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Managing Anxiety with Mindfulness For Dummies



Managing Anxiety with Mindfulness For Dummies

Joelle Jane Marshall

ISBN: 978-1-118-97257-1 November 2015 192 Pages


Don't panic!

Managing Anxiety with Mindfulness For Dummies is a practical guide to overcoming your worries and minimising anxiety using mindfulness techniques. The National Health Service and the National Institute for Care and Excellence recommend mindfulness as a legitimate treatment for anxiety, and its also been proven to alleviate stress, depression, low self-esteem, and insomnia. This book explains the benefits of mindfulness, and how it can help you face your fears and defeat persistent, irrational worries. Learn how to break the anxiety cycle with an optimistic approach, live in the present moment, and manage your thoughts using the fundamental techniques of mindfulness therapy. This friendly guide will accompany you every step of the way as you understand your anxiety, identify solutions to your problem, maintain your gains, and avoid relapse.

Over three million people in the UK suffer from Generalised Anxiety Disorder, with millions more experiencing phobias, OCD, and panic disorders. Anxiety is potentially debilitating, but many people are daunted by navigating the health system and thus fail to seek treatment. This book provides a way for you to begin managing your symptoms at home, using simple techniques that can help change the way you think, feel, and act.

  • Understand what anxiety is, and the common causes
  • Employ mindful self-compassion to alleviate symptoms
  • Discover mindful attitudes and practise mindful mediation
  • Transform unhealthy habits into anxiety-busting self-care

Mindfulness can help you break free of the downward spiral of negative thought and action, and make positive choices that support your wellbeing. If you're tired of being anxious and long for a brighter outlook, Managing Anxiety with Mindfulness For Dummies provides a wide range of effective techniques to help you enjoy a calmer and happier life.

