It often feels as though an idea or concept I engage with remains fuzzy for the longest time , but then suddenly coalesces to form a very tangible idea that I can engage with. One such idea is that of how mindfulness can help with anxiety. I didn’t quite have an anchor into understanding what anxiety meant, or what it meant for the mind to be anxious, or even what I was supposed to be watchful for, in my efforts at coping with anxiety.
Headspace is a meditation app , that cannot possibly oversell itself, in my experience so far. On anxiety in particular, a brief daily Headspace session brought about clarity that had been eluding me for a while. It did so firstly, by using the word arousal instead of anxiety, thereby dissociating the word with the negativity associated with it. High arousal is what we typically know of as a state of anxiety. In this state, everything sets us off, and we find it hard to achieve anything meaningful at work, or contribute positively in interactions with others. In contrast, low arousal is a state of tiredness/sleepiness. In this state too , it’s hard to achieve anything meaningful.
The practical exercises we can undertake in each case differs. Headspace suggests, deep breathing, with a longer exhale than an inhale to reduce arousal and bring us to a state of optimal alertness, and the opposite to increase arousal. The practical value of this advice to me is something I can’t overstate. While mindfulness can help with many goals, the one that got me interested in it was just plainly avoiding burnout, and increasing productivity. I find myself coming back to this every half-an-hour, one-hour to do a check-in and ask myself, what state am I in?