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 All that behaviour really ends up doing is making me sad, nervous, and withdrawn.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.