Mindfulness Approaches to Working with Anxiety
Who is not anxious these days? Whether faced with the daily stresses of finances, jobs, responsibilities, parenting, family, or the ongoing anxiety of political events and ecological crisis, most of us are anxious. In the US, anxiety rates have risen to 18% of the population, and 25% in Europe for those struggling with depression and anxiety.
Mindfulness, while not a cure for anxiety, offers incredible tools and practices to work with anxiety. A consistent daily practice can create opportunities for self-regulation and self-awareness. We can then learn to approach anxiety and other difficult emotions with fearlessness, compassion and awareness. Mindfulness also offers tools to address catastrophizing and anxiety-provoking distorted thinking.
Additionally, we can use mindfulness to “enlist the wisdom mind” to work cognitively with anxiety on the spot, and then cultivate positive states that offset fearful thinking. Finally, we can explore how the dharma might take us “beyond fear” and into places of fearlessness.