Mindfulness can be a great tool to help ease anxiety due to the way it causes us to focus on the here and the now rather than the things that may be causing us the anxiety, such as the future or the past.
Mindfulness teaches us how to reduce our focus on future possibilities and past events, and focus more on the present moment. This enhanced focus on the present moment allows us to let go of negative thoughts and emotions, fears for the future which we may be stressing over, regret or negative emotions for the past and it's events which could be keeping us stuck in the past, preventing us from moving on with our lives. All of these things and more could be the underlying cause of many people's anxiety, and since mindfulness helps us reduce this from our lives, it can certainly help us with reducing anxiety, fear, stress, depression, and other negative emotions.
On top of this, mindfulness can teach us how to better accept life's events and outcomes, and to not be impulsive towards what happens, but rather, to be accepting, open, and patient. To be able to respond in the way that you feel truly represents you, rather than just reacting to the tough situations out of impulse.
A mindful walk is a mindfulness exercise where, while walking, you try to be mindful of the sensations you experience as much as you can.
This means that while walking, you would try to focus on each step, how it feels when your foot hits the ground, at what speed it hits it and at what force.
It means being aware of the speed at which you are walking, your pace, your breathing, and other bodily sensations.
It also means being aware of your surroundings while you are walking. This includes the terrain you are walking on, the smell in the air, the sounds surrounding you, the wind and how it hits your face, and any other external sensations you experience.
This may sound like a lot to focus on at once, and it is and can be overwhelming, which is why you should begin by focusing on just one of those elements. Try walking and paying extra attention to how quickly your feet hit the ground. After that, also pay attention to how it feels when your heel hits the ground.
Slowly, as you practice, you will be able to focus on each thing for longer and more intensely, and to even focus on multiple things at once.
I don't think it's necessarily that you should not focus on the future. I think there is a balance.
If you live your life focusing on the future, then you are not living your life right now. Same as if you were to live your life thinking about the past, you would be missing out on the things that are in your life right now.
Thinking about the future, it's possibilities, things you may have or may not have, worries and fears, can cause you to act in ways that you otherwise would not. It can cause you stress, anxiety, and often times, depression. On the other hand, not having any ambitions or goals for the future can also cause stress and anxiety, and again, depression.
I have known people who lived without having any goals or plans for the future, and while they were just living in the present moment, living each day as it came, they were also lacking a sense of purpose, they were lacking a destination, a goal. They soon feel into depression until they had to start taking better care of themselves.
There are people who make maybe too many plans for the future, who think too much about the future to the point where everything they do today is actually for tomorrow. As a result, they cannot enjoy anything, since every new day exists only to worry and care for the next day.
There is a balance, and for everyone that balance will be different.
Journaling can be a great way to help deal with anxiety.
Many times, anxiety can occur due to overthinking things such as the future or the past, things that may happen in the future that we are worried about, or things that happened in the past that we believe may affect our future. What ever the reason for the anxiety is, our minds are not at ease. We are stressed out, pressured, and are just lacking a sense of inner calmness.
Though most people may live with anxiety, they may not always fully understand what that anxiety is, or where it is originating from. Journaling can help figure this out.
Journaling causes us to slow down in order to write down our thoughts. This slowed down pace causes us to thoroughly process and understand our thoughts much better than if we were to just think them as we do on a daily basis.
By journaling, you can get to the bottom of the fears and the reasons you are actually feeling your anxiety. This is because you will be spending more time on each thought, understanding it better, and processing it in a way that you can then realize things you have not been able to realize about them before.
Many times, when people journal about their anxieties, they get a surprising sense of realization, they realize what it is that is causing them the anxiety they are facing. By realizing it, they are also able to deal with it better, to find the source of the issue and to treat it. In many cases, people feel an instant relief from their anxiety and stress, they understand that what they are feeling, or the reason they are feeling it, are not actually important, or that the thing they fear actually is not real or cannot hurt them as they thought They realize that their fear, the source of their anxiety and stress, is not something that should actually cause them this anxiety and stress. But, without identifying it, it is very difficult to let it go. Once you identify it, it is much easier to let it go and to treat it.
Meditation doesn't necessarily require you to be emotionless. It also doesn't require you to be thoughtless. Meditation doesn't really require you to be anything.
You are who you are, and if in the moment that you are meditating you are full of thoughts or emotions, then that is who you are, and there is no requirement to stop being yourself in order to meditate.
On the contrary, actually, meditation itself can help reduce those thoughts and emotions. This is one of the main reasons people start a meditation practice in the first place, to be able to better control their minds and to handle these situations where they are full of thoughts and emotions, especially when they leave them incapable of making decisions or going on with their day in a good and positive way.
If you are meditating and expecting the practice to reduce your emotions, and it is not happening, this could end up making you more stressed than you may have been in the beginning. This is why meditation shouldn't be done with solid expectations of a given outcome.
