Having suffered for years with debilitating anxiety one of the power tools that helped me along my journey was mastering the art of mindfulness.
Mindfulness certainly is a power tool and the lovely thing about mindfulness in particular is that there is no right or wrong way to practice it. The purpose of mindfulness is to bring you into the present moment with a non-judgemental awareness. This is very soothing for the nervous system and the more mindfulness is practiced, the easier it becomes. The more you train yourself to bring your awareness to your breath the more your brain will get used to this pattern and slowly start to adapt.
Here is a beautiful yet simple mindfulness technique by one of my favourite teachers Thich Nat Hanh. Mindful breathing helps calm thoughts in your mind which invokes a wonderful sense of peace from within.
Begin by simply noticing your breath coming in and out of your body without trying to change it. Just notice.
Then after a few breaths, on the in-breath say to yourself in your mind ‘ breathing in, I know that I am breathing in’. And on the out-breath say’ breathing out, I know that I am breathing out’.
We are going to repeat this process for at least five minutes but each time after a few breaths we are going to reduce the amount of words that we use each time.
On the next few in and out breaths, say to yourself: ‘I am breathing in, I am breathing out’.
If you like, you can reduce the words even more on the following few breaths to: in-breath, ‘breathing in’, and on the out breath ‘breathing out’.
It is important not to try to empty your mind. Your mind loves having something to do therefore it’s impossible to stop our thoughts completely. We as humans are designed and created to think! With regular mindfulness practice will begin to notice your thoughts as they crop up, which is part of being mindful but all we do is return our attention back to our breathing each time. Calm and centred 🤩