One Mindful Minute


Written by Molly Swanberg

Mindfulness: It is a skill that most of us have heard of, but few of us truly use. For those of us who have not formally studied meditation, the concept of mindfulness may seem confusing or “too difficult.” In reality, however, being mindful is quite simple and can be incredibly beneficial in dealing with all sorts of mental struggles, including anxiety. Here I will attempt to explain mindfulness in the simplest terms my brain can muster.

Mindfulness means focusing on one thing at a time. Period. If you are driving a car, mindfulness involves focusing on driving the car – e.g., noticing the scenery of the road ahead of you, feeling the sensation of the steering wheel in your hands, and tuning in to any perceptions that one experiences while engaged in the act of driving. It is NOT mindful to think about all of the tasks you need to accomplish that day or worry about your next job interview. Our minds are incredible in their ability to be in many places at once – put simply: mindfulness is cutting out the noise and staying in the moment.

Now, the practice of mindfulness is a little trickier but also within reach. It may not come natural at first but like many things in life, the more you practice the better you will get. Someone once said to me that mindfulness is like a muscle, the more you use it the stronger it becomes. I have found this to be true in my own practice. So where do we start? What is the easiest way to dive into this world of the present? Here are two mindfulness meditations that will only take one precious minute out of your day.

First, set a timer for one minute. All of those smartphones have timers on them, so no excuses! Now, close your eyes and listen to your environment. Pay attention to all of the unique sounds that are going on around you. You may be amazed at how much noise there is in even the quietest of places. Your mind may wander during this minute – that is OK and it is totally natural and expected. All I ask is that when your mind wanders, notice it, do not judge it or get angry with yourself, simply refocus on the sounds of the room. Do this refocusing as many times as necessary before the minute is up.

Here’s a very similar exercise that is even easier. This one can help when you are tossing and turning at night, unable to sleep because you are worried and anxious. First, focus on your own breathing. Take several long slow breaths in, and long slow exhalations. Allow yourself to truly feel and experience the physical sensation of breathing. When your mind wanders back to the anxious thought, gently notice that it happened and revisit your breathing. I am pretty sure every time I have done this I have fallen asleep within 15 minutes. Not only is deep breathing relaxing, it’s kind of boring. I don’t know about you guys but boring things make me fall asleep.

Ok, now go practice! I know you have one minute in your busy schedule to give this a shot. Remember, the more you use it the easier it becomes, and the effort is worth it because these exercises can be very useful in managing anxiety. In fact, if you are truly being mindful and living in the moment it is actually impossible to be anxious. Amazing!

Inspirational Message

The Way of Mastery is to break all the rules—but you have to know them perfectly before you can do this; otherwise you are not in a position to transcend them.

