“When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.” – Winston Churchill
No matter how well your day to day life is going, worries small and not so small do pop up in your head from time to time. We humans seem to be programmed to worry, and sometimes these little brain-bugs really get in the way of us getting on with our lives.
Very often the culmination of concerns in our head can get noisy; a little too much. Although worry is an essential part of the human range of emotion, it sometimes needs to be controlled, overcome or suspended for another time. Here are a few mindfulness and meditation tips to help you keep worry, anxiety and even panic from ruining your day.
1. A Moment to Breathe
It is always worth remembering how effective returning to the breath is. If you find your mind spiralling or struggling to get things in order, a return to centre, to a clear mind is an excellent way to reset the brain. The beauty of this most simple of exercises is that it can be done wherever you happen to be, whether it be your office, a train, a shop, a park… anywhere really!
When you are starting to feel overcome, just stop for a moment. Close your eyes (unless you are driving) and simply concentrate on your breath. It is not more complex than that. Notice your breathing. How deep is it? How fast? Are you breathing through your nose or your mouth? You need not try and change your breathing, a focus on its natural rhythm is all that is needed. Even just 5 minutes of doing this can be enough to quiet your noisy mind.
2. Focus on The Moment
I find that, if I am having external worries, I am not as effective in carrying out whatever task it is that I am doing in that moment. It is good to be mindful of when you brain wonders to places outside your current reality. Don’t focus on time, what is happening around you or the future, put all of your effort and brainpower into the talk at hand. I find that, if I am getting distracted, putting some headphones on is helpful (even if I am not listening to anything).
Speaking of headphones, getting lost in your favourite song is a great way to give your brain a break. Listening to music, in general, is a positive experience. Whether the effect is calming or rousing, having your favourite tunes on in the background is a great way to replace the worries swimming around in your head.
4. Take in Your Surroundings
Take a moment to notice what is going on around you; enjoy and be grateful for the world around you. This is, essentially, distraction. Moving your head away from your concerns needn’t be another thing for you to feel stressed about; ‘why can’t I get this stuff out of my head?’. Just breathe easy, be mindful and focus on noticing the details of your immediate surroundings. This will bring your heartbeat back down and clear your head.
Exercise is, for me, the greatest way to release anxiety and worry. Activities with a rhythm to them are best; running, swimming, cycling or rowing. I find that, not only do me emotions benefit hugely from the endorphins and sense of achievement felt at the end of the session, but the headspace exercise gives me often helps me to work out solutions to concerns and realise that they weren’t so pertinent in the first place. Exercise goes hand in hand with mindfulness and self-care.
Last of all, when worrying, remember this; the very nature of worry is that it tends to concern events that have not and may not happen. Try not to spend your emotional energy catastrophising about uncertain future events, and, where possible, accept that there is nothing you can do to alter the possibility of these things coming to pass.
By Chris Thomson
Our devices also tend to get in the way of daily productivity. Take a look at some of the befits of getting rid of your digital dependence in the workplace; Ditching Digital Communication ay Work
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