With 8 Audio Guided Meditations
230 pages plus audio.
Available in paperback, audiobook and Kindle.
Scientific research shows that mindfulness is a powerful tool for dealing with stress and anxiety. Yet mindfulness practices are gentle, safe and, unlike medication, the only likely side-effect is greater happiness. This book provides:
Antonia Ryan is a qualified social worker, teacher, yoga and meditation instructor. She has many years’ experience in the fields of social care and education with wide experience of supporting individuals with anxiety and stress issues. She runs classes and groups, teaching yoga, meditation and mindfulness. She will guide you through this eight-week program with compassion, understanding and insight.
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Read a sample from "Mindfulness for Stress & Anxiety" now.
Taken from Week 3, Day 6.
When we are in a state of panic, we often find it hard to focus. We might forget things. We might feel that the grasp we have on our thinking is tenuous. This makes us feel even more out of control and intensifies feelings of panic.
Anything could trigger the feeling – seeing a certain expression on your boss’s face, a critical email, a social event. Whatever the trigger is, we need to intervene in the stress response. The first step is to be fully present. Breathe in deeply through the nose but don’t get too focused on the breath in the early stages. For some people, focusing on the breath is not helpful. If this is the case for you, you need to save the breathwork for when you can practise it in a relaxed way and just breathe slowly and deeply through the nose. Alternatively, you can focus on the breath before an event or situation that you feel will be stressful or fear-inducing if you can do so calmly.
When in a situation of acute fear or panic, fully experience the feelings in your body. Do this with compassion and a sense of allowing rather than resisting. To use a sailing analogy, sail with the wind rather than row furiously. Be aware of where you have tense muscles, perhaps in the shoulders, consciously drop the shoulders, slacken the jaw or relax whichever muscles have tensed up. Next, ground yourself. By this I mean sit or stand up tall. Feel the feet on the floor or ground. You could develop an automatic mantra of ‘Feel your feet’. By sticking to this simple script of ‘feel your feet’ the process is uncomplicated.
Trainers of airline pilots give them a script to learn to help them cope in a crisis. They learn a script so they don’t have to react off the cuff. They know exactly what to say and what to do. By developing your own script to face a situation when your thinking brain has shut down and is being run by the limbic centre of the brain (the ‘emotional’ brain) you will know what to do without having to think about exactly what to do at that moment. This brief intervention gives a few seconds to gather your thoughts, to settle the distressing emotions and powerful hormones surging through the body. You can calm down and respond mindfully and rationally. Your brain will learn this new drill and you will be on the way towards some recovery from the tyranny of fear and panic. By sticking with the situation you can rewire your brain’s chemistry.
Avoidance will only feed the fear. This is where mindfulness is so helpful. By mindfully staying with the experience and seeing it through, fully aware, you are educating your brain to respond differently. You learn that you can feel fearful, with all the physical sensations this brings, but that you will survive.
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