How Mindfulness Can Help With Anxiety

Neil Hughes wrote a piece for Elephant Journal entitled, The Way I Handle My Anxiety.  This article will focus on how mindfulness helps with anxiety. Mindfulness is being aware of the present moment.

Hughes is a computer programmer and part-time standup comic from England. He has dealt with anxiety since he was a child. “As a child, I lay awake worrying about death, and while, in later years, I squished these thoughts into the back of my mind, at times the repressed terror exploded out and crippled me for months at a time.”

When Hughes was an adult, he learned about mindfulness and found that, “What makes it (mindfulness) so powerful is its ability to help me to regain control in any situation, no matter how lost in anxious thoughts I am.”

Sometimes trying to analyze where the anxiety is coming from or why it is occurring when it is occurring is not helpful. “Put simply, attempting to explain anxiety makes me more anxious; suddenly I’m multiplying all the things I have to worry about! Is it my diet? My habits? Is it my work, my relationships, my social life, my hobbies? What if it’s some buried trauma? Or a hidden disease?!”

Once anxiety is under control then it can be helpful to explore with a trusted individual, it’s origins or what makes it more or less acute. When one is experiencing acute anxiety, it’s generally not the best time to explore why it’s happening.

mindfulness“This is where the power of mindfulness comes in. No matter how tangled I am in these thoughts, if I resist the urge to seek the why, and focus instead on the what I can reduce the anxious feelings.”

The way that Hughes accesses his mindfulness when he’s feeling anxious is to ask himself a few questions. “What is real, right now? What is true? What is actually happening in reality?” Doing this brings one back to the present moment. By being present (mindful) one cannot be anxious. Being here, now, is all that is. There is nothing else. Eckhart Tolle reminds us…, “Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have.”

I’d like to hear from you. Contact me here and let me know what you do you in order to deal with your anxiety. Do you incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine?