Practicing mindfulness is the perfect approach to quite the ever running mind. It helps us slow down and connect with the present. It’s soo easy to get caught up in the stress of work or responsibilities. It’s not uncommon to be laying in a comfortable bed in a quiet room, but lay awake with a racing mind worrying about the things going wrong in your life. That’s where mindfulness exercises can help.
Meditation for Anxiety
You’ve likely heard of the benefits of meditation for easing stress and anxiety. It’s because it works! It’s a powerful practice, that over time, can lead to huge changes in your life. The daily practice of focusing on your body or breath can reduce anxiety, stress, improve memory, and increase happiness!
Meditation changes the structure of your brain, in a good way. Powerful thoughts tend to have a magnet-like pull. Meditation can help you acknowledge these thoughts and let them pass, without getting swept away.
If you haven’t tried meditation before, start with a guided meditation to help with your approach. Calm and Headspace are two popular meditation apps to try, both of which offer a free version. If you’re a true tech lover, check out Muse 2, a headband that measures your brain waves while you meditate.
Breathing exercises go hand-in-hand with meditation. You can practice this approach anywhere, which makes it a great option before stressful or anxiety-producing situations. Deep breathing can also help during or after an unpleasant panic attack.
Try breathing-in for the count of four, holding your breath for the count of four, and exhaling for a count of eight. Repeat this for four breaths, then return to your natural breathing.
The act of slow deep breathing can dramatically shift your mental state in a matter of minutes.
Set an Intention for the Day
This is a great technique to start first thing in the morning to carry throughout the entire day. Take a moment to breath in the feeling or your mental state for the day.
For instance, try starting the day with confidence as your intention. Breath-in confidence and breath-out all the worries that are holding you back. Set the intention to exude confidence for the entire day.
Write in a Journal
Journaling is a powerful habit that can declutter the mind, reduce stress, and help set intentions. Don’t stress about what you should or should not write, there isn’t a wrong way to do this.
Start with writing with what first comes to your mind. This process can reveal where you are focusing energy. Try writing about the things you are grateful for. The benefits of practicing gratitude are endless!
If you need a bit more guidance or prefer structure, something like the 5-minute journal is a good option to try.
This is an interesting approach that can be used during panic attacks or bring your body to a greater sense of calm. Each approach is different, but most involve repetitive tapping on meridian points (where energy focuses), similar to acupuncture, often while repeating an affirmation or phrase.
One popular technique is Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), this exercise involves tapping near the endpoints of specific energy meridians in your body to promote physical and emotional healing. During the tapping, you repeat an affirmative phrase targeted at the issue you’re working to overcome.
This particular approach has proven to be useful for those struggling with Anxiety and PTSD.
These practices take time to present their benefits, but every little bit helps! Give these a try and get a sense for the options that work best for you. Find what works and run with it! Stress and anxiety shouldn’t consume you, these are the types of new habits that can help give you the freedom you’re looking for.