How to deal with stress and anxiety with mindfulness

how to deal with stress and anxiety with mindfulness practices: a girl is holding a flower

Today, stress and anxiety become a common thing. Even when everything seems fine, societal pressures and expectations can make it challenging to maintain good mental health. Stress does more bad than good on our physical and mental health. 

Personally, I have also dealt with constant stress and anxiety throughout my life.

When I was in school, I was always worried about studying and exams. I couldn’t wait to grow up and be an adult, when I thought I would finally be free from all that stress. But as I grew older, I realized that there was always something to be concerned about, whether it was work, social life, relationships, or marriage.
I have tried various methods to cope with stress and anxiety, but one approach that has truly made a difference is mindfulness practices.

Unlike doing exercise or yoga, which I can still feel like obligations or tasks, mindfulness feels like a relaxing getaway for me. There are tons of benefit from practicing simple mindfulness activities, this post will specifically focus on how to deal with stress and anxiety with mindfulness practices.

How to deal with stress and anxiety with: the word" mindfulness"

How to deal with stress and anxiety with mindfulness practices:

What is mindfulness:

In my understanding, and also the simplest way to understand it,  mindfulness is learning to be 100% present in the moment.

It is also a way of being aware of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations without getting caught up in them. 

Our thoughts often carry us away from the present moment. We may dwell on the past or worry about the future. However, simply staying in the present moment can bring us a great deal of happiness. 

How to deal with stress and anxiety with: the word" be here now"

When we focus on the present moment, we are able to appreciate the beauty of life and all that it has to offer. We are also able to let go of any negative thoughts that cause tons of stress in our life.

This is a short clip of Professor Mark Williams shares the scientific view on how mindfulness can help with depression and related disorders:

Mindfulness practices to deal with stress and anxiety:

Breathing exercises

One of the simplest and most effective ways to practice mindfulness is to focus on your breath. 

Sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes. 

Notice the rise and fall of your chest as you breathe in and out.

Try to focus on your breath without judgment. 

If your mind wanders, gently bring it back to your breath.

How to deal with stress and anxiety with: a woman is breathing deeply

This is a very simple yet very effective exercise that you can carry with yourself anywhere.

Whenever you find yourself in front of a stressful situation, or your anxiety starts to come up, simply take a deep breath and focus on it.

Belly breathing:

A study published in the journal “Psychosomatic Medicine” found that a 10-week program of diaphragmatic breathing exercises (also known as belly breathing) was effective in reducing stress in adults with anxiety disorders. 

The study participants who practiced diaphragmatic breathing reported significant reductions in anxiety symptoms, such as worry, nervousness, and tension.

How to deal with stress and anxiety with: a woman is smiling happily

Belly breathing is a simple yet effective way to reduce stress and anxiety. To do it, sit or lie down in a comfortable position. Place one hand on your chest and the other hand on your stomach. 

As you inhale, your stomach should rise and your chest should remain relatively still. As you exhale, your stomach should fall and your chest should rise.

How to deal with stress and anxiety with: the word "and breathe"

If you are feeling stressed, try taking a few deep breaths. You may be surprised at how much better you feel.

Body scan

Another simple mindfulness exercise is to scan your body from head to toe. 

Notice any areas of tension or tightness. You don’t need to judge or analyze these sensations—simply acknowledge their presence.

As you breathe in, imagine sending healing energy to those areas. As you breathe out, imagine releasing the tension. Visualize the area becoming relaxed and at ease.

How to deal with stress and anxiety with: a woman is lying relaxed

Continue moving your attention down your body, exploring each region—forehead, eyes, cheeks, jaw, neck, shoulders, arms, chest, abdomen, back, hips, legs, and feet.

Take your time with each area, spending a few moments observing and releasing any tension.

If your mind wanders or gets distracted during the practice, gently bring your attention back to the body and resume scanning from where you left off.

Once you’ve completed the scan of your entire body, take a few moments to rest in the awareness of your body as a whole. Feel the sensations of relaxation and the sense of being present in your body.

How to deal with stress and anxiety with: a woman is lying relaxed

The body scan method is a great wat that can help you tune in and notice what’s going on in your body. 

By practicing it regularly, you can become more aware of the physical sensations you’re feeling, let go of tension, and feel more relaxed overall. It’s like building a stronger bond between your mind and body.

So, give it a try and see how it works for you!

