Anxiety is a big problem for people in America. According to The Kim Foundation, approximately 40 million American adults ages 18 and older, or about 18.1 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have an anxiety disorder.
But while these stats are worrying, there are ways to cope with your anxiety that don’t involve medication.
In particular, we’re going to talk about 5 different “mindful attitudes” you can use to help you work with your anxiety so you can experience some calm.
However, it’s important to remember that these strategies aren’t a quick fix. Like anything in this world, they take time and constant practice before you can start experiencing the benefits.
1) Beginner’s Mind
Rather than approaching something from preconceived notions, this attitude involves seeing things from a fresh perspective.
What does that mean?
It means you approach an opinion, or an event, as if you’ve never heard of it or experienced it before.
This is powerful because it opens up your ability to learn something new and experience wonder and awe.
It also helps reduce anxiety because there are no negative preconceived notions about the situation. Each moment is brand-new and our judgements are fresh.
Left alone, our brain will automatically judge things as good or bad. This happens so fast that it colors our perspective on everything.
The key with mindfulness is to bring awareness into the equation. When you take a step back and watch the mind work, you become aware of how the brain automatically judges. Then you can pause and get some perspective.
It allows you to ask the question: is there another way I can view this situation? Is my brain being a little bit silly here?
This is all about taking in an experience without trying to control or change it. It has similarities with the attitude of acceptance.
Rather than wanting your anxiety to be different, or running away from it, you simply accept it as it is.
This is helpful because you’re not exerting any force against it, which enables you to get to know your experience more clearly and choose your response.
4) All things come and go
According to Buddhism (and science), there is no such things as permanence. Everything is constantly changing moment-to-moment – even you.
Seasons change, emotions change, we are born and we eventually pass away.
If you can understand this, you’ll realize that no matter how bad your anxiety is right now, it will eventually change – everything does.
5) Don’t take your thoughts too seriously
By simply taking a step back and watching the mind work, you can begin to understand how your brain works. It automatically judges, paints things as black or white, and can come up with some unusual things.
After a while, you’ll begin to realize that it isn’t really you. It’s simply tool – and you certainly don’t have to believe everything it thinks.
Learn to be an impartial observer and you’ll begin to understand the quirks of your brain – which will give you enormous liberty from reactive and conditioned ways of thinking.