Each and every one of us has times when we feel anxious, worried, or nervous. When such inevitable feelings escalate into chronic fears, it could be the sign of an anxiety disorder — the most common mental health condition in the U.S. Some 30 percent of Americans struggle with anxiety at some point in their lives.
Fortunately, anxiety disorders can be treated, addressed, and managed. Approaches vary widely — from skills based therapy to talk therapy to a wide variety of self-help suggestions. Usually situated in that third category are mindfulness skills. The ability to stay present and embrace the moment can go a long way in soothing your anxiety.
The 5 Core Mindfulness Skills
1. Setting Intentions
Practice self-reflection before moving forward into any activity or interaction. Clarifying your intentions puts you in the position to fulfill your goals.
2. Bearing Witness
Mindfulness teaches us to be aware of our thoughts and our bodily sensations. Just as importantly, we become aware of our awareness. No more operating on auto-pilot.
3. Emotional Regulation
Negative thoughts and events are inevitable. However, we can control how long these experiences command our attention.
4. Holding Focus
Speaking of attention, this is a defining component of mindfulness. Where you aim your focus is where your energy will flow.
5. Practicing Loving-Kindness
Treat yourself and others with non-judgmental awareness and compassion.
How to Soothe Your Anxiety With Mindfulness Skills
This may be the first thing anyone thinks of when they hear the word “mindfulness.” You can try an app, a podcast, a video, or take a class in IRL. This will be your foundational skill.
Take Tech Breaks
Look again at core skill #4. Your attention is precious. Be more intentional with your use of your phone and, in particular, social media. Rediscover spontaneity and creativity.
Modern life is set up to keep us passive. Your body craves movement. The simple acts of getting outside, walking, and intentionally noticing your surroundings have been shown to ease anxiety. You may wish to combine your activity breaks to coincide with your tech breaks.
Refer to core skill #5. Take time to use your meditation sessions to send loving-kindness to specific people in your life. Nothing soothes your mind like doing the right thing for others.
Put all five skills into action at once. Our minds ideally want to focus on one thing at a time. Multi-tasking is out of balance with our mindfulness and it often increases anxiety. Challenge yourself to be fully present in all your daily chores and activities.
Keep a Journal
Honor your journey. Set aside a dedicated journal to keep track of what you see, hear, taste, feel, and smell. Maintain a list of what you feel grateful for. Write down the synchronicities in your life. You might also want to monitor your anxiety triggers too. Such a journal will really come in handy during therapy (see below).
Need Help Getting Started?
As mentioned, anxiety is a diagnosable mental health disorder. In addition, mindfulness skills often run counter to the type of culture in which we live. Therefore, it only makes sense that you would reach out for help with all of this. Committing to therapy is a powerful step toward living a more mindful life. It also is a proven path to learn how to soothe your anxiety.
There is no reason to wait. You can enhance your life right now. By starting on the parallel journeys of anxiety treatment and mindfulness, you can find relief from worry and distress. Heal and recover from anxiety with support. You can live a richer, more meaningful life. Read more about anxiety therapy and reach out for a consultation. I’m here to help you along that noble path.