Anxiety was the biggest reason I wanted to learn mindfulness techniques and so I have been exploring anxiety through mindfulness for a number of years now.
In the beginning anxious feelings felt overwhelming and often led to panic attacks, but with time, patience and understanding and through awareness of myself these experiences became less overwhelming.
There are still moments when I begin to feel the sensations of anxiety start to take over and this is where I try and find a way to express those feelings, which helps me to release them and not hold on in silence.
Whilst exploring how to cope better and express my inner feelings, I came across an article online called "How to Feed Your Demons" this talks about feeding your demons of fear, illness, depression, anxiety, trauma etc, rather than fighting them. It mentions giving form to these forces through feeling them in the body and noticing their shape, colour, texture etc. It goes on to suggest personifying the demon and finding out what it wants. From this point you can start to understand its needs, bring love and compassion and transform the feelings it brings.
So I started drawing my anxiety monster by noticing its shape and texture, how it feels in body, what sensations it brings and tried to express that through my drawing. Once I had drawn the picture I could see that it wasn’t as terrifying as I thought and it was just a scared animal that needed soothing. Over the next few days I kept an eye on my anxiety monster and drew more pictures as it became softer and smaller and changed from being a terrifying monster into an animal.
I do a range of things to make me ‘Mindfully Happy’, connecting with others that are on a similar journey really helps me to keep my mindfulness practice going. I write a gratitude journal to remind me of all the positive moments and I appreciate and accept the challenges I face, as they are also part of my journey. The biggest part of being ‘Mindfully Happy’ is bringing love and compassion to all my experiences and sharing that with others.
Anyone can work with their challenging emotions, if you start gently and slowly, try drawing your monster at a time that isn’t too overwhelming.
Mindfulness will help you notice when stress or anxiety are starting to build up, at this moment try to stop and take a moment to listen to yourself.
You can either follow the guidance in the article mentioned above or just take a moment to feel into the body. Where can you feel the emotions? What sensations do you notice? Do the sensations have a shape, texture or colour? Can you draw this? Can you make it into an animal, monster or demon? Can you express how this creature makes you feel? How does it feel once you have drawn it? Does it still feel as terrifying? All of these methods are ways of being mindful and really listening to your body, giving you chance to express how it feels.
When you listen to yourself the feelings can start to ease, helping you cope better with the challenges you face.
Anne is a Reiki Master, Hatha Yoga Teacher and Advanced Mindfulness Teacher on the Isle of Wight.
She runs 'Create Harmony'
Of her work she says; "I offer ways to help people relax, unwind and cope better with the stress
in their lives. I have always used methods of relaxation, yoga, meditation or Reiki to help me with
daily pressures, but when I experienced anxiety and depression I wanted to find another way to
deal with these difficult feelings. Mindfulness helps me let go of the thoughts related to these
challenging emotions and focus on the sensations in the body. This is where I started to approach
my anxious feelings another way and really connect with them, so that I could create a drawing to
express how it feels. This became my anxiety monster."
You can connect with Anne via;
Or find her at www.createharmony.co.uk
Mindfully Happy © 2017
Frances Trussell; Mindfulness Meditation, Training & Therapy in Surrey, London, Twickenham, Twickenham Exchange, East Molesey, Molesey, Kingston, Richmond, Esher, Walton, Weybridge, Hersham, Teddington. Mindfulness Based RTT, Mindfulness Therapy, Mindfulness Training, Mindfulness Courses, Mindfulness Speaker