06 Oct Mindfulness has helped me overcome severe anxiety - Barbara Langreck
“I am grateful to have found out about mindfulness meditation”, says Barbara Langreck from Dublin, Ireland, our mindfulness hero of the month. After suffering from severe anxiety with panic attacks for a long time, she discovered mindfulness and since then she has been very courageous to reshape a healthier and happier life for herself. We got in touch with her to know how she overcame severe anxiety and share some tips with beginners.
I started with mindfulness meditation after suffering from severe anxiety with panic attacks for a long time. My CBT therapist recommended mindfulness and so I did some research and accidentally found the Aware app. I gave it a try and loved it right from the start. The first few days of the basic course were not too long and step by step I learned to breathe for relaxation, to refocus and most of all to observe rather than engage with my feelings and emotions.After the first week itself, I was able to use breathing for relaxation when I felt another panic attack was coming on. These days I am much more relaxed, not so anxious anymore and use the single short sessions daily just in between housework or appointments. I meditate every evening at the same time no matter what. This time is “me” time when I take time out for myself, for my relaxation and health. Like brushing my teeth, meditation has become part of my daily hygiene: mental hygiene I call it. I am absolutely grateful to have found out about mindful meditation. It has helped me to overcome my severe anxiety, is a great tool to cut short any panic and in addition to that helped me to be more compassionate with myself. I used to be overly critical with myself but this is no more.To anyone who is suffering from depression, anxiety, PTSD or similar, I would definitely recommend mindfulness and meditation. Do it regularly not only when you’re feeling down. Stick to it even if you find it repetitive after a while. Practise again and again and you will see that it helps. To shake it up a bit you can meditate in a different environment. I live close to the sea and love meditating there with the sound of the waves. Or go to a forest, wherever it is quiet and nice, sit down, take a deep breath and relax with meditation.
Key takeaways from Barbara for beginners:
- Meditate at the same time everyday. We all know that to experience the benefits of meditation, we need to meditate daily but a lot of us struggle to make it a habit. One of the most effective ways to make meditation a part of your daily routine is to meditate at the same time everyday. Gradually, before you know, you will find yourself meditating daily.
- Stick to the practice even if it feels repetitive. Look at meditation as gym for the mind. To train your muscles, you go to the gym and do a set of exercises and repeat it daily. Occasionally, you might change your schedule, but you soon get back to your routine. Similarly, to train the mind, it is critical to repeat the exercises daily. Yes, once a while, you can change the place you meditate, or the time, or the technique, but it is very important to practice regularly even if it is repetitive.