There is an old Zen story about a man, a tiger, and a strawberry bush.
An angry tiger is chasing a man when he falls over a cliff.
The man grabs hold of a strawberry bush growing just below the cliff.
He looks up at the growling tiger and then down at the deadly chasm below.
In that moment of fear and strife, he plucks a strawberry from the bush, eats it, and savors its sweetness.
Mindfulness for anxiety means being aware of and appreciating the present moment.
Anxiety has a way of making you want to react, make rash decisions, and embrace fear.
Let's look at how mindfulness for anxiety can help you overcome the many harmful symptoms of anxiety, and regain your inner peace.
Mindfulness for Anxiety: What is it?
Mindfulness for anxiety is slowing down and situating yourself peacefully in the present moment.
Mindfulness for anxiety means making yourself aware of your surroundings and feeling safe.
Life is a series of never-ending choices.
When you suffer from anxiety, it can feel like you never get a break from making choices.
Mindfulness for anxiety means hitting the breaks and contemplating life without making a choice.
Anxiety in all its forms can make you feel: trapped, paralyzed, helpless, alone, and without purpose.
Mindfulness for anxiety is about regaining your focus, about looking inward.
Anxiety has a nasty way of making you see the world as hostile and threatening.
Mindfulness for anxiety helps you realize there is always a wellspring of positive emotions inside you, waiting to be discovered.
So, what are some ways you practice mindfulness for anxiety?
Those who suffer from anxiety know that it's easy to feel overwhelmed by even the most mundane, everyday experiences.
Anxiety distracts you from the bigger picture.
Often anxiety tempts you to focus your mental and emotional energies on minuscule, unimportant matters.
It's easy to feel distracted by irrational fears and worries when you suffer from anxiety.
Mindfulness for anxiety means practicing focusing on positive, empowering ideas and emotions.
The purpose of mindfulness for anxiety is to remind you that the little things don't matter all that much.
There is a bigger world and a larger purpose and you are part of it.
Think of all your little fears and worries as tiny fires, and you're running around trying to extinguish them with a single water dropper.
Not going to happen. In fact, you're just going to become more anxious.
When you practice mindfulness for anxiety it's like you extinguish those little fires of fear all at once, with a gentle rain of peacefulness.
Activities that promote mindfulness for anxiety include guided meditation exercises, breathing techniques, prayer, praise songs, and/or quiet time.
Whatever your personal beliefs about belonging in the universe and finding a life purpose, healthy habits that promote mindfulness for anxiety can help.
An important part of mindfulness for anxiety is daily self-reflection.
When anxiety strikes, it can often feel like it's too late to do anything about it.
That's why when you practice mindfulness for anxiety, you should integrate daily self-reflection and self-affirmations into your routine.
Daily self-reflection means taking real time out of your schedule to contemplate your life.
Remember, the purpose of daily self-reflection is to be positive.
So spend time reminding yourself of the good things in your life, opportunities, inspiring people, encouraging words, blessings, etc.
Daily self-affirmations are another crucial part of daily self-reflection and mindfulness for anxiety.
A daily self-affirmation is when you praise yourself, highlight good choices you've made, compliment yourself, and/or encourage yourself.
And remember- when it comes to mindfulness for anxiety there's an emphasis on the word daily here.
So don't wait until it's too late.
Practice mindfulness for anxiety to preempt anxiety and panic attacks by preparing your mind.
When preparing for a trip, you pack your suitcase and plan your route.
Life should be no different.
Every day you can pack your mindfulness for anxiety suitcase and plan your route to mental and emotional health.
Daily activities that promote mindfulness for anxiety and daily self-reflection include journaling, writing song or poetry, prayer, arts and crafts, and reading/writing fiction.
An important part of mindfulness for anxiety is body awareness.
Mind and body communicate with each other, like old friends.
Awareness of your body and how and when it speaks to you is an integral part of mental and emotional health.
Mindfulness for anxiety is about getting in tune with your body, like a musician with her instrument.
Anxiety wants you to ignore the warning signs your body may give you concerning stress.
But your body wants you to listen.
Ways your body may be warning you about impending anxiety are body aches, muscle pains, fatigue, stomach cramps, and irregular bowel movements.
Other ways may include night sweats, changes in eating habits, forgetfulness, and recurring sicknesses that just won't seem to go away.
Making time for daily self-care is key to practicing mindfulness for anxiety.
Activities that promote mindfulness for anxiety and body awareness include hot baths (with essential oils or bath salts), massage, and hot herbal teas.
Other activities may include: face and body skin treatments, relaxing herbal supplements, stretching and of course a good night's sleep.
Mindfulness for Anxiety: Physical Health
Another important part of mindfulness for anxiety is physical health.
Regular exercise is of paramount importance when practicing mindfulness for anxiety.
Remember, mindfulness for anxiety is not just about being healthy, but also about re-grounding yourself in the present moment.
Mindfulness for anxiety means that whatever activity you do, its purpose should also be to help you regain focus and live in the now.
Thus, with mindfulness of anxiety in mind, regular exercise should be a specific physical activity you enjoy.
Try a recreational activity that promotes good physical health, but also makes you feel good.
Maybe you enjoy competitive sports.
Maybe hiking in nature makes you feel connected to the bigger picture.
Mindfulness for anxiety is providing your body and mind with healthy outlets for expression.
Sometimes just laughing out loud with friends or a partner can be the best physical exercise.
Mindfulness for anxiety means getting away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and hitting the pause button.
It's about rediscovering yourself in a world that often makes us feel alienated.
There are many ways to practice mindfulness for anxiety and improve your quality of life.
But it's not always easy to create new daily habits and discover new activities, especially alone.
If you're interested in learning more about mindfulness for anxiety, seek the guidance of a licensed professional counselor.
Many counselors specialize in managing anxiety and developing healthy habits that reflect mindfulness for anxiety.
You can be whole and feel empowered. The choice is yours…
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