Are you a worrier? Kristy can attest that I am reasonably skilled in the art of worrying. I like to think of it more as a hangover from my previous career as a lawyer. Nothing too dramatic - I just like to assess risks, deal with them and move on. But I do tend to think about the “what if’s…?” of a situation.
I have had ample reason to flex my worrying muscle in the last month, and I have found that using mindfulness has been a great tool to manage the extra stress that this has created for me.
Funnily enough, it all began on the day of our FGR “Creating Everyday Mindfulness” event at the end of March. A few hours before our event I found myself with my four year old son at the emergency department of the Royal Children’s Hospital, heart thumping in my chest and panic rising. We didn’t leave for five days.
Nothing has been straightforward since. The last four weeks have been a fog of surgery, scans, multiple trips to the emergency department, another hospital admission, a swag of medication and all topped off by a hefty dose of chicken pox.
Mindfulness was a great tool for me during the hard moments. Those times when I wanted to let the cold grip of fear overtake me, when all of my emotions wanted to flood out and overwhelm me. During these times I used mindfulness to connect me to the moment and to just being with my son. I stopped thinking about the future and the terrifying unknown, all of the risks and the things that could go wrong. Instead, I concentrated on being present.
Taking in his sweet smile, the feel of his chubby hand in mine, the softness of his cheek. Feeling his heart beat against mine. Being calm, not just for him but also for myself. Cherishing every single moment and being grateful. Breathing.
Fear can be debilitating, not just in the more extreme moments, but also in everyday situations. Everyone has their worries, and you can easily get caught up worrying about what might happen, or what has happened in the past, rather than being there in the moment that you are experiencing. To achieve this is gratifying and brings an added appreciation, depth and happiness to your life.
Starting a mindfulness practice is simple, free, and you can do it anywhere. If you want a great start, download the free “Smiling Mind” app for your phone and give some of those meditations a go. The “Mindfulness In May” campaign is also kicking off TOMORROW on 1 May. If you sign up for $25 you get a one-month meditation program delivered daily to your inbox. Plus you get to feel good as the money raised goes to providing clean water to people in third world countries. Life changing for you and life saving for them.
Do you have a mindfulness practice? What works for you? Or have you participated in Mindful In May before? Love to hear your comments.