Four Mindfulness Exercises for Anxiety

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is everywhere, and people are telling you to be mindful and intentional, but how do you put it into practice? The first thing to know about mindfulness is that you don’t have to sit cross legged on the floor to be mindful. Being mindful is a lot to do with your intentions and being cognitively aware in any given situation. You can be mindful while eating a piece of chocolate and you can be mindful when you feel panicky. It’s being able to be present in the moment while recognizing the feelings and sensations you have and using that therapeutically.

Just Observe

One way you can be mindful is to observe what is around you without making judgement. If you were being mindful and observant of your dog, you might say that he was 13 lbs. and his tail is moving. But, you wouldn’t say that he was happy because his tail was wagging, because that’s not an observation, that’s a judgment. When you are being mindful by observing, you are just sticking to the facts and using your reasonable mind.

The Five Senses

Another way you can be mindful is to be aware of your senses and sensations you are feeling. There’s an exercise called the five senses where you take each sense- seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, smelling and recognize what you are experiencing using that one sensation. If you are standing outside on a bright sunny day, you might see the sun, feel the grass, smell the flower, taste a honeysuckle and hear a bird chirping. But being able to be in that moment and recognize that you are feeling all of those sensations is part of experiencing mindfulness.

Go Slow

Another way you can experience mindfulness is to complete a task slowly and intentionally. This can be a form of self care. Going back to eating that piece of chocolate, if you were practicing mindfulness, you might smell it before you unwrap it. You might stop to feel how heavy it is in your fingers. You might listen to the wrapper as you unwrap it and you might notice the color before you place it slowly in your mouth. As you are eating it, you might let it melt and appreciate the sensations that it gives you. You can make note of your observations and really experience all your sensations.

Being Intentional

Another way to experience mindfulness is to be intentional about what you are doing. For instance, if you are driving, you might focus on the feeling of your foot on the petals and the weight of your hands on the steering wheel. You might observe the cars that are in front of you, without getting fixated on their color or speed.

If you are feeling panicked, you might use mindfulness by observing the sensations your body is experiencing and recognizing how you feel in the moment. You can walk yourself through your feelings and emotions in your mind so that you can get to a place where you have control over those emotions. For instance, if you feel panicky and you can go through the five senses exercise, you might be able to ground yourself back in reality. You might be able to remain calm or become calmer again by focusing on the details of what you are experiencing.

Reaching Out

Mindfulness can be helpful when someone is experiencing anxiety as well as when someone is experiencing intense emotions that may come on suddenly, like a panic attack or feelings of anger that occur quickly.

Mindfulness can also be helpful for anyone who wants to live and be more intentional with their thoughts, feelings and emotions.

If you are feeling overwhelmed with your emotions and feel like it would be helpful to have someone to talk to like a therapist or counselor, I can help. I am aware of and trained in working with those hard emotions we need to be mindful of. You can reach me at 404.948.6186 to schedule an appointment or a free brief consultation to start feeling better and more aware or you can contact me here.

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