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Calming the Anxious Mind

Mark Coleman






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Calming the Anxious Mind

A key way to calm the mind is to ground the attention in the body. By attuning to the body, breath and the senses we can allow awareness of the present to relieve the anxiety of the mind.

In this practice, finding a posture where

you can sit with ease, with relaxation.

Closing your eyes, or if that's

not comfortable lowering your gaze.

And in this practice of calming the

anxious mind, we're going to attune

to the body and the breath as a way to

ground, bring some ease, some relaxation.

So first beginning by scanning your

attention through your body and

releasing any unnecessary tension.

Softening your jaw.

Releasing your shoulders.

Relaxing your belly.

And then no matter what is happening

in your mind or in your life, bring

your attention into your body.

Feeling that contact fullness of your

body, touching the ground, the earth.

Feel that sensation of contact and

the sit bones, the thighs, the feet.

Feeling a sense of the

earth supporting you.

And attuning to the stillness and the

silence and the groundedness of the earth.

Imagining you're like a tree rooting

down into the earth, grounded, connected.

And then bringing awareness to

the sensations in your body.

And be aware that the body is a

wonderful resource for grounding

attention in the present moment.

No need to think about

the body nor visualize.

Just sensing your posture in

the body attuning to stillness.

And all the sensations that are present.

Tense, relaxed, tingling, vibration.

And allowing whatever's here to be here.

And each time you notice your attention

pulled to thoughts, to worries to an

imagined future, simply recognizing,

oh, thinking is happening, planning is

happening, anticipation is happening.

Worry is like this.

Fear thinking is like this.

And then releasing those

thoughts and returning attention

to the physical experience of

sitting, grounded on the earth.

And the same way, including

awareness of breathing.

Not needing to breathe in

any particular way, allowing

the breath to breathe itself.

Feeling and sensing all the sensations

of the inhale, sensations of the

exhale, any pause between breaths.

And allowing attention to settle or absorb

into the simple sensations of breathing.

Being curious how each breath

is distinct from the last.

And in particular, feeling

the quality of the exhale.

Noticing the quality of release or ease

or relaxation as we release in the exhale.

And if it's helpful, you can

slightly elongate the exhalation.

Allowing a pause before

the next in-breath.

Noticing how grounding attention in

the body and the breath can divert

attention away from the mind and its

thoughts and worries, and anxiety.

And again, each time your

attention is pulled into thoughts,

into worries about the future,

anxiety, noticing it, naming it.

Oh, thinking is like this.

Planning and worry is like this.

And then shifting your attention to your

body and notice if you feel any particular

emotion, like anxiety, worry, fear.

If it's very strong, it can be

helpful to place a hand where you

feel that experience, that emotion.

Hand on the chest or hand on

the belly, bringing a quality of

care, soothing, kind attention.

And as you release the thoughts,

allows the feelings to subside.

And then again, we resume

awareness of the body.

awareness of breath.

We bring awareness to anything that's not

the anxious mind, anything that allows

us to ground in the present moment.

Sounds, quality of space all around us.

Feeling the spaciousness of

awareness can hold any experience.

And continuing to ground awareness

in the body, with breathing.

And being curious if there are any

sensations that are pleasant, or

easeful, grounding, calming, soothing.

And letting our attention rest there.

In this last minute of the practice,

continuing to atune to the quality

of relaxation on the exhale.

To the sensations of the

body, particularly those

that have ease, groundedness.

And aware of other experience around.

Sounds, other sensations.

And releasing the thoughts as they

arise, unhooking attention and

coming back over and over into the

physical sensory present moment.

And with mindfulness, each time you

notice your attention being caught by

a thought or worry, a plan anxiety,

noticing that, naming it, releasing it.

Feeling the body, feeling any

particular emotion that's present.

Bringing a kind attention,

soothing attention.

Are there any feeling of anxiety or

fear, continuing to use the breath as a

support for not just being in the present

moment, but also for relaxation and ease.

And as we bring the practice to a close,

noticing the influence of this practice.

Knowing that you can continue to bring

this quality of grounded attention in the

body and grounded attention to the breath

as a way of working with the anxious mind.

Please enjoy your practice.

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