Coping with Anxiety through Mindfulness

Rahul (name changed), is a 34-year-old married male, a postgraduate, employed at one of the companies. His chief complaints were those of continuous brooding and worries over matters related to the past and career, feeling inferior, anxious, and nervous. He found himself committing minor mistakes at work because of his lack of concentration, for which his employer was not happy with him. This made him feel inadequate and inferior to his colleagues. He gradually began avoiding his friends as well. Also, due to WFH culture at present and overwork, he started to spend less time with family and more time with the laptop. He called a counsellor through the EWAP services at his workplace.

During the initial counselling sessions, the focus was to allow Rahul to vent out his thoughts & emotions to explore his issues through building a healthy rapport with him and counsellor’s non-judgemental approach. The counsellor then worked with him to outline a plan which involved the following strategies related to Mindfulness:

  • By focusing his attention on the present moment, mindfulness counteracts rumination and worrying. Worrying about the future and ruminating about the past are generally maladaptive thinking processes. Of course, it is important to learn from our past and plan for the future; however, when we spend too much time outside of the present moment, we can feel sad and anxious. By using various techniques like the 5-4-3-2-1 method where he started using his five senses of his body to be in here & now, he slowly started to live in the present moment.
  • Getting his confidence back where he would be reflective rather than being reactive to the situation.
  • Scheduling pleasurable activities & taking 5 minutes break after every 90 minutes, he was able to revive his focus & concentration on his work.
  • Learning basic relaxation techniques like equal breathing using the Tranquil Mindfulness App (5 secs inhalation & 5 secs exhalation) to work on his anxiety & nervousness.
  • Writing journals and making short- & long-term goals.

After the second call, Rahul came with his own idea of spending more time with his family & connecting through a video call to his friends. By using the Tranquil App for practicing Mindfulness, Rahul learnt how to respond to worry with awareness of what is happening in the present moment, rather than simply acting instinctively, unaware of what emotions or motives may be driving that response. It also encouraged him to see things from a different perspective. Mindfulness practice helped him to open up and accept his emotions without judging them. As a result, he was better able to identify, experience, and process his emotions.

The counselling process occurred in four sessions. During this time, Rahul was able to see the progress he was making and was also able to draw attention to areas where he was experiencing difficulty or concern. The counsellor continued to maintain contact with Rahul on a weekly basis for the next one month. The counselling supported him to acquire the necessary skills for maintaining progress on his own. He has returned to his work with more confidence & zest.