Depression – silently suffering

“You are worthless”. “No one cares about what you have to say.” “If you weren’t here no-one would care”. “You are useless”. “Everyone would be better off without you.” “You are ugly and fat!” “No one loves you!” 

These are just some of the words that I would tell myself, over and over again. In the middle of feeling buried with emotions and trying to act “normal”, I would berate myself over and over again. 

Depression is different for each and every person that experiences it. To think we know what another person going through can be difficult. For me it was like an invader has taken over your mind and every step I took, every action and everything I would say, that voice, that invader had an insult waiting for me. Waiting to pounce and knock me over.

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Sometimes as soon as I opened my eyes, it would hit me with so many insults that I just wanted to curl up and disappear. I refused to get out of bed, I refused to even go to the bathroom because it was the only place, I could find comfort. I felt like I had no-one to turn to and I kept wrestling with the idea of picking up the phone and just hearing that one voice that would help. “But they didn’t want to know, they had their own problems”, the invader would say.

The invader, the negative voice in my head that would beats me down every moment of the day was like a demon feeding off the fact that I felt paralysed and couldn’t turn to someone. 

You want to reach out and scream on top of your lungs that you need help. You need to be held, you are starving for something, anything, inside screaming “Just please, help me”. But your voice is muted. 

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Many times, my partner would ask “tell me what’s wrong?” The words wouldn’t come out, it was like a lump in my throat that just wouldn’t go up or down. I would remain silent or say “nothing”. Each day I would continue to feel lost and alone. With myself I became good at hiding it in public, continue to smile, say hello, and pretend that I am living. 

It would start, day or night, sometimes just creeping up in the middle of the day. Today I wasn’t a good enough mother, I wasn’t a good wife, a good sister, a good daughter or a good friend. I started drowning in the shower of insults and guilt. These are the values I had placed on myself over the years. 

My self-worth was attached to all these roles that in a sense I played. At times I felt like this isn’t my life to lead, I felt fake. I was losing myself, my individuality and my personality was getting lost in my own conditioned beliefs. I had to be perfect and if I wasn’t perfect at it then what was the point? 

As a trained counsellor I now know the way to help others who are experiencing similar thoughts and conditions. My experience doesn’t hinder me in helping clients, because I don’t use my experience as a measure. I use my experience to provide unconditional acceptance that what my clients are going through is real as the oxygen we breathe. Their experience their pain is theirs, which no one can judge or discount. 

One of the things we were taught in counselling was the goal is to be a fully functioning person, someone who has autonomy over some if not all aspects of their being. It can be difficult to achieve that but for me, if I wake up and do something for myself, such as brush my teeth, get dressed, and spend some time doing something that feeds my soul, my individual personality, then that’s a win for me. 

I feel like society has told us that we have to be happy and fulfilled all the time, these unrealistic conditions make us question our own sanity at times and we want to be cured if we are not living the dream or not happy. Now once again this is my experience where I feel that depression is not something you just get over or fix. 

The negative thoughts can be challenged though. The time limit is different, each and everyone’s symptoms and thoughts are different. But learning to take back control over this invader and silence its voice is what helped me.

Majority of the time I am OK (notice how I am not saying great), I feel happy with the way things are within my life, I am loved and appreciated by some and maybe disregarded by others. I am okay with that. I’m doing something that I love. Helping others and taking care of myself are my top priorities now. Every day I challenge a conditioned belief that no longer works or is helpful to me.

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There are days when I am not okay, when I wake up and straight away, I feel like I can’t take a deep breath but them days I am now kinder to myself. I accept that I am feeling low and there is a relief in that acceptance. The relief that it’s okay not to be okay all the time. It is okay to feel like you will burst into tears if someone asks you how you are, and the relief that I may not be perfect to the tamed demon in my mind, whether imperfect or perfect this is me. 

Now ask yourself, how kind are you to yourself?

Boundaries – Don’t Cross the Line!

There are many reasons why people are unable to set clear boundaries with others within their lives. 

Some of the reasons include but aren’t limited to living in an unstable environment, living in emotionally and physically abusive and at times violent environment, Unclear boundaries and respect shown in childhood. 

Having Low self-confidence and lack of self-worth can cause difficulty in knowing how to create and manage healthy relationships. As a result, the way we manage all relationships within our life can cause us distress. 

