Anxiety and depression for many can be disheartening, terrifying, and even debilitating. The symptoms of anxiety can strike at any moment it seems and are usually related to a future event that may or may not happen, but the thought of it happening alone is quite enough to start the downward spiral.
Depression seems to be a slower beast in onset, takes a little longer to combat and commonly closes in on past events and things and/or situations we regret. In any event, mindfulness for anxiety and depression can significantly reduce the symptoms and potentially slow down the frequency of invasive thought patterns in general.
Mindfulness is all about being in the moment, accepting the moment, and then moving past the moment. Mindfulness helps a person pay closer attention to their internal and external surroundings any given moment. The very act of focusing on what is happening and how it is affecting them as it happens, leaves the conscious mind with less time and space for the anxieties of what may or may not happen, or for dwelling on things in the past.
In it’s most basic form, mindfulness for anxiety and depression is about training your brain to accept what’s happening without complicating the matter by adding forecast or re-hashed imagery. These imaginings and ruminations inevitably will exhaust your mind and body, delay recovery and invite more frequent outbreaks.
Practical Applications of Mindfulness
Picture the first thing you do when you get up in the morning. Okay, after you hit the snooze four times and thrown the covers back over your head. You’ve probably already started worrying about all the things you’ve got to accomplish today, and if you don’t get them done, you’ve failed. Anxiety starts nearly from the moment you open your eyes.
Mindfulness for anxiety helps us accept the anxiety we’ve dished out to ourselves, and then move past it. Okay, yes, we’ve got a lot on the to-do list, but if we aren’t able to get it all done, there’s always tomorrow. The world won’t end. You aren’t a failure. You’ve already got a frown on your face and your brow is furrowed, heart rate is escalating, and you haven’t even gotten your hindquarters out of bed yet.
Instead, focus on how good it feels to get that first big morning stretch and how amazing and cool and fresh the carpet feels between your toes. Keep going, with positive, mindful thoughts. Be aware of what’s going on internally and externally, remember? In this moment. Stay in this moment. Don’t allow anxiety to suck away your time like an aimless vacuum. Acknowledge it, accept it, and be mindful in the thoughts after that moment. It takes practice, but it’s worth it!
Mindfulness for depression is a different story, yet similar in tactic. The object is to be purposeful in thought, right? Be mindful. So when you get home in the evening and realize you were only able to check of four of the 10 items on your list of chores for the day, it might be a trigger for depression. You’ve failed, yet again. You can’t get anything right. How will you ever get that list accomplished. One day at a time, that’s how! Just like every other human being!
When you feel depression rearing its ugly head, the first step is always to accept it. Be real with it. Depression is about things in the past, and unless you are a time traveler you can’t change the past. So once you’ve acknowledged that you are in fact depressed about something, get back to the present moment, as quickly as possible.
Practice giving your attention to breathing; shorter breaths in, longer breaths out. Think mindfully about what is happening in this very moment, inside and outside of your body, in place of allowing the depression to monopolize your thought process.
Give mindfulness for anxiety and depression and try. You’ll be surprised with the results! Like most things in life, it’s going to take some practice. Be patient with yourself as you figure out the best methods of mindfulness to help combat your particular levels of anxiety and depression, too.
Charles R. Swindoll said, “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.” Being aware of your minute to minute existence will help you learn to control your reactions, which will greatly help in overcoming the symptoms of anxiety and depression.