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Managing Anxiety with Mindfulness for Dummies


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Table of Contents

Introduction 1 About This Book 1 Foolish Assumptions 2 Icons Used in This Book 3 Beyond the Book 3 Where to Go from Here 4 Part I: Getting Started with Managing Anxiety 5 Chapter 1: Peering into the World of Anxiety 7 Comparing Fear, Excitement and Anxiety 7 Investigating fear 8 Clarifying the difference between anxiety and excitement 8 Discovering the Effect of Anxiety on the Mind 9 Finding out the Physical Effects of Anxiety on Bodily Functions 10 Understanding the Fight or Flight Response 11 Exploring Why Thinking Negatively Is a Natural Human Trait 12 Recognising Whether Your Anxiety Is Normal or Severe 13 Suffering from excessive anxiety 13 Accepting that mild anxiety can be helpful 14 Applying Mindfulness to Your Anxiety 15 Defining mindfulness 15 Discovering how mindfulness can help your anxiety 17 Trying out a mindful exercise 19 Chapter 2: Finding Out the Common Causes of Anxiety 21 Exploring Common Causes of Anxiety 21 Discovering your biology and your anxiety 22 Finding out the stress factor 23 Thinking causes most anxiety 23 Understanding the Influences Affecting Your Anxiety 25 Considering the effect of childhood experience 25 Exploring self-perception's impact on anxiety 26 Refusing to identify yourself with anxiety 27 Enjoying the benefits of socialising 28 Realising How Modern Day Living Can Affect Your Anxiety 29 Stopping negative media from affecting your anxiety 29 Reducing the adverse impact of technology on your anxiety 30 Part II: Learning More about Mindfulness for Anxiety 33 Chapter 3: Discovering Mindful Attitudes Toward Anxiety 35 Discovering Your Starting Attitude 35 Understanding the Benefits of Mindfulness 36 Let's get physical: Benefitting your health 36 Take me, as I am: Appreciating the power of acceptance 38 Open up your eyes: Focusing on an open mind 39 I've got the power!: Discovering the strength of the present moment. 40 We're absolute beginners: Seeing the world with a beginner's mind 42 Challenging Preconceived Ideas about Mindfulness and Meditation 43 Common Misconceptions 44 Letting go of control doesn't mean giving up 44 Practising meditation is for everyone 45 Viewing Mindfulness as a Way of Living 46 Introducing the Mindful Breathing Exercise 47 Practising the mindful breathing exercise 47 Enjoying the benefits of mindful breathing 48 Chapter 4: Managing Your Thoughts Mindfully 51 Accepting That Thoughts Impact Your Mind and Body 52 Letting up on your mind 52 Giving your body a break 53 Bringing Mindful Attention and Curiosity to Your Thoughts 53 Considering the effect of mindful attention on your thoughts 54 Trying different mindful metaphors 55 Understanding That Thoughts Aren't Necessarily Facts 55 Discovering that thoughts are just thoughts 56 Identifying yourself as separate from your thoughts 56 Accepting your thoughts with nonjudgemental awareness 57 Dealing with unhelpful or disturbing thoughts 58 Discovering the Breathing Space Meditation 59 Practising the breathing space meditation 59 Finding out the benefits and use of the breathing space meditation 60 Discovering when to practice the breathing space meditation 61 Chapter 5: Practising Deeper Mindfulness Meditations for Anxiety 63 Introducing the Body Scan Meditation 64 Discovering the benefits and purpose of the body scan 64 Practising the body scan 65 Overcoming common difficulties that arise with the body scan 68 Introducing the Sitting Meditation 70 Discovering the purpose and benefits of the sitting meditation 70 Practising the sitting meditation 71 Overcoming difficulties with the sitting meditation 73 Discovering Mindful Imagery Meditations for Anxiety 74 Practising the clouds in the sky visual meditation 75 Standing tall with the mountain meditation 75 Savouring the Mindful Eating Meditation 76 Practising mindful eating 76 Chapter 6: Using Mindful Self ]Compassion and Kindness for Anxiety 79 Understanding Loving-Kindness 79 Accepting the importance