anxiety. One of these is mindfulness.

In essence, to be mindful is to pay attention to your surroundings in such a way that you remain focused on the present. This provides immediate relief for those with anxiety, as much of the stress experienced by anxiety sufferers arises from a tendency to ruminate on past experiences, worry about the future, or both.

Advertising

Three simple exercises to help you get started

Although the positive effects of mindfulness on anxiety are simple enough to understand, it can be difficult to know exactly how to apply this approach in everyday life. Below are three mindfulness exercises that can be used almost anywhere to help you slow down and center yourself in the present. They require no special equipment, can be learned quickly, and are even suitable for children and teenagers.

1. Grounding exercise

Stand up straight and maintain good posture without letting your back become stiff. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, with your arms hanging loosely by your sides. If you are wearing high-heeled shoes, take them off and let your feet rest flat against the floor. Close your eyes. Take slow, deep breaths.

Advertising

Once you have settled into a pattern of deep breathing, shift your attention to your body. Notice how your feet are set firmly against the floor. Flex your toes, noticing how it feels to contract your muscles. Imagine that you are being pulled towards the center of the earth. Notice how much calmer you feel.

2. Breathing exercise

Breathing exercises regulate the amount of carbon dioxide circulating in your blood, which can help overcome some common symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks such as hyperventilation. Sit, stand or lie down in a position that is comfortable for you. Close your eyes. Inhale, and as you do so, count to three. Exhale slowly, counting to four. Focus on the feeling of air entering your body, and the sound of your inner voice as you count.

Advertising

3. Sensory noticing exercise

Sit down in a comfortable position with your eyes open. Take a few moments to register what you are seeing, smelling, tasting, hearing and feeling. Notice each piece of sensory information. When we feel anxious, we often miss that which is literally in front of our faces because we are so lost in negative thoughts and fears.

You can carry out this exercise wherever you are, but if you need more direction find a small object upon which to focus your attention. Something like an ornament or a kitchen implement works well. Turn the object over in your hands and notice how it feels. Take a close look at it. What color is it? Does it make a noise when you tap it? Making this kind of careful investigation in a mindful manner will help calm internal chatter and ground you.

Advertising

When to practice your new mindfulness skills

Once you have learned these three simple mindfulness tips, you need never be overwhelmed by panic or anxiety again. When you begin to feel overwhelmed in a situation, pick one of these exercises and carry it out. If you find these techniques difficult in the beginning, know that this is normal. It may take a while before you can focus your attention on the present moment. Give yourself time to master the art of mindfulness and rest assured that your efforts will pay off in the long run.

More by this author

Jay Hill

Freelance Writer

All You Have to Do to Sleep Better How Social Media Is Making You Feel Bad about Yourself Every Day The Ultimate Guide: How to Become More Creative Day by Day How to Find Love That Lasts: Someone Who Fulfils These 5 Things Everything You Need to Become a Negotiation Expert (from Major Strategies to Small Tricks)

Trending in Health

1 9 Natural Remedies for Insomnia to Help You Achieve Quality Sleep 2 How Guided Meditation for Sleep Improves Your Mindset While Awake 3 Signs of Postnatal Depression And What to Do When It Strikes 4 The Best Way to Sleep to Relieve the 7 Most Common Ailments 5 9 Best Sleep Tracker Apps To Help You Get Adequate Sleep

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

Advertising

The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

Advertising

Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

Advertising

Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

Advertising

Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

    Read Next