Nature walks: 

If you ask me how to deal with stress and anxiety with mindfulness practices, I would say: walk walk walk

It’s my go-to self-care practice that never fails to make me feel amazing. So, if you’re a fan of walking like me, give it a shot and experience the magic it can do for your mind and body

Spending time in nature can be a great way to reduce stress. When you’re in nature, take some time to notice the sights, sounds, and smells around you. Focus on your breath and let go of any thoughts that come up.

How to deal with stress and anxiety with: a woman is walking

Nature-based interventions have been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. A meta-analysis published in the journal Environmental Research and Public Health found that exposure to nature significantly reduced symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress

Engaging in physical activity while surrounded by the natural environment can double the benefits for your mental health. It’s a fantastic way to boost your mood, reduce stress, and enhance your overall well-being.

So, lace up your shoes, hit the trails, and let nature work its magic on your mind and body!

Creative activities

Engaging in creative stuff like painting, drawing, writing, or jamming out on some music isn’t just fun—it’s actually backed by science! It’s been proven to make you feel good and one of the number one mindfulness practices to deal with stress and anxiety .

How to deal with stress and anxiety with: a person is doing a painting

Studies have shown that participating in creative endeavors can activate the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward. This can lead to an increased sense of happiness and satisfaction.

Getting artsy also promotes mindfulness and being in the present moment. You forget about the past or future worries and just focus on your artistic groove. It’s a fantastic way to unwind and feel relaxed.

Interestingly, some of the greatest masterpieces in the history of art were created when artists allowed themselves to fully relax and express themselves freely without self-judgment.

This state of relaxation and flow often leads to breakthroughs in creativity and the production of remarkable artworks.

How to deal with stress and anxiety with: people are having fun with paint

So, if you want to unleash your creativity and zap stress, set aside some time for artistic adventures. Embrace the moment, let your imagination run wild, and who knows, you might just whip up something ridiculously awesome.

It’s all about having fun and letting your creative spirit soar!


Bottom line

I hope my post have given you a few suggestions for how to deal with stress and anxiety with mindfulness practices. There are plenty more mindfulness techniques to explore, and I’ll be diving into them in future posts. I’d love to hear about your own experiences with mindfulness and how you use it to kick stress and anxiety to the curb.

Feel free to share your thoughts and let’s always keep your happy life journey going strong!

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6 Comments

  1. I found this article quite helpful. As someone who has struggled with anxiety and stress throughout my life, I’m always looking for new ways to manage it. The breathing exercises and body scan method are simple yet effective ways to tune in to your body and let go of tension. I’m also a fan of nature walks, and it’s great to see that science backs up the benefits of spending time in nature. I’m curious, Thank you

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I’m glad you found the article helpful. I feel the same way about nature walks as they always help to soothe my mind and body. It’s amazing how a simple walk outside can often provide a solution to many of my problems and anxieties.

  2. Practising mindfulness can certainly help one to reduce anxiety and stress. I am going through a particularly stressful period in my life, having to pack up a house after the breakdown of my 38-year marriage. Taking deep breaths, is a wonderful way to calm the body and mind. 

    I also love doing sewing or knitting as mindful crafts. It focusses my mind on other things, and I love the creativity associated with it, which always makes me feel better. 

    I have not heard of the body scan method, but it sounds very much like meditation, so I will certainly add it to my repertoire of mindful practices.

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences! It’s nice to hear that practicing mindfulness has brought you benefits during this challenging period in your life. My heart goes out to you.

      You’re absolutely right about the body scan method. It is indeed similar to meditation and can be a powerful practice for relaxation and grounding. I highly recommend giving it a try.

  3. Lily! Your post really resonated with me, as I can relate to the stress and anxiety you mentioned experiencing in various stages of life. It’s great to hear that mindfulness practices have made a significant difference for you. 

    I’m genuinely curious about which mindfulness technique you found most effective in dealing with stress and anxiety. Have you tried combining different practices, or did you find one that became your go-to method? I’m excited to learn more about your mindfulness journey and the techniques that have truly worked wonders for you!

    1. In my mindfulness journey, I did explore and combine various techniques to see what worked best for me.
      However, one particular method stood out as my go-to practice for managing stress and anxiety is Mindful breathing.By focusing on my breath and being fully present in the moment, I found a sense of calm and clarity. This practice allowed me to observe my thoughts and emotions without judgment, helping me to break free from the spirals of worry and overthinking.
      You can check out my mindfulness techniques to deal with stress and anxiety here.
      Thank you for visiting my blog.

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