As the year draws to a close, our final mindfulness practice for 2012 focuses on anxiety. Curious timing.
Anxiety is defined as a state of uneasiness and distress about future uncertainties; apprehension; worry. Though we move into the new year with hope and a fresh start, it may also be a cause of anxiety. With each new year comes potential change-something we cannot predict or control.
Anxiety is a constant companion for many of us.
How does anxiety show up for you? Does your heart race or your breathing become shallow? Maybe your stomach tightens or your hands tingle.
What patterns or events trigger anxiety for you? Do you become anxious when watching the news? Does it happen when you get to work or school? Perhaps it arrives even earlier, as soon as your alarm clock goes off.
As with our previous mindfulness practice on impatience, the seeds of anxiety are often planted during childhood. Was there any particular event that happened when you were a child that contributes to your anxiety as an adult?
Anxiety is often accompanied by thoughts-negative thoughts, worrisome thoughts, fearful thoughts. These thoughts can give rise to our anxiety as well as escalate our anxiety.
When you become aware of anxiety, counteract it with deep breathing. Become aware the thoughts that trigger your anxiety and flip the thoughts for the positive.
If watching the news causes you anxiety, turn it off. Dial down your exposure to the negative.
This week, become aware of anxiety, what triggers it for you, and how your thoughts influence the anxiety. Take a deep breath when anxiety creeps in. Be truly present and let your worries drop away.
Reflection: This we can all bear witness to, living as we do plagued by unremitting anxiety . It becomes more and more imperative that the life of the spirit be avowed as the only firm basis upon which to establish happiness and peace. -H.H. the Dalai Lama