Unhealthy boundaries can be seen as:

  • Not being able to say no, due to fear of rejection and abandonment
  • Putting others needs before your own and feeling resentful 
  • Sharing too much too soon, before establishing mutual trust
  • Allowing people to treat you in an abusive manner and in a disrespectful way
  • You absorb other people’s feelings 
  • Reliance on other people’s opinions, feelings and ideas, more than your own
  • compromising your values and beliefs to please or avoid conflict with others

Learnt behaviour and beliefs are acquired over time and they become our security, to change or even to challenge them can be difficult and take you out of your comfort zone.

As a result, when we are at our most vulnerable, we turn back to learnt behaviours and beliefs, back into our comfort zone even if this is damaging and causing us distress.

Healthy boundaries look like:

Setting Boundaries
  • Being able to say no or yes and being okay with your choice 
  • Accepting other people’s rejection as their choice and not a personal attack
  • Developing a strong sense of identity and respecting yourself 
  • Not settling in relationships with the bare minimum 
  • Recognising when problems are yours and when they are others
  • After developing mutual and a trusting relationship you share information gradually
  • Nurturing yourself 
  • Communicating your own needs, feelings and wants clearly
  • Valuing your own opinions and feelings as much as others
  • Relying on your own internal validation rather than external
  • Knowing your limits and asking for help when required

Talking therapy allows you to recognise what your unhealthy boundaries are and gives you the change to explore how they are affecting your self-confidence and self-worth. With the support of a counsellor, you can start to acquire healthy boundaries after challenging and changing the unhealthy ones.

Anxiety – is my fear rational?

In the past year there are many things that have and are still causing us sleepless nights. This includes but isn’t limited to financial worries, fear of illness, lack of support or feeling isolated and even worrying that your loved ones or even you may become ill with coronavirus.

The worries tend to mount and nothing you say or do can quiet the voice in your head that something terrible might happen or is going to happen.

I know how that’s feels, its like going down the rabbit hole, you follow one train of thought and it continues to run away while you chase it trying to gain some sort of control.

The fear of the unknown, the lack of control we feel doesn’t help matters, that is when we then spiral into the depth of anxiety where we are worried to do the simplest things which now is like a mountain to climb.

We can all suffer from anxiety time to time, majority of the time we can stop the way we may overthink or overcomplicate things within our mind. But the issue occurs when our thoughts start to hinder and affect our day to day life.

There are different types of anxiety that we can suffer from and that can then disrupt our daily lives.

  • Generalised anxiety disorder
  • Social anxiety
  • Panic Disorder
  • Agoraphobia
  • Specific Phobia
  • Separation Anxiety Disorder

Finding out what type of anxiety you have may not be enough did you know that there are also different levels of distress and impairment that you can experience?

Mild anxiety – This can impact you emotionally, socially as well as your professional functioning. The symptoms that can be experienced as social anxiety which is mistaken for shyness. 

Moderate anxiety – More frequent symptoms can include feeling on edge, worrying and not being able to control the thoughts, unable to relax sometimes or majority of the time, it’s not something that happens every day.

Severe anxiety – The symptoms of can coincide with major depression and can cause the feeling of being unable to lead a “normal life”. The symptoms are frequent and persistent and can cause increased heart rate, feelings of panic and social withdrawal. People can also turn to alcohol or drugs as a means to cope with their symptoms.

Panic Level Anxiety – Also known as panic disorder, can be frequent, recurring and be unexpected panic attacks. The symptoms can include heart palpitations, rapid breathing, nausea or dizziness, rapid onset of extreme fear and also fear that you may die. They last around 10 mins and can be caused by a certain trigger which vary from person to person and they can be something you recognise or unknown. 

Managing anxiety – Knowing where to turn to can be difficult especially when you are already feeling anxious, scared and confused.

There are ways in which anxiety can be managed depending on the severity. For someone who may suffer from mild to moderate anxiety it may be possible to manage it through exercise, meditation or therapy. For more severe cases a combination of both therapy and medication may be needed.

Most therapist offer free consultations and they can assess and talk to you about what approach they can take to help you within therapy. I have helped clients by exploring their feelings and thoughts that result in them feeling anxious. I also use a combination of mindfulness and CBT techniques can be used to help with symptoms that you may experience and through exploration anxiety can be reduced.

Reach out to a professional who can help, who can understand your situation and provide you with the support which you need.

Disappointment – Is it just another word to describe Adulthood?

