Tag Archive | mindfulness

The Mindful Way through Depression

is a great book by Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal and Jon Kabat-Zinn.

I recommend it.

 

 

 

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Headspace

depressed

Many of my posts on this Blog are really diary entries albeit my diary is public.  To some people this sounds morbid but each time I write a post and it is published, I think that it’s yet another piece in the jigsaw that will explain to my son   why I am like I am. It’s a 21st Century legacy. My posts undoubtedly help me to communicate and explain how I feel and, in the process of writing about it, I often determine why I feel as I do. I feel comfortable doing this knowing that only those people who are really interested in knowing will be reading.  Kerching! The lightbulb moment when you realise what’s dragged your mood down, made you feel vulnerable and sick in the stomach. Your confidence and self-esteem plummets and it’s not until you stand back and look in from the “outside” that you understand what has caused this instability and insecurity.

I recognise a trend with those whom I consider are members of my “tribe”. We need to live in the moment. Not churn over what happened yesterday; not preëmpt tomorrows’ events but just take each day, each moment as it comes. This is when “Headspace” comes into its own.

I don’t know about you guys but I find any attempt at meditation/mindfulness/switching off nigh impossible due to an overactive brain and, although I have tried meditation and guided meditation CDs, to date I have not mastered the technique of “switching off”.

Headspace therefore offers hope. What is Headspace?

“Headspace is a project designed to demystify meditation. Using the wonders of science and technology, we make it easy-to-learn, fun-to-do, and relevant to your everyday life.

Here at Headspace we’re on a mission to get as many people in the world as possible to take 10 minutes out of their day, to practice a simple and easy-to-learn meditation technique.  And if you like the way it makes you feel, then we’d love to show you how to make that a life-long skill.”

I for one like this 10 minute idea. Surely I can switch off for just 10 minutes a day?  Let’s be positive and assume it is within the realm of possibility. I will be following this programme from tomorrow to see if it works and if it really makes a difference.

I cannot remember a time when my mind was silenced. Even in sleep I have vivid dreams that are so realistic that I once got up believing I had breast cancer. The power of the mind is frightening and I never underestimate its influence but I need to quieten it down. I need some respite from its continuous visual and  intellectual assault. Basically, I need a rest from my own mind.

Here’s hoping that Headspace works for me and you.

Let me know if you take up the programme and if it works 🙂

This is meditation for modern life – simple, scientifically proven techniques, that you can use every day to experience a healthier and happier mind.”

today

Ruby Wax on Mindfulness

003Last Monday I was invited to the Barbican in London to attend a mental health event featuring Ruby Wax. I duly made my way down to the Metropolis from Birmingham  first to enjoy a drinks reception kindly hosted by my employers, KPMG and Linklaters followed by the event itself.

The reception was a great place to start the evening as everyone there has a personal interest in mental health. The reasons for their interest were varied, interesting and often surprising. You just never know what goes on behind those shutters and it is humbling to hear others talk about their experiences of their own mental health issues or those of their family. The best thing though, is that we were all talking about “it”. Thankfully the stigma attached to mental illness is slowly but surely being whittled away so that more people are prepared to stand up and admit to their illness. I have seen first hand the amazing results that being open and honest can bring about and listening to others in “my tribe” it appears that the word is spreading with life-changing impact.

Bold and brash. Modest and mindful. In simple terms this describes the very distinct and diverse traits of the complex personality that is Ruby Wax. Polar opposites-the Ruby Wax of old and the “new” Ruby that is now the proud owner of a number of Diplomas in subjects related to mental health. At first I was rather sceptical, but as the evening wore on, I soon realised that this woman knows her stuff. She also knows that she has limits, and most of the “show” was given over to her interviewer, Radio 4’s Claudia Hammond and Psychologist  Dr Tamara Russell who specialises in Mindfulness.

005And this is where the evening got really interesting. I have been a fan of Mindfulness and MCBT (Mindful Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) for many years and often practise MCBT techniques to get me through the day. Ruby Wax has clearly cottoned on to its benefits, and if I understand correctly, her new book describes Mindfulness and how it can help with depression. She herself uses the techniques and finds it does help her condition. Good for her for sharing and if it encourages others to follow suit, it has to be a good thing.

Mindfulness is described as;

“the awareness that arises
when paying attention in a
particular way: on purpose, in
the present moment, and nonjudgmentally”
(Kabat-Zinn 1994)

and there are numerous books and websites which contain information about Mindfulness and how to practise the techniques.

Personally, I have a Mindfulness bell set up on my computer so that it chimes at certain times of the day when I recognise that I am usually at my most vulnerable. On hearing the bell, the Pavlov Dog in me immediately takes in a deep breath and starts 2 minutes of breathing properly. In the moment. Calm and peaceful. Relaxed and refreshed. It works for me.

 The evening was very different to what I expected but pleasantly so. I wasn’t disappointed-far from it I was impressed by Ruby’s approach and demeanour and she came across as a genuine “sufferer” and someone who is determined to help herself. She is no victim, but she remains vulnerable and for this, her admissions are commendable and inspiring to many others who find themselves unable to “come out” just yet.

I don’t think I will be buying her book which comes out in June, and I didn’t learn anything new on the night but it was a great idea and I would recommend going to listen to her talk about her battles with depression and Mindfulness if you get the opportunity.

It was £10 well spent!

Useful links:

 Oxford Mindfulness Centre 

Mindfulness bell

Mindfulness Bell

Mindfulness is awareness of the present moment. It’s living in the here and now. Through mindfulness, you are not preoccupied with past events or regrets and you are freed from worrying about the future.

You can often find peace in the present as a result of shutting out all other thoughts.

But how do you stay in touch with the present when your mind keeps filling up with mental chatter and focus runs away from you like it so often does?

Take Time To Enjoy Where We Are

For me, learning about mindfulness and how to meditate is getting easier by the day and I have found an on-line tool which prompts me to focus on my breathing and helps bring me back into the moment. Many people around the world take pleasure in stopping and consciously breathing in and out three times when they hear the sound of the Mindful bell and I have given you a link to one below. Even the sound of the bell is calming and comforting and encourages you to stop what you are doing and relax.

You can set the mindfulness bell to ring when convenient for you.

Enjoy.

Mindful Clock

Mindfulness bell

Mental Health Foundation-Mindfulness

The Guided Meditation Site