A meta-analysis was conducted in 2010 that provided evidence for the effectiveness of mindfulness exercises on anxiety and depression. This sparked 10 Mindful Attitudes for Healing. The researchers found that mindfulness-based therapy was moderately effective for treating anxiety and improving mood and that the effects lasted beyond the initial improvements (Hofmann, Sawyer, Witt, & Oh, 2010).
To begin applying mindfulness to your anxiety, or that of your clients, Mindful.org has provided a short description of 10 Mindful Attitudes for Healing that will help build the foundation for successfully addressing anxiety:
- Volition or intention
This is the building block of all other attitudes. First, you must bring your focus to the intention of working with your anxiety.
- Beginner’s mind
This refers to a mindset that is ready to see from a new perspective and consider new ideas in regards to dealing with anxiety.
This is a very important attitude to cultivate since it can broaden your perspective and help you persevere when you run into obstacles on your journey.
Having the mindset of acknowledgment means that you take each experience for what it is; you accept what is happening and be secure in the knowledge that it, like the weather it will pass.
This attitude involves experiencing your present moment without evaluating and judging it. It means you let go of value judgments about yourself and how you are feeling and allows you to begin your work from a more balanced starting block.
This attitude refers to the willingness to accept a situation or experience as it is, without trying to change it. To combat your anxiety, you must first be present with it and accept your current state.
The mindset of self-reliance is characterized by trusting yourself and your ability to handle your feelings. Cultivating your self-reliance will allow you to more easily acknowledge, experience, and let go of your anxiety.
- Letting be or allowing
Similar to the attitude of non-striving, letting be or allowing refers to the mindset of allowing yourself to feel anxiety. Often it is more effective to work with your anxiety than expend energy trying to fight against it.
As mentioned earlier, showing yourself compassion is an important part of mindfulness. Being kind to yourself, as you would be kind to a dear friend or family member, can help you to decrease your anxiety by being a support for yourself.
- Balance and equanimity
These are attitudes that allow wisdom to develop through a broadening of perspective and an understanding that your whole experience is so much more than your current feelings, whether positive or negative.
10 Mindful Attitudes for Healing
To practice each of these 10 Mindful Attitudes for Healing, first read the full description of each mindset then try to embody each mindset or attitude. Take note of how you feel. Afterward, reflect on your experience and describe it, with a special focus on your feelings during the process.
For a rather more simple method of applying mindfulness to anxiety, you can try this quick exercise:
- focus on the sensations that arise in your body when you are anxious.
- be present and in the moment,
- allow yourself to think the anxious and distressing thoughts, don’t fight them.
By recognizing these thoughts for what they are, you may come to realize that they are not true, and consequently be able to let them go (Hofmann, 2013).
Take some time right now to slowly reread the descriptions of the attitudes of mindfulness. After reading each one, pause and reflect upon what it means to you, especially as you begin to work with anxiety. Take a moment to try on each attitude and see how it feels. As you do so, tune in to how you feel in your body, mind, and emotions. Finally, after trying on each attitude, briefly describe your experience, noting how it felt. For example, did it feel natural or easy to adopt a particular attitude, or was it difficult? If it was difficult, why might that be? Was the attitude unfamiliar, or did you feel yourself resisting it in some way?
This article has been adapted from A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook for Anxiety by Bob Stahl PhD
For more information on 10 Mindful Attitudes for Healing or healing from depression, stress or anxiety at our mental health and wellness center in South Africa. Call +27824424779 or email email@example.com