Picture this.. On one particular day I allowed my intrusive thoughts to invent an unlikely scenario, and create an almighty panic attack about something that hadn’t even happened yet, and probably never would. Tears ran down my face as I convulsed with every strained breath whilst my husband stared at me, bewildered as to what was happening.
Let me explain, I was suffering with Postnatal Depression, mild PTSD and anxiety at the time. I had actually been able to enjoy a short break away with my husband and son over the Christmas break when our little boy was around 18 months old. It was made better still, by the fact that Center parcs had a wonderful creche and it meant that myself and my husband could hit the waterslides for an hour and enjoy some time as a couple before we were reunited with our small human.
So at home one evening, my husband suggested that we book another break away, and my heart was set on Italy. So I began to daydream about sunny walks along cobbled streets, gelato (Ice cream) cones piled high, and then I pictured my son attending a creche, like he did at center parcs, except his name was of Italian heritage, so if he was abducted from the creche, it would’ve been harder to find a child with such a common name in that country. I would never get him back. All of a sudden, my daydream had flipped into a nightmare, and I went from perfectly content, to having a full blownvpanic attack in the space of 5 minutes. I had invented a fictional scenario , but I had lost my rationale, and I was letting my intrusive thought win.
With a level head, it’s quite obvious that we wouldn’t have had need of a creche during a weekend getaway, and even if we had the holiday booked, we would’ve researched the area and facilities to ensure that they were suitable for small families. But during the evening of my panic attack, this logic was not obvious to me.
During a counselling session some months later, my therapist gave me a brilliant piece of advice, and explained that our thoughts do not control us, and that we don’t have to entertain each thought that comes through our mind. She used an analogy of a train station, and said that we can train our brains to ‘jump off’ the train if its taking us to an unwanted destination. My fascination with the control of the mind began, and I discovered mindfulness.
For those of you who don’t know, mindfulness is the art of ‘being present in the moment.’ By practicing mindfulness we can reach states of relaxation, and free our minds from distractions, clutter and unwanted thoughts! The best part about it, is that even a beginner can practice mindfulness, you certainly don’t need to be a seasoned Buddhist or far out hippie to reap the benefits. For example, how often do you crave a sweet treat and curl up infront of the tv with it, only to reach down for more and realise its gone?! This is called eating ‘mindlessley’ where we allowed our mind to be distracted away from the present moment or experience. You could practice eating mindfully by first observing your food, taking in the aroma, discovering the texture and placing it on your tongue for several moments before allowing yourself to take a bite. Enjoying the pleasure of your treat without other distractions.
I try and practice mindfulness daily to prevent feelings of self doubt or anxiety, and also to enjoy the time I spend with my son or husband more. I love to practice mindful yoga or guided meditation, which is accessible for free with a click on the youtube app! When walking with my son, we like to stop for moments at a time and listen to the birdsong, or feel the cruncing of leaves beneath our feet without a ‘to do’ list whirring round my brain.
I also combine Mindfulness and self care, with the use of aromatherapy products to lift the mood and relax the mind. One of my favourite treatments to give is a mindfulness therapy session where I combine the art of guided meditation and a facial to leave my client feeling utterly relaxed and refreshed.
Mindfulness has changed my life for the better, and given me time to appreciate the little things.
For more advice on mindfulness and how it can help you, contact me via my website at http://www.emmathemadeupmom.com
You may find that this sounds somewhat ridiculous, but I can assure you that