A lot of us of a certain age all know who Ferris Bueller is right? If you don’t, don’t worry, he’s a lead character in a 1986 film called “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”
Ferris Bueller said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Anyway, we’ll come back to this.
In this blog I want to explore:
- What is mindfulness?
- What is meditation?
- How can they help with depression and anxiety?
Now hand’s up, how many of you are thinking the following or similar? Mindfulness and meditation is:
– not for me
– a bit weird
– a bit hocus pocus
– for monks on top of a mountain in Tibet
– takes hours and hours and don’t you have to take a vow of celibacy or silence?
Well the answer to all these is simple……..mindfulness and meditation could be all the above, but in reality it is whatever you want it to be.
1. What is Mindfulness?
Whilst looking on the NHS website, I found that Professor Mark Williams, former director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, says that mindfulness means knowing directly what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment.
“It’s easy to stop noticing the world around us. It’s also easy to lose touch with the way our bodies are feeling and to end up living ‘in our heads’ – caught up in our thoughts without stopping to notice how those thoughts are driving our emotions and behavior”.
For me I got so consumed with what was going on in my head. Apart from the pain and darkness I felt I was stuck in the constant merry-go-round of questioning – What is happening to me? Why is this happening to me?
I’d tell myself this must be normal and just get on with it! I was unaware of how it was making me feel because it went on for so long it just became the norm. This is dangerous because I then thought that if this is normal and was all life had to offer me, what else is there?
By being mindful, we can be really aware of how we feel. We can be aware of how we are behaving and more importantly how it isn’t the norm and that we can make a change in our own lives to make a real difference.
When I take time to be mindful, I can recognise good from bad feelings which helps me to focus on the now.
It so simple and doesn’t take a lot of your time. I usually take around 20 mins but you could start with 5 mins. Instead of trying to make the time in your busy life, why not try it when you’re waiting for the kettle to boil, waiting for the bus or train or brushing your teeth.
I’d love to know how you get on.
What is Meditation?
For me, the difference between mindfulness and meditation is that, mindfulness helps me to take a snap shot of how I am feeling, whereas meditation helps me to focus on a specific subject. However meditation can be so many other things.
I’d like to hear your thoughts on this.
The Dalai Lama says “what you should do is to withdraw your mind inward; don’t let it chase after or pay attention to sensory objects. At the same time, don’t allow it to be so totally withdrawn that there is a kind of dullness or lack of mindfulness. You should maintain a very full state of alertness and mindfulness, and then try to see the natural state of your consciousness”.
This can make it sound complicated but what he is basically saying is to stop concentrating on things around us, for example phones tablets and TV’s – and this can be for a short time to start.
Not to become withdrawn and unaware of the things around us, but to become fully aware of what what is happening inside our heads or to a situation in our lives for example.
An easy way to start is by using guided meditation. One of my favourite guided meditations is in relation to letting go of negative thoughts which helps me to be more positive and stop doubting myself and my abilities.
How can they help with depression and anxiety?
I’ve just given an example of how guided meditation helps me. Other subjects of guided meditation include:
– Help with sleep
– Personal growth
The list really does go on and on.
So in essence, by being mindful and meditating, we can focus on where we are at that moment in time. Instead of always looking ahead, always focusing on what might or might not happen. Rushing round in our lives where we like to use being busy as a badge of honour. We can identify our thoughts and feelings and take positive action to ensure they don’t affect us negatively and help us to live our best lives.
So why the hell did he start by talking about an 80’s film earlier on?
Well life is so short and precious, and it seems to me like the older you get, the quicker it goes. So you’ve got to take time to focus on the present moment otherwise you can miss all the good things that happen.
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Ferris Bueller, 1986.
The key is to start small. Why not just take 5 to 10 mins a day to take stock of where we are.
It would be good to hear your thoughts on mindfulness and meditation.
If you are put off by it, why?
Have you tried it but stopped?
Do you regularly take part in mindfulness and meditation?
What challenges do you face regarding mindfulness and meditation?
Anyway, that’s it for now, thanks for reading.