How Mindfulness Can Help You Manage Anxiety

How Mindfulness Can Help You Manage Anxiety
Gustavo Frazao

There are so many wonderful life experiences that go unnoticed because our attentions are focused elsewhere. We are more distracted than ever. Our calendars are over-scheduled, more and more time is being spent using technology and social media, and our communications are limited to 140 characters. 

With all of this fast-paced living, driven by outside influences, it should be no surprise that our minds have become more reactionary than proactive. Somehow, we have become disconnected from our own thoughts, feelings, and emotions. We have left the door open for anxiety.

Anxiety.org defines anxiety as, “simply the body's reaction to stressful, dangerous, or unfamiliar situations. It's the sense of uneasiness, distress, or dread you feel before a significant event.” There is a way to take back control over our minds and keep anxiety at bay -- it's called mindfulness. Pandit Dasa, an author, mindful leadership and well-being expert, and founder of Conscious Living, LLC, defines mindfulness as, "becoming aware of our thoughts and emotions and bringing our mind to the present moment."

He says that, according to Psychology Today, human beings have between 25,000-50,000 thoughts per day. That's anywhere from 17-33 thoughts per minute. As you can imagine, it would be pretty tough to have a conversation with someone or sustain high levels of productivity with so many distractions. 

Dasa offers that having an untamed and untrained mind causes adverse effects on our overall health and wellness. "The mind makes us believe that we are in danger and convinces our body to react as if the situation is really happening," he says. Our thoughts are the main causes of our problems and suffering. 

And consider the number of misunderstandings that happen every single day because we just aren't listening actively in our conversations. It's logical to assume that mindfulness could reduce the number of disagreements and mistakes we make. Dasa explains, "We give ourselves so much anxiety by misunderstanding and misinterpreting another person’s words or behavior. Too often, we let that misunderstanding brew in our mind for days, weeks, months, or even years."

So, how do we practice mindfulness? According to Dasa, the techniques are very simple. We can practice yoga and meditation, but just sitting quietly everyday for five minutes and not thinking too much will make a marked difference in our lives. The key is to increase the amount of time we spend doing nothing by a couple of minutes every week consistently. Deep intentional breathing and tuning in to our feelings will have a calming effect while allowing us to connect with our emotions. 

The lesson here? If we become more mindful, we can improve our physical and emotional health while eliminating a host of problems from our lives. Just a little bit of mindfulness goes a very long way.

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