Saturday 15 December 2018

Mindfulness: for when you're overwhelmed

Katie discusses her tips for getting involved in mindfulness for when life gets overwhelming.
- Katie

Student life is like a roller coaster. There you are, maintaining a slow and steady pace mounting up the slope of increasing workload then BOOM! All of a sudden you’re swamped with assignment deadlines and you’re flying through the weeks faster than the speed of light. But have you ever taken a few moments to just focus your attention on say the gradual movement of clouds passing over or the birds flying by? My guess is probably not. 

Nowadays there’s so much apprehension about upcoming events whether they be exam results, job applications or just mundane activities like the dishes that need doing, or (for me anyway) needing to start packing for university. All that thought and preparation means that no one ever really takes the time to fully benefit from a few hours of complete relaxation. Even when you try to just relax your mind, it always manages to wander somewhere or other. And this was definitely the case for me. 

Amidst the stress of A Level exams, I’d always be thinking about a future exam I needed to revise for or question so and so in a previous exam that I answered horribly. It seemed like no matter what I did I’d never feel fulfilled and somehow I’d feel guilty about giving myself a few hours to unwind. 

However, it was just my look that I ended up stumbling upon a lovely little form of therapy called Mindfulness - a mix of meditation and hypnotherapy classes aiming to help you control your emotions and appreciate living in the here and now. By taking these classes, it’s really drilled into me that it’s not at all selfish to take some time to yourself in the peace and quiet. 

Some of the advice that was given was to find your spot. Find somewhere that’s calming to you. So for example, I would choose either the conservatory or the garden, as I like being surrounded by daylight as much as possible to bring a bit of light in my day. Then choose a time of day. It can be early morning or even in the evening sometimes! Whatever makes you feel most comfortable or whenever you can remember! Make yourself comfy with a few cushions. Get a cup of tea or coffee and then take a few minutes to do the rule of five senses. Firstly, think of five things you can see in front of you. Then close your eyes and start to envision what you saw only this time try point out how many things you can hear and touch. Suddenly all the worry and stress will now seem irrelevant as you will be focused on your surroundings, thus appreciating the here and now as opposed to the stresses the future may bring. 

Another piece of useful advice is to keep a journal beside you to write down your concerns or just general thoughts rather than trying to bottle it all up. I have my own little positivity book, but any will do. Try and write down three things you’re grateful for every day. Starting the morning off with a bit of positivity will instantly give you that boost and motivation needed to kick-start the day.

Those are just some examples as to how Mindfulness can work for you and what’s great about it is that it’s something that can be done at home, no audience, no equipment, just you alone with your breathing… and sometimes that can be all you need. I’m so much better off now because of it so I can't recommend it enough!

Hi guys, it's Katie, a little awkward 18 year old Ginger from the UK who's decided to share her mental health journey as well as providing self care advice. My aim is to make people happy and to help you out of a bad place even on the cloudiest of days. 

I’m currently a Modern Languages student at Durham University. Throughout the past few years, I have had to overcome so many hardships in my life. After acknowledging that I was suffering with depression and anxiety, I lost the support of so many people of whom were once considered my closest friends because of the stigma surrounding mental health. That emotional backlash was painful to endure at the time but at the same time it gave me the passion and the drive to fight against the mental stigmas and offer my support to everyone who feels like they can’t reach out. 

1 comment:

  1. This is such an amazing article, I enjoyed reading it :)