I am an anxious person. I am consistently riddled with various anxieties. If someone were to open the door to my mind right now, this is what they would see:
- Must write a blog post
- Should get to sleep because it’s past 1am
- Less than a month before school starts
- Did you even think about your lessons for next year?
- Did you review the summer reading?
- Where is your summer reading book?
- Are the clothes still in the wash – they’re going to smell and need to be rewashed…
- The bath bombs aren’t drying
- When does the dog need Heartguard again?
- Why did I eat so much at dinner again?
- Is dust waging a war against me?
- The water bill is due this quarter
- I should really just relax
- Now it’s 1:15
- Hellllloooooo…time to blog!
For me to write this post about being mindful is a bit paradoxical. I have to be mindful of my own thoughts in order to write, but I need to be cognizant of my crazy to write about regrouping to mindfulness. And people wonder why I’m anxious.
Anxiety comes from living in the future. We lose our sense of mindfulness when overrun with thoughts about the next moment(s). Of course, we need to plan for our future and consider different future results for our actions; however, the anxiety we feel is not for us to control.
I have to repeat this to myself when trying to gain mindfulness. I cannot control the future, but I can control right now. Ultimately, if we look to control “right now,” we shape our future. For example, I have anxiety about the upcoming school year, which I get every single August. I cannot control September and my new schedule, but right now I can review my “first-day-of-school” lesson.
- If you’re rattled about something, what can you say or do right now to make progress? This applies to almost every anxiety.
- Cut off every distractor, whether it’s the TV, radio, phone, other people, etc. and ask yourself: “How are you feeling? Why are you feeling this?” – Treat yourself like you would your best friend in crisis.
- Stop and listen to your body. Are you tired, hungry, dehydrated? Drink a tall glass of water before making a decision or taking the next step. Give yourself some breathing room.
- Meditate by immersing yourself in a hot bath with calming scents like lavender and chamomile. Feel the steam open up your pores. Pay attention to how the water feels between your fingers. Just rest in the tub without worrying about washing, rinsing – allow yourself to soak.
- Clear your space to clear your mind. Spend time to clean one room completely and stay in that room for 10 minutes to appreciate your work. Notice how your mind feels in a clean environment.
- When you begin to feel anxiety, stand up, stretch, and walk outside. Do not look at your phone or watch. Take a walk while breathing in fresh air. Be alone.
- Tilt your neck to the left so the left side of your face is touching your left shoulder. Place your left hand on your head above your right ear. Place your right hand on the right side of your neck. Gently stretch until you feel the tension release. Repeat on the opposite side, reversing left-to-right.
- Take a bottle of Rest Easy, shake, spray right above your head and let the droplets fall onto you. Spray as much as you like. Close your eyes and just take deep breaths – breathe in through your nose slowly, and exhale through your mouth slowly.
When it comes to mindful practices, it’s all about retraining your mind to focus on the here and now. It’s a necessary step towards stress reduction and building new, good habits. If you had a bad habit you would like to break, stop and be mindful of your behavior, try one of the steps above, and do the positive behavior instead.
This takes time and mindfulness doesn’t just happen overnight, but with a continued promise to yourself to be mindful, you can reduce your stress, anxiety, and change your habits.