What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is giving your all to be in the “now” and living in the moment. It’s your awareness of reality especially at the present time and contradicts daydreaming or delusion, or illusions.
It’s a state wherein there’s no thinking, reflecting, judging, or solving, but by just experiencing the things that are present for you. You observe, without judgement, your thoughts, feelings and body sensations.
With this, the result is a new awareness of yourself and your environment.
What does mindfulness help?
Mindfulness is used to improve self-esteem, alleviate anxiety and its symptoms and help other mental and physical conditions, such as acute pain. It’s a form of meditation that reduces stress and is gaining popularity all over the world and is being practiced by people of different ages and people from all walks of life.
Mindfulness helps people with or without anxiety or other mental problems to cope with their day-to-day lives because they’re living a much happier and stress free present time. This is helpful to our well-being.
In a 2007 study by Jain and Shapiro about mindfulness, they showed that mindfulness meditation has the power to decrease distractive thoughts and behaviours, which in turn, helps reduce stress.
In 2003, Brown researched on mindfulness and the outcome of his study was it helps decline mood disturbance right after mindfulness interventions.
The impact of stress on your life
Stress can lead to altered physical and psychological function. It creates a negative effect and can change the person’s response to his environment. Stress is the root of anxiety and other mental illness.
Anxiety is experienced as apprehension, dread and uneasiness. Anxiety is the feeling that stems from fear, but it is more a fear of what might happen in the future or what has happened in the past than of an obvious, specific fear-provoking situation.
Because of the stress that people with anxiety experience, there’s often back pain, stiffness, tension, spasms in the muscles and even full body or localised body pain. Another classic feature of anxiety is the tremor or shaking of hands and arms, which is sometimes accompanied by cold clammy hands and even sweaty hands.
The symptoms of anxiety
At the beginning of an anxiety attack, a person may feel a hot flush, which is most often called “warm spells”, mostly occurring at the back of the neck, the ears, the neck, and some body parts as well.
With anxiety, there is a noticeable difficulty in focusing or in concentrating. Therefore, speaking is almost close to impossible because with anxiety, there is a feeling of numbness on the face, greatly on the cheeks and jaw. A sensation of choking and difficulty in swallowing can also be reported. If a person is to speak in public, or just speak in general, there is stuttering and shivering in the voice.
The other common symptoms of anxiety are:
- Chest pain or tightness, as if there’s a feeling of heart attack because the heart is pounding hard and even skipping a beat.
- Nausea and/or vomiting.
- Generalized body weakness, overall fatigue, feeling of being worn out and exhausted all the time even without any physical activities.
- Difficulties in sleeping or staying asleep; mostly awaken by nightmares and other anxiety-provoking dreams that may lead to insomnia.
- Aggressiveness and being angry and irritable at the littlest things.
- Increased fears of the unknown or of specific nature.
- Mostly feeling of being overwhelmed.
- Increase or decrease in sex drive in both male and female.
The treatment of anxiety can be pharmacologic (with medicines) and non-pharmacologic (in anatural way). Examples are relaxation technique, psychotherapy, and support groups that can be found online or in your community.
Mindfulness- a natural way to cope with anxiety
Mindfulness is another non-pharmacologic way to treat anxiety. Mindfulness can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety because mindfulness teaches you to be watchful of what’s happening now at the present time. Since anxiety is fear of the past and/or future, mindfulness helps people who are suffering from anxiety because it helps one to focus on the present moment. It also helps you have more energy throughout the day, sparing you from fatigue from thinking of anxiety-provoking things.
Mindfulness teaches you to not rush things, or take control of time or even escape time, but it teaches you to let things unfold on their own – in their own time, and in their own way.
It teaches you to be open to culture, practices, people, lifestyle, traditions and everything else in the world and most especially to be open to life.
It teaches you to be confident with yourself and what you can do. It teaches you to relax, loosen up – by accepting what’s happening now, and not worry about the past and future. It helps you to slow down and pause for a while and take a break and be a happy, laid back person.
Mindfulness is a reality check. Things that happen must not be attached with emotions. Instead, we should let it pass and not connect it with our feelings. Things come and go, and we can get hurt when it’s gone. Mindfulness is a proven strategy for preventing you from worry. You won’t stop worrying, but you can develop specific tools and techniques that help you deal with the worry in a much more productive way.
To achieve complete awareness, find a comfortable position, close your eyes and relax your breathing. Then start to observe what’s happening to your surroundings with a calm mindfulness attitude. It creates appreciation of the environment and everything in general. Focus on your breath, being curious and observing the inhalation and exhalation without judgement. Notice any thoughts that come into your mind. Acknowledgement your thoughts and then let them go, returning your focus to your breath.
Even when we’re living in a stressful environment where a lot’s going on, you can still create focus without being pre-occupied of the issues that’s bothering you. If you’re able to take a mindful approach to life, the symptoms of anxiety will significantly decrease. With mindfulness you’re able to treat anxiety in a natural way.
If you suffer from stress or anxiety and want to learn mindfulness approaches for coping, Australia Counselling has psychologists and counsellors that can help. We have counsellors in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and Brisbane. Visit our mindfulness approaches page to see which counsellors or psychologists in your local area can help you with stress and anxiety.