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Anxiety Treatment - Coping with Anxiety: Living in the Moment

Jun 27, 2008
When you're anxious, you are anticipating the future. You might be afraid of a possible encounter with a spider... or worrying about the possible outcome of your recent blood tests... or trying to figure out if the racing heart you're feeling means that you're having a heart attack... or sitting frozen to your chair and fearing the many possible ways your boss might respond to your last email...

While you are busy anticipating the future, you've lost track of what is happening to you in the moment. One of the sad realities of feeling anxious is that the events in your present life can be easily overlooked. For example, while you're worrying about that last email that you sent your boss, you might not notice that your co-worker just introduced a really great idea for a new project. Or, you might not notice that another, attractive co-worker sent you a smile across the office.

One potential way to cope with your anxiety is to purposefully focus your attention upon the very moment of your life that you are living. This idea, called mindfulness, is a concept that is based in Buddhist teachings and can be applied as a technique to cope with stress and anxiety.

One of the simplest examples of mindfulness is over a meal. You have two choices: you can either gobble up your food while barely noticing what you're eating, or you can eat mindfully while savoring every bite. Eating mindfully entails noticing the way that all of your senses are stimulated - the taste of the food, its look, the smell, the feel of it in your mouth, and the sound it makes while you chew. The same concept can be applied to any situation that you are confronting.

If we go back to the scenario at the office where you are worrying about the outcome of that last email you sent to your boss. First, you need to notice that you are worrying or feeling anxious. Next, you need to shift all of your focus upon the present moment. If you are sitting at your computer, stand up and walk over to a favorite co-worker. Strike up a conversation. Make eye contact and smile. Notice what the muscles in your face feel like as you smile. Notice how he/she smiles in response to the conversation. Notice how you begin to feel... maybe you feel excited by his/her great idea that she shares and you start to feel energized... maybe you feel comforted when your co-worker shares his/her own struggles and that pesky tension in your shoulders lessens a bit. Regardless of what you notice, as long as you focus upon the present moment, you will automatically begin to feel less anxious (as you are no longer focusing upon the feared outcomes of the future).

While this approach will NOT cure you of anxiety, it can be used as a way to provide yourself a moment of distraction from the anxiety. In the case of that worrisome email to your boss, perhaps after engaging in some mindfulness, you might feel better able to face and successfully cope with the situation, rather than feeling frozen to your chair. As with all strategies to cope with anxiety, mindfulness must be practiced before your anxiety paralyzes you. It might be best to try mindfully eating your breakfast or mindfully lying down on your bed... whatever comes naturally. Then, as you become comfortable with the process of being mindful, you can apply it to situations when you notice yourself feeling anxious and begin to give yourself some relief from anxiety.
About the Author
To learn more about anxiety, you can sign up for a free report at this website: http://e-InfoProduct.com/Anxiety/Anxiety1.htm

Tamas Gloetzer is also the publisher of several e-books on the topic of anxiety. To start your journey, sign up here.
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