Waiting Lists Are Hard
Having to wait to receive support from mental health professionals can be difficult, the number of young people that need support of services like CAMHS and many others increases every year and so they just cannot meet the demand, which is why so many young people are put on waiting lists.
I was one of those young people, who just had to wait their turn. But just because I was waiting, it didn’t mean that I had to lie and not do anything until my first therapy session eventually came along. After a bit of trial and error, I finally learnt to practice mindfulness and it was crucial to my recovery.
Mindfulness can be confusing
My first experience with Mindfulness was reading online that it was something that would ‘help me cope with my negative thoughts’, that’s it! It seemed as if not matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t find anyone who could explain to me what mindfulness was (at least in a way that I could understand).
In hindsight, I was just simply overcomplicating the idea of mindfulness by trying to find a definition for the word, as now I see that we are mindful all of the time, and all we have to do in order to use it as a way of supporting ourselves is to be aware of when we are naturally mindful in our everyday lives.
How to wash your face mindfully (If I can do it, you can too!)
For example, in the morning when I wake up I wash my face. A ‘non-mindful’ way to look at this is just that you are cleaning your face and moving on with the rest of your day. However, a mindful way of washing your face is to notice how hot the water is on your hands, feeling the texture of your skin, the little pieces of ‘stuff’ in your exfoliating scrub between your fingertips and the sensation that it creates it when you scrub it against your cheeks, and finally texture of the towel against your face as you finish.
If you are still a little confused, here is another way of explaining it using this same example:
The sentence; “I washed my face” is much shorter than if you break down all of the steps involved (there were six in my example but I am sure you can find more, give it a go with your own routine!). So that’s what mindfulness is in a nutshell, when you are about to do anything during the day, ask yourself: “what am I about to do?” and instead of choosing the short answer, break your task into multiple steps (similar to the method of a recipe!) This will make you appreciate what you are doing and take you away from any negativity in your mind and instead force you to concentrate on the current moment.
What mindfulness means to me
One of the biggest goals of mindfulness is to give you a break from any problems you are facing in your mind, and if you are like me, this will be pretty hard to do in the beginning. You may only be able to be mindful for a few seconds before falling back into your head, but it will get easier over time, I promise you! There are now some days where I can go multiple hours just completely living in the moment and you can do it too!
So, the next time you are feeling overwhelmed by all of the stuff in your head and just want a break from it all. Ask yourself: “What I am doing/about to do?” and that will force you into the present moment allowing you to be mindful and appreciate everything that’s going on outside of your head.