What Mindfulness Did For My Anxiety.

Mindfulness has changed my view on life, and it has changed my brain. I attribute most of my current emotional state to the philosophy behind mindfulness. The practice gave me the window to actively view the cause of anxiety within myself.

I was an anxious monkey.

Before Mindfulness

Growing up, I often scoffed at the spiritual teachers my mother would introduce me to. I would play devil’s advocate, saying their words were unrealistic and unfounded. I also believed my beliefs were solid, and my world view wouldn’t change. It was my original introduction to those beliefs that founded mindfulness that shattered this sentiment for the better.

Like many people, when I entered the adult world my relationship with my emotions resembled a battlefield. I would strictly fight back against social anxiety, insecurities, and discomfort in general.

This was unhealthy, but manageable through the many distractions that existed in my life. That is until I started experiencing depersonalization. To be frank, it doesn’t really matter if you understand this. Mindfulness applies to everything at all times.

The point is, I felt like I lost my “control” over my brain. I feared the moment anxiety would kick in, and felt like I constantly battled intrusive thoughts.

My Cure

A monkey reducing the anxiety through mindfulness and meditation.
Meditating on the benefits of mindfulness.

Cure might not be the right word here. If you know anything about mindfulness, there is no goal to the practice, the peace that follows from mindfulness is an added benefit.

What mindfulness does cure, is the continuation of the root cause to many of our unnecessary anxieties.

Put simply, it’s a shift in perception to observation. Mindfulness is not meant to procure any specific state of mind, or change your emotional state. It’s a practice to habitually change the way we react to what happens to us. 

This is great to know, but instead of elaborating on its ineffably mystical qualities, I’ll stick to its practical application.

How Mindfulness Actually Helped Me

It’s easier to understand the problems that come with not being mindful, then trying to articulate it exactly.

Every time we approach anxiety with the goal to change the feeling, we immediately make it more difficult for the brain to be at peace.

It may seem counterintuitive, but look at it this way. To “us”, anxiety seems bad, but to the brain, it’s just following protocol. There is no good or bad emotion to the brain, they all have the same value. When we strain to remove anxiety and cling to happy feelings, we throw off the balance of the brain.

This can create additional alarm bells for us, and forces us to try to continually push the brain to be in a specific state.

Instead of calming us down, this will often have the opposite effect.

The radical moment for me, was when I would experience thoughts that would sky rocket my anxiety in the past, but were just observations for me now.

It’s not that my thoughts and emotions were never uncomfortable, but I stopped targeting them as bad things I needed to get rid of. I started looking at control over the brain as an illusion, or at least unproductive.

Back To The Present

A calm monkey having lunch.
A more relaxed monkey.

Today I feel much more peaceful than I ever have. This is not to say that I don’t feel any anxiety or sadness, but the process is much, much less involved. The kicker to this experience is that the implementation of mindfulness was not some type of wizardry. It’s more a practice of not doing the things that cause us unnecessary discomfort. That means that I’m not constantly focusing on my anxiety to ensure it’s obedient…it’s more like we’re on the same team. 

Thank you for reading, check out these related articles!

How Depersonalization Might Help Anxiety – Depeaced

These Affirmations Can Actually Help Depersonalization – Depeaced

How To Stop Checking In On Depersonalization – Depeaced

You May Also Like These Topics...

Inner Peace, Finding It Through Quotes: The Power of Mindfulness.

Finding inner peace can be a difficult journey, but the power of mindfulness can help us to see that peace. Mindfulness is being aware and present at the moment without judgment. It’s about focusing on your thoughts and feelings without getting caught up in them. The goal of mindfulness is to cultivate a sense of […]

Self-compassion vs Self-esteem.

What is the difference between self-compassion and self-esteem and how does it affect our chances of success in life? No one likes to feel bad about themselves, and many people are looking for positive ways to tell them what they are doing wrong. One way to do this is through self-esteem, a sense of worth […]

How to Meditate

When we meditate, we inject far-reaching and long-lasting benefits into our lives: We lower our stress levels, we get to know our pain, we connect better, we improve our focus, and we’re kinder to ourselves. Let us walk you through the basics in our new mindful guide on how to meditate.

Why your gratitude journal doesn’t work better.

Express gratitude – not because you will benefit from it, but others might People take part in a ‘applause for care’ flash mob as part of a campaign to acknowledge the work of employees working in healthcare in Amsterdam. Olaf Kraak/ANP/AFP via Getty Images Expressing gratitude works better than your gratitude journal, for you and […]

Tags: ,
Next Post

Inner Peace, Finding It Through Quotes: The Power of Mindfulness.


    • kimi
    • August 13, 2023

    I really like that there are no “good” or “bad” emotions to the brain. They all have their purpose.

      • Brent Milne
      • August 15, 2023

      I fount that a freeing concept as well. Thank you for your comment.

  1. Reply

    And when you talked about

    “unhealthy but manageable”

    and “a battleground of emotion”.

    Yes – our brains like our bodies crave homeostasis.

    And occasionally novelty and sensation.

      • Brent Milne
      • September 1, 2023

      Our brains are fascinating things aren’t they.

        • tikno
        • November 16, 2023

        Yes, fascinating. Our brain uniting the two inseparable ability in it, to deal within universe.

  2. Reply

    Brent—this is such a great way of explaining such a complicated process! I’m currently working on a manuscript, in part a memoir, where learning to be more mindful and less willful was the beginning of my self-improvement & growth. My inner work. Beginning with radical acceptance, diving into dialectical behavior therapy, considering for once that I might truly be THE problem & approaching it as an experiment to see if I followed all professional instructions & focused my time more on fixing the problem (me), WOULD IT WORK? I found Marsha Linehan’s memoirs inspiring. Not warm & fuzzy but inspirational all the same. Matthew MConaughney’s “Green Lights” was incredibly inspirational. Learning about the development of positive neural pathways to successfully retrain your brain to actually DEFAULT to seeing what you DO have, instead of what you don’t. (Inherently , we are WIRED with the Iizard brain. The fight or flight mode.). It takes a conscious effort to change these things that are fundamental to who we are not only as an individual, but as a species. It’s a powerful thing to realize we have so much control over our own brains & we are capable of altering how it thinks. A change in perspective. Perception checks. Letting things go. Paired with an immense dive into analytical psychology, I have grown so much. As mentioned, you state this entire concept much easier to digest than I would.

      • Brent Milne
      • November 21, 2023

      Thank you for your comment and kind words. I’ve always thought that Fight or Flight wasn’t complete. Then I came across a third behaviour which fits. There is also Freeze. We see this in the animal world and it holds true for people. You can become who you want to be. Ive changed and I know you can as well. It’s all between your ears.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.