Mindfulness and Anxiety - Start With a Seat

What is mindfulness, and we do we practice it?

Mindfulness is an increased awareness of your surroundings, and a sense of stillness emotionally, cognitively, and physically. Mindfulness is great for anxiety, anger management, or other emotional needs because it helps us to take a step back and reset. Rather than noticing things around us with judgement, or multitasking, we single task - sitting in one moment, and noticing one thing.

How to treat anxiety with mindfulness:

As a clinical therapist specializing in anxiety and anger management for kids and teens, I incorporate a lot of mindfulness into what I do. I am passionate about teaching kids and teens to find a calm center within themselves.

Mindfulness should be more than an “every now and then” kind of thing.

If you only practice mindfulness when you’re already upset, you may calm down in the moment - but it’s harder to reach for the skill when you need it. It’s much more effective to set up a daily practice, and really reinforce this skill.

The foundation for all of this? Being in the moment.

Today, let's practice just sitting.

Seems pretty easy, doesn't it? But let's try sitting without any other distractions. 

If you're practicing with your child or adolescent, I want you to find a nice calm spot, and if it's a nice day out, I'd like you to find this spot outside. Set a timer for five minutes. Sit in a comfortable position, crossing your legs if this feels ok with your body.

Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.

Just notice what's around you. What you see, smell, touch, and hear. Notice it without judging it.

If you notice that you want to get up or move, just let that thought gently float past you. It is ok to feel this way! That's why we practice. 

So, until your timer goes off, just sit. Feel still. Feel your sits bones sinking into the floor or ground beneath you. Notice your muscles feeling heavy and calm. 

Sitting is the simple yet important foundation for beginning your mindfulness practice. If you'd like, try this mindful sitting exercise a few times this week. We'll build on this skill during our next blog!

Curious to learn more about anxiety therapy for kids, teens, and young adults? Kelsey Torgerson Dunn, MSW, LCSW specializes in anxiety and anger management from age 4 through college. Her office, Compassionate Counseling St. Louis, is located in Clayton, MO. She works with families throughout Ballwin, Creve Couer, Ladue, Brentwood, Webster Groves and surrounding areas. To set up a free phone consultation, email her at kelsey@compassionatecounselingstl.com

This post was originally posted on July 26, 2017. Edits were made prior to posting today.