This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and this year’s theme is mindfulness. This is a good move in my eyes as the waiting lists for counselling get longer and longer and a lot of people just don’t want to rely on ‘happy pills’; finding ways to help yourself cope in moments of stress and anxiety can only be a good thing.
My doctor and I think I’ve moved on from clinical depression to ‘just’ anxiety but it’s hard to be sure when my chronic migraine preventative is also an anti-depressant, as is my morning “possibly fibromyalgia” medication. All I know is that it’s been a reassuring amount of time since I woke up wishing I hadn’t anymore.
Anxiety disorders are fairly debilitating in their own way and can lead to you feeling very cut off indeed from the outside world. Mindfulness can be taught, either in classes or online, but, also, its basic principles don’t need excessive training, rather time and space to focus.
From Be Mindful:
Many people find it hard to cope with the pressures of modern living. Every day, a quarter of a million people miss work because of stress, with 75 per cent of all illnesses thought to be stress-related. And when times are hard, It can be difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to the present moment, using techniques like meditation, breathing and yoga. It helps us become more aware of our thoughts and feelings so that instead of being overwhelmed by them, we’re better able to manage them.
Practising mindfulness can give people more insight into their emotions, boost their attention and concentration and improve relationships. It’s proven to help with stress, anxiety, depression and addictive behaviours, and can even have a positive effect on physical problems like hypertension, heart disease and chronic pain.
You can download a Mindfulness on the go leaflet but here are a few key points:
Sara’s prompt this week is ‘calm’ and I think mindfulness suits that theme, don’t you?
Be mindful of others,
Be mindful of yourself;
But mostly be mindful,
Of your own mental health.
No-one else knows it,
The way that you do.
No-one else really gets,
What you’re going through.
Be aware of how you feel,
Be aware of what you see,
Be aware of your own strength,
To curb anxiety.
For a moment, enjoy stillness,
Let the world go rushing by.
Take a moment breathing deeply,
Allow yourself a heavy sigh.
Find a tree in a quiet place,
Sit awhile, meditate.
Hold your nerve; calm your mind,
Just five minutes; the world can wait.