Mindfulness helps us overcome anxiety. We are anxious about the future and what is going to happen to us, to our loved ones, to our communities. We live in a fast-pace environment that have us react and behave in “auto-pilot” mode. We worry about things that may never happen; then, our racing thoughts and the anxiety increase our perception of a threat; and as a result of the chain of thoughts mentioned before, we become immobilized by our anxiety. Our fears are the result of the type of thoughts we create when we worry too much. Mindfulness helps us take a break, focus on the breathing, and label each one of those thoughts as that, as thoughts, not real threats.
When we are anxious, our breathing is fast, we feel it in our stomach, we feel a tension over our shoulders, or we feel numbness in our fingers or toes. Our thoughts are impacting our body, and our bodies seem ready to fight/fly a threat, only that this time this anxiety is created by our fears; because there is no real threat. Most of our fears are social fears.
When we find ourselves in such state, we need to shift our attention from our thoughts and focus that attention in our breathing. This shift increases our level of awareness an decreases the bombarding of thoughts we are experiencing. Focusing in our breathing automatically impacts our emotional, and physical responses in a positive way.
How to do that:
- 7/11 – Wherever you are pause, please stop what you are doing and take a break. Close your eyes, and start breathing in and hold it for 7 seconds, and then breathing out for at least 11 seconds. It is called the 7/11 breathing technique by psychologists who apply Mindulness in their Behavior Cognitive Therapies. (I learned it with Dr. Chrys Willard)
- Finger Breathing – First you stretch your arm like a start. Place your pointer finger at the bottom of your thumb, and breathe in as you slide up. Breathe out as you slide down. Breathe in as you slide up your second finger, and breathe out as you slide down. Keep going until you have finished tracing your fingers and you have taken five slow breaths.
- Do you feel calm or would you like to take another five?
Now folks, try to apply these breathing techniques when you feel overwhelm and you understand a break is in place. Looking forward to hearing from you!