Mindfulness can be a helpful approach to managing worry and anxiety. The practice of mindfulness involves focusing on sensory input occurring in the current moment as a way to quiet your mind from worries about the past or anticipation of future problems.
One way to begin the practice of mindfulness is to sit in a comfortable chair and initially focus on your breathing, following your breath as you breathe in and then exhale. You may find it helpful to close your eyes while you do this. You might then experiment with deepening your inhalation and slowing down your exhalation. Once comfortable with these sensations, you might then focus on how the floor is supporting your feet and how the chair is supporting your legs and your back. From here, focus on the noises from within your room. Later you can experiment with expanding your focus to include sounds coming from outside of your building. Focus on how the air feels against your face. If you sense any tightness in your muscles, you can try to relax them. In between these shifts, return to focusing on the sensation of following your breath.
Mindfulness can enhance your enjoyment of walking and being outside, as you focus on the feel of the ground under your feet, the smells and forms of grass and trees, the sounds of birds, and the feel of the air on your face. If you find yourself drifting to worries about the past or future, refocus on your breathing, slowly inhaling and exhaling. Many people find that they get better at these skills with practice, and that this becomes something they naturally engage in periodically throughout the day. It can become a relatively quick and easy way to calm your mind and relax your body.
Mark Rubinstein, MSW