of being kind to yourself 80 Practising loving-kindness for yourself 80 Well-wishing loving-kindness for others 82 Facing common issues with the loving-kindness meditation 84 Letting Go of the Perfectionist 84 Investigating what being a perfectionist really means 84 Accepting yourself as already perfect 85 Discovering Compassion for Yourself and Others 87 Being compassionate towards yourself 88 Showing compassion towards others 89 Chapter 7: Journeying from Excessive Anxiety to Mindful Wellbeing 91 Starting the Journey at the Edge of the Forest 92 Seeing the wood despite the trees: Difficulties along the way 93 Understanding the journey of a lifetime 94 Keeping a Journal to Strengthen Your Practice 95 Writing a journal to help your mindfulness practice 96 Using the journal to monitor your progress 96 Enjoying the Vital Support of Other People 97 Asking family members to cooperate 97 Gaining group support 99 Part III: Applying mindfulness every day for anxiety 101 Chapter 8: Living Mindfully Day-to-Day 103 Engaging in Daily Mindfulness Meditations 103 Drinking tea mindfully 104 Making time for mindfulness in a busy lifestyle 105 Incorporating mindful eating into everyday life 107 Cultivating a joyful commute 108 Maintaining Positive Relationships 109 Being with friends and family 109 Sustaining positive relationships with colleagues 110 Dealing with Difficult Relationships 111 Handling problems with a significant other 111 Managing a daily workload mindfully 113 Chapter 9: Changing Unhealthy Habits to Healthy Ones to Combat Anxiety 115 Cutting Down on Stimulants and Certain Drugs 116 Reducing caffeine intake with mindfulness 116 Reducing the use of harmful nonprescription drugs 117 Choosing to drink less alcohol 118 Looking after Yourself Physically 118 Moving your body mindfully 119 Creating a healthy diet 120 Getting into a regular sleeping pattern 121 Avoiding Overuse of Technology at Home 123 Not watching TV last thing before bed 123 Turning off your computer and mobile phone early 123 Motivating Yourself to Meditate 124 Taking things one breath at a time 124 Forgiving yourself for the occasional slip 125 Rewarding yourself every so often 125 Chapter 10: Taking the Next Step in Your Mindfulness Practice 127 Determining Whether Your Anxiety Needs Medical Attention 128 Looking at the length of time 128 Considering the level of intensity 129 Investigating the impact on your life and behaviour 130 Engaging in an Eight-Week Mindfulness Course 130 Discovering the eight-week course 131 Practising the course alone 132 Finding a course to join 133 Locating a mindfulness coach or therapist to guide you 134 Using Mindfulness with Other Forms of Therapy 134 Changing how you think: Benefits of CBT for anxiety 136 Managing the use of prescribed medication with mindfulness 138 Expanding Your Mindfulness Practice 139 Taking mindful retreats to move forward 139 Discovering other helpful organisations 141 Part IV: The Part of Tens 143 Chapter 11: Ten Simple Mindfulness Exercises for Managing Anxiety 145 Being Mindful in Nature 145 Carrying out a Mini Body Scan Meditation 146 Trying out a Mini Sitting Meditation 148 Breathing Mindfully 149 Practising a Mini Loving-Kindness Meditation 149 Listening Mindfully 150 Cooking Mindfully 151 Walking Mindfully 151 Stretching Mindfully 152 Cleaning Mindfully 153 Chapter 12: Ten Mindful Attitudes for Easing Anxiety 155 Practising Present Moment Awareness 155 Helping Your Beginner's Mind to Blossom 156 Spotting Your Tendency to Judge 158 Considering Curiosity 159 Opening up to Anxiety 160 Developing Self-Compassion 160 Pursuing Patience - without Rushing 161 Operating with Optimism 161 Generating Gratitude 162 Allowing Acceptance to Grow 163 Index 165

About the Author

Joelle Jane Marshall is a freelance speaker and mindfulness coach who works closely with fellow Mindfulness For Dummies coauthor Shamash Alidina on workshops for 'Mindfulness and Overcoming Fear'. She trained in mindfulness with Shamash and meditates and practices yoga regularly.

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