2020 has been a year full of disappointment, fear and for some loss and heartache. But as we tip toe into the new year I find myself wondering how we have dealt with the last year and the disappointments we have had to face.

For most holidays have been cancelled, events postponed and celebrations halted, we have seen up close how fragile our social, personal and professional lives are. It is scary.

As adults we are expected to keep it all together, and deal with our disappointments in a more constructive manner. But how do we do this? It can be difficult to “adult” when our emotional resilience is being tested.

When we are faced with disappointment we can feel angry, sad or even betrayed. These are all natural responses. But you may notice how some people deal with disappointment differently to you. So why is there such a difference in the way we deal with disappointment?

It sounds very Freud but the way we deal with disappointment in our adult lives is rooted to our childhood. This is why some people are fearful of failing and become underachievers while others feel free to explore and over achieve. 

It becomes a cycle of our lives where we are fearful of the unknown. We don’t take the change well and also feel that an event that has caused us disappointment is a personal attack.

When faced with disappointment we tend to associate negative life events to our personal failings. It then results in self-blame and at times feeling of shame or even humiliation come forward, “How could we fall for this again?!”

You had an image in your mind of who you are, known as your ideal self and for some reason you feel you aren’t measuring up to it. That is why you failed and let yourself down. That is when we start feeling anger towards ourselves. Or in some cases you might then direct that anger outwards resulting in becoming spiteful, bitter or even vindictive. 

How can you change this? How can you deal with disappointment in a constructive manner where you are able to overcome such life events?

Disappointments may be unpleasant but can also be used as a learning opportunity.

  • Could it have been prevented? Some times certain life events are beyond our control. Recognising what is within our control and what is beyond can help us to manage our disappointment and deal with our frustrations correctly. Are we expecting too much or too little? Maybe we need to modify our expectations.
  • When we are constantly faced with disappointment we may need to evaluate our perception and behaviours. Is there anyway you can adjust your expectations to be more effective next time? Are you being realistic with your plans? Knowing what is going on around you, are you choosing to ignore or turn a blind eye? Why is that? 
  • How can we move from this disappointment without it turning into apathy and depression? Becoming preoccupied by the bad news or events that surround us every day can cause us to lose sight of what is going right within our lives. 

By internalising feelings of sadness and anger we are then hanging onto them and they can then unconsciously become our identity. How can you direct your focus onto positive solutions?

Disappointment is a part of life and it should not destroy us, instead it can strengthen us and make us better through growth. Growth comes through gaining an insight into ourselves, looking beneath the surface and requires a journey of self reflection.

Talking therapy is a safe place where you can explore the different ways in which you can challenge any negative thinking, disappointments and start your journey for self reflection and growth.

Are you busy? Feeling Rushed?

Trying to carve time out to do meditation can take a backseat in our busy lives. As you know I am guilty of it. When things are busy It can feel like we are going 100 mph. Not even a moment to sit or take a break.

If you are to pause and think “Why am I in such a hurry?” Your answer maybe that you have said yes to too many things at once, you may have booked or even planned to do too many things, trying to get most out of your day. But this can then cause you to rush around.

When we are stressed, as we can all get from time to time, it can then lead to irritation and annoyance to having to deal with too many things one after another.

By packing in too many things into our days a habit starts to form, a habit that is rooted to stress. Being anxious can then lead to mistakes and setbacks.

Kim Davies Pause suggests resetting your emotional speedometer to a mindful pace. The way we can do this is by following the technique below.

This technique “Unhurry” has been helpful for me when I have too many things to do can cause the feeling of being overwhelmed.

  • Allow time. I try to be realistic about how long things take and I try to factor in extra time. This is helpful when I have to drive somewhere and I don’t know how long it may take. If I end up with time to spare then that’s a bonus. It allows me to unwind and just be in the moment, maybe even grab a coffee.
  • Rather than scheduling things in back to back I try to leave some time in between. I tend to do this in between client sessions as it allows me to reflect on the session I have just had and also prepare myself mentally for the next session so my energy is restored and I can be present completely for the next client.
  • Practice doing one thing hyper slowly each day. This can be something ordinary like washing my hands or even washing a cup or walking ten steps. By doing this I am forcing myself to take my time and pace myself.

  • Recognise that you are rushing, call it out and use your inner voice to tell yourself that you are feeling rushed or hurrying again. Breathe deeply and try to release the pressure.

