The only reason I am blogging like a maniac right now is that my anxiety is playing up enormously. It has become so bad at work that I can’t go and even going out with the dog or shopping starts to be a nightmare. My heart races, I see enemies everywhere and most certainly something really bad is going to happen. That about sums my state of mind up at the moment.
I have been introduced to Mindfulness before
Through therapy I have been introduced to Mindfulness a couple of years ago and I have made it my goal to stay in the moment as much as I can. I experience this attitude as nurturing as it gives me a feeling of peace and safety: I am not my feelings and thoughts. I “just” experience them. However, there are moments when I just can’t reach that point anymore. I feel so overwhelmed with a feeling of dread, despair and hopelessness that nothing seems to get me out. These moments seemingly come out of nowhere. They used to have a trigger but now they just seem to come no matter what I do to care for myself and nurture my Wellbeing.
As I mentioned before in “Joy ~ ABC of Love 11 ~ Love Is In Da Blog 2018” my new doctor is a rather forward thinking person. So instead of ushering me into using anti-anxiety medication he let me borough the book “Mindfulness a practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world”.
My doctor gave me a book about Mindfulness
It is written by Mark Williams who used to be a professor of clinical psychology and Danny Penman a meditation teacher and journalist. In my doctors opinion this is the best book on Mindfulness. It gives a detailed introduction about what Mindfulness is and the scientific research that is gone into it. Then it gives you a 8-week course on how to integrate Mindfulness into your life.
I started reading it directly when I got it last week, however, much of the introduction was already known to me so I decided to skip these bits and directly go to the course bit. So today I start the tasks given me by the chapter: “Mindfulness Week One: Waking up to the autopilot”.
Mindfulness Week One: Waking up to the autopilot and me
At first I was introduced to the fact that a lot of our life runs on autopilot. You get up, clean your teeth, get dressed, have breakfast, go to work, come back, eat and go to bed without often realising what you are eating, how your coffee tastes and where you are sitting. You mind is so scattered and is running amok that you cannot experience what is directly around you. The funny thing is that I feel exactly like that at the moment (and I thought I had developed a mindful lifestyle a while ago 🙂 ).
It then introduces you to the “Raisin Meditation” and gives examples on how different people experienced this meditation. I had seen, felt and tasted the raisin in a meditation already when I was invited to a course by the Wellbeing Service. I love raisins and it is really difficult for me not to gorge them down so I am not quite sure if it really worked 😉 but I can’t really remember how it was anyway. So maybe I have to do that one again in a quiet moment.
Maybe I fare better with the Body and Breath meditation? I have only tried it once so far. I am supposed to do it twice a day but failed miserably already. Firstly I fell asleep last night when I tried it and then forgot this morning. But the good thing about Mindfulness is that there is no goal as such that you “need” to achieve. If you could not do it just start again and focus on what you experience rather than blaming yourself for not doing what you are asked to do.
Changing autopilot actions with Mindfulness
Another point the authors make for the first week is to do one of your autopilot actions differently. So, if you sit in the same place at home all the time sit somewhere else and focus your attention on how you feel, what you think, all in all what is going on in and around you. So this morning I asked the best husband (Jeremy Clarkson voice) in the world if he would mind to sit on the other side of the sofa for this week. So he did. I would love to tell you what an extremely interesting experience it was, however, it just made my anxiety bigger. Wish I could tell you its much better but it still feels rather strange. However, Mindfulness is a process. There is much to discover I think until next week.
So what are my mindful experiences for this week?
- do the Raisin Meditation
- do one “autopilot” action with full attention: I chose drinking my tea with full awareness
- do the Body and Breath Meditation twice a day
- Habit Breaker: I sit somewhere else
One more thing that just happened is that I somehow bring my attention back to the here and now with whatever I do. I walked the dog this morning (yes I managed but with some difficulty 🙂 ) and my mind just jumped around between how it will be to go back to work, blogging, connecting with my spiritual guides, anxiety….. You get the gist. But in between these attention jumps I brought my attention back to the sun and the wind on my face, to the way my boots slipped on the muddy path, to the smell of burning wood further down….
Mindfulness for Life with Mark Williams
I can give you a glimpse on how I experience Mindfulness and how I get on with this course. However, it is good to either read the book for yourself (its not only great if you suffer from a mental health problem) or find out more about what Mindfulness means from other resources. I found a lecture by Mark Williams one of the authors of “Mindfulness a practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world”. Here it is for you to make up your own mind about mindfulness:
Greater Good in Action
This post is part of “Love Is In Da Blog 20182 and answers to the prompt “Nurturing”
Fellow Bloggers blogging about Mindfulness:
MePTSDandallthatfuckedupShitinbetween: that ‘mindfulness’ thing
Campari and Sofa: Cultivating mindfulness (when you have no choice)