Mindfulness Archives - PANDAS Foundation UK

THE GREAT BRITISH…OH WILL YOU BUGGER OFF FOR ONE MINUTE?? – BY CATHERINE PANDAS

I’ve just sat down after a relatively lazy Sunday to find I have margarine smeared all over my jumper from the Sticky Marmalade Cake I’ve just baked.  I’ve baked a cake because V ate the last of the Wagon Wheels and L needs a packed lunch tomorrow; that matters because R doesn’t get paid until Tuesday and we are SKINTALICIOUS; margarine (see previous point); and Marmalade because R’s Mum gave us vats of it at Christmas.  I sit down and feel smug for a second, until I realise that I should have baked the cake earlier so M could have helped me (she loves baking).  Guilt.  Margarine smeared guilt with a fine-cut orange garnish.  Balls. Read More

ALFRED JAMES: MINDFULNESS

Alfred James was born in London, England, in 1978. He is a mindfulness coach, author and founder of the globally popular Pocketmindfulness.com

James teaches mindfulness as a pathway to self-acceptance and inner peace, a pathway that helps release the attachment, aversion and desire responsible for the day-to-day suffering of mind that prevents us from discovering true contentment in life.

We have asked Alfred James some questions about his journey into mindfulness. Read More

HEADSPACE: HOW TO DEAL WITH ANXIETY (PART 3)

How To Deal With Anxiety – part 3

How To Deal With Anxiety - part 3

In the final part of our anxiety blog, we look at how meditation can show us more clearly our habitual patterns of mind and, ultimately, even free us from those very same habits.

As many of us will have experienced sometime in life, anxiety can have an incredibly negative impact on the lives of those it affects directly, as well as those around them. In our previous two blogs we examined how to deal with anxiety using two different approaches –one rational and one investigative, both of which use mindfulness to help to reduce levels of anxiety.

And while using one, or both of these can have significant effect on how much anxiety we feel, by taking that final step, the Vulnerable Approach, we start to see howmeditation for anxiety can allow us to achieve even greater results.

STEP THREE

THE VULNERABLE APPROACH – WITNESSING THE MIND AT WORK

In the two previous approaches, we reassessed our view of anxiety and looked into its nature. Now we’re ready to move onto the most rewarding part of the journey.

The Vulnerable Approach requires a more formal meditation technique. For it to be effective, we need to let down our guard and learn to allow anything and everything to arise in the mind. It can be both frightening and exciting in equal measure. But most of all, it’s incredibly liberating.

And of course this what we are training in every time we sit and do a Headspace meditation. We are learning to witness the mind, to witness both thoughts and feelings from a place of neutrality or objectivity. Essentially, we are allowing the mind to rest in the present moment, no longer swayed or overwhelmed by anxious thoughts or feelings.

So, when an anxious thought comes, we see it, we let it go. Another thought comes, perhaps connected, perhaps not, we acknowledge it, and we let it go. Next, a feeling or sensation may arise; we feel it, we welcome it, and again, we let it go. But no matter what the thought or feeling is, however we feel about it, we don’t block it, we allow it to arise, embrace it and then it passes away. It may feel like it comes back again very quickly, but even if it is the same message, it is a new thought and should be treated in just the same way.

And the way that this helps with our anxiety levels is this: once we’ve mastered this technique (simply meaning when we have practiced it often enough and are confident to apply it), we can see that everything is always changing. Sure, sometimes it feels that anxiety is with us all of the time, but in fact, if we witness the mind often enough, we see there are times when it is, and times when it isn’t.

We’ll also see that it’s not just our own mind that behaves like this – in fact all minds do. And we start to see this more clearly. Sure, maybe not everyone experiences anxiety in that way and we are all on a scale. But equally for others, anger, sadness, loneliness or something else might be just as challenging. And so as we see these patterns in our own mind we start to get a sense of how they impact others too. The knock-on affect of this is that we no longer feel isolated and alone. Instead we feel a sense of it being very normal and nothing to fear.

Finally, the vulnerable approach allows the mind to soften a little. We see that thoughts are just thoughts, a feeling is just a feeling – nothing more, nothing less. This takes nothing from the wonder of human life, nor does it add to our confusion. It simply allows the mind to be free, open, and ready to experience life exactly as it is, and to welcome that experience.

A WORD OF CAUTION

This is the most courageous approach of all, requiring us to let down our guard and welcome everything and anything into our experience. It takes both time and patience, but be brave, the rewards are beyond anything we might imagine.

Andy Puddicombe

To see this article in full, please visit: https://www.headspace.com/blog/view/199/how-to-deal-with-anxiety-part-3

HEADSPACE: HOW TO DEAL WITH ANXIETY (PART 2)

Welcoming and studying anxiety

Welcoming and studying anxiety

In the second part of our blog, we use mindfulness to examine anxiety more closely. If you missed the first part, check it out here — In our previous blog on how to deal with anxiety, we talked about approaching the emotion in a logical way using the Rational Approach.

So now we should have a feel of where anxiety comes from, and why it can be hard to shake. If the Rational Approach alone has allowed you to step away from your pattern of anxiety, that’s fantastic. You could choose to stop the journey here. But if you’re not quite there yet, or you’d like to go a little further into reducing, or simply understanding anxiety, in our next step, we need to turn detective.

