If Mindfulness Makes You MORE Anxious, Know You Are Not Alone
IMPORTANT ((trauma informed)) NOTE: breathing, yoga, mindfulness, and meditation are powerful tools for many, but not for all. They might not be for everyone’s nervous system and might not be for everyone’s body.
This might come as a surprise to you, considering I write so much related to breath and mindfulness. But, I’m aware these practices aren’t inherently healing for all people. Because of this, I strongly support adapting breath work techniques to meet your individual needs ((adaptations involve tailoring the instruction & practice to each individual so it feels safe, comfortable, and supportive)) I’ve known a lot of people that felt like the traditional forms of yoga or mindfulness didn’t work for them, but when they experimented with an adaptive approach they felt different This is so wonderful! Hallelujah for adaptations!
But for a lot of people, no matter the adaptation, they still feel worse after practicing. This is such good information to know! If you are someone who feels more anxious after focusing on your breath, this does not mean you are doing anything wrong. This means your nervous system is communicating with you and saying “Hey! This doesn’t feel safe!”
With practice, you might find that yoga and breath-work start to feel more supportive. But I encourage you to practice in a safe and contained environment. In the meantime, you know what’s not working! And maybe you know a thing or two about what does workStick with what you know calms your nervous system. Maybe that’s reading, lying down, or listening to music. Especially now, you don’t need to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Instead, take this opportunity to listen to your body by doing what feels good