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Sunday, 26 April 2015

Mindfulness Week 3: The Mouse in the Maze


I feel quite zen today writing this. A little sad, for reasons I won't go into, but fairly zen. This week has been fast and slow all at once, which I don't even really understand myself. I feel like I've barely done any meditation although I've stuck to the regiment almost exactly this week, but work and personal issues feel as though they've been going on for weeks. I'm exhausted, but I'm strangely at peace with it. Stress and worry and a hundred other things will bubble up to the surface, but I'm slowly learning the ability to breathe with it, understand what I'm feeling, assess what I can or can't do about it right now, and proceed accordingly.

 In that regard, this week has been a huge breakthrough for me. I'm really, really impressed with this book and quite proud of myself too.


 I had three whole meditations to do this week, plus a habit releaser. Two of the meditations didn't have a specified amount of times to be done, but I've been doing them every day to great success. The first is called Mindful Movement, and I've personally never equated meditation with movement so I was a little surprised by this one. It's a eight minute long series of stretches to relax your body and makes you aware of the sensations that stretching and not stretching create in our bodies. The immediate desire is to stretch as hard as you can, under the assumption that this will garner a better experience.
 ….that just sort of ends up hurting.
The important thing is just to move with the flow, be mindful of what your limit is and just listen to your breathing and your heartbeat and how you feel right then, even if that feeling is discomfort.

The second meditation was called the Breath and Body meditation, again eight minutes long, and it's supposed to be done directly after the Mindful Movement meditation. This one is about sitting still and practising being able to focus your thoughts. The audio direction is mostly full of long stretches of silence and little direction, other than to be aware of your body and your thoughts. It's very easy to get distracted and inwardly focused in these moments, but each time it's easier not to beat yourself up about it or want to quit. This is another one that allows you to explore discomfort, to understand what you're feeling and “breathe into” the part of you that is uncomfortable. The guidance in all of these different meditations over the weeks talks a lot about “breathing into” parts of the body. I interpret this as concentrating on this part of your body, imagining that you could fill it with air like you do your lungs and sort of imagining the sensation of that.

The final meditation is called the Three Minute Breathing Space, and this was specifically supposed to be done twice a day. This is my favourite of the meditations, and maybe the best little tool I will take out of this whole experience. It's designed for those high stress moments when we tend to forget all the relaxation techniques we may have learned in our lives. If you feel tense, panicked, angry, painfully sad, stressed or any overwhelming emotion this short exercise can bring you back to a more bearable level and all you have to physically do is breathe. In terms of what you're meditating on and your awareness it follows an hourglass shape. For the first minute you consider all your emotions, your thoughts, the “weather pattern” of your mind at that moment. The second minute narrows your focus down to nothing but your breathing, and the third widens the focus to the sensations in your body, your posture, your facial expression and the feelings on the surface of your skin and deeper. I have no idea how it works exactly, but it's incredibly effective at grounding you in a particularly volatile state of emotion.

Again, I won't go into detail, but there were some moments this week where I felt like I might just burst all together. There was one particular moment where I was so emotional I didn't feel like I would be able to get into work that morning. I used the Three Minute Breathing Space, attempted to mindfully get dressed and get ready for work, and walked rather than getting the bus. By the time I got to the door the emotions had not subsided necessarily, but I was coping with the feeling and ready to face the day. It honestly felt like magic, but it was that I was accepting my emotions rather than trying to fight them. The fighting and worrying and “why can't I just stop feeling this way” are what cause the pain.

Habit Releaser 

The habit releasing activity for this week is one I'm practising today. It was intended for television, the premise being to only have the television on when there is a programme you specifically want to watch on. Rather than using the television passively as a distraction or something to have noise on in the background, you actively use it as a source of entertainment, and turn it off when you have other things to. I don't really watch television so this would not have really had the desired effect, so I'm doing this with the internet. The internet is off on my phone, and if I don't need to check or look up anything the browser on my computer will stay off. The urge to constantly check social media as a distraction is lessened, and with nothing but music on I'm able to focus more on writing. I'm enjoying it so far, and I can see the relevance of the exercise in relation to the theme of this week.

The idea of “the mouse in the maze” references the way we run in circles and get nowhere when our minds are closed to other perspectives. We push and push at a problem we have rather than taking a step back and reviewing the whole situation, letting the things we want to happen happen rather than always pushing for them. It seems passive, but often it is the least stressful means of approaching a problem. If you can't force it: don't, let it be.