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Calmer in the Face of Hardship
I came to the Center for Anxiety for help in dealing with a family member who suffered from extreme anxiety. But I ended up getting a serious illness two months later and started having my own sessions. With the help of my therapist I got through my illness, learned to understand my habits that were making my major life stresses worse, learned to communicate better, taper my anger, and surprisingly I became more calmer even though my hardships in life worsened. Therapy is a lot of work and not easy, but nothing in life comes easy! I became a better and softer mom and (when I practice what I learned) and my kids and home are calmer and happier. I am still a work in progress and have more to work on, but I know I am on the right path. I wish I knew before how my communication style and anger were really impacting my life, how being softer you can accomplish way more then being harsh. I have been to other therapists in the past and I can hands down say that the Center for Anxiety’s approach is really effective. I have even referred a bunch of people to the Center and they have been really happy with the therapists and how much they really care for their patients.
I Tackled a Long List of Fears
When I first came to the Center for Anxiety, my list of anxieties/fears was long! I was scared of getting sick, getting stranded, driving, flying and more. With the help of my therapist, I immediately got to work and tackled every one of my fears. Now the world is open to me and I feel free! I can dream big and accomplish whatever I set my mind to! I am especially grateful that I was able to do all this without having to rely on medication. It was hard work – grueling at times! – but now I have the coping tools within me for life. In fact a family member recently said to me “You are awesome. You can accomplish anything you set your mind to because you don’t let fear stop you! ” Thank you Dr. Rosmarin and the Center for Anxiety staff for helping me get here. My fears no longer limit me and I love my life. Try it, it might turn your life around too!
Highly Skilled and Professional Treatment
When I sought treatment at the Center for Anxiety, the clinic was is in its incipient stages. However, by the time I successfully finished treatment, the Center for Anxiety grew and flourished into a world-class treatment center, offering cutting-edge, evidence-based treatment to countless individuals. The continued success of the Center for Anxiety comes as no surprise to me, with a team that contains such highly skilled professionals who display clinical acumen, empathy, and compassion. When I first entered treatment I was concerned that therapy would be similar to the experiences with past psychologists: a seemingly bottomless pit with no reductions in my anxiety symptoms, but was so relieved when I started to feel less anxious after only a handful of sessions. My therapist created a treatment plan that was tailored exactly to my needs and taught me practical skills to help me work through my anxiety that I still use and practice to this very day.
No More Panic
When I first came in, I was struggling with panic disorder and didn’t even know it, which only made dealing with it that much more difficult. After my first time sitting down with my therapist, however, I instantly started to gain perspective and look at the difficult situation in a different light. Our meetings helped me conquer the issue step by step and get my life back on track. I’d strongly recommend that anyone dealing with anxiety in a way that impacts their day to day life should visit the Center for Anxiety! I know it helped me tremendously.
Free of Obsessions
When I woke up one morning last June and didn’t want to get out of bed, I knew I needed help. The thought of getting through another day with all my anxieties, obsessions and rituals was just too overwhelming. After feeling stuck for years, I just couldn’t anymore. Thankfully, that’s when I found the Center for Anxiety. Dr. Rosmarin and his staff are experts at what they do, kind and professional. After just several weeks I accomplished my initial targets. The change I experienced in such a short amount of time was astounding that I stayed on for a while longer to work on more complex goals. I soon achieved those too. Now, I am free of my obsessions, know how to manage my anxiety, and love my life. My only regret: not having done this sooner. I wish I had known that you don’t have to wait to hit rock bottom to get help.
Depression Lifted
I’m 26 years old and I’ve been suffering from terrible depression for 7 years. In the throws of my sadness I literally wanted to die. Soon after starting therapy at the Center for Anxiety, my depression lifted. My suicidal thoughts began to dissipate. I remember the feeling that came over me as soon as the dark cloud above me left. It was the most liberating feeling I have ever experienced. I actually shouted to my friends, family and anyone nearby me “I’m Happy! I am Happy!” I felt free.
From EXISTING to LIVING
Over the course of four years I developed anxiety-like symptoms (tightness in chest, gut, back) that slowly but surely increased in duration and severity. The EXTREMELY uncomfortable nature of the symptoms notwithstanding, I still continued and managed to function. The effort required to do so, however, left me utterly drained. Having always been a very spiritual person I strongly felt that a course of therapy incorporating a spiritual component could potentially work well for me and decided to give the Center for Anxiety a try. Happily, I have achieved significant symptom reduction, tremendously improved emotional/mental health, and above all, Connection. Medication free. I’m no longer just existing, I’m LIVING. I’ve been given a second chance to become the unique human being that I was meant to be.
No More worries
I have wormed in healthcare for 36 years in many different settings, and I have been overwhelmingly satisfied with the Center for Anxiety. When staff says they are going to call, I get a call. From the first contact, I have been very impressed with the professionalism and efficiency. I had a situation and needed to have sessions more than once per week, and my clinicians worked out a schedule to accommodate my needs. I was astounded that they attended to me so quickly and effectively - they made my priority their priority. My clinicians were also excellent at what they do - they have a plan for me each session, and it's clear that they have thought in advance about each session, and that they are listening to what I say and observing what I do, even though our sessions have been conducted via Telehealth. Compassion is a quality that I have all too often found to be lacking in my experiences as a healthcare professional and patient, and this is not the case with the Center for Anxiety. Of all the websites I found on Google, I am so thankful that God guided my hand to yours.
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