You may begin meditating expecting to be enlightened after just one session. This probably won't happen, but what may happen is that you will believe that meditation doesn't work and is not for you, and you may just give up on the whole practice completely.
It's strongly recommended to not have these kinds of expectations when starting to meditate. Instead, just meditate. Let things happen in their own time, and as you keep a constant practice, you may start to notice the effects it has on you.
As all good things, meditation takes time and patience.
Focusing on the future too much can be the cause of a lot of stress and anxiety, especially if these thoughts cause you to worry or be fearful.
Focusing on the future isn't necessarily bad. Making goals, plans, and even wondering about it is all a part of our lives. It gets bad when they stop being simple thoughts and wonders, and turns into negative thoughts and emotions, such as fear and anxiety.
What the future holds we do not know. Worrying about it is something most people do to a certain degree, but allowing it to change our lives, or even control it, is what can lead us down a bad path full of stress, anxiety, and a lot of negativity.
This is why one of the main pillars of mindfulness is to focus on the present and not the past or the future.
The past is the past, there is nothing we can do about what already happened. The future is untold, and we do not know what it holds. The present is where we are, it's where we can make a difference and where we have control.
Focusing on the present allows us to not give in to the stress of what the future may hold, and to not be upset of what was in the past.
It's hard to actually say which meditation is right for you without really knowing you, as meditation is a very personal practice that is different for everyone. So, the meditation practice that is right for me may not be right for you.
With that said, of course, there are quite a few meditation practices to chose from, some very different from others. The best advice that can be given is to just experiment. Find what works for you.
Take some time to think about the reasons you want to start a meditation practice, do some research, and just start practicing. Short 5-minute meditation sessions in the beginning is a great way to start and to get used to the whole practice of meditation, and from there you can build up your time and meditate for longer.
Even if you are not exactly sure which type of meditation is right for you, you can still start meditation by finding a short guided meditation. Guided meditations are a great way to get into the whole world of meditation, as it helps make the practice more bearable and simpler in the beginning, since most beginners aren't used to meditating.
You can find a tremendous amount of guided meditations online, either on YouTube, or on mobile apps, the internet is full of them, so it really is easy and simple to get started.
Breathing in meditation plays a very meaningful role. Firstly, you are almost always doing it, it's something that you can do anywhere, and with enough practice, you can focus on it anywhere and in any situation and use it to help center yourself and focus your mind, which makes following your breath one of the most useful and efficient techniques when it comes to meditation, mindfulness, and reducing stress and anxiety.
Most guided meditations will instruct you to follow your breath, it's simply because it's a constant element in the practice, you are always breathing, which gives you a consistent focusing point, which is one of the core elements of meditation. Focusing your mind on something allows you to ease it and reduce the stream of thoughts that goes on inside it, which helps bring you closer to a tranquil state, reducing stress, anxiety, and other negative thoughts and feelings.
One reason is the concept people have of meditation.
They know of meditation from what they see in movies and on TV, where someone is just sitting and meditating for a long time, and then becomes enlightened.
This is not real life, and that is not how meditation works.
For a meditation practice to be effective, and consistent, you need to understand what to expect.
When you first start out, you won't be enlightened, it may even be a little bit painful since people are usually not used to sitting in a position like you do when you meditate, and especially not for longer periods of time. On top of that, you may just feel a general discomfort, boredom, and may see yourself full of more thoughts than you had before you started meditating.
All of these things are normal, and that is the reality of beginning meditating. It's not easy, it's a practice that takes time to get good at.
How does this all help?
Now that you know what to expect, you can understand that first, you will not be enlightened after one or two meditation sessions. Second, that it won't just magically clear your mind of thoughts. And third, that yes, it is uncomfortable, but this gets better quickly.
With all that said and understood, you can now focus on the practice itself rather than what you will theoretically get out of it.
Focus on the practice and on making it consistent. Try to meditate every day for just a few minutes a day, even 5 minutes. If you can't do it every day, then every other day, or as often as you can.
Once you do this consistently, you will slowly realize and feel that you can meditate for longer periods of time, and more frequently. After some time, you will begin to realize the effects of this practice.
But if you jump in to the practice already expecting to see all the results and benefits after just a few sessions, and to be able to sit and meditate for 30 minutes or longer, then you will probably be joining the people who tried out meditation and say that it doesn't work.
Meditation can help you sleep better by calming you down before bed. It can help put you into a deeper state of calmness and relaxation by reducing the stress of the passing day.
Meditation helps center you and brings you back to the present moment. This means that it can help you focus more on the now, rather than on what happened that day, or what may happen in the future. It can help reduce stress, anxiety, pressure, and other negative feelings and emotions.
For many people, these are the exact reasons why they are not getting a good night's sleep, and since mediation can help with those issue, it can be a great way to prepare yourself for bed, and a great way to end the day.