This constant pushing and worrying can exhaust us, therefore increasing the tense, trapped feelings in us and encouraging panic rather than solving anything. I learned that with the meditations this week especially, that taking a moment to assess your stress can put things into perspective. You stop thinking “I NEED to be happy and snap out of it”and start thinking “this is my objective, these emotions are here, if I focus on my objective and not fighting these emotions I can get to it quicker”.


Thursday, 23 April 2015

He is here (#DepressionAwarenessWeek)

When evening sweeps through the sky
Brushing everything it touches with darkness
He appears, faceless but familiar
Something tangible in the darkness.

 He has a smile like home
Arms that hold me so tight I can't breathe
Eyes that search me for flaws
And tear them to pieces
Tear me to pieces
All the while reminding me that it's for my own good.

 And I have flirted with him
I have wallowed in songs that carry his scent
Swallowed the drinks that strengthen his intent
I have lain awake with him late at night
Skin pressed close and hands held tight
Because I fell in love with the dark in his words
And wanted to twist them into beautiful things.
I wanted to take his power from him.

I thought, if I pretended the sadness was mine it would become mine
That I could control it from the inside.
But he was toying with me the whole time.
Carving his name on the inside of my eyelids
So he was the last thing I saw at night.

He has a kiss that feels like fangs
Pressed into the sides of your heart
And all
You can think
In the throws
Of the pain is "Wow,
"A man that can't bear to let me go again."

I can't tell if I am more scared of his sharp teeth
Or the path of thorns between me and a world where I'm free.
All I know is that when darkness creeps
And in the early hours when the floods of worries leak
He is here, like a hole in the head.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Mindfulness Week 2: Keeping the Body in Mind (Part 2)

Part 1 HERE

Writing Exercises

I had two exercises that required writing out some lists this week, so in this part of my Week Two report I'll focus on those, plus my habit releasing exercise. The first exercise was to consider things that give you pleasure and pay special attention to the sensations that occur physically and mentally during these activities. I picked four things to focus on.

  • Practising guitar – I've been slowly teaching myself bits and pieces here and there for years now. I can't play at all really, I just know some chords off by heart and little things. When I practice I feel progression and challenge without the stress. I can feel my brow furrow, my fingertips hurt and my back hunching over the guitar. I like the sound sliding fingers between chords makes against the strings, and every time I discover I've memorized something new I feel light and cheerful like I'm doing something productive. I'm thinking about music, about the prospect of writing songs and being able to play along with them. I have a goal in my mind that I'm working towards, but it doesn't feel like pressure. It feels happy. 

  • Watching YouTube Videos – I do this a lot, when I'm relaxing I spend a lot of that time on YouTube. I'm not always watching videos, sometimes I'm just listening like it's a podcast. I have a Hat Films playlist on right now while I'm writing this. For some reason, it helps me focus and quieten my thoughts. I have them on to sleep a lot too because when I'm about to go to sleep my thoughts are so loud and disjointed that it's nigh on impossible to switch off. Having one or two things I can use to direct my focus helps me focus easier and get things done. I relax physically, close my eyes often and just focus on the present moment, on the video in front of me. 

  • Writing – When I'm in the zone I feel like words are just falling out of me and I don't really know where they're coming from. I hunch forward, press harder on the keys as I'm typing and my focus narrows into just getting the words out of me before they disappear. Once I come out of that zone it's like a release, like everything in my body relaxes because yes, I've done something here, got the words out, and I can see the fruits of my labour in front of me. It feels like my hands are moving of their own accord sometimes. That's so strange to think about. It's a really wonderful feeling. 

  • Singing – It's similar to writing in that it feels like a release. I do it when I'm happy, sad, tired, full of energy. It's a way of expressing emotion for me. It calms me down, regulates my breathing and changes my whole posture. I stop being self-conscious, I actually close my eyes most of the time. I feel most like myself in the middle of a song. 

The second exercise was about writing ten things or people that I'm grateful for, just to keep them in the forefront of my memory and appreciate what I have and treasure it. My answers are fairly generic, but they're the truth, and it's a list I should probably keep on me as I go through my day. It would be good to look at in those particularly trying moments.

1. My boyfriend – None of this would exist without him, and I would be a wreck most likely because I wouldn't have even considered that what I was feeling was something I needed professional help with. I might have snapped, so thank you.

