It seems that everywhere I look, I see signs of anxiety. The yoga student who drums her fingers on the floor during savasana…the colleague who complains that he can’t sleep…the client who is afraid to go out of his house…the business woman who has chronic neck and back pain…the teen who reports a stomach ache that won’t go away…I even wake up in the middle of the night sometimes and realize that my mind is churning.
If this rings true for you, you might want to try an experiment. The next time you notice any of these signs in yourself, see if you can notice what you are thinking about. The odds are your thoughts are in the future – thinking of the next 12 things you have to do, worrying about what your child is up to, concerned how you are going to pay your bills, ruminating about what you should have said or done, what if this happens, or that?…you get the idea. For many of us, this type of thinking is running in the background all the time, and it is exhausting.
Then direct your thoughts into the present moment. You might just pay attention to your breath – or bring awareness to sensation in your body. When your mind wants to wander back to your thoughts, just notice that and bring your attention back to the present moment. Keep doing this for a few minutes.
Now notice how you are feeling. You may notice that you feel calmer and more relaxed, that your tense muscles have released and there is less discomfort. Your energy level may feel higher.
When you stop spending your psychic energy worrying about the future and your physical energy coping with the anxiety that results, you experience relief. And when you are paying attention to the present moment, you have a chance to notice how nice it actually is. Even if there are serious challenges in your life, when you stop and pay attention, you find that there is really more that is good and right about right now than there is bad. There is pleasure in the world around you and in being in your own body, and in even being alive to experience it all.
Don’t take my word for it…try it and let me know what you find out.
If you are seeking professional mental health counseling services, please contact Linda Oxford at (248) 930-0004 or send an e-mail .