VOS: Journey Through Anxiety 05: Navigating Anxiety with Mindfulness

Journey Through Anxiety 05: Navigating Anxiety with Mindfulness

Emotional wellbeing

November 2023

Journey Through Anxiety 05: Navigating Anxiety with Mindfulness

Have you ever had so many thoughts whizzing around in your head that it felt like an inside whirlwind? That could be anxiety talking. So, how can we calm that inner noise? One simple and powerful tool is mindfulness.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is all about living in the here and now. Instead of worrying about tomorrow's troubles or yesterday's setbacks, mindfulness teaches you to ground yourself in the present moment. Like rooting your feet firmly in the ground, so life's winds can't knock you over.

How Can Mindfulness Help You With Anxiety?

  1. Brings You Back to the Present

    Anxious thoughts are often about the future—"What if this happens?" Focus on the present moment acts as a break from worrying about what might be.

  2. Gives You Space

    Mindfulness allows you to watch your anxiety from a distance and recognize that you can choose not to get caught up in it.

  3. Changes Your Relationship with Anxiety

    Mindfulness isn't about erasing anxiety—it's about changing how you interact with it. Instead of fighting anxious feelings, you learn to recognize them as passing events. It also allows you to acknowledge your feelings without pushing them away or encouraging them.

Practicing Mindfulness to Reduce Anxiety

  • Breathing Deeply: Imagine your breathing as the ocean's tide. Every inhale brings the waves gently rolling onto the beach, and with every exhale, the water returns smoothly back into the sea. Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and just focus on breathing in and out. Counting your breaths like this can help slow the anxious whirlwind to a gentle breeze.
  • Observing Your Surroundings: Look around you. What do you see? Maybe it’s the steady dance of leaves on a tree or the way the sunlight plays on the wall. When you feel anxious, ground yourself by noticing the little details around you. It's like pressing the pause button on your thoughts. For this purpose, we have prepared a meditation of the five senses directly in the app.
  • Observing Anxious Thoughts Mindfully: It's like sitting by a river and watching leaves float by. Each leaf could be an anxious thought. Instead of jumping in and grabbing them, just watch them drift past. Notice the thought, acknowledge it without judgment, and then let it go, allowing it to drift away. This practice teaches you not to hold onto your anxious thoughts, nor to push them away, but to simply let them pass, understanding that they are temporary and don't define your entire landscape.

Remember, mindfulness is about noticing the present moment, including your thoughts and feelings, without trying to change them. So when anxiety knocks on your door, greet it, observe it without inviting it in for tea, and then gently return to the calmness of your breath or the peaceful observation of your environment.

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