You are attempting to rewire your brain and it is process which takes time as forming new habits does. The more busy you are the more beneficial it can be to embrace the idea of not rushing around. Sometimes we struggle with setting boundaries even with ourselves. Knowing how you are feeling is important as this can then allow you to reflect and make important changes that are long overdo.

The death of a loved one

Today it’s been 11 years since we (my family and I) lost my eldest sister. Her battle with cancer was short but it was lethal. Within being diagnosed a month later she was gone. 

Each year I find the anniversary of her death difficult. Anyone who has ever lost a loved one will agree that the loss, the pain and the hole within your life never goes away.

I write this article as a way to celebrate her life, acknowledge the pain and also with a hope that by writing and sharing with you my experience, you will allow yourself the ability to feel how ever you want to, without any apology. 

“Bereavement is the action or condition of being bereaved. Bereaved is being deprived of a close relation or friend through their death.”

Deprived we are. I felt deprived of the ability to talk to her, feel her presence or even talk about her because I never felt I could. I felt if I talked about her I would be upsetting someone and hurting them further. 

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There were a lot of reasons why her death was difficult some being that we never got a chance to save her and the decision was taken out of hands. I also I felt a lot of anger towards her. I felt abandoned and betrayed by her because she had always been my protector.

“Why didn’t she take better care of herself?!” “Why didn’t she fight harder?” “Why hadn’t the doctors caught it sooner?!”. I recognise now that I was suffering from grief.

At that moment I felt I had to finally grow up. I felt insecure all of a sudden, I felt like If I fell no-one would catch me. Like she used to.

Grief does weird things to our minds. It can distort our reality in such a way that we don’t know what or why we are doing it. The pressure we put on ourselves to be okay, to get over things quickly can cause us to suffer later down the line. 

I felt like I was drowning and no matter how much I tried to swim I was failing. I couldn’t be there for others who relied on me. I withdrew and tried to act like I was fine. Everyone had their own way of dealing with the loss within my family. My focus went on my parents and their wellbeing.

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I only felt like talking about her to the people that knew her, straight away I was closing the door on seeking comfort from people who were close to me. I had learnt to compartmentalise a lot earlier in my life so this was easy for me to do or so I thought.

But there was an anger brewing deep inside of me that I kept squashing deeper and deeper.

Years later I realised that it wasn’t the best way to deal with her loss.

I found solace in sitting with my parents and talking about her, which was something we did often. Sometimes we would laugh, sometimes cry but we would talk. Talking about her at times is bittersweet. 

Regardless of what your faith may be, death does not discriminate, it is inevitable who ever is born will experience death and whoever is left behind the loss.

But now by acknowledging such pain, loss and sadness I find that I’m being more true to myself. This has helped recently with the sudden death of my mother. Where I am allowing myself to feel the loss. I am not forcing myself to be okay.

I think of my sister and mother with love and sadness but also the knowledge that a part of them both will always be with me. The years I spent with them, the love I experienced and the memories will always be something that I carry with me. 

Dealing with bereavement can be lonely. You will feel like you don’t have anyone to share your pain with. You feel like you are alone in the darkness that you feel and no-one can understand. By talking to someone, anyone who will listen and be there for you, can help. 

By seeking support you are recognising what you need, you are being true to yourself. Each experience is different, just like all relationships are different. But what brings us together as humans is the ability to be resilient.

Loss – “Pull yourself together!”

Today I want to talk about loss of relationships, whether it’s as lovers, friendship, or even family members such as sibling or parent and the individual is still very much alive and well.

How do you deal with such a loss? Does the process of grief still apply?

When someone is taken away from us, suddenly or through illness we have to at some point accept that death is final. Regardless of what your beliefs may be, the connection, the face to face contact, the ability to be present physically by the other is no longer possible.

But when someone who you have formed a relationship with, an attachment to, decides to leave your life. Then why are we expected to continue like nothing has happened?

It is my personal opinion that the grief cycle still applies which isn’t a linear process, in fact you may move from one stage to the next, to the fifth and then back to the first. Let me explain what I mean.

In the grief cycle we have: Denial, Anger, bargaining, depression and then acceptance. 

Denial: we cannot believe that the person is gone, our reality has shifted and as we try to process the loss, we are trying to process the emotional pain. 

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If someone has made a conscious decision to leave your life or even you have had to decide to leave, you can still experience denial. You don’t want to accept that the person you know doesn’t want to be in your life or you no longer want to see them, you will experience emotional pain and maybe some form of rejection if you don’t have a choice in the matter.