Step Two – The Investigative Approach. Welcoming and studying anxiety 

Having already worked through the Rational Approach to anxiety, we should have a good idea of its mechanics – how it builds and perpetuates. Now, we can investigate it.

The Investigative Approach requires us to witness our anxiety in a very particular way. Instead of thinking about ‘you’ or ‘me’, we just need to observe our anxiety as it is – a natural phenomenon.

What is it?
Where does it come from?
Where do I feel it?
What does it feel like?

We need to discover the answers to these questions, but hurrying or forcing them in a rush to put the mind at ease will only cause more thinking, and that’s not helpful in this exercise. So, firstly, it’s crucial we have a genuine interest in discovering the answers, simply for the sake of knowing.

Only by approaching with this curious attitude will we create a true and long-lasting shift in perspective over anxiety, and that’s just what we’re looking for. Secondly, we need to be brutally honest with ourselves and avoid being biased in our investigation.

Because, if we’re only investigating in the hope that our anxiety will stop – we’re not truly investigating, in fact we’re resisting. The difference is really subtle and it’s very easy for us to deceive ourselves. Being open, honest and genuinely interested in what we find out is the key here, no matter whether this brings us more, less or the same level of anxiety. It’s the process that’s more important than the result. You could say the process is the result. Just remember, when you’re investigating something as delicate as the mind, you must be gentle.

However much you want to discover answers, don’t apply too much pressure or effort. Instead, aim to welcome the feeling of anxiety, because the more we can welcome it, the easier it will be to investigate. And that’s what’s most beautiful about the Investigative Approach, because by welcoming anxiety, it moves from something to resist, to something we can embrace.

A Word of Caution

This approach is very effective. However, it’s easy to too get caught up in more thought. Combining it with step three, the Vulnerable Approach – featured in our final Anxiety blog – is extremely effective and completes our journey to reducing anxiety.

Andy Puddicombe

To view this article in full, please visit: https://www.headspace.com/blog/view/193/welcoming-and-studying-anxiety-

HEADSPACE: HOW TO DEAL WITH ANXIETY BY ANDY PUDDICOMBE (FOUNDER OF HEADSPACE)

How To Deal With Anxiety

How To Deal With Anxiety

This month at Headspace we’re focusing on how to deal with anxiety. Most of us have suffered from anxiety, or know someone close who has. And while anxiety can be rational and useful – like when we need to make the right decision in a life-threatening situation, the anxiety we’re more familiar with is usually a little less helpful.

The problem with anxiety is that it inhibits our ability to deal with the issue that’s caused it in the first place. It makes our capacity for rational thought dip, while it, itself, begins to spiral out of control. This makes it harder to address the issue and causes genuine misery to ourselves and those around us.

So what can we do about anxiety?

Finding how to deal with anxiety can sometimes feel like an impossible task. Fortunately, from a meditation or mindfulness point of view, there are a few options to help, either on their own, or together. In fact, meditation for anxiety is proven to have a positive impact.

A bit like steps, we can tackle them all to achieve the greatest results, but even taking one or two can still have a real impact on how we feel. Further tips on how to deal with anxiety are provided below…

Step one 

The Rational Approach – understanding our anxiety

A great place to start on our journey to reduce anxiety is to understand the processes at work. We know that anxiety can feel irrational and illogical, but by approaching it logically, we gain a sense of where it comes from and why it’s hard to stop.

Our individual conditioning determines how anxiety arises in the mind. But forget trying to trace this back – there are too many factors involved. Anxiety is a natural response; we can’t control when it arises (aside from trying to suppress it, which is extremely unhelpful in the long-term) but we can change how we relate to it. And this is the key.

Breaking the cycle

Think about the times when anxiety hits. We resist the feeling with an emotion like frustration, sadness, or ironically, more anxiety. We’ve immediately created a cycle where we believe it’s bad to feel anxious, so we look for a way to get rid of the feeling, and we apply significant energy to try and avoid or eliminate it.

We then make matters worse by noticing the physical sensations that anxiety brings. The mind feels anxious, the chest tightens, and the mind associates this physical feeling as a sign of anxiety, and so becomes more anxious…

It feels like an inescapable pattern, but with practise, we can learn to step out of the loop.

Like any other emotion, anxiety is neither good nor bad. It begins as nothing more than a passing thought. From here, it’s up to us what we choose to do with it, how much importance we give it, and how long we hold onto it for.

Anxiety is a really strong habit, so at first, it won’t feel this simple. But this is the potential.

The same applies when that starting thought becomes a feeling or sensation. If we think about the sensation and why it’s happening, we exacerbate the situation. But by simply noticing the sensation; being present with it, rather than its connotations, the cycle is interrupted.

Taking this from theory to experience takes practice, but by understanding what’s going on, we can begin to set the mind free.

A word of caution

As thinking got us into this mess, it’s risky to rely on thinking alone to get us out of it. Consider following this method with step two, the Investigative Approach, featured in our next blog.

Andy Puddicombe

To view the article in full, please visit: https://www.headspace.com/blog/view/190/how-to-deal-with-anxiety

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