2. The friends around me – you're all terrible human beings and I'd probably be a nun or a saint without your influences, but as it stands we're all damned together so oh well. (I love you all.)

3. My family – My parents and aunties and uncles have sacrificed a lot for us kids in the family, and I know we're all grateful for it.

4. Music – Imagine living in a world without it for a second. What could that possibly be like?

5. The ability to vote/have an opinion – As a black woman I'm pretty aware of how many people fought to give me the privileges I have now, and I'm grateful forever.

6. Lactase pills - Milk doesn't agree with me, but these pills are super awesome at allowing me to digest it better, so I get to have number 7, which is....

7. Ben & Jerry's Half-Baked Ice Cream - Mate. Just...mate.

8. Being able-bodied – Not to say that being disabled is something to be ashamed of, but the #noshameday event on Tumblr recently plus having people around me that live with disabilities makes me think often about all the stuff I take for granted. I look up to a lot of you.

9. The ability to read and write – man, thank God for education, however frustrating it can be.

10. Having a job – Being unemployed in the UK is a pretty dehumanizing experience, particularly if you're on Jobseekers. I thank everything I can thank every time I think about how I would feel emotionally if I were still unemployed or had to go back onto Jobseekers. Nope nope nope nope nope.

Habit Releaser 

Both those exercises are about appreciating the here and now, living in the moment and loving that moment for what it is. This tied in perfectly to my habit releaser, which was simply taking some time to go for a walk. I try to take walks every so often because they really do clear my head, allow me to think and talk to myself a little (which is a sign of madness or whatever nonsense but it helps me organise my mind.) I walked home from work on a sunny April afternoon this week, and actually found an entrance to the park near my house that I had no idea was there. I decided to take my walk through the park, took a couple of pictures, and I was really thinking about how pretty everything looked around me since it's finally spring. Trees were blossoming and all that good stuff, the England we like to think of as grey and overcast was actually bursting with colour the more I looked around me. I've actually been slowly (very, very slowly) making my way back into writing poetry after a long time, and the walk was a nice way of cultivating some ideas.

All in all, the tasks for this week were a lovely counterpoint to the struggle I was having with the meditation. I encourage you all to give these a go in your free time and see how it makes me feel. Do let me know in the comments, too.


Mindfulness Week 2: Keeping the Body in Mind (Part 1)

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Keeping the Body in Mind

This week hasn't been as smooth as the previous. I've had a lot on my mind, and as such it's been difficult to be mindful of things going on around me. I've been challenged, but I believe I can pinpoint the difficulty and explore it.

So this week was all about connecting the mind to the body, which might read a little silly at first. What it means though, is that we can learn a lot from out emotions and our stress level from our body, and similarly what we do to our body and how we treat it can have a direct effect on our emotions. This quote from the book explains it perfectly:

“The body is acutely sensitive to even the tiniest flickerings of emotion that move constantly across the mind. The body often detects our thoughts almost before we've consciously registered them ourselves and frequently reacts as if they are solid or real, whether they accurately reflect the world or not. But the body does not just react to what the mind is thinking – it also feeds back emotional information into the brain which can then end up enhancing fears, worries and general overall angst and unhappiness. This feedback loop is a dance of phenomenal power and complexity that is only now beginning to be understood.”

 Mindfulness Exercise

 I tested this idea myself whilst doing the exercise I had carried over from last week. The exercise was to take a random, common activity you do without thinking and do it mindfully. I chose combing my hair, and so every time I remembered I would take my time and really pay attention to the actions, the movements, and the sensations of combing through my hair.

My hair is quite tough, especially in the mornings, so usually combing my hair hurts initially and I just want to get it over and done with. In these situations the pain actually seemed to dull because my focus was on that and all the other sensations. I noticed the feeling of the comb against my scalp, and the tugging feeling told me the parts of my hair I needed to focus on. I noticed the way the curls loosened against my hands while I held the parts of my hair I was combing. I mean, these aren't new occurrences and I'm sure I understood what my hair was doing as I comb it out but it's not something you pay attention to. I enjoyed the exercise, found it calming and interesting to consider all the things I do without thinking.

