Anxiety and Fear – Through the practice of Mindfulness it is possible to become more familiar with the thought patterns that are responsible for both anxiety and fear. Most of these thoughts are future based and not necessarily to be believed although they are extremely realistic and very tenacious. By paying attention to thoughts as they arise, it becomes clear that many of the thoughts that cause the anxiety or fear are not in fact true. Many of them are habitual ways of reacting to situations, and Mindfulness can help us to see other ways of responding more skilfully to the same situation.
Cultivating the skill of kindness towards yourself when anxious or fearful helps to move from reactivity and self judgement to a position where you can care for yourself in this painful and uncomfortable state. The skills of self compassion can be very supportive when experiencing states of fear and anxiety.
Stress – When we pay attention to stress we can see that it is a combination of many different emotional, physical and mental states. It has shades of fear, anxiety, worry, depression, tension and being out of control of events in life. By taking a greater interest in what is happening when feeling stressed and pausing, even for a moment, a small gap is created in experience. It then becomes possible to respond more Mindfully and avoid the knee-jerk reactivity that is all too familiar, often leading us to places that encourage even more stress.
Pain – Through developing Mindfulness, one can see that pain is a process and not a fixed condition. It then becomes easier to change ones relationship to the painful condition rather than being locked into aversive reactions to it. It is helpful to see that there is a primary and secondary suffering with pain. The primary suffering is the experience of physical pain such as pinching, burning, nausea, fatigue etc. and the secondary suffering is made up of all the mental and emotional responses to these discomforts such as aversion, anger, depression, anxiety, avoidance and catastrophising. Mindfulness can help to reduce the suffering of pain through allowing things be as they are in this moment and by watching any extra tensions arising.
But you don’t need to be unhappy, stressed out or unwell to learn mindfulness, because mindfulness isn’t about illness it’s about wellness, it’s about waking up to life and learning to live with a greater intensity, richness and fulfillment.