Mindfulness in the Age of Anxiety

By Lynda Guzman, Director of ACT

 

Mindfulness and Anxiety are two ever-present buzz words in today’s media (both social and formal) which mirrors professional discussions concerning the harmful effects of anxiety and stress on the body and mind. Webster’s Dictionary defines anxiety as “an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physical signs (such as tension, sweating, and increased pulse rate), by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat, and by self-doubt about one’s capacity to cope with it” Clearly this describes many of the issues that have caused angst for people today.  The best remedy available (without prescriptions) is the practice of mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness has been defined as “an act of consciously focusing the mind in the present moment without judgement and without attachment to the moment.” (Linehan 2015) It seems so simple but is excruciatingly difficult in this age of heightened stress.  Many people are struggling with how to control their anxiety and how to live their best possible life.  The answer can be found in creating a meaningful mindfulness practice that honors the best of today while honing the skills that one might need for tomorrow.

Meditation is a form of mindfulness where the practitioner focuses on one thing (Beit their breath, a focal point outside of themselves, or some type of counting exercise) for a specific time period which allows the person to connect with that moment.  This type of activity is considered a grounding exercise and can be used in times of high stress as well as part of a daily ritual.  Meditation can also be used to focus one’s energy in the sense of an internal monologue about an aspect of one’s life such as “I will think through all the options before making a decision about my next vacation.”

 

Mindfulness can also be the totality of one’s senses in any given moment.  An example of this can be found in weight loss programs where the program will encourage the participant to use all their senses while eating. “I see a lush red strawberry with small seeds dotting the outside.  The strawberry feels bumpy as I hold it in my hand.  There is a slightly sweet earthy aroma. I hear the gentle smack of my lips as I bite into the strawberry.  I taste the sweetness which fills my mouth.”  This is the total berry experience.  Obviously, this can be done at any moment and in any set of circumstances.  Occasionally, when someone has difficulty with panic or high levels of anxiety, a mental health professional will suggest a naming exercise where the person will name all of the blue things in their environment or all the things that begin with the letter T.

 

Making Your Mark in the World!

MHA’s Rockland Success Team is proud to present our Annual “What’s Cool” Conference “Making Your Mark in the World!”

Each year we address the current concerns that girls are facing in terms of self-confidence, exploring tools for success, understanding parents, thinking about positive role models, and finding a purposeful future leading to happiness in life.

This program attracts 100 girls each year from Rockland County schools. All girls in grades 7 through 12 are welcome to attend and become more empowered!

This year’s event will take place at the Finkelstein Library, Fielding Room at 24 Chestnut Street in Spring Valley NY on Saturday April 6th, 2019 from 1:30 to 3 pm. Doors open at 1 pm and admission ends at 1:30 pm. We cannot admit younger siblings.

Each girl receives refreshments, a goody bag and 2 hours of community service credit for college applications.

If you have questions please call 845 267 2172 x324.