I'm half way through my Mindfulness journey, and it seems a pattern is forming. Good week, tough week, good week, and now a tough week again. Generally though, I can feel progress. It's becoming easier to quiet my sporadic thoughts, to focus and see things more clearly. I can tell my mind is becoming clearer because I'm writing more, and not just random ideas but whole products that I can be proud of. I've come up with more ideas for this blog once these weekly updates are done, and more than ever I'm managing to get real sleep which is so important for your mental health and your ability to cope with life in general.
This week's chapter is all about how our thoughts operate like rumours. It described how when we see the world, our interpretations of a scene based on what we can see plus our own personal biases, become the truth in our minds. We may be rushing to somewhere without time to do more than observe, and see a homeless person begging on the street, outstretched towards us. One of us might see them as helpless and in need, another might see them as intrusive or a nuisance. The truth can only be gleaned from gaining more information, but at a glance we make a quick judgement and take that as fact, whether it is true or not. Similarly, when we are under pressure or stress we make judgements reflecting our unhappy mindset. Thoughts like "it's all my fault" or "I can't fail" or "I just can't relax" are rumours, judgements we make in a heightened state of frustration. If we take time, learn to logically assess a situation before making a judgement and focus our constant flow and stream of thoughts, we can get rid of the rumours our minds create.
MeditationsThere were three meditations this week, two of which were carried over from last week: the Breath and Body Meditation and Three Minute Breathing Space. As they were carried over I found them somewhat easier to do than last week and was able to work on understanding the rhythm of my thoughts as they try to encourage. With the Breath and Body, I found it easier to use my breath as a rhythmic anchor for my thoughts. I notice myself trying to do it in stressful situations like work or meeting new people. My thoughts race and flash back to other moments where I felt the same nervousness, but I do my best to face the emotion and listen to my breathing at the same time, so I don't get caught up in dwelling on the worry.
The Three Minute Breathing Space continues to be my favourite tool, and I use it without the audio guide now, just whenever I feel particularly wound tight and anxious.
The new meditation for this week is called The Sounds and Thoughts Meditation. It's a longer one, around ten minutes, and I think that is part of the reason I found it quite difficult to maintain. Like the body scan from week two, I get frustrated, fall asleep, or try and put off doing it at all. I understand the point of it: it's about likening the way sounds are constantly happening around us to the ay we are constantly thinking. In the same way, it should be possible to tune out certain thoughts the way we can tune out certain sounds. It will happen with time, I'm sure, but for now I have not been able to feel the effects of this meditation, but I am feeling the effects of generally meditating regularly. I went to meditate and do some writing in the park today, and I think maybe changing my scenery from time to time may help with the more difficult meditations.
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Habit ReleaserThis week's habit releaser was a nice one: to go to the cinema! It was similar to last week, about taking the time to do something for you and enjoy it mindfully. I went to see the new Avenger's film, and personally I really enjoyed it bar maybe a couple of plot points. I had a really good night overall actually, where normally I would hate going anywhere after work. It's becoming more apparent what my IAPT advisor told me, that when we feel bad we stop doing the things that make us feel good, which in turn makes us feel worse. It makes a lot of sense, more than it had, so I'll follow that advice more closely from now on.
PS: I've started an ask.fm for the blog! Ask me questions, suggest topics, or write whatever you feel!