One Month of Mindfulness: You’re Hardier than you Think

This post is about my mindfulness challenge results. My mindfulness challenge was quite simple: do three things mindfully every day. I began imagining myself sitting zen-like on top of a rocky mountain, reaching enlightenment and spreading my healing wisdom to my fellow chronically ill bloggers.

It was then that I realized; there aren’t really any mountains in the UK. Also, it rains much too often to sit outside. So my mindfulness challenge remained focused on mundane daily tasks. Sometimes I noticed the feel of my shirt slipping over my head as I got dressed. Other times I fully appreciated the warmth of the shower.

I used it at work to get through hard days. I set my focus at the task at hand instead of thinking of all the things that needed to be done. Mindfulness was also helpful to calm my breathing at night to get better sleep.  As is often the way of mindful activities, the changes I noticed were small and personal.

Here are my top 5 mindfulness challenge results:

1.       Being mindful  won’t stop you from having a panic attack for the first time

While mindfulness, meditation and breathing exercises have certainly provided me with a vast amount of help and resources for Chronic Fatigue, it is not some miracle cure for all of your health problems. Mindfulness often gives you insight into what you need and what your fears and challenges are. But you still need to do the work to utilize those discoveries and put them into practice in your daily life. If you don’t do that there’s nothing stopping the stress from getting to you, and you may find yourself Googling the symptoms of a heart attack…

2.       You will appreciate the big picture

Mindfulness teaches you to focus on one specific moment in time. So it seems like an oxymoron to say that mindfulness helps you to see the big picture better. But, when you are focusing on just one moment, it puts that moment into perspective. You may be in physical or emotional pain in that one moment, but it is only a moment, and there is no way of predicting what that next moment will bring. Taking things from moment to moment can help you see the bigger picture: your pain is not constant (even if it only lets up for a minute a day).

3.       Your mind is a jungle

One of my biggest literary heroines wrote these wise words of advice: “There’s a crazy lady living in your head. I hope you’ll be comforted to hear that you’re not alone. Most of us have an invisible inner terrible someone who says all sorts of nutty stuff that has no basis in truth”.  – Cheryl Strayed.

Over the past month I have often come out of a meditation feeling like I have just fought a battle with my inner terrible someone. That voice which is saying all sorts of crazy things, and trying to distract you from focusing on your breath, and instead making you focus on what a terrible person you are and what a terrible life you have. You will discover a lot of great things about yourself if you commit to mindfulness. But you will also get to know all of the not-so- great parts of yourself.  Before you conjure up images of serene and peaceful meditation sessions, know that you will have your battles to fight. This does not make you a ‘bad meditator’.

4.       It’s okay to assert your needs

Mindfulness will help you get in touch with what you really need to feel better or to help make things more achievable for you. It is one thing to come to these realizations in your head. It's another thing to assert those needs to your boss, co-workers, or loved ones. Just remember that everyone is different, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of if you need to ask for help in certain areas. Also, you won’t be of much use to anyone if you crash, so be confident in asserting your needs, and everyone around you will benefit!

5.       Mindfulness challenge results: You’re hardier than you think

Hardiness is a term used by psychologists to define the type of person who can quickly rebound from stressful situations. While genetics and the way you were raised affect your personal level of hardiness, it is something that can be cultivated by anybody. Mindfulness helps to control stress levels. It helps keep your perspective on situations by focusing in on the moment rather than going over all of the terrible things that could happen in your head.

By cultivating this awareness of yourself and your surroundings, you are setting yourself up to succeed.  I am the queen of over-thinking things. Something I did not realize was a harmful trait until fairly recently. Mindfulness helps you focus in on the specific situation at hand, and gives you the tools to adequately deal with the situation. Once you start cultivating hardiness by practicing mindfulness (or whatever substitute works for you) you will be amazed by what you can accomplish!

Happy meditations!

mindfulness challenge results

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4 Responses

  1. Well said, it's a very worthwhile practice :)
  2. Thank you. This is something I've been thinking about a lot lately. I know I should be meditating, but I haven't been able to wrap my head around it. Lately I've put my focus on just focusing on NOW rather than what happened already or what might happen, just focusing on this moment and letting the rest go. "Let it Go"
    • Someone once told me: "the intention to meditate, is meditation itself"
  3. Thank you for this post. Very well put. I love to meditate and practice mindfulness. I haven't been doing a very good job of it lately, though. This insomnia is causing me to not do a lot of things I usually do on a daily basis. Thank you for the reminder. I do need to get back to it and what better to do while laying here all day and night than to meditate, breathe..................................My mind is just not in its normal state at this time. I need to get some good sleep for awhile in order to get myself right back on track. To practice what I preach. LOL I'm glad you were able to accept your awards because you are very deserving of them and I really enjoy reading your blog. I noticed your awards look different than mine. I wonder why that is? Enjoy the rest of your day or whatever it is wherever you are. Peace, Tammy :)

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