Mindfulness and Anxiety
If you're struggling with anxiety, it can sometimes feel like anxiety has taken over your life. Your anxiety can feel intolerable, and even in moments when you're not feeling particularly anxious, anxiety can be on your mind as you worry that it can return at any moment, and that any thought, feeling or physical sensation is a sign that your anxiety is starting up again.
Anxiety can take many forms including:
- Feelings of panic and full-blown panic attacks
- Non-stop worrying, even about things that don't seem to matter
- A mind that's always racing, making it difficult to focus, think straight, or even carry on a simple conversation
- Avoidance of anything that you fear could lead to more anxiety
- Feelings of depression arising from being anxious all the time, the limiting effect anxiety can have on your life, and seeing no way out
- Physical symptoms such as tightness in the chest, increased heart rate, difficulty breathing or feeling out of breath, tension throughout the body, stomach discomfort or upset, weakness in the legs, sweating, blushing, etc.
- Anxiety concerning your health related to the physical symptoms you're experiencing
These symptoms tend not to arise in isolation. When you're struggling with anxiety, your thoughts, your emotions, your avoidance behaviours and your physical symptoms all interact with each other, creating a vicious cycle of anxiety that can be difficult to escape.
How Mindfulness Helps With Anxiety
Mindfulness-based approaches to treating anxiety are so effective because they don't just focus on anxious thoughts and catastrophic thinking; mindfulness-based therapy also incorporates ways to deal with the intense physical and emotional components of anxiety.
- Mindfulness teaches you to slow down your mind and reign in racing thoughts.
- Mindfulness helps you reduce worry and panic, catastrophizing and asking yourself endless what ifs ...?"
- Mindfulness helps you experience the physical symptoms and sensations that often accompany anxiety and panic in ways that help them dissipate instead of allowing them to feed back into and increase your anxiety.
- Mindfulness allows you to approach situations and experiences you may be avoiding due to anxiety in ways that make them manageable.
- Mindfulness keeps you grounded in the present rather that letting your mind get carried away into the future and anticipating worst-case scenarios that cause you to suffer now, even if they never actually come about.
Please visit my main therapy website for more information about therapy and CBT for anxiety.