Mindfulness is all the rage for multiple reasons. This practice helps you halt future fears and ruminations about an immutable past and live in the present moment. That isn’t the only benefit you can reap, however.
Mindfulness allows you to capture what neurologist and Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl describes as freedom — the pause between an external stimulus and your reaction to it. Here’s how you can use this practice to help you overcome your deepest fears.
Do you feel nervous before you go to the dentist? If so, you aren’t alone. Approximately a third of the population gets nervous before getting in the dental chair, some so much so that they repeatedly skip appointments. This phobia can increase their risk of developing other health disorders, and mindfulness is one technique for overcoming it.
Please speak up if you have anxiety before undergoing medical procedures such as vaccination if you fear needles. Your provider can coach you in mindfulness techniques such as applied tension, which can help you avoid fainting by raising your blood pressure before you get your shot.
You can also use mindfulness to soothe your fears before you arrive at your provider’s office. Spend some time in meditation reflecting on all the past medical procedures you’ve undergone — remind yourself you have a 100% running survival rate. Practice using deep breathing to calm physiological responses to stress like a racing heart and sweaty palms before you enter the waiting room.
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), money is the number one cause of stress, and most people get their income from work. Ironically, anxiety in the workplace can lead to negative reactions and unwise decision-making, increasing your chances of getting a pink slip and experiencing financial insecurity.
Fortunately, you can practice many mindfulness techniques at work without your colleagues noticing what you’re doing. It’s always best to practice your coping skills before you have to call on them in a pinch. Please get in the habit of doing one of the following activities each day so that it’s natural to turn to it before you speak at the big budget meeting:
- Walking break: Instead of heading to the snack machine or smoker’s bench, take a walk around the block if the weather is nice or inside your building if it’s rainy. Concentrate on the feeling of your feet hitting the earth and the sensation of the air against your skin as you move.
- Eat a raisin: However, before you pop it in your mouth, take time to explore the look and texture. Once you place it on your tongue, take time to savor the flavor and the sensation of chewing.
- Body scan: Starting at your toes, work your way up your body and breathe healing energy into each part. Spend extra time with any regions that feel tense or tight.
How many times have you said something that you don’t mean in the heat of an argument with your significant other (SO)? Mindfulness can help quell relationship drama by making you reflect on what you say before you say it. It also allows you to determine what issues are worth debating and what you should let slide to keep the peace.
Before responding to something your partner does, pause, take a deep breath and consider how you would feel if they made a similar statement to you. If you would feel hurt, find a kinder way to voice your concerns. “You never take the trash out,” is a sure recipe for a resentment-fueled fight, whereas “Love, could you run the garbage to the bin, please,” has a better chance of resulting in a peaceful and agreeable outcome.
You’ve heard the saying “calm under pressure.” Mindfulness can help you master this elusive quality.
It’s natural to panic when a fire breaks out or your child injures themselves. You don’t have time to meditate, but practicing deep breathing can help calm your physiological reactions enough to let you react appropriately.
Get in the habit of using 2-to-1 breathing whenever you notice tension throughout the day so that you naturally resort to this coping mechanism when your blood pressure begins rising. Elongating your exhales activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which works to mitigate the effects of adrenaline.
Ultimately, what humans fear most is ceasing to be. We are unique among the animal kingdom in having advanced knowledge of our deaths. While this prescience helps us prevent disease and injury, it can lead to paralyzing fears about our ultimate end.
Mindfulness can help you find inner peace with the transient nature of life. You might develop an unshakable spiritual belief system fueled by wisdom arising from deep within your soul. Conversely, you might make peace with the idea that this life is all there is and decide to make the most of it. By coming to terms with the reality of the limited human lifespan, you can spend more of it living and less of it worrying about the inevitable.
Kara Reynolds is the Editor-in-Chief and founder of Momish Magazine. Mom and step mom living her best life while managing anxiety and normalizing blended families. She enjoys pilates, podcasts, and a nice pinot grigio.
How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.