Guest Blog Page
Every months we invite a guest to write a blog for us with regard to their own journey of how they overcome anxiety, depression, low moods and how their lives have changed through practising mindfulness and meditation. "The proof is in the pudding" as such in the hope it will inspire others to go on their own journey to finding inner peace. Writing or blogging can be very cathartic and it may encourage others to start writing a journal and embark on their own road to healing. Maybe even become a guest blogger too!
How mindfulness helped me stop worrying and to overcome exhaustion. - By Sarah Cooper, North Yorks
Are you stressed and tired all the time? For years I felt exhausted but I just accepted that I was tired and did not actively try to do anything about it. To be honest I did not realise I could do anything about it. Being stressed and tired seemed to be an integral part of my life, like breathing. Then I stumbled upon mindfulness and the layers of tiredness started to fall away.
As I learned to look at the way my life flowed in an objective and observational way I began to unpick some of the bad habits I had fallen into, many of which left me feeling worried and tired.
Relinquish responsibility Through mindfulness
I figured out one of the reasons I was exhausted because I was taking on board everyone's problems and accepting them as my own. Despite the person having the skills and knowledge to sort themselves out, I was stepping in and helping them. Maybe it made me feel worthwhile, that I was needed and had a purpose?
Now I realise that instead of helping the person find their own solutions I was positively getting in the way of their own personal development. So, I learned to hand back the problems that did not belong to me and only worry about the things that were my problem in the first place and I started feeling much brighter and far less tired.
Find solutions to worries
Talking of worrying, after reading Susan Jeffers book "Feel the fear and do it anyway", I realised that many things that I worried about never actually came true and that as long as I knew what I would do if the worst did happen, I did not need to worry at all. For years I panicked about what on earth I would do if we had a power cut, we would not be able to make a cup of tea. (I'm a Yorkshire girl, these things matter!) In the end I realised the solution was to buy a gas camping stove and voila no more need to worry. Slowly I picked my way through my worry list and produced a solution to every possible problem and stopped worrying.
Let the Monkey speak
Eventually I started to think of problems as worried monkeys chattering. If you take a few minutes to listen to what the monkey has to say you can often allay its fears and allow it to settle, a bit like shining a light under a child's bed to prove there are no monsters under there. Once you have listened to what your chattering monkeys have to say and you have allayed their fears it often then frees up some head space.
Live in the moment
I also learned to live in the moment. My children are forever telling me off for saying we will cross that bridge when we come to it. But generally I now realise that we only need to deal with a situation as it presents itself and if a situation does appear chances are we will already have what we need to solve the problem tucked away inside us if we dig deep enough. I find it helps if you can do just one thing at once and pay detailed attention to the thing you are currently doing. I find it is more useful to do one thing and do it well rather than do lots of things badly.
Just say NO
Before I discovered mindfulness I would mindlessly agree to going places and meeting people that I would rather have not spent time meeting. As I grew more confident in making authentic choices I learned to say no to the things that I did not want to do. I decided what is important to me and let go of what was not. I made extra time for the things I enjoy. This has made me more authentic and has made my schedule more manageable. I no longer attend boring meetings etc. Having more time to do the things I love has given me a new lease of life. When your day is filled with things you actively want to do you are much less likely to feel drained.
I find spending time with people who inspire me also helps. Surround yourself with things you love Being surrounded by things that you are not inspired by can also make you feel tired. I feel much better now I surround myself with things that serve my current purpose and have made space for this by letting go of things that no longer serve me. I let go of my need for perfection It took a while but I also finally let go of my need to be perfect. Not quite sure who I thought I was (Mary Poppins, maybe?) but all my life I have had this need to be right the whole time and to do things extremely well but this put so much pressure on my shoulders. I felt like the house had to be perfectly tidy all the time. Woe betide anyone who showed up unannounced. I lived in fear of someone turning up on the doorstep when the house was not magazine-perfect. I have learned that there are acceptable levels of cleanliness and that no one feels comfortable in a perfect show home anyway. Through Mindfulness I have also learned that I am enough, what I do is enough, and people will love me for who I am, I do not need to provide perfection 24/7.
February 2017 blog - By Kelly Gill - North Yorkshire
"February 2017 and I have really embraced my life.
I have lived with a chronic illness, Ulcerative Colitis for over two decades now which has incorporated numerous operations with it affecting my emotional and physical states. Over the last few months my relationship with my Husband had broken down and I felt my life was in turmoil. We live in a world of being so busy that we forget who we are. Over the last eighteen months, I was married, my husband worked away through the week and we were also trying for a baby. How things can change in a small amount of time!
The illness and the break up were life changing and today I still suffer symptoms of feel exhausted, emotional and don't feel comfortable in my own skin. When I am sick, I could be up all night and then have to do a full day's work. I came home and got into bed as my body was about to give up. I felt like my life had become repetitive like Groundhog Day.
I knew I had to reach out and ask for help as I felt I was on a downward spiral with no brakes and getting deeper into the darkness. I felt out of control, just the slightest thing could tip me over the edge. I was snappy, I cried, I felt worthless, I didn’t like myself. I isolated myself so much I actually forgot how to have a conversation, I wasn't aware of what was going on in the world and I really didn't like other human beings; they annoyed me. I questioned my life and I had forgotten what happiness really felt like.
I knew I had to make myself happy again, (no one else could) love myself for who I am and stopped comparing myself to others. Social media can make your life feel boring and unexciting. I decided on counselling and read Mindfulness - A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World by Dr Danny Penman. This book seriously changed my life! I broke down in tears as I felt like they were writing about me.
I have since read more about mindfulness, attended a course and use the practice in my everyday life. I truly believe that if everyone followed this, the world would be such a beautiful place to live. When I feel myself becoming unconnected, I take time out and use my breathing to bring me back into the moment, calm me down and feel lucky that I am alive.
When I am feeling down and need some reassurance in my life, I take a walk in nature, as someone told me the trees are good for draining the negativity you hold. I breathe, I feel and smell the world living in the moment. Everyday is a gift so embrace everything and everyone in all walks of life. I'm not saying my life has changed overnight because it hasn't. My advice would be to take small steps, live day by day and make small changes to what makes YOU happy. Just by being in the moment and taking in your surroundings can change your perception of this big bad world.
If this only brings a little reassurance into your life to show you that you can get through difficult times and learn lessons whilst becoming stronger to find the path that you are suppose to take, that would make me very happy. I now take little steps incorporating things into my everyday life that make me happy. I have rekindled a social life, I enjoy being by myself, I look after myself and listen to my body which has really helpd with my illness. All these small changes have made a massive difference. When I start to feel out of sorts, I bring myself back by taking notice of my breath (meditating) to bring me back to now, which is the power of being mindful."