Mindfulness to reduce anxiety

Worrying is dealing with something ahead of time.  We all worry at times, it’s an experience that all people share.  Responding to stressful situations by worrying is a normal way of facing them that can help to solve problems.

KNOW YOURSELF

4 July 2018

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Worrying is adaptive, but sometimes it can be excessive, being continuously present in the lives of those who suffer from it, and it can make you ill.


When worries are related to probable events, they help us to stay aware in unresolved situations and to prepare an anticipated response to a threat.  However, when you concentrate on all of the possible dangers, without considering how unlikely it is that these dangers will ever happen, it isn’t so effective.  


It isn’t possible to face what isn’t happening, therefore, anticipating unforeseen situations can increase stress levels and cause toxic effects for physical and emotional health.

Why do we worry so much?

There are lots of ways to reach a lifestyle marked by excessive worrying. Frequent states of worry can be activated from the feeling of not being in control or not being able to get the desired results in difficult situations.  It can also come another way, such as attentional bias.  Some people believe that negative events are more likely to happen than positive ones.

In other cases, people try to generate as many negative consequences as possible to a potentially threatening situation.  The objective is to prevent them since they have little trust in themselves to be able to resolve these situations.

Worry also feeds superstitious beliefs, some people think that worrying about something means it won’t happen.  They give it a roles of “helpfulness” which is reinforced every day, since many things we worry about don’t end up happening.

Finally, worry comes with a reduced tolerance to uncertainty.  When someone has a predisposition to react negatively to uncertain situations, independently of their likelihood of happening, and the associated consequences, a cascade of thoughts is generated, such as “what if…..?” so they keep a permanent state of worry alive.  

What can we do?

Mindfulness can be considered as a philosophy of life that, today, has been given a scientific and pragmatic focus.  It is one of the so called “third generation” psychological therapies.

It isn’t just effective for therapeutic interventions, it is also used as an educational programme to help manage discomfort, reducing stress, anxiety and unhappiness.

It helps the person to focus on the present moment, paying conscious attention to the experiences of the present moment with interest, curiosity and acceptance.

In addition, Mindfulness can be a powerful tool to improve the quality of life, to actively reinforce the chosen personal project.

6 tips to stop worrying about everything

Mindfulness can help to build a “wise” mind, focusing on becoming aware of the current reality, on placing a focus on what is happening at the present moment, favouring attentional flexibility.

Practicing the following skills will help to achieve it:

1. Observe: attend to internal and external experiences as they happen in the present moment.

2. Describe: what you observe, without qualifiers or labels, putting your own experience into words.

3. Participate: delve into what you are living, get involved in the action.

4. Don’t judge: adopt a non-evaluative attitude.

5. Conscious attention: learn to focus attention on what you are doing in the present moment, focusing fully, without dividing your attention.

6. Act effectively: learn skills to face things according to the  personal objectives and demands of each situation.