Mar 8, 2023
My experience of mindfulness…
You may have heard of it, you may have tried it, you might have a perception of it. This is my experience. PS. It has a happy ending;
After a slowly building tsunami of mental health problems, I finally had to heartbreakingly leave my very young child, my relationship, my job, my home and my family to stay in hospital for 6 months whilst my physical life was saved and my mental health was given the opportunity to rebuild a healthier state. It was not easy. At all.
Whilst there a Mindfulness group started. For me, it was the biggest sustainable coping strategy that I have tried, and it changed my way of being.
The skilled therapist gradually introduced the concept; paying attention moment by moment to our experience inside and outside our body. For example, the sensations of our body and the sounds, smells, air changes etc in the wider environment. Using the breath to anchor back to the moment each time our thoughts raced off.
Now, as a person who was experiencing extreme anxiety and overwhelmed by intrusive thoughts, desperate to escape them, this was quite a new and challenging concept.
I knew how busy my mind was, what I learnt through Mindfulness was how I could notice the thoughts zooming around and step back from them rather than following them on a path of destruction. Eventually I learnt to question the truth in them- did that person really ignore me? Was the thing I ate at lunch about to destroy the rest of my day? I am actually a terrible parent?
So, I learnt that if we can notice a thought, we can actively decide whether to follow it or whether to choose a different path. Wouldn’t it be nice to not be consumed by our thoughts and just get on with life…?
Slowly, the thoughts didn’t race so fast, my concentration improved and crucially I became less reliant on negative coping behaviours – no need for them anymore, no need to escape.
Did it take away the rubbish that goes on in the world, did it prevent that person saying something rude? No, but it enabled me to stop and see the bigger picture, to accept my thoughts and feelings about the experience and choose to live my life in a better way.
Some things that happened before Mindfulness: Major lack of confidence, worrying about what other people were thinking, anxiety, escapism, constantly leaving tasks unfinished, missing time with my family, driving around a lot, difficulty concentrating on tv, shopping would take hours and hours, spending more money, leaving social events early if I went at all, unable to hold on to relationships.
Mindfulness is a tool for everyday life, it has been found to be very effective for many areas such as anger management, eating disorders, panic attacks, disassociation, anxiety, pain management, PTSD, addictions, emotional healing etc.
What it taught me was that the world keeps moving around us and we can experience it much more fully when we stay with what is actually happening. We can challenge our negative thoughts, or worries about the past or future, we can bring a space to really take a check on what is going on in our lives and make better decisions.
The magic is that everybody has the ability to bring mindfulness into their everyday lives, no equipment needed! I highly recommend trying it out, and as with most things the more frequently you do it the easier and more effective it becomes.
Having got to the end of this piece, thank you for staying with it, may I invite you to try a short mindfulness practise?
Disclaimer: This article has been designed for entertainment and informational purposes; it is not personalised medical advice. This guide may be a useful read to generate some ideas, however, please take advice from a medical professional.
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I am glad I went to Head Agenda, great staff and Mark was really helpful and friendly. If you are unsure about going to see anyone then maybe just book an appointment and discuss it with them. Even if you think you are mentally strong there is always room for improvement. I feel like Mark has helped me find the right path to go forward in my life. I would recommend this company :)
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If you're ready to put in the work, I'd definitely recommend Head Agenda.
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I can't begin to describe how incredible Darren has been in helping me with my mental health. He enabled me to respect and love myself for the first time in a very long time. I have come a long way since starting my sessions and I will be forever grateful to Darren for facilitating my process of healing. I highly recommend Darren and Head Agenda!
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