I’m not very good at meditation and mindfulness exercises. When I’m at my most anxious this is also the time I resist doing these things the most. Yet I’m well aware of the role of mindfulness in reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Taking a bath is my preferred form of mindfulness, and something I often recommend to patients. If you want to increase the benefits then add a cup of magnesium chloride (this is absorbed better than magnesium sulfate/epsom salts), and a few drops of your favourite essential oils. I recommend avoiding any citrus-based oils as they can cause irritation. Lavender is a safe option.
I also recommend placing a few tealights around the room (safely!) and playing some calming tunes (there’s a plethora of Spotify mixes out there). It’s tempting to take my phone into the bath with me and scroll social media but it’s best left in your room so that you can soak up the sounds and smells and truly immerse yourself in the experience – that’s what mindfulness is all about – being completely present and aware of your surroundings. Take a note of the time when you first climb into the bathtub and try to stay there for at least 20 minutes, that allows the magnesium salts to be absorbed better, and is sufficient time to allow your nervous system to reset.