Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Be Here Now

One of the things I started to work on this summer when we were waiting for Dad's second surgery, was, something my counsellor/psychologist recommended.  A book, and a CD of exercises that centered around the idea of being in the moment, being "mindful."

Now I've rarely finished a self-help book although over the years I've started many of them. (Like, many.)  But the one he had me read, I read through fairly quickly, and really got what was being said, and why.  So I decided to stick on the CD and do one of the exercises.  And while I'd imagined it would be like the meditation CDs I've tried "take a deep breath, imagine yourself at the side of the ocean" (and then I'd fall asleep mid way through them and wake up when the tape {yes tape!} clicked to a stop) it wasn't.

It was more about focussing on something other than the thoughts that continually race through your brain/mind (well, through mine at least, in a really really annoying way) and for me?  It really really worked.  I noticed after doing it the first couple of times that I would absolutely come out of the other side feeling calmer and that calmness was a total relief.

Even if it only took me down from a worry or anxiety level of 95% to 83% it was still a relief and I needed that this summer.

It was the first time I was able to find something that really stilled or stopped or at least slowed town the noise in my head, and it was really helpful.

I found once things settled, I didn't keep up with it consistently, and then I noticed the ironic pattern.  I wouldn't keep up with the exercises, and then I wouldn't sleep as well and then I would feel more tired, so I wouldn't take the time to do the exercises, so I wouldn't sleep as well, so I would feel even more tired, etc.

So I'd remind myself to do one most nights before bed, and I noticed, again, that I felt calmer, and slept better.

But again, when things felt better, I'd kind of stop, usually just honestly, genuinely forgetting.

A few weeks back, Jay and I had some fairly intense, serious conversations, and my brain was reeling.  (And, yes, I think we're going with Jay for this fellow.  He's ok with it.  And I am too.  Compromise!)

Add on to that the fact that I was so excited about how things were going, and the excitement and the anxiety and the serious all joined together and I was in a "I can't eat, I can't sleep" state and my brain was a complete mess.  An totally obsessed whirling of non-stop chatter and doubt and excited mess.

So I forced myself to start doing my mindfulness exercises every evening. 

And the first few nights of that week they were so hard.  There wasn't a lot of calming or focus on anything but "what if what if what if what if but what if omg what if?" but still, I would feel infinitesimally better and that was enough to remind me to do it again the next night before bed.  To take ten, fifteen minutes to try to calm my mind and quiet my thoughts.

And I've done it every night since.

And man oh man does it help. 

I think maybe it's just perfectly suited for my mind/brain.  And that it's just the perfect combination of everything I need to mellow out.  And therefore sleep.  Which then helps even more.  Etc, etc.

And I'm so grateful that something I would never have discovered if not for that counsellor/psychologist has been so helpful for me and my sanity.

And then there was Vince.  And Vince's advice.


Anonymous WestCoast said...

I know this is an old post, but as I'm trying to catch up. I was curious what the CD was? I find that my head will sometimes spin over the uncertain things in life, and would love a recommendation.

I love your posts and enjoy that your humor and gentle heartness. Thanks.

Thursday, April 25, 2013 10:32:00 pm  
Blogger Victoria said...

Hiya. I have two CDs by Russ Harris, one from "The Reality Slap" (his CDs go along with his books) and the other from...well, I'm not sure what it's called "Mindfulness skills"?

Maybe check out his website.

Friday, April 26, 2013 7:21:00 am  

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