In this article, I will show you a 60-second mindfulness technique for anxiety and stress relief. These simple steps I am about to show you can be life-changing, provided you put them into practice as often a possible.
But before I delve into it, let me quickly demystify some myths around the whole subject of mindfulness that may stop you from reaping its rewards.
What Mindfulness Is Not
Of course, many people are skeptical and nervous when they hear the words, “meditation” and “mindfulness.” I too was when I first heard about them. But after a lot of digging, I was able to dispel the common myths.
The following are a few things that should help you loosen up a bit, hopefully.
- You don’t have to sit cross-legged on the floor as often seen on TV or in magazines. You can do mindfulness or meditation while taking any comfortable position.
- It does not take loads of time. The frequency of practice is more important than the amount of time spent in a single session.
- Mindfulness is not a mystery and neither is it complicated. It is just a tool that takes your focus off your problems, while in the process relaxing your mind and positively resetting your nervous system for health and well-being.
- Modern-day meditation or mindfulness is not a religion. You are not joining any religion or sect by using mindfulness techniques. Of course, some people practise meditation religiously. But the ones that we have in the western world today (whose effectiveness have been scientifically proven) are basically relaxation techniques. In psychotherapy, similar relaxation techniques have been used for decades. It is just the change of name that has instigated a wide spread suspicion that mediation or mindfulness is currently attracting. After I understood mindfulness, I realised that the psychology behind it is really nothing different from some of the psychotherapy relaxation techniques that I have used to assist my clients for many years.
While the modern-day mindfulness is nothing like the one that the Tibet masters have practised for centuries in the northern side of the Himalayas, it offers a simple relaxation technique that helps you to defuse stress and anxiety by focusing your full attention on your thoughts in an atmosphere of relaxation. By observing your thoughts in a complete state of calm and detachment, you let go of struggling with them.
Calm in a Chaotic World
As you may have noticed, mindfulness is currently getting a lot of buzz across the world. This hype seems to have come along at the right time. It’s turned out to be a good thing for many people, as there has never been a time in the history of civilization when more things are contesting for our peace, time and attention than the time we are in.
The super fast internet, cutting-edge technologies, several social media platforms, rising costs of living, more relationship crisis, terrorism and a whole bunch of uncertainties that seem to cloud over our fate and future have all increased out tendencies for developing anxiety, stress and depression.
What Mindfulness Is
Mindfulness is simply about observing your thoughts (negative or positive) without judgement; monitoring them without discrimination; concentrating on your breathing without criticism. This non-judgmental and dettachment attitude starts as a metaphor in your imagination. Then with regular practice, you begin to bring the same attitude into your day-to-day reality.
In other words, rather than taking all your problems, challenges and stresses personally, you learn to observe them non-judgmentally as they drift past like clouds. In this way, you are not filling up your subconscious mind with the negative energy that stress, worry and over identification with your circumstances can generate.
Mindfulness is also about self-compassion. It enables you to get back on your own side and become your best friend. It creates a great atmosphere for un-blending with the false self while blending and re-connecting with your deeper self that is calm, grounded and secure.
In the midst of a panic-stricken and chaotic world, we can still find peace if we pause, dig in and look within us. Happiness and peace are not trapped in silver or gold or in any other external things; rather they are trapped within the soul of man; and it is only man who can set them free.
Through silence, detachment and self-awareness, we can unearth the most exquisite tranquility and contentment that has eluded many for decades. This is what mindfulness brings to the table – the reason why many are tuning into it for some peace of mind.
Is It Evidence-Based?
Yes it is! Extensive studies have shown that regular sessions of guided mindfulness can help reduce anxiety, depression, chronic stress, chronic pain, cancer and can even assist in alleviating alcohol and drug addiction. Also regular guided mindfulness can strengthen your immune system, helping you to fight against flu, colds and other easily contagious diseases.
The type of mindfulness that is widely used presently is based on Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) that sprang out of the work of Jon Kabat Zinn at the UMass Medical Centre in America. The original MBCT was developed by John Teasdale at Cambridge, Zindel Segal of the University of Toronto and Mark William the co-author of the best selling book, entitled Mindfulness; A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World.
Clinically, it’s been proven. Evidence-based trials show that it works. Hopefully, this can bring some needed reassurance to many people.
Now, below are the steps to your 60-second mindfulness for anxiety and stress relief:
The 60-Second Mindfulness for Anxiety & Stress Relief
- Take a comfortable position. Lay down or sit erect with your feet flat on the floor. Do not cross your legs or fold your arms. This shows tension and defensiveness. Close your eyes and completely let go of yourself into relaxation.
- Focus on your breathing. Observe it as you breathe in and out. Pay attention to different sensations of every breath-in and breath-out. Breathe gently and deeply. Just observe your breathing without any judgement.
- Be aware without criticizing each time your mind wonders away. Simply bring your focus back to your breathing again, without self-condemnation.
- After a while your mind may calm down and become settle or it may not. Whatever your experience, just allow it to be just as it is. The most powerful virtue here is the self-awareness without judgement.
- Now, let your mind drift into creating a special place for yourself that represents tranquility, peace and security. Spend some time in this special place and return there whenever you want to in your future sessions.
- After 60 seconds, gradually become aware of the room you are in again and open your eyes.
Of course, you can stay longer if your have more than 60 seconds. Mindfulness is not so much about how long as it is about how often you engage in it.
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