Acceptance is the key to mindfulness’ ability to minimize anxiety. "Without an effective emotion regulation strategy, just bringing more attention to present experiences could intensify a person's experience of stress," says study author Emily Lindsay, Ph.D., postdoctoral research scientist at the University of Pittsburgh. While mindfulness allows you to notice, differentiate, and concentrate on physical and emotional body sensations, acceptance training takes it one step further and teaches you to approach these sensations with a welcoming attitude. "By allowing all experiences to arise and pass without trying to change them or push away stressful thought, experiences start to feel less problematic."
The bottom line:
Try using an meditation app for 20 minutes each day, suggests Lindsay. Developing awareness for the present moment and accepting whatever feelings arise can help you build a tolerance for stressful situations. That way, when you experience them either at work or in the gym, you'll be better equipped to deal calmly.