Mindfulness Techniques Lessen Feelings of Anxiety, Isolation

Get “interconnected” with yourself, others, and the world.

Ever feel as if you’re living in a bubble, separate from everyone else? All of us have moments when we feel somewhat isolated from life. For some, however, this sense of isolation exacerbates anxiousness, creating feelings of despair, painful separation, and a longing to feel integrated with life.

Studies now indicate that two Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction practices can alleviate anxiety by helping sufferers get back in touch with themselves and the world around them.

 

Informal Reconnect Practice

This practice, which uses the power of interconnectedness, is designed to help you get a sense of being unified with your surroundings. “When you deeply reflect on the ripples of interconnection that pulse through your life, you can directly experience how you are never isolated,” says author and teacher Bob Stahl, Ph.D. “Recalling this unity can break through feelings of disconnectedness or isolation, bringing a sense of interconnection that can suffuse you, like the sun emerging from a cover of clouds.”

Do this simple practice as soon as you realize you’re feeling separate. It can be done in any position, but keep your eyes open and stay engaged.

Deepen awareness of your body. Become aware of the points of contact with the surface beneath you, a sense of weight as you rest in gravity, or a feeling of how you fully inhabit three dimensions. Relax any tension. Allow your vision to expand, and soften your gaze. Connect with your breath and your heart, be present, and actively bring kindness to yourself.

Engage your visual field and body awareness together. Open your peripheral vision so you’re aware of your hands on your lap, or more fully sense your entire body. Hear the sounds around you, feel sensations, and gently acknowledge any thoughts or feelings.

 

 

Formal Interconnection Practice

Set aside 20 minutes for this meditation practice. Do it seated, standing, or even lying down—just be comfortable and alert.

Pause to check in. Check in with yourself and acknowledge how you’re feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally. (Remember that mindfulness is a non-judging awareness in the present moment.)

Gently shift awareness to breathing. Be aware of naturally breathing in and out, tuning in to one inhalation and one exhalation at a time. Focus on your breath wherever you feel it most distinctly, like your chest, belly or nostrils. Let your awareness rest there… being mindful of breathing in and out. 

Feel your body’s connection. Feel the surface supporting you. Then notice how that surface is connected to the floor, which is connected to the building you’re in, which is connected to the Earth. Reflect on being in a safe place with nothing you need to do, nowhere you must go, and no one you have to be. “Just allow yourself to be held in the heart of the earth with kindness and ease,” says Stahl. 

Expand your awareness. Sense the connection of the Earth to the solar system, and then the vast universe. In this way, we’re all interconnected.

Feel the grace of this universe. Appreciate that you are an intrinsic part of this universe and can never be separated from it. Feel a sense of connection and interconnection; you are at home within your being.

Gradually return awareness to your breath. Feel how your entire body breathes in and out, from head to toe, to fingertips—unified, connected, and whole.  

View the article:

Feeling Separate When You’re Anxious: Two Mindfulness Practices to Reconnect

 

Mindfully yours,

Dr. Pamm