Try THIS to be more present in the moment and less anxious!
I am an anxious person in general. But a while ago, I noticed being a little extra anxious and irritable while walking my dog.
I would get irritated whenever he repeatedly stopped to sniff the grass or mark a tree. This actually went unnoticed for a while, until one day when I saw an older lady strolling with her dog. They seemed to be having so much fun - stopping every few steps to let the dog do whatever. They didn't seem to be in any rush. In fact, the lady seemed to be enjoying the walk just as much as the dog.
It was then that I started reflecting on my own anxiety and why I was always in a rush when walking my pup. And the answer was simple - I wasn't enjoying the walk itself. I was merely crossing off a to-do item from my daily chores.
But while doing so, I was mostly in my own head, thinking about the next stressful task I wanted to tackle as soon as I got back. And that was the problem - I was so focused on the next thing that I needed to do that I paid little attention to what I was doing at the moment. Not only was I making myself more stressed, but I was also making the walks less pleasant and more stressful for my pup.
How often do we try to rush through life or become so fixated on our stressors that we stop to enjoy and breathe in those little moments of joy? How often do we fail to realize the impact of such anxiety not only on ourselves but on our loved ones as well?
The following day when I took my pup out for a walk, I gave myself the permission to take that hour off from my day to simply enjoy the walk with my dog. It's such a simple thing, yet it soon became the highlight of my day. Somehow, it didn't bother me when my pup would stop every few steps to sniff. Perhaps, because I was enjoying the smell of fresh air and the sight of beautiful trees that had been there all along, but I never paid attention to them.
But what was it that helped me feel calm and in control of my life? Was it being in the nature, or perhaps the bonding time with my dog?
I'm sure they both played a role, but I believe the biggest change was in my mindset - in me being mindfully present. I enjoyed those mindful moments from my walk that I started practicing a similar attitude in other areas of my life. It opened my eyes to the details I had never noticed before - from working on assignments to cooking dinner.
Smile, breathe, and go slowly.
- Thich Nhat Hanh
I started to inch away from constantly thinking about my stressors in the back of my mind. Instead of being stuck with my fight or flight, I felt more grounded and in control.
The results were so mind-blowing that I don't have words that would be powerful enough to capture it. You have to experience this for yourself. And you can start by simply picking any one task of your day, where you allow yourself to be mindfully present. No distractions, daydreaming, and stressful thinking - Simply noticing the world around you through your 5 senses and enjoying the experience.
Once you become more comfortable with it, it will start trickling into other areas of your life on its own. And don't just take my word for it. To prove that this actually works, I shared this experience with 5 people -3 friends and 2 fellow creators, who struggle with anxiety in their day-to-day lives.
And guess what, it worked for 4 out of 5 people. To quote a fellow Youtube creator: "The practice didn't make my stressors go away, but it made me less anxious about them. I felt more in control. My fear and restlessness have started to get replaced with calmness and patience."
So there it is - One thing that you can start doing today to take control of your anxiety.