My therapist has been pushing me to practice mindfulness. It is a little odd to me that part of the treatment for being anxious about everything is to literally sit still and do nothing, but since my anxiety is usually based on nothing more than my the deceit of my broken brain, maybe sitting and doing nothing makes sense. Like a time out for my brain misbehaving. Touché therapist, touché.
Mindfulness is actually a little more complicated than just sitting around doing nothing. It is in fact both deceptively simple and infuriatingly difficult, yet another description that somehow makes it sound like a perfect tool for treating mental illness.
The point of mindfulness is not to completely clear your mind. Unless you are a highly disciplined yogi, well on your path to enlightenment, you probably won’t achieve that. It took me a long time to get past that misconception and the associated frustration of never actually achieving such a blissfully empty mind.
Instead of clearing your mind, mindfulness is meant to acknowledge your thoughts as they arise and merely watch them in a nonjudgmental way as opposed to reacting to them, which is usually part of what leads to such annoying anxiety. In other words it is about training your brain to handle its thoughts differently.
Thus far I have had mixed success with my efforts to be mindful. Some days the time passes with ease and I emerge feeling calmer. Other times I find myself fidgety and unable to focus. Those times that I struggle feed into my own negative feedback loop, convincing me that I can’t do anything right, not even sit still. Overall though I think sticking with it is for the best, at least for me, even though it often infuriates me. I know some others out there who struggle with their mindfulness practices as well and so I figured I’d take a moment for mindfulness, a moment to let them know they are not alone in their frustrations.
P.S. I wrote this post this morning instead of practicing my mindfulness. I’m not sure if that counts as winning or not but I’m going to give it to me if for no other reason than this is my blog and I get to do that. You don’t like it you can start your own blog and make your own rules.