Many of us are already feeling the rise in anxiety levels due to the hurricane season preparations. Right now, in South Florida, anywhere you go, everyone is talking about Hurricane Irma. When we turn on the News, radio, and internet, they are forecasting the direction the hurricane will be heading towards. Meanwhile, you are still running around preparing, gathering supplies, rushing to get gas and possibly still having to go to work.
So with all this going on, it’s easy to see, why so many of us are feeling overwhelmed and anxious. Some of us may even feel like we are about to experience anxiety attacks. Anxiety attacks are when you’re anxious or deeply worried about what might happen in the future. These worries can make you feel as if those awful things are actually happening right now. A simple way to get relief from anxiety attacks is to practice mindfulness.
What is mindfulness? To pay attention, on purpose, in this very moment, and without judgment. Practicing mindfulness gives your mind a break from its stressful loop hole way of thinking. These simple and short practices will shift your attention from your anxiety producing thoughts onto the actual experience of what’s happening now. These mindfulness practices will increase your overall sense of calm.
Easy Mindfulness Exercises
- Stop and check in with yourself. Ask yourself ‘How do I feel?’ Observe how you’re truly feeling, and recognize your emotions in this very moment. Once you have identified them, state out loud how you’re feeling. Then know that its OK to feel how you feel and be kind towards yourself.
- Identify the noises which are around you right now. What do you hear? Is it loud or quiet? Why is it loud or quiet. Listen to your surrounding with child-like curiosity. Know that these are the sounds of life meaning that you are alive. Then think of how grateful you are for this gift called life!
- Look Around. Focus on what is in front or near by you. State out loud, what it is and what it looks like. Take a mental note of the details, such as its shapes, size and colors.
- Observe how your breathing. Notice your breathing. Is it slow, fast, shallow, deep, choppy or smooth. Do this without judgement or feeling like you need to change anything.
- Smile. This is a simple way to trick your brain into releasing ‘happy chemicals’. You may not feel like it at first. But give it a try. Smile! Then take notice of any sensations that occur. Within 20 seconds notice any subtle changes in your state.
All of the practices mentioned above can be done in less than a minute. They have the power to disrupt unhelpful thought patterns. Keep in mind that it’s important for you to be consistent. Practicing daily mindfulness exercises for just 30 seconds has profound effects on your mental and emotional wellness.