There is something about the New Year that makes one want to throw off the old and embrace the new. To me a New Year represents a blank sheet of paper upon which I can create new aspects of me but, as I blogged previously, there are parts of me that are indispensable to my being.
Imagine that life is a Venn diagram and there are two overlapping circles marked ‘old’ and ‘new’. The commonal part where the two meet is where, I reckon, I can make changes. Call me a sceptic but I have always eschewed embracing wellbeing measures such as the power of positive thinking and mindfulness.
The wellbeing industry claims to provide solutions to any negativity that flows out of our brains but isn’t it just human to be downright miserable about things?
I don’t want to be walking around radiating positivity all the time while still having to navigate everyday irritations like the train being late in the morning, too many wet leaves on the footpath which make me fear slipping or turning up to Church on a Sunday and listening to a sermon which I have heard many times before. I sound miserable don’t I? Point made.
Something happened late last year though which made me rethink my attitude. I started suffering from anxiety attacks. Some lasted a few minutes. Some lasted hours. It all stemmed from feeling as if I wasn’t being the best person that I could be and that life was passing me by. Someone suggested that I take up Mindfulness. Initially I was hugely sceptical but it soon dawned on me that I wasn’t in a position to shun trying something new.
I signed up for a Mindfulness course and have found it to be immensely helpful in alleviating stress and worry. What swayed it for me came from an unlikely source. A good friend who calls himself a ‘a grumpy angry Yorkshireman’ in his late 50s with anger management issues told me that he had taken up Mindfulness. If you imagine a 20 stone Yorkshire man standing at over 6 feet sitting cross legged while meditating. Seems rather a fantasy doesn’t it but he did seem calmer and happier when I met up with him after a long time?
Mindfulness is seen as an effective method for treating anxiety and stress. It is essentially a practice that allows a person who suffers from anxiety to live in the present of a moment. The objective is for the person to realise that his/her fears and worries amount to something that he/she has the ability to cope with. I find it hard to live in the present and am often worrying about something that is going to happen in the future. Mindfulness is starting to help me see things in a different way.
Here is a starter which you can try in some corner of your home:
Begin with 10 minutes a day. Being present in the moment is the key factor.
Sit in silence and be aware of your thoughts. After a few minutes start focusing on your breathing. This will eradicate distractions. Letting go of your normal everyday thoughts for these 10 minutes is the objective of the session. Be aware of your body and your emotions. You are teaching yourself to live in the moment in this way.
Good luck with it.