Just Breathe Mindfulness & Wellbeing

BALANCE. BREATHE. BE MINDFUL. BE WELL.

A few years ago after a period of significant stress I became unhealthy in both in body and mind. I became argumentative, judgemental and powerless in my own thoughts and emotions. I over analysed, became frustrated and unreasonable. I was exhausted but the chatter in my head would not shut up. I felt like my thoughts were being dipped in treacle desperately trying to wade free.

In 2016, by chance, I discovered mindfulness at a work event run by Yorkshire Psychotherapy. I had been practicing yoga for a while in a bid to improve my physical wellbeing and was accustomed to being present in the moment but more as a tool to stop me falling on my face than anything else. The idea of mindfulness as a tool for life was completely new.

At the end of the workshop I took the literature on offer home and enrolled on a short, very inexpensive short course with Be Mindful, part of the Mental Health Foundation. Over four weeks the course looked at body scanning, mindful eating, stress awareness and meditation (to name a few) –  not in great depth but enough to learn a few techniques to try each day.  For the first time in a long while I felt my mind become less scattered and much more calm. It found it easier to sleep and I knew that I wanted to learn more . At the end of the course I enrolled on a Diploma in Mindfulness to expand my knowledge and practice.

I think many people expect mindfulness to be a laborious process of sitting in uncomfortable positions for hours on end, chanting and searching for unobtainable solitude and I wanted to challenge that notion. Mindfulness is a whole life practice, you learn to notice the small forgotten things in life – a beautiful flower, the texture of a wall as you brush against it, the feeling of the water in the shower, the seat beneath you on the bus, the joy of capturing a smiling face in a photograph or the taste of your favourite meal – and learn to acknowledge that doing less and noticing more can help us thrive in a stressed out world. By all means sit and meditate, but let your practice follow you during your day.

I completed my diploma in April 2017 and in the practice and theory of mindfulness I found a passion I never knew existed. I am now part way through training to be a Person Centred Counsellor alongside trying to finish my Level 3 Diploma in Mindfulness for Mental Health. I am also a Mental Health First Aider.