Introduction 1

About This Book 1

Foolish Assumptions 2

Icons Used in This Book 3

Beyond the Book 3

Where to Go from Here 4

Part I: Getting Started with Managing Anxiety 5

Chapter 1: Peering into the World of Anxiety 7

Comparing Fear, Excitement and Anxiety 7

Investigating fear 8

Clarifying the difference between anxiety and excitement 8

Discovering the Effect of Anxiety on the Mind 9

Finding out the Physical Effects of Anxiety on Bodily Functions 10

Understanding the Fight or Flight Response 11

Exploring Why Thinking Negatively Is a Natural Human Trait 12

Recognising Whether Your Anxiety Is Normal or Severe 13

Suffering from excessive anxiety 13

Accepting that mild anxiety can be helpful 14

Applying Mindfulness to Your Anxiety 15

Defining mindfulness 15

Discovering how mindfulness can help your anxiety 17

Trying out a mindful exercise 19

Chapter 2: Finding Out the Common Causes of Anxiety 21

Exploring Common Causes of Anxiety 21

Discovering your biology and your anxiety 22

Finding out the stress factor 23

Thinking causes most anxiety 23

Understanding the Influences Affecting Your Anxiety 25

Considering the effect of childhood experience 25

Exploring self-perception’s impact on anxiety 26

Refusing to identify yourself with anxiety 27

Enjoying the benefits of socialising 28

Realising How Modern Day Living Can Affect Your Anxiety 29

Stopping negative media from affecting your anxiety 29

Reducing the adverse impact of technology on your anxiety 30

Part II: Learning More about Mindfulness for Anxiety 33

Chapter 3: Discovering Mindful Attitudes Toward Anxiety 35

Discovering Your Starting Attitude 35

Understanding the Benefits of Mindfulness 36

Let’s get physical: Benefitting your health 36

Take me, as I am: Appreciating the power of acceptance 38

Open up your eyes: Focusing on an open mind 39

I’ve got the power!: Discovering the strength of the present moment. 40

We’re absolute beginners: Seeing the world with a beginner’s mind 42

Challenging Preconceived Ideas about Mindfulness and Meditation 43

Common Misconceptions 44

Letting go of control doesn’t mean giving up 44

Practising meditation is for everyone 45

Viewing Mindfulness as a Way of Living 46

Introducing the Mindful Breathing Exercise 47

Practising the mindful breathing exercise 47

Enjoying the benefits of mindful breathing 48

Chapter 4: Managing Your Thoughts Mindfully 51

Accepting That Thoughts Impact Your Mind and Body 52

Letting up on your mind 52

Giving your body a break 53

Bringing Mindful Attention and Curiosity to Your Thoughts 53

Considering the effect of mindful attention on your thoughts 54

Trying different mindful metaphors 55

Understanding That Thoughts Aren’t Necessarily Facts 55

Discovering that thoughts are just thoughts 56

Identifying yourself as separate from your thoughts 56

Accepting your thoughts with nonjudgemental awareness 57

Dealing with unhelpful or disturbing thoughts 58

Discovering the Breathing Space Meditation 59

Practising the breathing space meditation 59

Finding out the benefits and use of the breathing space meditation 60

Discovering when to practice the breathing space meditation 61

Chapter 5: Practising Deeper Mindfulness Meditations for Anxiety 63

Introducing the Body Scan Meditation 64

Discovering the benefits and purpose of the body scan 64

Practising the body scan 65

Overcoming common difficulties that arise with the body scan 68

Introducing the Sitting Meditation 70

Discovering the purpose and benefits of the sitting meditation 70

Practising the sitting meditation 71

Overcoming difficulties with the sitting meditation 73

Discovering Mindful Imagery Meditations for Anxiety 74

Practising the clouds in the sky visual meditation 75

Standing tall with the mountain meditation 75

Savouring the Mindful Eating Meditation 76

Practising mindful eating 76

Chapter 6: Using Mindful Self]Compassion and Kindness for Anxiety 79

Understanding Loving-Kindness 79

Accepting the importance of being kind to yourself 80

Practising loving-kindness for yourself 80

Well-wishing loving-kindness for others 82

Facing common issues with the loving-kindness meditation 84

Letting Go of the Perfectionist 84

Investigating what being a perfectionist really means 84

Accepting yourself as already perfect 85

Discovering Compassion for Yourself and Others 87

Being compassionate towards yourself 88

Showing compassion towards others 89

Chapter 7: Journeying from Excessive Anxiety to Mindful Wellbeing 91

Starting the Journey at the Edge of the Forest 92

Seeing the wood despite the trees: Difficulties along the way 93

Understanding the journey of a lifetime 94

Keeping a Journal to Strengthen Your Practice 95

Writing a journal to help your mindfulness practice 96

Using the journal to monitor your progress 96

Enjoying the Vital Support of Other People 97

Asking family members to cooperate 97

Gaining group support 99

Part III: Applying mindfulness every day for anxiety 101

Chapter 8: Living Mindfully Day-to-Day  103

Engaging in Daily Mindfulness Meditations 103

Drinking tea mindfully 104

Making time for mindfulness in a busy lifestyle 105

Incorporating mindful eating into everyday life 107

Cultivating a joyful commute 108

Maintaining Positive Relationships 109

Being with friends and family 109

Sustaining positive relationships with colleagues 110

Dealing with Difficult Relationships 111

Handling problems with a significant other 111

Managing a daily workload mindfully 113

Chapter 9: Changing Unhealthy Habits to Healthy Ones to Combat Anxiety 115

Cutting Down on Stimulants and Certain Drugs 116

Reducing caffeine intake with mindfulness 116

Reducing the use of harmful nonprescription drugs 117

Choosing to drink less alcohol 118

Looking after Yourself Physically 118

Moving your body mindfully 119

Creating a healthy diet 120

Getting into a regular sleeping pattern 121

Avoiding Overuse of Technology at Home 123

Not watching TV last thing before bed 123

Turning off your computer and mobile phone early 123

Motivating Yourself to Meditate 124

Taking things one breath at a time 124

Forgiving yourself for the occasional slip 125

Rewarding yourself every so often 125

Chapter 10: Taking the Next Step in Your Mindfulness Practice 127

Determining Whether Your Anxiety Needs Medical Attention 128

Looking at the length of time 128

Considering the level of intensity 129

Investigating the impact on your life and behaviour 130

Engaging in an Eight-Week Mindfulness Course 130

Discovering the eight-week course 131

Practising the course alone 132

Finding a course to join 133

Locating a mindfulness coach or therapist to guide you 134

Using Mindfulness with Other Forms of Therapy 134

Changing how you think: Benefits of CBT for anxiety 136

Managing the use of prescribed medication with mindfulness 138

Expanding Your Mindfulness Practice 139

Taking mindful retreats to move forward 139

Discovering other helpful organisations 141

Part IV: The Part of Tens 143

Chapter 11: Ten Simple Mindfulness Exercises for Managing Anxiety 145

Being Mindful in Nature 145

Carrying out a Mini Body Scan Meditation 146

Trying out a Mini Sitting Meditation 148

Breathing Mindfully 149

Practising a Mini Loving-Kindness Meditation 149

Listening Mindfully 150

Cooking Mindfully 151

Walking Mindfully 151

Stretching Mindfully 152

Cleaning Mindfully 153

Chapter 12: Ten Mindful Attitudes for Easing Anxiety 155

Practising Present Moment Awareness 155

Helping Your Beginner’s Mind to Blossom 156

Spotting Your Tendency to Judge 158

Considering Curiosity 159

Opening up to Anxiety 160

Developing Self-Compassion 160

Pursuing Patience – without Rushing 161

Operating with Optimism 161

Generating Gratitude 162

Allowing Acceptance to Grow 163

Index 165