Using Mindfulness To Combat Fear & Anxiety
Written by: Melaney Wolf
Everyone’s heard of “Mindfulness” by now; the word is everywhere. The definition of Mindfulness is “the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis” (Merriam-Webster). And while, sure, we may be aware that we’re angry, that we’re sad, that we’re overthinking, that we’re walking, driving…performing any function…the non-judgemental part and heightened part are the pieces we’re usually missing. This comes with a repetitive, habitual mindfulness practice. While it can be difficult to develop a new habit, especially one that requires us to put a decent effort in, one huge reason to do this is the anxiety & stress-reducing benefits it brings to our lives. The mental health aspect is truly incredible.
The medical definition of Anxiety is “an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physical signs (such as tension, sweating, and increased pulse rate), by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat, and by self-doubt about one’s capacity to cope with it” (Merriam-Webster). Fear of the future, basically. The physical tension that comes with it can create all kinds of problems and if we can train ourselves to focus on what is actually happening right now, in our present moment, those problems start to fall away. Shifting our attention purposely to what we hear around us, sensations we feel in our bodies, the feeling of what’s touching our skin, the feeling of the air coming in and out of our nostrils, the feeling of our feet rolling across the pavement, the music in our ears, etc., immediately starts to allow our bodies to relax because we’re not focusing on the stuff that creates physical tension. This trickles down to letting us think more clearly because we’ve given ourselves a mental break from our worries and stress.
Now is the perfect time to start to incorporate mindfulness meditation into our daily routine. Even just 10-15 minutes of a practice will start to change our mental well being creating a more relaxed, less stressed state of being.