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Library Anxiety: Mindfulness

Library anxiety is a real phenomenon that can hurt your ability to complete your coursework and do library research. This guide talks about what library anxiety is and about some ways to overcome it.

What is mindfulness?

The most widely used definition of mindfulness comes from Jon Kabat-Zinn: "Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally." (From Wherever You Go, There You Are – Mindfulness Meditation).

Mindfulness - Jon Kabat Zinn (Google Talks)

Mindset

Carol S. Dweck's book Mindset is a helpful exploration of the difference between the "fixed" v.s. the "growth" mindset.

Mindfulness techniques

To begin applying mindfulness to your anxiety, Mindful.org has provided a short description of 10 attitudes that will help build the foundation for successfully addressing anxiety:

  • Volition or intention
    This is the building block of all other attitudes. First, you must bring your focus to the intention of working with your anxiety.

  • Beginner’s mind
    This refers to a mindset that is ready to see from a new perspective and consider new ideas with regards to dealing with anxiety.

  • Patience
    This is a very important attitude to cultivate since it can broaden your perspective and help you persevere when you run into obstacles on your journey.

  • Acknowledgment
    Having the mindset of acknowledgment means that you take each experience for what it is; you accept what is happening and are secure in the knowledge that it will pass.

  • Non-judgment
    This attitude involves experiencing your present moment without evaluating and judging it. It means you let go of value judgments about yourself and how you are feeling and allows you to begin your work from a more balanced starting point.

  • Non-striving
    This attitude refers to the willingness to accept a situation or experience as it is, without trying to change it. To combat your anxiety, you must first be present with it and accept your current state.

  • Self-reliance
    The mindset of self-reliance is characterized by trusting yourself and your ability to handle your feelings. Cultivating your self-reliance will allow you to more easily acknowledge, experience, and let go of your anxiety.

  • Letting be or allowing
    Similar to the attitude of non-striving, letting be or allowing refers to the mindset of allowing yourself to feel anxiety. Often it is more effective to work with anxiety than expend energy trying to deny or fight it.

  • Self-compassion
    As mentioned earlier, showing yourself compassion is an important part of mindfulness. Being kind to yourself, as you would be kind to a dear friend or family member, can help you to decrease your anxiety by being a support for yourself.

  • Balance and equanimity
    These attitudes allow wisdom to develop through a broadening of perspective. They require an understanding that your whole experience is more than your current feelings, whether positive or negative.

Excerpted from Courtney Ackerman's 22 Mindfulness Exercises, Techniques & Activities For Adults