Have you ever found yourself caught up in a bumpy train ride of thoughts and emotions which take you on an uncontrollable journey north, south, east and west, finally plonking you down in the middle of Stressville?
For all of us the answer is probably a very loud ‘yes’! We spend a large proportion of our time living in our heads; ruminating on the past, worrying about the future and getting caught up in the habitual stories we tell ourselves about our lives and how things should or shouldn’t be. And when these thoughts have a difficult emotional response, such as fear, sadness, confusion or anger, our reaction to these emotions can lead to more unhelpful thoughts…which in turn lead to more difficult emotions. Cue lots of stress, struggle and unhappiness.
Mindfulness and stress
Mindfulness brings us into our here and now experience. Instead of being entangled with our thoughts and emotions with little conscious awareness, becoming mindfully awake and aware enables us to notice and be open to our thoughts and emotions, to let them be just as they are but without getting caught up in them. It’s a different kind of relationship with our inner experience, one which allows us to see our thoughts and emotions for what they are – transient events that come and go and which do not need to direct our lives.
This new, mindful approach to thoughts and emotions helps us to step off the train to Stressville and deal with life’s challenges in a more calm and considered way, in turn building our resilience for longer term wellbeing.
© Michelle Drapeau, 2018
I offer private, 1:1 programmes specifically for people struggling with stress and anxiety: Shine for Wellbeing, a 6 week programme of mindfulness-based therapeutic coaching, and Better Living, a 5 week introduction to mindfulness. I also run group courses, workshops and seminars. I am based in Buckinghamshire, just 15 minutes from Milton Keynes, Buckingham and Aylesbury.
(Photo by Denys Argyriou on Unsplash)