By The Open Forest Team
Concern is natural; ruminating is not!
As someone who struggled with anxiety a great deal, I find that practices of mindfulness – ways of coming back to the present moment – are the quickest way to take myself out of any spiral. Anxiety arises typically when I think about the past or the future, both spaces in which I am not currently existing, and in a way, their own form of craziness because what I am really doing is speculating about ‘could haves’ ‘should haves’ or what ‘might’ take place. None of these things are the truth, and when I am not focusing on the truth, it is no wonder that I create a whole array of uncomfortable feelings and thoughts for myself. As humans in a modern world, we are prone to this way of being because we are concerned about our well-being and ability to continue existing. This is natural. What is unnatural is the level at which we are now experiencing these kinds of anxiety, which is astronomically high. So, for me to really take care of myself means to watch out for my own ways of being and experiencing life which can trigger anxious feelings for me. Once I started to really pay attention this, I was blown away by how much of my time and energy was spent thinking about things that either hadn’t yet happen or couldn’t happen because they were in the past. Every moment that I am out of the present is, in a way, one which I have lost.
Mindfulness enhances the present moment
Mindfulness can be practiced with any and all of the senses; they are the quickest route to being present because they are representative of our physical experience of the now. Practicing mindful eating, really savoring each bite and focusing exclusively on the dining experience, is one great way to do this. Another is with music, choosing soothing or positive tunes that I can just float with or dance to brings me not only into a sense of physical and auditory joy but into my present experience. Visually, taking in my surroundings is something I am working on. We are often trying to get from Point A to Point B and we miss out on a lot of the magic of life by not looking up to see what’s happening. Mindfulness practices are one of the quickest ways, in my experience, to shift out of anxiety.