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A Guide to Mindfulness: How It Can Help Anxiety


Anxiety can be mentally exhausting to deal with. 

And more recently, people struggling with anxiety have turned to the practice of mindfulness to help them manage it. But what is mindfulness? How can it help? 

This article explores what goes into the practice of mindfulness, how it helps with anxiety, as well as a few ways you can practice it today.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is our essential human ability to be fully present at the moment, aware of our environment, and not overreact to what’s going on around us.

When you grow aware of the present moment, you obtain access to support you may not have realized was with you all along—a stillness at your core. You may not be able to change your situation, but mindfulness provides the space between you and the problem so you can change your response to it.

Managing anxiety with mindfulness

Understanding anxiety is the first step toward controlling it. Knowing its unpredictable nature, we can gain a better sense of triggering situations and how our anxiety works.

Research shows that a consistent mindful practice can actually rewire neural pathways in the brain and, therefore, increases your ability to manage emotions. We learn to observe them, sit with them, and allow them to pass. And in doing so, we learn two important things: 

1. Thoughts do not define us.

2. Thoughts don’t have to be ‘real.’

We can gradually change our relationship with anxiety within this newfound perspective, differentiating between what’s irrational and what’s true.

How does it work?

A mindful perspective could relieve some of your worries and negative feelings. The practice has shown to benefit the following areas:

Body awareness: Body awareness is your ability to notice physical sensations in the body, which is essential to regulate emotions.

Focused attention: Mindfulness practice improves your ability to focus and pay attention. Researches have shown that mindfulness increases activation in the brain area responsible for executive function and attention. Through better control of attention, it’s easier to focus on a  task rather than being distracted by worry.

Self-perception: Mindfulness also changes your perspective of yourself. In fact, studies have shown that two months of mindful meditation practice can increase self-esteem and self-acceptance.

Physical health: Mindfulness meditation has also been proven to produce other health benefits, such as decreased blood pressure and cortisol levels.

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A few ways  to be more mindful throughout your day:

  1. Set aside some time. You don’t need any special equipment or a “special” place to do it. It simply involves setting aside specific times for you to sit in quiet and experience your body and mind as they are in the here and now.
  2. Focus on the moment: It’s not about eliminating feelings or attempting to stay in a constant state of calm. Although it’s easier said than done, the idea is to focus on the present moment without judgment. 
  3. Let your judgments roll by. Sometimes when we practice mindfulness, we become aware of how judgmental we are. We notice the judgments that arise in our minds and make an effort to let them go.
  4. Be kind to your wandering mind. Instead of judging your wandering mind, try to recognize the state. When you notice your mind drifts off, gently bring it back.
  5. Do one thing at a time. When you’re eating, focus your attention on eating. When checking emails, just check emails.
  6. Notice your senses. What are two things you can taste, touch, smell, hear right now?
  7. Mindful eating. Turn off all distractions, explore the textures of your food, flavors, and temperatures. 

The bottom line

Mindfulness is an accessible tool that anyone can utilize to improve their mental, physical, and emotional health. With its rich history and variety of styles, you can learn how to cope with and reduce anxiety, ultimately feeling calmer and relaxed. Taking a few minutes each day to be present is one of the easiest ways to improve your quality of life.

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Take this quick quiz to find out whether your overthinking habit is holding you back from getting the success you know you deserve.


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Take this quick quiz to find out whether your overthinking habit is holding you back from getting the success (you know) you deserve.