It’s definitely been an interesting few weeks for me. I think I’ve learned a lot about how I cope with things. I’ve had a really strange and stressful 12 months, as we all have, and at the beginning of January I was feeling really lost and overwhelmed with everything. I’m feeling a lot better right now, but I don’t know how much that was to do with mindfulness practices specifically, so much as the sentiment behind them.
I’ve come to realise how I ground myself and what my primary ways of experiencing the world are. If someone asked me a month ago what sense I relied on most, I would have said sight on instinct, because I think in images and it’s the first thing I notice. I never really thought about how heavily I rely on touch and sound until now. I’ve found it easiest to regulate my breathing in stressful moments using physical objects and noticing how they feel, or how the ground is settling under my feet. Listening to audio clips while my body is focussed on a different task has made it easier to unpack new techniques within mindfulness practices, and find the ways that they work best for me.
But I think the main, most consistent thing I’ve noticed is that now, if I’m feeling sad (specifically sad, I haven’t noticed myself doing this for any other negative emotions yet), I’m actively asking what is making me sad, instead of wallowing in it and continuing the offending behaviour. Sometimes that looks like putting a book down because I read a sentence that resonated with some negative thoughts I have about myself and watching true crime documentaries instead. Sometimes it’s recognising that I’m only scrolling through Instagram because I’m tired, putting the phone down and taking a nap. Very often it’s just putting down one task that is overwhelming me and picking up a different one.
I realised it’s not a lazy habit, but one I’ve been using to combat feeling overwhelmed or reluctant to undertake a task…….it’s been helpful to understand and recognise that behaviour, and something I may not have ever been aware of had I not started this journey.
It wasn’t until I sat down and really thought about why I was spending so much time doing mind-numbing activities, that I realised it’s not a lazy habit, but one I’ve been using to combat feeling overwhelmed or reluctant to undertake a task. I don’t know whether I worked that out through the mindfulness practices, by using Heart Movement resources, or just through writing this blog twice a week, but it’s been helpful to understand and recognise that behaviour, and something I may not have ever been aware of had I not started this journey.
This is part 7 of a series entitled ‘A Sceptic’s guide to entering the World of Mindfulness’.