O Angelina

A Girl and Her Dog: Living, Loving, & Enjoying the Little Things

Mindfulness & Anxiety

Living Well, ThankfulAngelina Oberdan2 Comments

As an attempt to overcome my anxiety, I've been working on mindfulness. 

Psychology Today says that mindfulness is "is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you're mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience." 

So being mindful isn't about not being anxious, it's about observing the anxiety, accepting it, and focusing on being present. 

For example, I get frustrated with myself for being anxious. I feel anxious, I know I shouldn't, I get anxious about being anxious. That is the opposite of mindfulness. What being mindful is the ability to take that anxiety and move it to the side in order to be present in the moment. I think of it like this: when I'm anxious, I try to move my anxiety to my side mirror. I can see it, like the car in the lane next to me, but I need to focus on going forward. Okay, that's not a perfect example. 

Here's an example from Yoga Journal: 

"You’re standing in Warrior one, as you hold the pose you start to notice your front thigh burning, your shoulders holding tension, and your breath becoming labored. Still holding, having the same thoughts and feelings—anger, boredom, impatience, tension. But instead of reacting, you simply observe your thoughts. You remember that this pose, like everything else in life, will eventually end. You remind yourself not to get caught up in your own story line. And, in the midst of feeling irritated while your thighs burn, you appreciate the sweetness of the moment. You may even feel a wash of gratitude that you have the time and privilege to do a hatha yoga practice. Then you bring your awareness back to your breath and witness the ongoing sensations and thoughts until the teacher guides you out of the pose."

That is mindfulness. (That's also why I like yoga, and mountain biking, which I wrote about before.

So practicing mindfulness doesn't mean that all the other things you're thinking about are going to disappear; it means that you can accept them and be in the moment.