Do you ever find that even when you meditate, anxiety still washes over you more than you’d like?
Does that mean that your mindfulness practice isn’t working?
No, it just means that you’re beautifully human!
As someone who loves my daily meditation time, I too have moments when I get tense…I get caught up in my mind’s worries…
But rather than pushing this anxiety away, I’m learning to befriend it.
And that’s how I know my mindfulness practice is working.
Because I realize that I can choose my response. Not only to what happens in life…but also to all the negative chatter in my mind.
Meditation strengthens your mental resilience and increases your emotional intelligence. This makes bouncing back from anxiety or stress easier and faster.
When you (or your little one) feel that sense of anxiety coming on, try these practices to befriend anxiety and feel instant relief:
- Feel into it fully
Our natural urge when anxiety comes up is to run away from it. We do anything we can to control the situation or minimize the fear. I invite you to sit with your anxiety instead. Get curious about it. Explore the sensations without judgment. Notice what it feels like for your stomach to get tight. Feel your heart beating faster. Recognize that the part of you that’s noticing this is greater than any of these sensations.
- Be grateful for it
Stress and anxiety are part of your brain’s survival mechanism. They’re meant to protect you from potential threats in your environment. So when the threat is mostly in your mind (and aren’t most of the things we worry about?), it’s time to shift your perspective. Be grateful that your brain’s looking out for you. Thank the anxiety for keeping you alert, but remind it that you’ve got this – whatever it is.
- Lean on self-trust
What other challenges and stressful things have you overcome recently? Bring these to mind to remind you that you have the inner resources to handle whatever comes. Let your own sense of empowerment wash away any fear.
- Turn that energy into fuel
What are some ways that the situation that’s causing anxiety could present an opportunity? Is there something you’re passionate about that you could channel the anxiety into instead? Rather than keeping the energy bottled up in your body, release it. Direct it towards something that lights you up – whether a hobby or a work project you’re excited about.
- Soothe yourself with self-compassion
We may sometimes judge ourselves for even feeling anxiety in the first place. The key thing to realize is that it’s a normal part of our common human experience. It’s fine to feel anxiety so show yourself some compassion first. Give yourself a hug and soothe yourself the same way you would a friend.
“Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency. Nothing is that important.” – Natalie Goldberg
Remember, every challenge or cause of stress (even if it’s mostly in your mind) can be seen as a gift.
It’s an opportunity to call upon and embody that powerful woman you’ve always been.