Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Mindfulness is not just hip shit

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Mindfulness is not just 'hip shit' 

Two years ago, the unimaginable happened. It turned out that I didn't have an endless amount of energy. I was doing all this stuff. I organized an event, I coached youngsters, I worked a temp job with children, I was a babysitter on the side, I did volunteerswork, I helped out distressed friends, I did a course for counseling kids and of course there was homelife.
I was just so superbusy.

Then one day, just like that I felt like I couldn't take one more step or otherwise I would just crash and burn right on the spot.
That day I called the office at work and told them what was going on and that I required to see the company's doctor.
I remember standing at the busstop and having a complete panick attack. I was crying my eyes out on the side of the road because all the busses that I had seen come and go were too busy for me to get on to.
I just wanted to get home, but I didn't know how anymore.
It was like the wires in my brain just got disconnected.

In the coming week I started to notice different things that were happening.
Right after someone had said something to me, I gazed at them in complete despair because I couldn't remember what they had just said. I was so tired, but failed to sleep. It was like when I was falling asleep somebody would poke me, and I was wide awake. My body started playing tricks on me.

After seeing the company's doctor and hearing that I was having a burn out.
Couldn't believe it. 28 years old and already?
I went into therapy, and that helped for a while, but I experienced fall back just a year ago.
So I went into a center and followed a program that would teach me about balance, time management, the importance of exercise and mindfulness.
The people from this center have been life savers in the last year of my life.
I used to think that mindfulness was just this big trend in our world, but it has truly transformed my way of life.

So mindfulness to me: an open and accepting attitude to whatever is at this very moment.
I learned how to apply this in my life. Because I was always just rushing to get to the next place, I stopped feeling how I was really doing.
It seems to be such a trend that everybody is just so busy.
It is almost like there is a competition that is going on in our society today. The one who is most busy takes the price.
Well let me tell you that there is a price. An ultimate price. A burn out.

It is so important to feel how you are really doing. And this is what mindfulness is so perfect for.

A quick exercise to help you get started. It will only take 3 minutes of your time.
That is not too much to ask for in your busy life. Trust me.

Whatever you are doing...
For 1 minute: pay attention to the things that you see around you wherever you are.
For 1 minute: pay attention to the things that you hear around you wherever you are. Even the most subtle of sounds.
For 1 minute: Close your eyes. Notice the things that you feel inside. Whatever it is that you feel, it is okay. Even if you are feeling uncomfortable. Stay with this feeling. Be curious about it. This feeling is an important radar for what is going on. Accept this feeling inside. Send yourself some love.

And that is it.
You are done! You can now move on with your day.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Meditation for beginners


Let me tell you something.
So many people are scared of the word meditation.
They may think that you are forced to quiet your mind, get in lotus position and chant.
I heard it so many times: 'It is just too hard'What if I told you that I think many people are putting too much pressure on it? Their expectations may be way too high on a first session.
Meditation is supposed to be relaxing. For your mind, for your body.
So here are a few tips:

1. Get comfortable!
Forget about the friggin' difficult positions. Build a pillow fort and chill out

2. Just breathe...
I do like the guided meditations, but I ain't always comfortable with the way they tell me to breathe. It is important that you breathe easily, but don't force a method that doesn't feel good. My tip: lay your hand on your stomach and breathe to your hand to get a relaxing phase of breathing.

3. Don't expect huge things
Looking forward to have amazing visions? They are possible, you know. I'm advanced in meditation but not even I always get them. The effect of meditation is often more subtle. Being able to deal with the day a whole lot better and being  less stressed is only one of the many wonderful benefits.

4. Pick your way of meditating

There are so many out there. What is that you like? A little mandala coloring?
Guided visualisation? Mindful walk in the forest? A quick body scan? Or just a few minutes of breathing with your eyes closed? It is upto you. Meditation is fun!

5. Practice, practice, practice

Even when your mind does not go quiet on the first time, it is possible to achieve this with practice. Stick with your exercise and have patience as you are learning something new. You couldn't walk in a day, so don't expect to meditate perfectly in one day either.

My golden tip? When your mind gets distracted just watch your thoughts go by without engagement. Bring your focus back to the way you breathe.
And if you practice mindfulness it is about accepting every thought that comes to mind. Having a curious and open attitude without judging them.

And lastly... relax!
This is what meditation is about. It is a charger to your body, like sleep is.
If you do have any questions about meditation, I will be happy to answer them.