“How can he/she do this to me?”

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Anger: Feeling anger is a natural response when you are feeling emotional discomfort. Trying to adjust with this new reality can be difficult. Feeling anger towards the individual, at yourself, your emotions, is normal because you feel alone in your pain.

“He/She promised they would never leave!”

Bargaining: In an attempt to alleviate your pain. In the grief cycle we tend to bargain with a higher power. But what can happen in a loss of a relationship is that we can start bargaining with the individual.

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“What did I do wrong?” Blaming yourself, “Tell me what can I do to keep you in my life?” Any form of contact is better than none, and we start bargaining.”Can we still be friends?” The slither of hope that any contact is better than none and you are trying to stop the pain you are going through.

“Can we stay in touch?”

Depression: Reality sinks in. Bargaining is not an option anymore and we have to face what is happening. As sadness grows we can end up retreating into ourselves. Not wanting to be sociable, not reaching out to anyone.

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We isolate ourselves because no one else will understand the pain we are experiencing. Friends and family may advise you to move on. But how easy is it? Should you not be allowed to feel the way you are? why is there an expectation that you should stop feeling how you are and “pull yourself together!”?

“Get over it!”

Acceptance: Here you are accepting your new reality. Sadness and regret may still be present but now you accept the pain you are feeling. Acceptance that the relationship has ended can be difficult. You may have put your heart and soul in that relationship and you are now accepting the loss but you also are now attempting to heal.

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“I need to find the new me.”

You are not attempting to make it into something different or change the out come any longer. 

The complication with someone still being alive is that at times of vulnerability, we might end up revisiting the different stages of grief. We might go back to bargaining or anger because well we can. The person is still alive and can still respond. Maybe we still feel the attachment to that individual and we still want to be a part of their lives and are seeking old comfort. This can just lead to more hurt and pain. Constantly feeling rejected can damage your self confidence and self esteem.

The loss of a relationship is different and I am not comparing it to bereavement because I have felt both and I feel each has their own pain and sorrow to bear. But it also has me wondering about the differences in the way people can respond to such loss.

I also feel and this is my personal opinion that loss of a relationship doesn’t get enough support, as it requires a process of healing that we should be able to go through without judgement, remarks and intolerance by others.

Does ego play a part with how we respond? I still find myself bargaining at times hoping for a different outcome. What about you?

When was the last time you scanned your Body?

We tend to notice things around, us such as the weather, the traffic, the environment we are in but we forget about the body we occupy. Have you ever noticed how when you are stressed your body feels all tight and wound up? That is because we carry our emotions within our body.

It can be difficult to just relax, sometimes it can even causes physical pain. I’ve had days when I have been so busy to even sit down. When the time does come to relax I find it physically painful.

The body scan or body sweep has helped me numerous times. It may be helpful if you have had a busy day and you need to relax, or even when you are trying to fall asleep but are restless. The benefits are endless of mindfulness but you have to choose what is right for you.

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I would suggest doing this in an environment where you feel safe to lie down, I prefer to do this before I go to sleep. Where ever you are, find a comfortable place and don’t forget to get a blanket incase you feel cold or drift off to sleep.

While lying down notice the contact your body makes with the floor or bed. Is it hard or soft? are you comfortable?

Closing your eyes, take a few deep breathes in and out letting your body relax slightly each time you exhale. This helps me because if I relax all my body all at once I do feel pain especially in my lower back.

Check in with yourself? how are you feeling? are you agitated, relaxed or even just sleepy? allow yourself to feel however you are. Did you have any expectations about this method? if so let them go as it will feel different each time.

Now scanning the body begins from your toes. Bring your attention to them, what do you feel? hot, cold or tension? Notice it and let it go.

Then shift your attention to your feet. Are you feeling any sensations? Just be aware of them and let it go.

Continue to ask yourself what are you feeling, as you scan up your body slowly, your ankles, lower legs, knees, thighs and continue. You’re noticing any sensation you may have and then letting it go.

I imagine a knot that is tied and when I see myself letting go, the knot unfolds. Each time you exhale imagine tugging on the knot to open it. Up to your lower back, Belly. Your chest, shoulders, upper back. Scanning all till you reach your head.

The idea is that you are seeing how each part of your body feels, not trying to change it, but recognising it and the image of the knot just unfold.

Its normal for our thoughts to drift away if they do just bring it back to your body.