The idea of the body and mind directly affecting each other and therefore directly affecting moods is one I'm familiar with from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and IAPT. With my advisor, we would talk about Safety Behaviours I have to manage my anxiety, but because I associate those things with anxiety they can actually end up triggering or prolonging the feeling. I thought maybe the tasks here would be similar, finding out what bodily things may trigger stress and learning to be aware of them. That pre-conception made me think the week might be a little easier than I expected. What it's really about it noticing that you have a body.

What I mean is that stress and depression and all mental disorders cause us to focus almost entirely on the mental. It's very feasible that in worrying about our mental health we can forget all together about our physical health. The chapter talks about physical pain and how it can be a manifestation of anxiety (headaches, back pain etc.), about how the way our body reacts to different stimuli affects our decisions, and basically that we need to learn to treat out bodies with just as much care as our minds. That's proved much more difficult for me because of a problem mentioned next in that chapter: body image issues. If you dislike your body, feel like you're fighting against it or like it doesn't match up to how you feel as a person then why would you want to treat it with care? You want to ignore it maybe, hope the things you dislike go away rather than either changing them yourself or learning to accept them. It adds another layer of challenge to an already tough concept. The benefit, however, is learning your bodies reactions and then learning how to manage your emotions and situations using those cues. It's the same ultimate goal as my CBT sessions, just through a different route.

I'm actually going to do a Part 2 post about the other exercises I had to do and skip straight onto the meditation. I had three other tasks for this week, one of which was optional but valuable, all to do with self-reflection and understanding. I want to talk about them in more depth, especially since two of them involved writing, so I'll do that in part 2.

Meditation: The Body Scan 

By far the toughest part of this week was the body scan. It's a fifteen-minute meditation in which you need to be lying down. It involves moving your focus between different parts of your body, noticing the sensations in one before shifting the focus to another, then eventually bringing it all together, noticing and learning it all together. Because of the length, I found myself struggling to find moments during the day to fit it in, or just putting it off altogether. When I would do it, I got distracted for long periods, had to stop because I was panicking about being late for work or wherever I was going, or falling asleep halfway through if I was doing it before bed. It was a frustration, mainly because I knew it was a really good meditation. I had done it without problem or interruption about three times this week, and after each one I felt completely refreshed. I felt my senses were heightened, but I was also relaxed.

I understand, however, that this mentality was the problem.

The guide for the meditation says that you shouldn't be striving to “accomplish” something, and that I wasn't failing if I got frustrated or distracted. What I'm supposed to do is understand why those feelings are happening and learn more about myself through them, to understand the patterns of my thoughts rather than to shut them off all together. It's much, much more difficult than it might sound, especially if you're the kind of person that is always thinking and thinking quickly.

 What I must remind myself is that this week was absolutely not a failure, and I got a lot of good out of it. I just need to get to grips with the fact that these meditations and tasks are not jobs or chores cutting into my resting time, they are themselves resting time.

By the way, do let me know if any of you would be interested in a separate blog post on the concept of Safety Behaviours that I mentioned earlier. I believe we all have them in some form or another, and being aware of them is infinitely useful in noticing when your stress level might be escalating without you noticing right away.

Part 2

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Value Elicitation: a Brief Guide

As I mentioned in my previous post, I was recently at a course for the purposes of helping people have more successful interview experiences. One of the exercises she had us do, which was the most valuable to me, was a thing called a Value Elicitation. For the purposes of describing it, I'm going to use work as the example, but hopefully you'll see you can use value elicitations as a means of learning more about yourself (and other people) in any aspect of your life. It's a simple way of finding out what your true priorities are.

 So we all have values, things in our lives that we care about, and we all have major overarching values like family, health, happiness, or maybe money. What we also have are values in regards to work, relationships, friendships, and other facets of our day to day life. To work out how to progress in any of those things we first need to figure out which values take priority over others. This is where the elicitation comes in.

So it's a table that looks like this:

So you work out your top 10 values for a facet of your life. Let's say, for the sake of an example, you want to know what is most important for you in your next relationship. Then 10 things you choose are:

  • Honesty
  • Love
  • Sexual Chemistry
  • Physical attraction
  • Common interests
  • Common goals
  • Dependability
  • Adventure
  • Emotional Stability
  • I mean, a great ass like, wow

You can either list them in what you believe to be priority order or do it at random if you can't think of the order. I would argue that it's more valuable to try and order them yourself because you can compare that list to the resulting list and get a good understanding of both your conscious and unconscious mind.

