Updated: May 21, 2020
When we practice mindfulness we don't do it to fix or get rid of anything; even though that might be why we started we soon learn it's about being with our experience rather than needing to get anywhere.With this in mind we might be better able to understand our fears and anxieties by practicing mindfulness and learning to orient all our experiences with a more open heart and mind. The Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program provides a systematic pathway for deepening your awareness and finding more ease with your inner and outer world.
In mindfulness practice we can explore how we might perceive our experince through the four foundations; in the physical body through our sensations, mentally through our cognition, thoughts and stories, emotionally through the impulses, tones and feelings, and socially in relationship and how we project onto objects or react to others.
Todays blog I'm offering 8 mindfulness tips for working with anxiety and fear mindfully on and off the cushion.
1. Slow Down. During anxiety everything speeds up and grasps at the future that has not yet arrived. You can try slowing your physical movements and taking your time doing everyday activities like walking, showering, gardening, cooking, washing the dishes or sweeping.
2. Build certainty into your day. Mindfulness practice helps us be with uncertainty but you can still have moments of certainty built into your day that can help as an anchor and limit anxiety or panic. Look to build a routine in your life that provides structure and stability.
3. Check into your senses throughout the day. Ease your worried mind by checking in on your sensory world. Feel into the experiencing of seeing, touching, tasting, feeling and hearing.
4. Release the inner critic. Try to become aware of comparison. When you gently remind yourself that you don't need to compare yourself to anyone and see any judgements that arise as just "mental events".
5. Look up and listen. When you feel overwhelmed with the immediate space you're in, look up at the sky or ceiling and take a few breaths noticing the space.
6. Wish other people happiness and goodwill throughout your day. By taking the focus off yourself entirely and placing on others (including your pets) can really help you feel more positive and have more space around anxiety.
7. Turn mundane household tasks into meditation by being fully present with them. Wash the dishes feeling into the sensory experience and take a mental break from thinking too much about things you can't control in the future.
8. Ground yourself by noticing and labelling your inner experience and then expanding outwardly and noticing things on the outside in your immediate environment.
I suggest choosing one or two of these practices each week and developing it into your daily life to help you navigate anxiety and fear arising.