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4 Ways Mindfulness Can Help Calm Anxiety

It’s been said that nearly 70 percent of all medical visits can be chalked up to anxiety. Of course, on its own, anxiety is a healthy, inevitable emotion. In some cases, it can save your life. However, for someone struggling with an anxiety disorder, it’s a very different story. Anxiety can make it difficult to handle daily functioning, and it causes physical symptoms, too.

Across the world, anxiety disorders are the most common mental health condition. The people dealing with this reality may be stressed in a general way, or it could be something more specific, e.g., social anxiety or particular phobias. But… what’s mindfulness got to do with it?

The Basics of Mindfulness

There is no shortage of definitions for this practice. However, since simplicity is at its core, let’s keep the wording simple, too. When you consciously pay attention to the present moment, you are being mindful. You become more aware and self-aware — connecting to yourself and to the world around you.

To assist with this process, practitioners of mindfulness use meditation, breathing exercises, and focused intentionality. In this day and age, you can add in the fundamental act of putting away your devices. The notifications, the scrolling, and the mindless consumption of content — all add up to create or exacerbate anxious thinking.

Conversely, having a steady mindfulness practice has been consistently found to result in a palpable reduction of anxiety symptoms. Let’s explore four reasons why that happens.

4 Ways Mindfulness Can Help Calm Anxiety

photo of a smiling woman standing outside with her eyes closed and arms up in the air1. No More Time Travel

So much of anxiety is rooted in the past or the future. We time travel back and forth to alternate between past regrets and future apprehension. Mindfulness, as mentioned above, is all about being present. Whatever method you use to enter this mindset, it keeps us focused on the only place and time we have: here and now.

2. Clearer Thinking

Anxiety is a very skilled liar. Its relentless approach can distort our thought patterns. Let’s say you text someone but they leave you on read. Anxiety tries to convince you that the other person dislikes you and finds you annoying. This false perception can set you off into an anxiety cycle. Mindfulness, on the other hand, guides you to recognize the difference between spiraling thoughts and rational thoughts.

3. A Better Understanding of What You Control

When you’re not bouncing back and forth between the past and future, you are better able to assess your present situation. You can differentiate between what is runaway worry and what is actually within your control. This distinction can be what saves you from defaulting to the worst-case scenario. You address what you can control and resist ruminating over what’s not under your control.

4. A Much More Mellow Nervous System

All the patterns, spirals, and cycles mentioned so far relate to our nervous system. Hence, getting to the root involves keeping ourselves from becoming nervous. Mindfulness helps us identify our triggers along with the signs that we’re getting edgy. This empowers our body to shut down the stress response and refrain from flooding our bloodstream with stress hormones like cortisol.

Good News

Becoming adept at mindfulness is not like learning to play the violin or speak Latin. We are naturally disposed to be mindful so it’s more about reawakening an inherent skill. When aiming to do that while also working to reduce anxiety, there is no better guide than an experienced therapist. This choice enables you to rediscover the skill of mindfulness while taking productive steps to decrease anxiety. It’s the best of both worlds and it all starts with a phone call. Reach out to learn more about anxiety therapy and how it can help you control your anxiety.

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