Two of the Best Tools to Treat Anxiety and Depression
Social phobia or general anxiety make you feel awful. The pain of trying to get through each day can be horrendous.
But what if there were a couple of techniques we could use which could help us to feel a great deal better on a daily basis? What if these techniques, if we got good at them, could help to rid us of much of the daily fear that we feel? Well, there are in fact a couple of practices, known as constant mindfulness and daily meditation, which can help a great deal.
These practices are not a cure all, a panacea which will instantly solve all of our problems. But, if used consistently, they will make you feel palpably better on a regular basis.
First, if we learn to be constantly mindful, that is one of the best things to do to combat our anxiety. This is because when we are mindful, we are living only in the moment, with our minds completely in the Now, and thinking about what we happen to be doing at that precise moment. We’re not thinking of anything else whatsoever.
When we are worrying, or anxious, our mind is in the wrong place. It’s focused on bad stuff that’s happened in the past, or you’re worried about the future. But if we train ourselves to only think about what we are doing at that exact moment, then our mind is completely content.
John Teasdale is the man who brought the Buddhist practice of mindfulness into the mainstream. He is a renowned research scientist who, as a practitioner of Buddhism, realised that its techniques could be extremely valuable to anyone suffering from depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions, as well as by the population at large. It can be extremely helpful to absolutely anyone, and would improve their mental health. Teasdale first realised that mindfulness could be useful to the general population when he heard a talk by a Buddhist teacher, Ajahn Sumedho.
Everyone automatically practices mindfulness from time to time, when we’re focused and concentrating on doing a task, but the trick is to get into that mind state almost constantly. It’s a much healthier way of being.
We all have problems. Things which might turn out to be challenging. But there is absolutely no point in worrying. That will only make our mindset, and consequently our lives much worse, if we worry a lot. If we can do something about a problem, then take positive action. If we can’t, then just accept it. Keep your mindset positive and it will go so much better for you.
If you’re thinking about bad things from the past, that is also completely futile, as we can’t do anything to change the past. Keep your mind positive and precisely in the present, and your future will be better. This is karma in action.
Worrying serves no purpose, so we mustn’t do it about anything at all. Thinking about things is fine, but don’t worry and be negative!
So constantly being mindful is a wonderful tool.
Second, daily meditation is wondrous and life changing. It is a very difficult practice to master, especially when you’re just starting off. You can mediate in the sitting position, cross legged with your back straight, or when standing up, lying down (though try not to fall asleep!) or when walking. The key thing is to relax and concentrate the mind.
There are numerous kinds of meditation. I will just mention a couple, for the sake of simplicity. Firstly, there is anapanasati, where you focus on your breath. When your mind wanders, just bring it back to the breath. Another type of meditation is metta or loving kindness meditation. This helps you to love, and helps to get rid of hatred and negative emotions. Focus on someone you dislike or have a negative feeling about, and give them lots of love in your thinking, and wish them good luck and happiness. These meditation techniques can be elaborated upon, but this is the general idea. Meditation will help you in the long term.
As for duration, you could start off with just a couple of minutes. It can be really difficult when you first begin, but it’s the same for everyone. Your mind will probably race uncontrollably with many many thoughts. This is known as the monkey mind, but this is completely normal. It get easier with practice, I promise!
And don’t try too hard. That hampers progress. Just relax into it. It’s more about acceptance of things, and learning to train the mind. It’s for everyone, especially those with psychological disorders, such as social anxiety.
Many think that they’re just not able to meditate, but I would encourage you to persist. You can do it, and it gets much easier with time. It’s the same for everyone, and it will change your life if you do keep it up.
Well, constant mindfulness and daily meditation are two practices which could go a long way to curing social phobia, as well as other disorders such as regular anxiety, depression. I strongly encourage you to give these things a try, on a daily basis. Please let me know how you get on! Good luck to you all.
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