I needed a mindfulness practice to ease anxiety! I’ve dealt with anxiety my entire life so I guess you can say I’ve been studying it for as long as I can remember. As a child growing up in Alabama, there wasn’t much available to me for relief. No one understood or cared to talk about how I was. I was quiet so they simply allowed me to be quiet in the back of the room.
I was left to struggle alone and at the time this was a painful thing to navigate. I didn’t understand why I was so much different or why I couldn’t connect with people like everyone else. This loneliness only heightened my anxiety.
When I entered my early 20s, I discovered spirituality. Being left to my own devices throughout my life meant that I was unintentionally sheltered and had no idea there was a world of spiritual practices that could help me.
The Many Causes of Anxiety
Anxiety has many causes. It’s a common symptom of bigger issues ranging from trauma to hormones to environmental factors. It’s hard to know exactly what is causing yours. It may seem obvious or it may be as elusive as a dream you’re trying to hold onto after waking.
Mine stemmed from various triggers. Being bullied at school and enduring emotional abuse at home gave me social anxiety. Totaling 2 vehicles in a single weekend gave me situational anxiety. Watching my grandparents and mother deteriorate with health conditions, surgeries and pills gave my hypochondria, a type of anxiety focused on health. Most recently, a soy allergy proved to be triggering general anxiety in me.
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Anxiety isn’t always overthinking and panicking over possibilities yet to pass. It can also be physical and have no rhyme or reason. Knowing your unique brand of anxiety can be invaluable in learning how to cope and manage it.
A Mindfulness Practice To Ease Anxiety
A mindfulness practice can help you ease anxiety although it may find more useful towards the overthinking brand. This type of anxiety is often caused by us living in the past, present and future all at the same time. With the more physical brand, it will help you ride it out more gracefully. The goal is to detach from the past and future and focus solely on the present moment.
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When you feel a wave coming on, take a few deep breaths.
In through the nose and deep into your belly, filling your lungs to capacity and feeling your diaphragm push down, extending your stomach. Hold it for about 5 seconds and then release with a force, blowing away with it any tension you are holding in your body. Repeat this 3-5 times, each time releasing a little more tension and relaxing a little bit more.
At the same time, focus on your posture.
Shoulders back and down, spine long and straight, head balanced. Chin not too far up and not too far down but even to where a book could be placed on your head and sit unwavering.
Bring your vision into focus.
What do you see? What are the colors? The textures? The shapes? What do you hear? What do you smell?
Bring your focus to your body.
Notice it’s contact with the chair, the floor. How solid they are. How heavy your body feels pressed against it, supporting all of your weight. Feel your clothes caress your skin. Are you warm? Cold? Sink into it all.
Nothing matters but this moment. You’re alive and you’re okay. It’s only a feeling and it can’t hurt you. Find an affirmation that you like:
- I am safe.
- I am strong.
- I am healthy.
- I am okay.
- It’s just a feeling.
- This moment will pass.
- Everything works in my favor.
Everything is Mindset
Coping with anxiety is a mindset gave like anything else. You have to be stronger than it is within yourself. A warrior’s heart and the mind of a chief. For many of us, it will be a lifelong battle. Instead of fighting it, we must learn to coexist with it.
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Anxiety is uncomfortable to say the least. With a little practice, though, we can live our lives despite of it. We can learn to push it to the side when it arises and act out our lives as if it’s merely a whisper. You first have to believe it’s possible. Once you believe you can and act to seek out domination over it, success isn’t far behind it.
I hope you find comfort and use out of this mindfulness practice. Keep it close and make it your own. You may find certain aspects of it work better for you than others. You may learn things you can add to it to amplify its effects. Do what works for you but keep soldiering on and don’t ever let the demon that is anxiety keep you from living your life.
About The Author
Savannah Shea Blake is a Birth Doula, Life Coach and Writer at EarthandWater.co who helps women unleash their inner warrior goddesses through self love and self care so that they can conquer the battles of life and feel more supported in their ventures.