Do you suffer from anxiety?

Anxiety is fuelled by worry. Anxiety develops when we place too much emphasis on speculating and anticipating the future; imagination allows us to visualise impossible outcomes and unlikely scenarios – we then spend too much time worrying about every possibility. The challenge is that the mind has a funny way of amplifying problems and minimises solutions. This is what the mind does. And this is how we get trapped in a habitual cycle of worry which ultimately leads to anxiety.

Anxiety does not urge us to fight, flee or freeze; it alerts us to the possibility of danger: slight dizziness, nausea, dry mouth and racing, repetitive thoughts. Anxiety primes us to worry even more which leads to spiralling thoughts, insomnia, psychological disorders; much of the content of our minds no longer serve us well, rendering us tormented and, at times, isolated and distraught.

Mindfulness practices can help us to increase our ability to regulate emotions, decrease stress, anxiety and depression. It can also help us to focus our attention, as well as to observe our thoughts and feelings without judgement. ... Gradually through the practice of mindfulness we can train ourselves to notice when our thoughts are taking over, and realise that thoughts are simply 'mental events' that do not have to control us.

Mindfulness develops over a period of time through practice. You begin by training your mind through mindfulness meditation and this mindfulness meditation allows the mind to develop a concentrated state of mind. Once you establish concentration, you observe the flow of inner thoughts, emotions and bodily sensations without judging them as good or bad. It is a process of paying attention to what your mind is thinking, what emotions you are having, why you are having these emotions and how these emotions make you feel ie anxious, angry, sad, distracted etc. You also notice external sensations such as sounds, sights, and touch that make up your moment-to-moment experience.

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