Does Mindfulness Help With Anxiety?
Updated: Dec 22, 2022
Stress has become part and parcel of our existence as we continue to juggle through different aspects of our lives. And to be honest, a bit of pressure is not a bad thing. We all have been in situations where it's natural to feel a bit nervous. For instance, when you are waiting to be called in for your job interview. Or, as you go to write an exam that you're ready for, yet you feel a strange uneasiness. These are situations where a little stress can help you to focus better and give you favourable results.
But that's different from anxiety, as this is a feeling of continuous fear and apprehension, where it keeps you restless. You cannot focus on anything to the extent that it takes over your life. Stress can contribute to extreme and taxing emotions like loneliness, anger, and anxiety. If you look at the statistics, almost 11.6% of Canadian adults get affected by anxiety disorders each year. Hence, making anxiety disorders the most common mental disorder in Canada.
When anxiety strikes, it can feel overwhelming and challenging. But it doesn't have to be like that. Through the practice of mindfulness, you can train yourself to calm and soothe your intense feelings. Research has proven again and again how helpful mindfulness is for our mental health. Mindfulness can help you take a step back from the chaos you feel within and feel more calm and relaxed, no matter what is happening in your life.
Here are a few ways how mindfulness can help you with your anxiety.
It Helps You to Accept Your Emotions
Avoidance of negative or unpleasant emotions is something that we all do from time to time (or maybe all the time). It's a natural response to ignore uncomfortable feelings through suppressing or ignoring them. However, that does not solve the problem. If anything, it aggravates those suppressed feelings resulting in an explosion of emotion later on. Mindfulness can help in acknowledging and accepting the emotions that you experience. Through mindful acceptance of your anxiety, you can learn to dig deeper into investigating the reasons behind these intense emotions. For instance, ask yourself, "what contributed to my feeling of anxiety?" or "Was it something I did or was it someone else said, did, or did not do?" Having that honest and open conversation within you can result in self-understanding. It makes it possible for you not to push away uncomfortable feelings, but instead explore them to create a space within you for solutions that work for you.
It Helps You to Recognize Your Emotions
Through mindfulness, you will also learn to name your feelings. The best place to start would be when you experience the initially uncomfortable emotions try asking yourself questions that can help you pinpoint your feelings. Being able to name your feelings helps to take their power away. For instance, "What am I feeling?" or, "Am I feeling sad, ashamed, angry, irritable?" If you see the questions you are posing is through the act of feeling. You are naming your emotions. You are not that emotion. There's a difference between "I am angry" and "I am feeling angry." The difference is: you have tied the emotion to your identity in the former statement. Whereas, in the latter one, it's a passing feeling. With practice, you will further understand the difference and recognize the temporariness attached to the uncomfortable emotions. No feelings is permanent. Some feelings might take longer to leave, but they are fleeting in nature. And learning to deal with them without trying to control them or trying to fix them instantly can help you feel better. Mindfulness can help you with all of the above.
It Can Help You to Have a Meditative State Become More Natural
Being in a meditative state as little as 3 minutes a day where you sit quietly and notice your thoughts and feelings has healing and calming powers. The more you practice mindfulness meditation, the more you're able to allow uncomfortable emotions to pass.
It is possible to feel less anxiety with the regular practice of mindfulness. However, suppose you continue to feel overwhelmed and find no relief. In this case, it can be beneficial to get in touch with a psychologist. Anxiety disorders are common and can be treated successfully where people feel better and live meaningful lives. Seeking help takes courage, but once you have taken that first step, you know you are on the path of hope and healing. And there's no better feeling than that.
If you're looking for a psychologist for counselling Sherwood Park, Ward & Associates Psychological Services is here for you. We specialize in individual counselling for adults, teens, and children and couples counselling and trauma counselling for first responders. We also offer online therapy for clients residing in Alberta. Contact us to learn more about our services or to book an appointment.