On Sunday I went along to a Mindfulness event hosted by Paddy Brosnan. Paddy is mindfulness teacher and inspirational speaker. I was lucky enough to be invited to attend and I thought I might learn something.
Thankfully I didn’t have a panic attack like I did in the previous mindfulness class I attended (not run by Paddy). It was a fairly long day – 6 hours with an hour for lunch so there was an awful lot to take in. What I found amazing was that Paddy was telling us the mind has about 60000 thoughts a day and 95% of those are the same as every other day. He said 65% of these faults are when we are in ‘default mode’ so not really concentrating on what we are thinking.
Most of these thoughts are negative, they come out of nowhere like a car coming behind, these thoughts change the way you feel and how you interact with others. Paddy said the way to change these thoughts is very simple, he said there’s no need to run naked through the street singing kumbaya with a badger (thankfully!) The solution is meditation – you have to retrain your mind. Thoughts generate feelings which generate actions so we have to stop the negative ones before they take over….sounds simple in theory.
I found the day very interesting, we were guided through some meditation techniques. We were also told about mindfulness, paying more attention to people when they are speaking to us. We were advised to eat our lunch for 15 minutes before talking to someone else so that we really concentrate on what we are eating and enjoy it.
What I found quite unsettling was when Paddy said nothing is permanent which is grand when you are in a bad place but he was saying your partner won’t stay with you forever because one or the other of you will either leave or die…..not great to hear when you have depression. Anyway apart from that the rest of the day was good and I liked the advice that if you want to change you are the only one who can do that. Thank you to Paddy’s team for the ticket and thank you to the lady called Mags who sat with me at lunch, it was lovely chatting to her (after the 15 minutes mindful eating 😉 )
I find meditating difficult, I’m not great at keeping still but I have an app on my phone called Headspace which is just a trial at the moment but I’m really finding it helpful. The animations are great and I’m trying to meditate once a day with it.
I’m feeling a lot calmer than I was and haven’t had a panic attack in a couple of weeks – phew! I went to CBT yesterday and although I tried this in February I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to take anything in so now I’m going to try again and hope it helps. I’ve discovered I have a bad relationship with food so that needs to be sorted out. Between Lucy being home and cooking me healthy dinners – and making me eat and Siobhan who is a fantastic nutritional therapist I’m eating better than I have been.
I’ll let you know how things go.
Dearest Val Here I am awake at 4 am in the morning, reading your post and thinking those repetitive thoughts though mine are recent dwelling on that horrific London fire yesterday. Those poor people it’s hard to get my head round it and it’s only a few miles from me. Silent prayer from a non praying woman.
You have been dealt a bad hand of cards health wise, and I think of you every time I get your blog posts, but I haven’t said much as I only like to say something if I feel I can help in some way. Which is proper daft when a word is often enough, just to say you care, so I am sending you this big HUG as that is what I would do if i saw you in the flesh but then maybe that wouldn’t be helpful or appropriate. So! I wondered if you had tried tapping? It sounds well worth a go. Here’s the link https://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2016/01/25/stop-a-panic-attack-with-emotional-freedom-techniques-eft/
As for me, I am wrestling with myself over a return trip to Sligo. I really want to see my aged aunt, the last one of my mother’s generation living but the very thought of the trip has me highly emotional as I always went with my mother and I’d hate to break down when visiting the relatives. Anyway! That’s my problem and it’s nothing compared to what you are going through. I wish with all my heart that things noticeably improve for you soon and I’m glad to hear your eating and food choices are better these days as I am a huge believer in the health benefits of food and how they can help and heal us. Stay strong and stay behind that camera we all need those photographs for our mental health
Sent from my iPhone
Aw Ursula, what a lovely message. I’m actually doing really well – compared to how I was. The camera hasn’t been in use much lately but I hope it might soon.
I can totally understand about your dilemma of coming over here. You must be very torn. I’ll keep you in my thoughts xx
Following on from my recent reply to your posting about electric bikes re my indecision at joining my brother on his visit to Donegal two years after mums death:- interesting to see ursula’s comments. On reflection, my last trip in May was the first one without mum and I am not sure if I am ready yet to revisit with the ‘full onness’ of things
I can understand that Margaret. You know how you feel better than anyone. Take care, Val
I enjoyed the honesty of your post. I think that when you first get into mindfulness you do tend to have a few moments when you feel as if you’ve had cold water splashed on your face – sudden moments of realisation and awareness. But one of the things that mindfulness does develop is the ability to hold that awareness, gently and accept it, without being afraid of it. At first, this is really hard to do. I have found mindfulness really helpful in my life which is why I am training to be a mindfulness teacher. I’m sure that the mindfulness will help you with panic attacks – it has helped my sister. Good luck and stick with it… Jacqueline
Thanks so much Jacqueline. Good luck with the training.
I loved reading this. My experience has been similar. It is so refreshing to liberate yourself from that repeating mental narrative that plays over and over in your head. It’s amazing how we can train ourselves to not be that way anymore!