As you finish scanning just notice you’re breathing, as you inhale how your body moves, in and out with each breath. Take a moment and enjoy the silence.

I found it difficult at first to get into the mindset of trying to do this alone. So I enlisted the help of an app called Calm. There are many sleepcasts that guide you through this process and the ones I used were for free.

Once it became part of my routine I then started doing it without the help of the app.

In the book by Kim Davies called Pause, there is a section where you can journal how you felt doing this exercise. The method of journaling can help you gain a more better insight into your experience and reflect on a deeper level.

Mindfulness is a conscious effort to recognise what is going on within you. Life is busy as it is, so don’t put pressure on yourself and its okay to recognise that now might not be the right time for you. But when it is, take a moment and try to reconnect with yourself, your body and your feelings.

Let me know how you got on, did it work? Did you fall asleep or did it not work for you? Leave a comment below.

Cookie Breathing – An Aroma that takes me to a happier place.

One of the things I noticed when I have moments when I am feeling anxious is that I can’t be present, in the moment. When I am feeling anxious I find myself follow the thousands of thoughts down the dark rabbit hole and as a result I feel lost and agitated.

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Mindfulness is an amazing tool for someone who suffers from unhelpful negative thinking and I used this technique a lot when I was myself being taken over by unhelpful thoughts. 

Kim Davies uses a great visualisation technique within her book Pause, which is called Cookie breathing. I have done breathing exercises in the past but never used the visualisation of baked cookies.

Bringing our awareness to our breathing it is a great way to relax and it does help me with stopping the inner dialogue I have going at times.

Placing both my feet flat on the floor, sitting upright I take a deep breath in and then out letting my body relax a little as I do this.

Once I close my eyes I am picture a tray full of cookies fresh from the oven. I can practically smell them. Visualisation is a key element of mindfulness and can be used to help us feel calmer and connected to our breathing.

As I breath in I am imagining the aroma of the cookies. As I breath out I imagine that I am gently blowing on the cookies to cool them down. 

The visualisation continues where I keep imagining I am breathing in the aroma of the cookies and then breathing out, trying to cool them down. 

I am Allowing my breathe to find its own rhythm, I don’t need to make it any deeper or longer than it naturally is. If I find my mind wandering I bring it back to the cookies and the aroma. 

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This technique can be done in a few minutes and once you open your eyes and sit for a few minutes.

This was a simple yet effective way to stop and find some inner peace.

I really enjoyed this because I could visualise the baking tray with cookies and I could smell the homely aroma of fresh baked cookies or Biscuits like us british people call them.

What helped me stay calm and enjoy this visualisation was my association to baking biscuits. It reminds me of a simpler time when everything was magical.

Baking in Primary school was something I really enjoyed and being able to visualise it as well as smell the aroma it just made me feel calmer.

It does depend on whether you find the smell of baked biscuits calming, so if the aroma of baked biscuits or cookies doesn’t then what do you find calming? Maybe it’s something else baked or even cooked.

Let me know what you find calming and what visualisation helped you by leaving a comment below.

The Waiting Game – My Quest to Inner Peace Continues

How often is it that we stand in a queue, or are waiting for an appointment and we become impatient. I always notice that people, including myself, tend to distract ourselves with either our mobile phones, reading posters or flyers, or by getting annoyed that the queue is long.

I guess the appeal of pulling out our phone is easier, we can check the latest news feed on facebook, insta or we can even let everyone know how annoyed we are with waiting by posting a status. “#can this queue be any longer!”

I am definitely one of the people that shift from foot to foot, waiting, observing, silently getting irritated that the shop assistant isn’t going fast enough.

But wait a minute? Where do I have to go so quickly? Yes I know, I have that mental checklist which I’m working through for today. House clean? Check, Emails followed up? Check, Washing done? Check, Supermarket? Nope not yet check!

I can use these moments where I usually respond with irritation and annoyance as a chance to practice mindfulness. I am going to try being patience and accepting of this opportunity.

But while I stand in the queue I’m making a mental note that there are 4 people in front of me. It’s so easy to start thinking about the length of time I am waiting. I need to stop making mental notes, so what if the lady in front has a whole trolley full and I only have a basket of small items.

Let me get into the mindframe, come into the now how Kim Davies has suggested. I am attempting to become more aware of what this moment has to offer. 

