mindfulness, a way through depression and anxiety

Anxiety is a disorder of the future.
Depression is a disorder of the past.

Mindfulness brings you into the present {and, plenty of smart science tells us it’s a great treatment for depression and anxiety}.

Mindfulness is the awareness that emerges from paying attention, on purpose and non-judgmentally, to things as they are {instead of how we expect them to be}.

Here’s a roundup of tools and perspectives to calm the jitters of anxiety and lift the veil of depression by using mindfulness.

Be aware.

A wandering mind, autopilot, judging, fixing, unhealthy habits, and multi-tasking are all signs that you’ve lost your connection to the present moment.

Be aware and return to the present. Again. And, again.
Because it will happen … again.

Be grateful.

Genuinely get inside of your gratitude by being specific about what you’re grateful for in the moment.

As I’m writing this, I’m grateful for the smart, engaging, and hilarious Bill Nye video that is teaching my boys about magnetism. I’m grateful because it means I am free to write, while they are learning about something they are interested in. I love listening to them giggling at the crazy antics and signing along to the goofy songs. I’m in awe over how much they pick up from the videos and I am looking forward to how they will proudly tell me everything they’ve learned later today. I feel a deep sense of satisfaction knowing we all get to do what we love – they are feel to learn, I am free to write.

Finding what you are grateful for in the moment drops you right into the present. Being specific about what you are grateful for amps up the appreciative vibes and deepens your commitment to fully being in the now.

Your turn.

Right now, I am grateful for …
I am grateful for this because …

Be responsive.

When you’re fragmented {or triggered} you’re reacting to the present from wounded place in the past or a fearful place in the future.

If you’ve ever found yourself regretting what you’ve said, spilling out hot tears without knowing why, spewing out words you never thought you’d say, distancing or shutting down, feeling ‘insane’ or find yourself circling around a common unhealthy thought like I’m unwanted, I’m unlovable, I’m not good enough, I’m alone you are experiencing fragmentation.

It’s best to work with a therapist to heal the cracks that cause fragmentation because these wounds can mess up life and damage relationships. But, in the meantime, you can work on responding consciously rather than reacting unconsciously.

We can’t change what we can’t change but we can mindfully change our response to every situation.

When you tune into the present and reflect on how you want to respond you create a sweet cushion of thoughtfulness between yourself and the situation.

Be accepting.

Right here, right now, there is nowhere else you need to go, nothing else you need to do, and no one else you need to be.

Work on accepting every single little thing about the present moment.

Be oxygenated.

Breathe into your belly. The big full breaths into your diaphragm send a love note to your nervous system to let it know, in the moment, all is well.

Imagine running away from a sleek black panther chasing you through the jungle. While you are running for your life and swinging like Jane through the vines, you are not breathing into your bellying; you are breathing into your neck and chest all frantic and frenetic.

Your nervous system doesn’t know the difference between the panther, your overwhelming to-do list or your traumatic past. It’s all interpreted as danger in the present. By lean into mindfulness with your belly breathing; suddenly, your nervous system feels safe and soothed.

Victor Frankl, a wise and brave soul who dug psychology said, between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our happiness.

The mindful space between what we are experiencing and ourselves is the sweet spot that Victor is referring to. It is a way through life that can help anxiety melt and depression fade.

Posted on Nov 7, 2016 | Posted In: health & happiness, meaningful & life lessons, thoughts & musings
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