8 Fantastic Mindfulness Techniques For Anxiety
Mindfulness is one of the best methods to get to know oneself. Mindfulness means experiencing life as we live it, being aware of the present moment.
A ton of benefits come with practicing mindfulness. It can relieve stress, reduce chronic pain, improve sleep and help with a range of mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, OCD and other.
In this post, we’ve compiled a list of great mindfulness techniques to counter anxiety with links to some other useful resources. Bookmark it for later use or share it with someone who might find this helpful.
Best Mindfulness Techniques for Anxiety
One of the most popular mindfulness techniques for anxiety is known as the body scan. It’s suitable for beginners and you can do it anywhere you like.
You can lay down or sit in a comfortable chair with feet placed on the ground.
How does the body scan work?
If you’re laying down, move your feet slightly apart with the palms up. First of all, start with paying attention to your breath. Try to notice its rhythm and give your full attention to the nostrils and the air coming in and out. Do this for a couple of minutes before redirecting your attention to your body.
Try to notice how your body feels. Are there any tensions or sensations? Be aware of your body and its presence in its surroundings.
This mindfulness technique for anxiety goes through each part of the body and discovers how each area feels.
You can start from the toes of both of your feet and slowly move upwards. The areas you want to cover are;
- Lower legs and knees
- Pelvic region
- Hands and arms
Once you’re done with the body scan, open your eyes, and lay down for a couple of minutes.
This is a great exercise for releasing the tension in your body and to be aware of the unpleasant sensations without trying to change them.
Anxiety and shallow breathing go hand in hand with each other. Deep breathing can release endorphins in our body that act as a natural painkiller. This is why breathing exercises are a great technique for treating anxiety.
When you feel stressed or anxious, try to isolate yourself for at least 15-20 minutes and try doing some breathing exercises.
Here’s a simple one. Inhale and start counting to 6, and then count up to 10 while you’re exhaling. This exercise can slow down your breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure. It’s also great for calming you down.
If this sounds like too much, you can try another ratio. Try inhaling for 3 seconds and then count up to 6 while exhaling.
Some people will find it difficult to concentrate on this when they’re too anxious, so you can just try to breathe more deeply while counting to 100. Or set up your timer for at least 5-10 minutes to gain a more calming effect.
You can also do this exercise anywhere. If you need more inspiration you can also check these breathing exercises compiled by the TIME magazine.
Meditation is a great way to calm down and diminish the effects of anxiety, as it combines both mindfulness and breathing.
It has more than 100 benefits, including physical, mental and emotional. Meditation can slow aging, relieve pain, boost serotonin levels and learning abilities, control anger, provide mental clarity, and calm our brain. It can also help us achieve the state of “Flow”.
Even 10 mins of meditation a day can have a drastic effect on our mood. If you prefer guided meditations or if you’re unfamiliar with the practice, YouTube has a lot of free and fantastic meditation videos which are created by some of the most famous people in this field.
This morning meditation is a great way to start your day.
You can also check these meditations by Diana Winston.
Most of the times, anxiety is focused on future and imaginary scenarios that didn’t even happen. That’s why yoga and meditation are so great for treating anxiety – they help you focus on the present.
Yoga restores your body and mind. Through various movements it puts your body into relaxation mode and also improves your breathing. It can be beneficial for your flexibility and posture, it can help build muscle mass, increase blood flow, help you focus and boost your immune system.
There are many types of yoga, so do some research and choose one you find the most interesting.
You can find a lot of free yoga videos online, but joining a class is probably a much better idea.
When you feel super stressed and unable to think clearly, put on your walking shoes and go out for a walk. You will be amazed how even a short walk can bring more clarity to your day.
Walking is also an amazing mindful activity – it makes us fully aware of our surroundings. Pay attention to the sole activity of walking, the sounds and the people around you.
And according to a study done by the Stanford University, a simple walk can even improve our creative thinking.
This mindfulness technique is easy and you can also do it anywhere you like. If you are indoors, the only thing you need is a window.
Sit by the window and just observe what’s going on outside. Try to notice the colors and textures of objects, people walking around, cloud formation, the rain. Do not try to create stories about what you are seeing. Just watch.
This exercise can open up a whole new world to us. We start seeing the ordinary in a new light. We also become more aware of the things that are going on around us – things we are usually not even paying attention to.
Here’s a quick how to do:
- Choose an object in your environment and focus on watching it for a few minutes. You could look through the window, focus on the clouds or the passersby.
- Just observe and relax, without creating stories about what you see.
- Explore it visually.
Mindful listening means paying attention to the sounds in your environment, whether that’s the sound coming from people, a radio station or the city.
It also means being fully present when communicating with others. This can increase your empathy because you’ll put the time and energy to listen to that person.
You could even pick a random music playlist and try to listen to the songs in a nonjudgmental way. Explore the sounds and the instruments used in each song. If you prefer something else try podcasts.
Mindful listening also has some fantastic benefits – it can help you retain information faster, improve your concentration, and even boost the self-esteem.
Try to immerse yourself fully into something you’re doing, even if that’s something like writing an email or washing dishes.
Don’t try to rush the task, but slow down and try to notice every little detail of what you’re doing. Be present in the moment and see how each task feels when you do it slowly and deliberately. Who knows, you might even start to enjoy doing the dishes!