So once you've ordered the list you fill out the table in order like this:

Now once you've done that, you go to the (1/2) and do just that, compare value 1 and value 2 and circle whichever you think is more important. Then, you keep going like that until you've gone through the whole list. Sure, you've listed them in terms of which you think is more important but once you compare each value one on one you may see some differences. As you're going through it should look sort of like this:

Once you've gone through the whole list, in the 'Result' column you add up the amount of ones, twos etc and put the amount next to the corresponding number:

Then you rank them in order from highest result to lowest, and here lies a truer picture of your values. It might lead you to take a different approach to whatever it is you're facing difficulty with, or if nothing changes that can serve to further cement in your mind that you are making the right decisions and you know what it is you want. It turned out to be a real eye opener for me, completely re-ordering what I thought were my priorities in terms of what I want in a job. It doesn't have to be 10 values, it can be five or 20 or 13 whatever applies to your situation. All that matters is it allows you a chance to view your priopriorities critically and use that knowledge to make further decisions. I think it's a wonderful tool that I will use it in future whenever I find myself in front of a decision I can't make. Here's hoping it might be of use to you all! 

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Mindfulness Week 1: Waking up Autopilot

Introductory Post

It's the last day of week one, and although things have not gone smoothly as such I'm beginning, at least, to a) understand the message this programme is trying to convey to me, b) what habits I have that are currently standing in the way of me and achieving 'mindfulness', and c) that this programme does not want me to think of them as bad obstacles that I have to hop over or kick to the side, but normal aspects of my everyday life that I have to learn to understand, then slowly change. I'm very impatient, for example, which caused me to actually miss out one of my tasks for the week because I was in such a hurry to finish reading chapter 1 and get to the meditation aspect.

 Something I am learning from this book, however, is learning not to beat myself up over mistakes which I do a lot, but to see it all as a learning experience. In doing that, I now have a clear example and image of what I'm doing in my everyday life and how it affects me on a grand scale.

 I hurry through things; often times I read books just to get to the ending and find I've missed out on enjoying the writing and the way each moment plays out, I rush through my work days and work weeks just to get to the end, then I panic about resting and remind myself of all the productive things I should be doing. None of this is conscious really, as with most people I'm on Autopilot for a lot of my life. I learn how to do things and they become almost as instinctive as breathing, but when autopilot is on we keep learning the repetitive string of activities we do every day, and we do these things without thinking or being aware. Soon, days and months and years go by and we don't know where the time has gone because we've not been paying it attention.

 Time moves so slowly as a child because you're learning everything, taking it in and understanding, so you can't yet rely on the autopilot to take over. The older we get the more we apply it to more and more of our lives, and this isn't to say that we should learn not to do things automatically, but we should learn to be more conscious of it, more present in the life we're living. Suddenly you start to notice silly, little things that are beautiful or funny or important like the different sounds of different people's voices, the colour of a sunset, the feel of a book in your hand, or the smell of chocolate.

Image found via pinterest here

 Meditations and Exercises 

 Speaking of chocolate, the first meditation exercise I was given was called 'The Chocolate Meditation' and it literally was to sit with a bar of chocolate by you and just slowly go through the practice of eating it, but taking time to notice each moment. To notice the feeling of unwrapping it, looking at it, breaking off a piece, feeling it, smelling it, all the things you may do in a second before actually eating it but never think about.

 You're also asked to do the same sort of meditation later on with a raisin, something you usually just eat in handfuls and don't really think about. You take them one at a time, look at them, notice how they feel and smell before putting them in your mouth. The strange thing is, the taste changes just because you notice that it more. The raisin had a sharper, stronger taste, and the funny thing about the chocolate (it was a Yorkie bar) was that I actually disliked it. It wasn't particularly good chocolate, but when I'm just shoveling it into my mouth I'm not tasting it enough to notice if that makes sense? These are small tasks to get you to understand how our autopilot takes over everything, including tiny little pleasures like eating a snack, and how being aware in that moment drastically changes the experience.

 Aside from that I had a short meditation to do every day twice a day for the week. It was just to either lie down or sit down and slowly become aware of the sensations in your whole body, from your feet up to the top of your head, and then to become aware of your breathing and use it as an anchor to guide your thoughts into the direction you would like them to go.

