This Saturday, May 31, Practical Wellbeing is offering a 6 hour workshop titled “Calm Your Anxious Mind with Mindfulness”. This is a 6 hour workshop that will run from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm.
Here are some of my reflections as I prepare for this workshop.
We all have a stable inner core in our mind and body. This core is a part of you that is reliable, dependable, solid and steadfast. However, depending upon your experiences in life, it may have been some time since you have felt like this. It is possible to uncover this capacity within you with some persistence and consistent effort.
One of the causes for our lack of steadfastness may be related to habits of reactivity that are characterized by strong emotions ie fear, anger, distrust. In many cases these patterns of reactivity can be established when we were much younger and we end up carrying them into our lives and they stay with us largely unexamined or considered as “just the way we are” as we move through our lives.
One of these patterns is the experience of anxiety. I draw on the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn who defines anxiety as a state of insecurity that is triggered by almost anything and is often experienced physically and psychologically. The experience of anxiety is often very uncomfortable and it is made up of a variety of body sensations, thoughts, and emotions that can appear in a variety of combinations.
The first step in learning to handle this condition is to uncover your sense of reliability, dependability and steadfastness. In a mindfulness practice, this is often promoted through paying attention to your breath in a meditation context. Over some persistent practice, this attending to the breath over and over again reveals a stable inner core that is then used as a resource for bringing to the experience of anxiety.
Too often, one might choose to ignore or try to get rid of anxiety using maladaptive options that in the long run may make the condition more problematic.
Mindfulness is used as a way to connect and move in closer to the experience of anxiety and to relate to it with tolerance, patience and equanimity. By learning to connect and relate differently to the potential many symptoms, the impact of anxiety will diminish.