How deliberate thinking, mindfulness, and being “aware” of the present moment can help anxiety

Many college students turn to substance abuse during their formative years to help cope with a heavy workload or relieve anxiety. It is a form of dangerous self-medication. Luckily, discovering healthy ways to deal with college and life involve nothing more than a little time, effort and conscious thinking, and practicing mindfulness can be beneficial because it can help you deal with stress.

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The ability to be mindful is often a lot tougher than it sounds. Many people believe they are being mindful, when in fact it is just their subconscious thoughts acting and thinking for them. Complete mindfulness is something that can be very hard to achieve, and it can take time and practice to start becoming aware of your thoughts and being in touch with the present moment. It can be conceptualized as the idea that you are one with your body and fully experiencing the sensations it feels; from the wind on your skin to the finest scents in the air. What we hear, feel, see, smell and taste and how deeply we sense these can show us how mindful we are in the present.

Why mindfulness is important

Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the stresses of life and finding any solution you can to cope with them, whether it is a healthy choice or not. Some people turn to such substances like caffeine to boost them through their hectic day of presentations and meetings, or others may turn to harsher substances to free themselves from the cage they feel trapped in in their everyday life. However, these are unnecessary evils that can be eliminated if we just take a step back sometimes to think about the bigger picture and reflect upon how we really feel.

An addict who is seeking treatment may be surprised to learn that holistic therapy is a popular method for recovery. This is a treatment that can be performed by a specialist and promotes mindfulness to improve the overall wellness of the patient. Instead of isolating the illness or physical addiction, it tackles the issue holistically, also carefully taking into account their mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. It looks at every aspect of your life and gives you the chance to live a more balanced and healthy lifestyle after the treatment, rather than simply physically detoxing someone’s body. Some benefits of this treatment include: reduced cravings for addictive substances, reduced anxiety levels and increased relaxation. All these benefits can help you achieve a more mindful sense of being.

Methods of mindfulness practice

One way to deal with anxiety and stress is a method called awareness meditation. To do this, sit comfortably, and focus on your breathing. If your mind wanders, simply shift your focus back as you notice it, without judgment. Observe your emotions, but don’t judge them. Having these types of experiences and meeting them with nonjudgmental thoughts will allow you to see the anxiety more clearly and pin point the root of the problem. This can make the adversity of stress easier to overcome. For example, being in touch with your anxiety and imagining it moving through your body without resistance is a key stepping stone in overcoming it. Accepting your anxieties and knowing it will pass can decrease stress levels and allow you to become more comfortable in your present situation.

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Finally, there’s a few basic relaxation techniques you can use to help you decrease stress levels and chase away that anxiety. These can range from nonphysical activities such as mediation to intense sporting activities where you monitor your thinking and stay in touch with yourself.

To master this art, you must first evaluate your own degree of mindfulness. You or a loved one who may be stressed can take this mindfulness quiz to self-assess. Like most disciplines, mindfulness is an activity that must be practiced regularly to achieve and maintain the full benefits.

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