 I think so much, and I already knew that, but every time I meditate my thoughts wander and I end up zoning out, relaxing into a weird daydream or series of thoughts about what I've done today or what I have to do tomorrow. I was using the audio meditation guide that the book provides (I have the kindle version so the audio is integrated into the book itself), so I had the voice on the recording to anchor me back to my purpose. I'm learning how to use my actual breathing as an anchor instead, so focusing will become easier. I did notice that each day I was fighting with myself less, and more so guiding myself back to the task at hand, so that's personal progress. Also, in moments of high stress or slight panic I can use the meditation exercise to calm myself, and it works really well.

My task for the week was about habit-breaking because changing little habits forces you to come out of autopilot, make conscious decisions, and can change perspective. The example used in the book was to do with sitting in different chairs at work and at home, so I tried things like sitting outside for lunch a couple of days rather than staying indoors or if I was indoors sitting in different seats in the break room. I tried to spend more time in the living room at home than in my room, and although it wasn't a sizeable difference I'm glad I attempted these little things. I haven't noticed the effects yet, but we'll see.

I'm really inspired to continue with this, partly because I'm already feeling slight progress but also because the teachings in this book seemed to line up so well with a course I happened to take this week about Interview Skills. The woman running the course even mentioned the idea of being Mindful vs. Mind Full (+1 for dumb but actually quite valuable word pun), but beyond that there was a focus on breathing, relaxation, directing the flow of your thoughts, switching off your autopilot, and also about self-worth and self-knowledge. She had us do this thing called a value elicitation which is super exciting and something I will save for another blog, but it was all about discovering what it is important to you so you can know what you want to do in life (which is probably one of my biggest anxieties). Well, how do I discover anything if I'm living my life half-awake?

I suppose I don't, do I?


Monday, 6 April 2015

Time to be Mindful

I've mentioned this a few times on this mess of a blog, but for those who may not know I was going to a series of therapy sessions, with Enfield IAPT, until just before Christmas as a means of tackling the issues I have with anxiety. I was going for around thirteen weeks, and though it helped me in identifying what my issues are and a lot of other useful things, I've expressed that the time was simply not enough. Not enough for me, let alone someone who is going through, say, a deep depression.

This is all backstory to explain that my advisor recommended me a book entitled 'Mindfulness: Finding Peace in a Frantic World' in the hopes that it would help me manage my anxiety on my own, or in conjunction with more therapy if I decide to re-refer myself. So, I borrowed the book from the library, and found that it not only explained what Mindfulness is, but also outlines an eight-week programme around Mindfulness techniques that will, hopefully, change your outlook on life and reduce stress, panic, and other mental issues permanently.

So I'm going to follow the programme, and after each week I'll be talking about what my week was focused around, the things I had to do, and whether it has affected me in any way that I can perceive.

Mindfulness itself is the idea of focusing on the moment at hand, rather than brooding over the past, worrying about the future, actions which can cause one to feel overwhelmed and so anxious, stressed or panicky. The programme itself centres around meditations and activities called "habit breakers" to pull the reader out of any potentially unhealthy routines they may be stuck in. It's derived from a Buddhist form of meditation called "anapanasati" which translates to "mindfulness", and with the original and this western equivalent the focuses are the same.

It requires you to notice the smallest sensations impacting you at that very moment: your breathing, the colour of buildings, the rhythm of the music you're listening to, or a number of other things that could be going on around you that are more worthwhile than things we fret over senselessly. I don't know about you, but a part of me seems to really believe that the more I think about and dwell on a bad thing, the sooner I'll be able to tackle it. All that behaviour really ends up doing is making me sad, nervous, and withdrawn.

I'm excited to see how I manage this exercise, and whether it can really change my outlook or my behaviours. I was given a mindfulness exercise by my advisor during my therapy sessions which sounded incredibly simple: whenever I remember to, whether I'm sitting or walking or anything, I should try and focus on things other than the thoughts in my head. If I'm listening to music, think about the melody and the beat, if I'm sat in my room just concentrate on my breathing and details about my room that I've never noticed before. Not regularly, just whenever I remembered to.

I found it impossible and remarkably frustrating, which only solidifies in my mind that this is something I need to work on.

I'm starting this programme tomorrow, Monday the 6th of April 2015, and it involves me doing meditative exercises 6 out of the 7 days in a week. I'll be trying to update the blog with my experiences on the 7th day. This will be structure, structure for me and for the blog, and it will be an adventure of sorts.

I'm excited; let's see how this goes.