Sometime back one of my friends called and said, “Everything seems great in my life. And still I feel a constant low-noise anxiety and antiness which won’t go away”.
As I reflected on our conversation, my friend’s example is not an isolated case. We are living through an age of anxiety: sometimes it is situational anxiety mirroring the current state of our life, other times it is more existential, the long-drawn out discomfort related to the larger questions of life.
Regardless of the nature of the anxiety, it compromises the quality of our life and makes us jumpy and catastrophic in thinking. Though there are various interventions available to control anxiety yet they do come with their share of limitations: some have side effects and others are only effective under specific circumstances.
Another promising do-it-yourself intervention to calm our anxious brain is mindfulness, an act of deliberately staying present to the moment and adopt a non-reactive attitude to the emerging anxious thoughts.
Accumulating research indicates that disciplined training in mindfulness practice leads to calming of amygdala, the part of the brain heavily involved in anxiety and depressive thoughts. Once this part of the brain slows down, we are able to manage anxious thoughts much more efficiently.
In simpler terms, all it means is that with patience and gentleness, we can hack into our own brain with simple techniques to alleviate sufferings associated anxiety, depression and other mental health challenges.
Try the following 5 minute mindfulness technique:
NOTE: Please keep in mind that mindfulness training requires dedicated regular practice of its techniques for its effects to become tangible.