You've probably heard about mindfulness.
It's everywhere at the moment. It's being taught in PSHE in schools. It's being encouraged in work places, it's being incorporated into yoga sessions and in some areas classes are available on the national health.
So what is mindfulness?
In it's simplest form, mindfulness is about paying attention to what is happening right now, without fear or judgement.
The most common way to start practicing mindfulness is meditation. You don't have to sit cross legged and go "ohm", but you do have to be still and focus on the sensations that are happening in your body or directly around at that moment.
Mindfulness has been proven to help with anxiety and depression.
Earlier in the year I was suffering from severe anxiety and panic attacks. It was most unlike me; usually I’m gregarious, one of life’s doers, one of those folks who can get on with it, generally happy and healthy.
Suddenly (though it must have been creeping up on me for sometime) I’d lost my sense of humour, wasn’t sleeping properly, or eating properly and felt pretty grim. Gradually there appeared to be no pleasure left in my life. Everything seemed to be one endless to do list with no respite or joy. I got worse and worse. Eventually my ever loving husband asked me to visit my Doctor.
My GP recommended Mindfulness.
I took her advice. There are two books which really helped me Ruby Wax’s "Sane new world" and Mark Williams’ "Mindfulness - finding peace in a frantic world".
Williams explains :
Mindfulness pays attention to thoughts, feelings and body sensations to become directly aware of them, and better able to manage them, it has deep roots in ancient meditation practices and also draws on recent scientific advances. Mindfulness is of potential value to everybody to help find peace in a frantic world”.
If that sounds lovely and easy you’re only half right! It is lovely but it’s difficult at first. If you’re so anxious that your brain is buzzing the whole time, it's surprising difficult to try and slow it down, you have to practice and concentrate.
With this in mind I've developed an ebook which might help people with a way into mindfulness. Starting off with the mediation can be difficult, but I found when I had a pencil in my hand it became easier. I had something to concentrate on. I had a sensation to feel, the way the pencil moved on the page; the mark it made. Somehow this method helped me develop my focus and become more mindful.
After really working hard on mindfulness for a few weeks, my anxiety levels decreased, I was back at work and painting again. I felt better. My humour returned. It wasn't effortless but my goodness that change was remarkable.
My ebook (available very very soon) contains the simple exercises I developed while I was learning mindfulness. Sometimes I practice mindful breathing and I don't need to do any mindful drawing to fully concentrate on the moment. But on tough days, or days when my mind won't settle down and be quiet, I find that drawing on mindfulness helps me tremendously. You don't have to be able to draw at all! You don't have to be creative or artistic. Drawing mindfully is about focusing on what you are doing at that moment.
You can access sneak previews of my ebook on the members page. Sign up with your email and you'll be sent a password.
You email won't be passed on to anyone else, and you won't be swamped with emails (I send about 6-8 newsletters per year)
Try Drawing on mindfulness, if you want to join the many people living happier lives, mindfully.