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Meet Tara

Struggling with panic attacks and high anxiety? Read Tara’s story and learn how mindfulness has helped her heal.

Welcome to Meet Our Community!

This is a place where we are sharing real-life experiences from Mindfulness.com community members — both as a way to help you feel connected to people all around the world who are on the mindfulness journey with you, and also so you can see how regular, simple mindfulness practices are helping people deal with challenges, increase happiness, and improve their everyday wellbeing.

We’d love to introduce you to Tara. Tara is a certified yoga teacher who was acquainted with mindfulness. But when her husband had a life-threatening medical event and Tara experienced PTSD and a sharp increase in her anxiety — she realized that mindfulness is more than just a hobby. At the suggestion of her therapist, she began using mindful practices as a way to calm panic attacks and heal her nervous system.

Read Tara’s full story and find out how mindfulness has changed her life:

The hobby that became a lifeline

I’ve had an interest in mindfulness for a long time. I read Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Wherever You Go, There You Are a decade ago. I took the 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Relief (MBSR) program. And about 5 years ago, I became a certified yoga instructor, and I frequently use mindfulness meditation at the end of class.

So mindfulness was definitely a part of my life. But I didn’t fully realize what a lifeline it could be in a time of crisis.

Challenges with PTSD, panic attacks, and intense anxiety

Three years ago, my husband collapsed with an aortic dissection and nearly died. He was forced to retire, and his recovery from open heart surgery was slow and steady. Every day, I am grateful that he is here as my husband and the father to our teenage sons.

But his recovery was not the end of the challenges.

A few months after his open heart surgery, I was diagnosed with PTSD and struggled with panic attacks, intrusive thoughts, and constant anxiety that was disrupting my sleep and my overall wellbeing.

My psychologist encouraged me to take more time to just be and to nurture myself. Mindfulness was one of the ways I could get out of my head and be fully in the moment.

How mindfulness helped me heal

My regular practice — which includes walks in nature, deep breathing, and meditation — stops my panic attacks. It helps me to ground myself. I am calm, and my thinking is clear.

Mindfulness has taught me how to see my thoughts as just thoughts. I notice them, acknowledge them, thank my mind for throwing them into focus. Then, I choose what to think about, or not. My mental chatter is there, it’s just not dragging me in the direction it chooses. I choose my path, and I decide where to step.

Advice I would give to someone starting out with mindfulness and how to tackle life with mindfulness is:

Do just one minute a day. Walking mindfully is one of the most effective ways of practicing for me. It doesn’t have to be long or complicated. Start simple and see where it leads.

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If Tara’s story resonates with you, and you know you need help with anxiety, stress, panic attacks, or the symptoms of PTSD — we invite you to explore the possibilities of mindfulness.

Inside the app, you’ll find a wide variety of resources, from courses to meditations to mini-practices, that can help you start to retrain your brain and calm your nervous system.

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