I am bringing back my awareness to what is going on around me, I can see someone is attempting to queue job, Naughty naughty. What are these two ladies behind me talking about. Am I being nosey? ooohhh Fox Christmas biscuit pack for £3 its huge, What a bargain! Into my basket you go! 

Back to being present, so what am I irritated about? Am I still irriated or impatient? Well no. I’m ok now. I’m feeling calmer, maybe the biscuits have already helped? I am seeing what items are around me, eaves dropping into other peoples conversations.

The initial irritation I felt was more annoyance at having to wait. But i’m accepting that this is what I have to do to get the items I want. I fell for their marketing technique of purchasing more items then I came for but I am aware of that and I’m okay with it. 

While I am waiting there is another technique I can try called; get into your feet. I am attempting to bring attention to the soles of my feet and their contact with the ground. What can I feel? I can feel the soft cushion of my insoles. The hard floor underneath my shoes. 

To Enhance the physical sensation I can lift the heel of one foot off the floor and bring all my weight onto the other. Bit like I am already doing while I shift from one foot to the other. But now I’m more aware that I am doing this as before I wasn’t and it is a way of releasing some of the irritation I am feeling in my body.

So how easy is it to adopt the waiting game? I felt my attention was more on how long the queue was taking But when I asked myself the question; “What was causing the irritation?” It was that mental checklist. 

The mental checklist is something that we all fall victim of. Where we try to achieve as much productive things as we can. This adds pressure to our day and when we aren’t achieving the things we want then comes the annoyed, irritation feelings. I also find that going through these checklists at times even when i’m doing one thing, i’m worrying about the upcoming task.

I felt accepting this process helped, I need to be in a queue to purchase the items I need. Acceptance helped me get past the annoyed feeling. Also bringing myself into the moment just for a while helped me calm down. 

Grounding does help to stop the inner dialogue I have going on. Maybe next time you see yourself getting irritated or annoyed with waiting why not try asking the question: “What is it that I am feeling annoyed about?” “Where is this feeling coming from?”

It is something that can be easily incorporated into our day, whenever were waiting so I will be using this more often. What about you?

Mindfulness – How to Shine a light

I have always tried to include an element of mindfulness into my therapy practice. It is a useful tool when working with clients who suffer from anxiety, which can include but not limited to; worrying thoughts, feel overwhelmed and pressured to do things outside of their comfort zone. 

You may have heard about mindfulness but what does it actually mean?

Mindfulness is making the conscious effort to include techniques such as pausing and a form of meditation that helps to build your awareness to yourself, your body and your environment. It involves an attempt to be truly present by stripping away all the noise that covers up your core. 

Kim Davies Pause 50 instant exercises to promote balance and focus every day

Within the book there are 10 ways pausing can help you, but for me what stood out was wanting to achieve a feeling of being calm, less reactive and stressed. 

Your reasons may be different or a combination of the 10 Reasons Kim Davies has highlighted in her book.

01 How to Shine a light

This technique is similar to what is used within counselling to help someone who may be anxious, is feeling panicked, overwhelmed and finding it difficult to be calm.

It knows as the 5,4,3,2,1 method for grounding. It helps you to distract from the thousands of rushing thoughts in your mind.

Taking a deep breath in and out at all times during this method.

I will now go through the method:

5 – What are the five things you can see? You can say them out loud or in your mind. 

I can see a candle burning, my fireplace, TV, Flooring, a Wall Clock.

4 – What are the four things you can hear?

I can hear Two people talking, muffled sounds of possible radio, cars driving by and a Clock ticking.

3 – What are Three things you can feel? You can move or reach for different objects.

The sofa I am sat on has soft upholstery, the pillow I am leaning on has rough pattern on it, my own hands are cold.

2 – Notice two things you can smell. 

This might be harder; I can smell the scent of my candle that is burning. It has a sweet undertone to it but not overpowering and another oil base in the candle and I can smell blueberry. 

1 – Notice one thing you can taste. 

I just ate dinner so I can taste sewai aka seviyaan which is a sweet dish, made of vermicelli, sugar and milk. If you can’t taste anything you can take a sip of cold water and just bring your attention to it. 

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By engaging my 5 senses I am able to become present in the moment. It helped me by clearing my mind of the inner chatter. It is something that I will attempt to do more often as I found that it just brought my attention to where I am within the room.

If you are struggling with some of the tasks such as smell or touch maybe move about the room don’t limit yourself to one spot. 

How do you feel about including this technique into your daily life? Leave a comment below to let me know how you got on.