By Elisha Goldstein, clinical psychologist
Stress and anxiety are a part of life, especially during these times of uncertainty. But we don’t need to be enslaved by our anxiety, we can strengthen our mindful skills to ease our anxious minds.
Stress and anxiety are a part of life, especially during these times of uncertainty. However, we don’t need to be enslaved by our anxiety and instead can strengthen our mindful skills to
ease our anxious minds, come into our lives and grow in confidence.
1. Release the critic. Not only is anxiety painful enough, but we often get hit with a second round of self-critical thoughts. A simple question: Do the judgments make you more or less anxious? The answer is almost always, more. When you notice the self-critic, see if you can interrupt it by dropping into your heart and saying, “May I learn to be kinder to myself.”
2. Practice 3×3. In moments of moderate to intense anxiety the 3×3 practice can come in handy. Drop into three of your senses and name three things that you notice about them. In other words, name three things you’re seeing, smelling, tasting, feeling, or hearing. This can help interrupt the automatic catastrophic thinking that’s fueling the anxiety.
3. Channel your anxious energy. Not all anxiety is bad. Like most mental events, anxiety lies on a spectrum. When you’re feeling a lot of anxious energy that could be stress or courage building up. Either way we need to release that. If your anxiety isn’t severe, you can actually channel that energy into something productive. If you’re nervously waiting to hear some news, get active—go for a brisk walk, clean, organize, or garden instead.
Keywords: Stress, anxiety, mindfulness,
About the Author: Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and conducts a private practice in West Los Angeles. He is creator of the 6-month online program A Course in Mindful Living, author of Uncovering Happiness: Overcoming Depression with Mindfulness and Self-Compassion (Atria Books, 2015), The Now Effect (Atria Books, 2012), Mindfulness Meditations for the Anxious Traveler (Atria Books, 2013), and co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook (New Harbinger, 2010).