How you feel, your emotions, thoughts, and how you react to them create a baseline for your reality. Mindfulness mental health is about building a clear-sighted view of your potentials, inner self and how to live your life fully.
Have you ever wanted a quick, simple solution to the way you were feeling? Something that would change the way you were right now.
To get you back to how things used to be. Give you back your energy, lift that cloud of heaviness, just to let you relax and laugh.
Sadly, this often is not possible or available
I had heard about mindfulness skills for wellbeing, but that wasn’t for me, whatever it was. It sounded all psycho-babble and intellectual, just trying to put me in a box.
Distraction tactics and mental health
Have you been told how to make things better?
All you have to do is talk with others, find ways to distract yourself from your anger or introspection and isolation? Think positive and it will all be ok.
Maybe go to the movies, meet up in the pub, watch TV, take medication, go for a walk, get therapy to talk about the past and let go of the pain.
It would help if you found a distraction strong enough to take you forever away from your low thoughts and feelings. Find something novel outside of yourself that can take you away from the emotional confusion and disheartening reality of life. But hey, that just doesn’t exist.
Small wins or not?
Small wins, they say, but wins always fade away, and you have to start all over again. An endless task of staying buoyant through controlling your outside world. How do you feel when you don’t win?
Sadly any relief of the distraction, if it ever did exist, never lasts. The pain will return. You will have to find a new, more powerful experience to absorb the rising feelings and emotions. Or else sink back down one more time to the cascading spiralling isolation of trapped thoughts, feelings and emotions.
And so the merry-go round keeps on spinning.
Mindfulness mental health, the positive distraction
All this was happening to me. I felt on the outside of the box looking in at all which was going on. It seemed alien, relentless and obscured. I was confused.
I gave in and took a look at meditation and all that.
I practised the mindfulness skill, and slowly, I understood the roots of the source of the suffering I was creating. My reactions were all mine: my feelings, my thoughts, my emotions. I began to own myself; who I was, was me.
The breakthrough came with understanding neuroscience, how my brain learns, storing memories, and generally creating my reality. Creating my emotions and feelings, showing me how I was making and embellishing my life’s view.
Reading and learning about how my brain worked gave me insight into how I participated in my interpretation of reality.
Focusing mindful attention
All I had to do was pay attention to my mind.
Notice where it focused.
Viewing what I was thinking and how those thoughts affected how I feel.
The science of mindfulness.
Then, how did those feelings turn into emotions?
It was putting a jigsaw puzzle together.
When the pieces came together, the picture could be seen clearly.
Conversely, when my attention slipped, my clever mind would instantly pull me away from what was going on in my life. Replacing it with a distractive narrative of thoughts and stories.
Feelings and emotions overloading a very delicate balance.
My mind would magically create more ideas and connections and feelings and thoughts and emotions and on and on round and round. Distracting me further and further away from what was real now. I would supplant ‘The Now’ with my narrative, my story my my my………..
The mindfulness skill is learning to focus your attention inside your brain and mind at any one moment. This is not just a glancing look through the window but paying attention to the inner room and being there 100%.
Not to judge it or evaluate it as good or bad, positive or negative, just to accept that was what was at that moment.
In this new space within me, I allowed myself to alter my attachment to the uprising creation of the thought. I could begin to subtly control my thoughts, and so alter my feelings and become more aware of who I really was.
This space within me was minimal, half a second no more.
Just enough time to decide whether to focus on the idea, feeling emotion or refocus my attention.
Something else, something which was confirmed in my world at that moment.
Whole life in a moment of mindfulness mental health
I realised that the only truth I had in my whole life was when I lived in the moment. All that had gone before, all the past experiences, customs, actions, and feelings had gone, just memories.
All the views of the outcomes, the dreams, the plans, the expectations were nothing more than that, just projected ideas, all in the future.
The only truth I had was in this very moment NOW.
There were fewer regrets, fears, sadness, hopelessness, depression or tiredness in ‘The Now’. All these were products of my own created emotions, which flooded my endocrine system with hormones that took over control of my life.
By using the mindfulness skill to well-being, I became more robust and more precise.
I could choose my direction in life.
With the space inside my head not cluttered with emotions and negative thoughts, I was able to see what I wanted to do and could do.
Full Catastrophe Living
I read the book by Jon Kabbat-Zinn. Full Catastrophe Living. And for the first time, I understood the term mindfulness. This word described the process of mental attention I had stumbled across. Jon Kabbat-Zinn wrote about it so beautifully, positively and filled in the blanks in my comprehension of what I was learning.
Changing my mind, with mindfulness mental health
Since then, I decided to share this way of seeing and experiencing life with everyone who wants to listen and practise.
Mindfulness changed my mind, my world and will change your mind.
The mindfulness skill has become my only way to understand, relieve, and change at the root source of my suffering.
The suffering of my unfiltered thoughts, emotions, and feelings contributed to blocks in my life quality, peace of mind, laughter, and energy.
Mindfulness was the way of bringing me back in touch with myself to relate directly to whatever is happening in my life right now. With acceptance, curiosity, and non-judgment: no blame, no shame, no failure.
Mindfulness mental health is all in the Practice
Mindfulness will only work so long as you regularly practise. It is very much like learning a musical instrument or a foreign language.
When I started to play the guitar, I wasn’t perfect. I was awful. I couldn’t even tune the strings. However, daily practice with focused attention built my abilities. Then as if by a miracle, I could progressively play a tune.
I did not learn to play the guitar by just listening to a record or reading about it. No, I had to practise. That was my task, practice, which built the new neural pathway in my brain tissue of guitar playing.
Every time you feel the anxiety coming on, every time you feel so tired you want to cry. Whenever you feel depressed and hopeless, angry or mad, depressed or hopeless, you can draw on the new neural pathway of the practised mindfulness skills.
Whenever you feel so low or lost, pointless or confused, and you don’t want to go on. You can break the cycle of the positive feedback loop, which has kept you trapped in the cascading helta skelta of life’s blues and worse.
Come into the moment 100%. The very moment of NOW. Take a look around and appreciate every little detail of life.
This refocusing of your mind stops the ‘feeding’ of the thought-feeling -emotions, and with time they diminish and lessen and wither away.
Practical, simple to learn, easy to use and yet the benefits are immense.
Mindfulness mental health helps us to see more clearly our habitual reactions to pressure and stressful events. In each moment, we discover ways of responding that are accepting, kinder to ourselves and others, less damaging to our health and happiness.
Mindfulness can be practised by anyone, young or old, to help build resilience to the demands of everyday life and improve physical and emotional wellbeing.
Where it came from
Jon Kabat – Zinn developed the MBSR Mindfulness course at the University of Massachusetts Medical School for helping people to overcome stress, anxiety, depression and pain.
Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way:
on purpose in the present moment,
Jon Kabat- Zinn