Happiness in the Moment Blog

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  1. Managing Worry and Anxiety

    Worry. We all do it. Some of us seem to do it professionally! Worrying can be helpful when it spurs you to take action and solve a problem. I get a great deal of work done when I’m worrying over the to-do list. However, unrelenting worry, the constant niggling of worrying thoughts, can paralyze you, keeping you rooted to the problem and preventing you from moving forward.

    The hallmark of anxiety is worry; worry about something that hasn’t happened yet and might not even happen at all. Anxiety can be so habitual that you may start thinking of yourself as an ‘anxious person’. We start to identify with it, and it feels as if it takes us over. As you start to practise mindfulness you will begin to see that your ‘anxious moments’ don’t have to mean that you’re an ‘anxious person’.

    When I was feeling at my lowest, I would often worry about school holidays. How would I entertain the children on my own for weeks on end? How would I have the energy to keep them happy and go on days out with them all? I learnt to break my problems down into bits, using the tools below to simply focus on what could be done right now, in the present moment, then much of the feeling of stress went away.

    At night, when we’re trying to sleep, our worries can often get more out of control and out of perspective. Your thoughts are often out of perspective at night; you’re tired, trying to drop off to sleep but there’s nothing to distract you from the worries. Nor is it a practical time to do anything productive about whatever is on your mind. You need to sleep for goodness sake! This is where mindful breathing comes into its own.

    Have you ever been told by someone to ‘just don’t think worry over it’? Telling yourself to stop worrying about whatever is bothering you simply doesn’t work. Infact it can make the worries worse. Think of the ‘pink elephant’ scenario? You know the one…the more you tell yourself not to think about the pink elephant, the more you’re able to see the pink elephant!

    Mindfulness can help you to stop all of this worrying and help you to focus on the present moment. Follow these steps below and see how you get on:

     

  2. Back in 2015, I found myself at an all time low. The story is long and heavily detailed so I'm hoping to give you an in a nutshell version so as not to labour the point. In the space of 6 months, just 6 months, I had sold my home, lost my prospective new home, put all of our belongings into storage, moved in with family members (which was very cramped with 5 of us in two rooms), had a brand new baby on christmas eve (who wouldn't feed properly or sleep for that matter!), put my eldest daughter through an operation and had her subsequent recovery to deal with, had my cat put to sleep due to a fox, and had to buy a new car. Phew!

    My life during this 6 months period was fraught with stress, tension, anxiety and fear. Fear that I wasn't ever going to find a new home, fear that I couldn't look after my family properly, fear that I was a total failure. I was tired, suffering from postnatal blues, mentally drained and unable to find any time to look after myself. 

    We eventually found a new house, one that was vacant and the seller wanted a quick sale. We completed the sale with 14 days left of our mortgage offer. It wasn't ideal, it didn't tick all of the boxes, but it was our home, and I looked forward to moving in. I thought that when I got settled in my new home, I would feel better. But I didn't. My initial happiness started to fade away as I realised that life was still feeling hard, I was still sleeping badly, the 80 mile round trips each day to the children's three schools were draining me and I was struggling to pay the new bills.  I had convinced myself throughout the last six months that happiness would be delivered to me when I was in my new house, then life could begin again. But that wasn't the reality. I realised with a thud that happiness certainly does not come from external sources.

    Awakening

    I had practised being miserable for so many months, that I was now really good at it. My sadness was habitual and had become my new comfort blanket. My hair started to fall out, my eyebrows thinned and then I really came to see just how damaging these thought cycles were. They were now having an effect on my body. Was I depressed? Surely not! I hated to label myself as anything. I hated the thought of having to go to a doctor, to admit to my feelings, and then to rely on antidepressants, which is all they would probably prescribe if I did pluck up the courage to go. No, I didnt want to go down that route. I decided to try some self-help.