Mental Health 101: Anxiety, Mindfulness, and “I am more”

Hi! My name is Ariel and I suffer from anxiety. Like, “a panic attack at least once a month” kind of anxiety. It’s a condition brought on by my body not being able to cope with the huge amounts of stress that I put it through.

All of us suffer from stress. It’s a normal part of life, even a little healthy. If we weren’t stressed, we wouldn’t have any motivation to do anything, right? But when stress turns into a nervous breakdown, that’s not normal. And it’s definitely not good for you, mentally or physically.

So, how do you keep healthy stress from taking a not-so-healthy turn? There’s not a one-size-fits-all cure, unfortunately, but here’s my favorite: Mindfulness.

To me, mindfulness is simply being aware of your physical, mental, and emotional state. It can mean meditating for five minutes every morning and evening. Or, it could be taking a hot bath and focusing on the feel of the water and the scent of your soap. It can even be taking a few minutes to eat your meals without any electronics, so that you can really be aware of the taste, smell, and texture of your food.

Mindfulness also means being aware of your schedule and knowing what needs to be done vs what can be left for another day. I’m a chronic perfectionist and overachiever, two traits that are really terrible for my anxiety. So, I try to delegate what I can, especially for group projects. I’ve also had to learn how to be comfortable with turning in work that isn’t up to my standards. Yeah, it sucks, but freaking out over every little assignment is worse. Trust me.

I think mindfulness is something that gets lost for most of us. We’re so busy going to meetings, side-hustling, and trying to do all the million and one things that society says we have to do in order to be successful. In reality, though, sometimes the best thing we can do is stop, breathe, and remind ourselves that we’ve got this.

The next time that you want to throw up because of a bad grade, or you want to cry because a coworker said something mean, remember that. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and focus on the moment. Remind yourself that it’s just a bad day, not a bad life.

Breathe. Focus. Be mindful. You’ll get through it. I believe in you.

How do you practice mindfulness?

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