The 4 Most Effective Mindfulness Exercises For Anxiety
The 4 simplest and most effective mindfulness exercises for anxiety.
Do you have a lot of stress and anxiety in your life? Who doesn’t these days?
When the expected work hours in the country have gone from the standard 9-5, stretched out to 9-9 workday, how is it possible to find time to de-stress and unwind? Unfortunately, the stresses of work are no longer left for the workplace exclusively. We take home work that we don’t finish or get behind on, to do another few hours after dinner. We leave our work emails open on our smartphones, anxiously and nervously waiting for the next crisis at work to strike.
So what’s the best way to cope with that stress and get past that daily anxiety cycle?
Mindfulness Exercises To Calm Your Mind
Mindfulness takes a little practice, but it’s virtually a free way to relax your mind, heighten or completely disengage your senses, and practice thankfulness or peace in times of extreme or moderate stress.
Here are four ways that you can use mindfulness to relieve stress during your day. Use these mindful meditative techniques to overcome stress and anxiety.
1) Explore Your Own Gratitude
As cliche as it sounds, counting your blessings is one of the best ways that you can start overcoming your stress. Your brain is a muscle, and like the other muscles in your body, it responds to muscle memory. Most of us have conditioned our brains to respond to chaos, work, obligations, responsibilities and surprise work emergencies with stress. It is hard not to.
Fortunately, the brain can be conditioned, much like other muscles, to respond either more positively or more detached from the stress that you are feeling. If you start feeling yourself falling down a stress whole, STOP! Before you go any further into that vicious cycle that you put yourself through, hit the breaks for a second.
- Close your eyes
- Put both hands on your chest
- Take some deep breaths
- Envision 2-3 moments or events in your life that you are really thankful for
Keep breathing, and fully remember what it was like living in that joyful moment. Give yourself just 5 minutes to reflect on these positive events in your life, before you open your eyes, and you will see a noticeable drop in your stress levels afterward.
2) Take a Walk
We really don’t take that much time anymore to appreciate nature. One of the biggest reasons that most of us get so stressed in the first place is that we don’t get enough exercise and fresh air. A little vitamin D and oxygen, via a short walk, may be all you need to crush stress and experience mindfulness.
Taking a walk is a great way to clear your head and experience mindfulness in a stressful situation.
Start the morning with a short 10-20 minute peaceful walk if you can. If you aren’t quite a morning person, take your lunch break at work to take a stroll outside in the elements. Take note of the weather, temperature, humidity, wind, rain, and what’s going on in the living environment around you.
3) Use a Guided Meditation App
If you struggle with getting into a calm or mindful state, don’t tell yourself that you’re bad at being mindful. You might just need a little push in the right direction.
There are tons of free and paid guided meditation apps on the Android and iPhone markets that you can start using today. Most of the paid ones even have free 7-10 day meditation trials or challenges, so that you can see what you like before you commit to one application or service.
If you think that you might need a little more guidance in getting out of a stressful state and moving into a mindful state, check out these great guided meditation applications.
- Headspace (take 10) I’ve personally tried that, and also bought the paid version for 1 year. I definitely recommend Headspace.
4) Mindful Breathing
One of the best ways to remove yourself from stress to get in a state of mindfulness is to simply practice mindful breathing. There is a reason that all of the guided meditation applications mentioned above focus on a lot of mindful breathing throughout their sessions, it works.
The seemingly rudimentary process of focusing on your breath is a great way to bring your focus to your body and the moment you’re in, to either remove your mind from stress or to get some perspective on the situation.
Here’s how you can get started with this exercise to reduce anxiety.
- Sit or lie down comfortably in the floor. You do not have to sit with your legs crossed.
- Close your eyes.
- Start taking some deep breaths.
- Focus on where your breath is entering from. Most will recommend through your nose.
- Analyze where your breath is going and where you feel it the most. Do you feel it most in your chest, mouth, or stomach?
- Exhale, and focus on the breath leaving your body.
Try this for 5-20 minutes at a time. You can do this while sitting at your desk at work if that’s easiest and most convenient for you.
Whether you are in a high stress season of your life right now or not, start practicing one of these mindfulness methods for anxiety as a part of your daily routine. You will notice dramatic improvements in your ability to stay mindful and calmer in stressful situations.
These were the 4 simplest and most effective mindfulness exercises for anxiety. Use these mindful meditative techniques to overcome stress and anxiety.
Video Resources with Mindfulness Exercises For Anxiety
This article with the best free guided meditations on YouTube and this one about mindfulness videos on YouTube might help you practice guided meditation to release stress and anxiety. You can use these videos when you are at a peak or daily, just to relax and re-energize.
Here is a video explanation of how mindfulness helps beat anxiety attacks.
Mindfulness Exercise For Overcoming Anxiety
Here is a top anxiety reduction video.
5 Minute Quick Anxiety Reduction – Guided Mindfulness Meditation
And finally a longer (~9 min.) exercise:
Mindfulness Meditation to Help Relieve Anxiety and Stress