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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Practicing Mindfulness; Become Anxiety Free

As a therapist I am always working with people who suffer from anxiety; panic attacks, social phobia, agoraphobia, and general fears of unknown situations.

I have learned that usually people are anxious because they are living in the future. When people live in the future they are usually experiencing unrealistic fears and worries about what might or might not happen. Which perpetuates a cycle of worry and fear and anxiety.

Recently, I went to a training on mindfulness. I've heard of this concept before but never fully understood what it meant. It's quite an awesome concept! Mindfulness keeps you centered and living in today. Basically, If you live in the moment you're not living in the future or the past. This is also a general premise of 12 step groups (Just For Today). If you live in today you're fully appreciating what's right in front of you. You are making a conscious effort to fully enjoy and appreciate the people you are with at that moment or the food you are eating or the weather outside.

I've challenged myself to really take time and taste the food I'm eating to be aware of the textures and flavors of each bite. When I'm with my family and friends I try to be fully present and connected to the conversation, without thinking about what I need to do later that day. It really works well and it keeps the anxiety away.

I use a variety of tools and techniques to help people over come their anxiety. I developed a social phobia hypnosis CD and a relaxation and stress management hypnosis CD a while back and both have been a big hit with my stress management therapy group. Mindfulness is a tool I am using more and more often. I learned a cool trick to get you grounded and in the present quickly when you're feeling anxious or having a panic attack.

Practicing Mindfulness 5,4,3,2,1,
5. Look around the room and notice five things in the room.
4. Listen for four sounds in the room.
3. Recognize three smells in the room.
2. Take two big deep breaths and release slowly.
1. Say a calming prayer or positive affirmation.

This works amazingly well. I also ran across an unbelievable website; Free Buddhist Audio and a :74 minute FREE download about mindfulness. You can check it out here. It relies on donations, of course I had to donate =)


  1. Thank you for sharing. I really like your 54321 practice:) Makes you be here and now.

  2. I have such a hard time being present. I need to tell you that I recently purchased your Sales success cd. I have really made such progress, some on etsy, but mostly through local people buying my art, and even at my "real" job! I'm very happy with the results. Now if only you had one for becoming a millioaire - you should consider that!

  3. Very thoughtful post, thank you so much!


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