Hey my lovelies, I hope you are all doing really well today. I am back with a post all about mindfulness, and how it has begun to help me on my mental health journey.
I will be honest, I never truly believed in things like mindfulness and meditation before I started to work on my mental health, to me it was one of those things that was too hard to think about, and I was scared and nervous that I wouldn't be able to do it right. That's where my issue of perfectionism comes into play, I always want to do well at something and this can lead to me feeling worse about myself, so when my therapist brought up mindfulness and felt it would be a good practice for me I was worried, but decided I needed to try it, so this is my journey.
I don't claim to know everything and all the beginnings of mindfulness and its practice, but I can try and explain it to you in basic terms and how I implement it.
Simply, to me mindfulness is all about breathing and being in the present moment. Always trying to be aware of the present, and being mindful of our current situation around us. To me, the main aspect of it that I have learnt from therapy is that it is concentrating on the here and now and what I can do now, rather than focusing and worrying about the past or being anxious about the future. Being mindful lets you really focus and this is why so many people with anxiety practice it.
Through my therapy, I have learnt the practices of being mindful, but it wasn't as easy as it sounds. It takes so much for me to clear my head and focus, and I guess that's one element of my anxiety and mental health problems, that my mind is always racing and I find it hard to just be still.
So, how do I practice mindfulness and relaxation?
The most basic way that I started practising mindfulness, was to really concentrate on my breath. Initially I would do it only in a quiet room and take time out that was set aside specifically to do it. I will sit in silence, and take deep breaths in and out and focus on the breath. My mind always wonders and it takes a long time to be able to focus and pull it back. Now that I have been practising it for over 6 months, I find it a really useful tool to implement anywhere especially when I feel anxious. I would do some mindfulness every morning and evening and if I am feeling anxious, I now take a couple of minutes to focus on the breath. If I am somewhere where it is especially noisy or where I am struggling with the breath focus, I look at another way to focus.
Normally, my anxiety hits hard when I am in the car, and my therapist taught me a really good way to take myself out of the anxiety, using the five senses.
I look for 5 things around me that I can see, normally I always look for 5 cars of the same colour, then 4 things I can touch, 3 things I can hear, 2 things I can smell and 1 thing I can smell. Now, every time I do this wont be the same way around, it may be 3 things I can hear or touch, but doing this really does allow for the brain to focus on something to take yourself out of that negative head space.
Another practice I use a lot when I am anxious due to feeling really down is visualisation. This is different for everyone, and I can't tell you exactly what to visualise, but the best piece of advice I will give you is go to a happy place or time in your life and focus on that. I go to that happy place and I will take a few deep breaths and think of all the positive things that surround that happy place and time, and just concentrating on positive things really does bring me back and clear the anxiety.
There are so many different practices, and techniques when it comes to mindfulness, and for me trying to be mindful has really helped in so many areas of my life. Due to a new medication, I have had to start implementing mindfulness into my eating habits. This new medication if i overeat at all, can make me unbearably sick, so I really savour every mouthful of food now and concentrate on the tastes, textures etc and focusing on the food helps me to not want to overeat.
I think you can place mindfulness into so many areas of your life, career and relationships, and it is definitely something that I am grateful to my therapist for introducing me to. I never truly realised how concentrating on one small thing could lead to the possibility of me controlling my anxiety and not the anxiety controlling me.
So my lovelies, do any of you practice mindfulness, or use relaxation techniques in your daily life? Let me know in the comments below any thoughts you have on it all.
Till next time, keep smiling