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Mindful : April 2016
On a bad day—and those can come one after another—every little thing can drive us to distraction. We’re itchy, antsy, pulling our hair out, too jumpy to even meditate. Next time your brain gets knotted up, consider these suggestions. By Elisha and Stefanie Goldstein First, slow down When we are anxious EVERYTHING speeds up—our thoughts race, our heart pounds, our breath- ing accelerates. This makes it difficult to think clearly and make healthy decisions. At the first sign of things speeding up, move a little slower and see what else you can do to intentionally slow things down. Come to your senses Anxiety lives in our minds and often manifests in the body. When we’re anxious we’re not connected to where we are. Take a few moments to connect with your five senses. It will help bring you back into the moment. Be mindful of a simple task Life is full of simple tasks: walking, eating, answering emails, gardening, drink- ing water, cooking. When we’re anxious, we feel out of control. Being mindful of a simple task helps remind us we’re in control if our choices. Choose a task and imagine it’s your first time doing it. Dip into the rich- ness of your life. Doa reality check Anxiety often stems from fear about events that haven’t taken place. Our minds are very creative and powerful and often tell sto- ries that aren’t true. When you have a catastrophic thought, ask yourself, “Is this thought absolutely true?” Chances are your worst fears are just that— fears, not facts, not the real- ity of what is happening. Release the critic Not only is anxiety painful enough, but we often get hit with a second round of self- critical thoughts. A simple question: Do the judgments make you more or less anxious? The answer is almost always, more. When you notice the self-critic, see if you can interrupt it by dropping into your heart and saying, “May I learn to be kinder to myself.” → Soothe Your Anxious Mind Illustrations by Susa Talan 26 mindful April 2016 how to live a mindful life