Anxious about the school week? Brand-new workweek? Or maybe just gearing up to see the family *cough* in-laws *cough* over the holidays?
It can be tough to get a handle on that vague, even sometimes illogical feeling of anxiety.
Even if there is a logical reason, say like:
- Stage fright.
- Nicotine withdrawal– that gnawing feeling in the back of your head that you need a cigarette.
- Caffeine withdrawal or too much caffeine.
- Feeling overwhelmed with meeting too many new people at once
- Feeling like you need that drink to socialize like everyone else
- The morning after drinking when everything is off
There are ways to control and diminish anxiety instead of ignoring or just “dealing with it”: Mindfulness meditation. I know, I know— but hear me out.
Mindfulness meditation a.k.a. Paying attention to your breath does a whole bunch of things, but one of the cooler things that happens is the activation of your anterior cingulate cortex shown here:
Anxiety dwells and builds in the posterior cingulate cortex. And when you activate one– say the anterior through meditation– you can calm the other (in a sense). Mindfulness practice has been shown to reduce anxiety this way.
Mindfulness isn’t a miracle cure though. It takes practice and won’t eliminate nicotine or caffeine cravings, or make you a social butterfly, but it can help.
And, you can do it anytime, anywhere.