One of the most useful techniques I use to control my anxiety is mindfulness and it’s something that people ask me about all the time.
I realise many people reading my blog would benefit from therapy such as EMDR but it’s not always affordable so I wanted to share some things I’ve learnt which might be helpful.
Why do I practice mindfulness?
As with many people who suffer from anxiety, my brain over thinks everything, and I mean everything. Our brains work themselves tirelessly especially in a modern age where we go on our phone, watch TV and check our social media from dawn till dusk. Even when you think you’re relaxing, you’re probably glued to your Instagram feed. Scrolling scrolling scrolling.
When I over think things I get anxious. When I get anxious I over think things. It’s a seemingly endless cycle. Sometimes in life you just have to take a moment to breathe and be present.
I’m no good at meditating and thinking of nothing but I do have a structured mindfulness technique which keeps me in the zone. I genuinely feel lighter, refreshed and peaceful once I’ve finished.
This technique can take anywhere from 5-15mins, depending on how much time you have. I’m going to tell you how I use this mindfulness to understand my feelings, and then how I use it just to uplift myself.
1. Start by feeling the emotion which is bothering you which can be anything from anxiety, to fear, to anger or confusion. Take that emotion and really feel where it comes from in your body and then imagine what colour it would be.
For example: I may be really anxious about what the hell I’m doing with my life. The feeling sits in my chest and sometimes my stomach and the colour I may visualise is orange.
2. Think of the colour in your mind’s eye, not the feeling. Picture it breaking down into teenie-tiny particles.
3. Then focus on individual parts of the body. Visualise the colour particles being released from each part of you whilst inhaling and exhaling gently. This is the way I do it:
Focus on each part of your brain in turn – the centre, the back, the left side, right side then the forehead and eyes. Breathing into each section and exhaling the coloured particles out.
Move to your chest, arms, core, navel..working your way down your body allowing the particles to drain out of you and into the ground.
Once you have reached to your legs, go up to your spine and picture it as guitar strings. Pluck the strings to release the particles in your lower, middle and upper spine.
Go up to the brain and repeat its sections again.
Take a deep breath in and release any tension and leftover particles you may have.
Of course you don’t need to do it in this order as it may be hard to remember, do what ever feels best for you! How many times you inhale and exhale to each body part is totally up to you – I adjust it depending on how much time I have.
This technique is really amazing because it’s using the colour particles as a representation of your emotions which allows the brain to process them smoothly, without fighting against or being distracted by the feelings.
However, I don’t always have an emotion bothering me – especially now that I have been exercising mindfulness. But it’s still good to practice so instead of focusing on feelings I don’t want I picture something warm and positive, like a golden elixir or gold dust. By doing this you can enjoy being happy whilst having some well deserved ‘you time’.
Extra bonus – If I practice this at bedtime I drift straight off to sleep!
Mindfulness takes patience and practice. I try to do it daily or every other day and i’ve really noticed a drop in my levels of stress, anxiety and derealisation. Keep at it and the rewards will pay off.
I hope somebody finds this helpful, if you decide to try it let me know how it goes. Any questions are welcome!
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