Empower Counseling in Birmingham, Alabama often teaches mindfulness techniques as one tool to address symptoms of anxiety and manage Covid stress. I recently shared one of my favorite and most effective mindfulness exercises with Fingerprint for Success, so I thought now would be a perfect time to share this mindfulness exercise, along with a few others, with you. Let’s get started with managing Covid stress with Empower Counseling: 5 mindfulness exercises to use today.
2020 has brought on a higher level of anxiety for more than half of our population with good reason. Nothing has been normal for the last 9 or so months and until very recently, there was no end in sight.
Before Covid-19, about 1 in every 10 Americans suffered symptoms of anxiety and depression. That number has risen. Now, 1 in every 3 adults in our country admits to experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety. Empower Counseling specializes in treating anxiety and depression through Acceptance Commitment Therapy, one component of which is mindfulness.
Oftentimes anxiety stems from staying in our heads consumed with thoughts about the past, mistakes that you would like to go back and fix or change, or worrying about and trying to control the future. Depression often begins due to thoughts which lead to isolation. Our brains tell us that we don’t feel like being around anyone or doing anything. Then being around others less and doing less of the things you used to enjoy, leads to deeper depression.
Empower Counseling in Birmingham, Alabama, helps clients use mindfulness to manage Covid stress and to get out of their heads, thinking about the past or the future, and back into the present, allowing these clients to participate in life again.
Tip #1 to Manage Covid Stress with Empower counseling: Begin your day with a few simple questions to keep you focused on who you want to be and what you want to accomplish.
Keeping your values front of mind helps keep anxious thoughts at bay.
Here are examples of the types of questions I am talking about. You can certainly use these but you can also come up with your own questions, in your own vocabulary, that speak to you and help you stay focused on being the person you want to be.
- How do I want to show up for those I love today?
- How do I want to treat myself today?
- What do I want to accomplish today?
- What actions will it take to accomplish this?
Empower Counseling helps you use morning and weekly mindfulness routines to keep you pointed toward what you can control in your life. By being mindful of what you can control, it is easier to stay out of your head with worry and in the present living your life.
Mindfulness Tip #2: Put your anxious thoughts on a cloud.
Imagine yourself lying in a meadow watching the clouds overhead. Put each anxious thought on a cloud and watch it float by and out of your vision at its own pace. This practice of letting thoughts go, can keep you from becoming tangled up in your thoughts.
Mindfulness Tip #3: Use your senses.
When you notice yourself in your head, worrying, pull yourself back to the present by using your senses. Check in with each of your senses to pull you back into your body. Ask yourself, “What can I see right now?”, “What can I touch and feel right now?”, etc. When you are living in the present moment, you can not be in your head with worry.
Mindfulness Tip #4: Focus on your breath and nothing else.
Breath in deeply through your nose and exhale slowly trough your mouth. As you inhale and exhale think about nothing but experiencing these deeps breaths. Thinking about your breathing pulls you away from your anxious thoughts and helps you focus on what you are feeling in your body.
Tip #5 Managing Covid Stress with Empower Counseling: 5 Mindfulness Exercises to Use today: Notice, Label, Let Go.
If you focus on noticing your anxious thoughts right when they begin, you can choose to let go of them and move on. When you first notice your anxious thought, label it (call it whatever resonates with you, “inner critic”, “worrier”, whatever works). Then let it go. You can not control the thoughts that pop into your head. But you can choose not to become tangled up with them.
If you enjoyed this blog, you can read more statistics about the current mental health statistics, mindfulness statistics, and other tips to practice mindfulness in this Fingerprint for Success article
Empower Counseling can help you learn mindfulness practices, as well as, other helpful tools to move away from anxiety and depression, and toward a better life.
Unexpected things happen in life. When this happens, it is easy to feel all alone, unsure, and unprepared. Empower Counseling in Birmingham, Alabama is here to help you. In my Birmingham, Alabama counseling clinic, I offer treatment for anxiety and difficult life transitions. I also provide specialized counseling for college students and counseling for teens to help them navigate difficult transitions. I also offer depression counseling, life coaching and healthy technology lifestyles counseling. All you have to do is reach out to Kathryn at Empower Counseling in Birmingham, Alabama for in-person or online counseling today.
If you like podcasts, here are a couple of helpful episodes of the Imperfect Thriving podcast: