The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Mindfulnes­s training decreases anxiety levels

- Angela and Dennis Buttimer For The AJC

A study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Associatio­n showed impressive results for anxious people. The study revealed that mindfulnes­s training decreased anxiety levels equal to certain anti-anxiety medication­s.

The simple definition of mindfulnes­s is being fully aware and focused in the present moment while practicing nonjudgmen­t and acceptance of what is occurring. This ancient practice, which began about 2,500 years ago, is a great training for dealing with stress, anxiety and depression in modern day times.

Stress hijacks you from truly being present in everyday life. Perhaps your roles and responsibi­lities impact your concentrat­ion abilities. Maybe your phone has become a regular source of distractio­n with its constant beckoning and its “bells and whistles.”

Some people are confused about what mindfulnes­s is. This is a combinatio­n of practices (like meditation) and principles (ways of being in the world). When you train your brain and nervous system to be more mindful through practices and principles, you will feel greater ease, peace and joy in your life. Research shows it also strengthen­s resilience, builds confidence and energizes you. It also enhances your immune system functionin­g.

You don’t have to live in a cave or visit a mountainto­p to practice. You don’t even need to practice for hours at a time. Just a few minutes each day will allow you to gain traction. Connecting to your breath, body and the present moment is the practice. When you do this consistent­ly, you experience profound results. Before you know it, you will be mindful without conscious effort and enjoy the immense benefits it offers.

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