Musing over mindfulness, meditation and me

I’m looking for some advice. As I move into 2020, having now completed 6 weeks AF (I am allowing myself a teeny smug moment here!), I’m thinking about what I’d like to work on. Many of you refer to meditation and yoga on the blogs. I’ve looked into and attempted to use mindfulness apps and programmes. I just can’t get my head around it all (or, in the case of yoga, my legs and arms).

I think it might help me in many areas of my life, including the periods of anxiety and depression (though thankfully they have lessened since the drinking stopped). Mostly though, I’d like to give myself the skills and tools to deal with situations and challenges that arise and the emotions that come with them without feeling like I need to rely on alcohol to get me through (or indeed any other unhelpful or damaging crutch).

So what are people’s thoughts on it all? Is it helpful? Where does one start? Can I teach myself? It’s a minefield and I’m keen to know your views .. pros and cons.

By the way, I do realise I’m unlikely to suddenly look like the woman in the photo! I’ll give it my best shot though. 😊

Thanks

Claire xxx

Published by clairei47

My name is Claire. I am a mum, a wife and I work for the NHS. For as long as I can remember I have drank alcohol and my relationship with it has become increasingly complex over recent years. I’m 47 and I want to be physically and mentally healthy. I want to be present in my life and enjoy the journey, not drown it out with wine and hangovers. I have decided to detail how things progress via this blog. I know nothing about blogging but I think support from others is essential. Maybe one day I can help someone with my story. I started my sober journey on 17th November 2019; long may it continue.

32 thoughts on “Musing over mindfulness, meditation and me

  1. I have just started with the Headspace app. I like it so far. The narrator’s voice is not irritating to me. I also find non-guided meditation to be too hard. You can just start with 5 minutes a day. I can’t give advice about how well it works yet, though. Need more time. I used to do yoga, and would like to take it up again. I do it because it helps with my aches and pains, not for relaxation. I find it hard, very hard – and thus not relaxing- until I’ve done it regularly at least twice a week for a while. Then, it feels centering – but still hard! – by the final pose.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did use headspace about two years ago when I was first diagnosed and was really not well. I just couldn’t get on with it back then but I’m in a very different place now so I think I’ll try it again. I’m with you, the guys voice is actually lovely to listen to 😄
      Thanks for advice!
      Claire x

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi Claire! I am a pretty lean (and short!) person, and do not do yoga. I’ve heard amazing things about it, but it is just not me. I do meditate though. I don’t use guided meditations. In the mornings I (try) to sit with myself for about five minutes and just clear my head. It doesn’t happen every morning. Every night, I meditate though. It helps calm my brain before bed. At first it is really hard to just let all of your thoughts go, and it takes some getting used to. Patience. 🙂 Hope this helps. 😉

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    1. First, realise that you don’t have to do anything. Second, realise that you don’t HAVE to do anything, including not doing. Start there. Then, get out in nature as much as you can. Just walk, but where you feel safe and comfortable. Care for yourself. Treat yourself. Be yourself. If this is all that you do, the rest will follow, with peace. (((( hugs))))💜

      Liked by 5 people

    2. Yep. I used headspace a couple of years back but I think I was actually struggling so much with my mental health at that stage it just didn’t happen for me. There is a yoga class at my gym but I’m a bit scared everyone will be so advanced and I can just about cross my legs!!! Maybe starting with online ones would work initially.
Claire x

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yoga changed my life.
    I was never into any of that. I was a weight lifting, boot camp sort. More bang for the buck.
    Plus, I’m not flexible or graceful. And my insane mind would never stay still.

    Yet, in early sobriety I freaked out and tried yoga. I found it interesting. And I felt safe there.

    6 months later a teacher training started and I joined, I heard, houngan is the stilling of the mind, and I was sold.

    I have practised and taught since then. 6 years.
    My mind is quiet. My thoughts are slower and clearer. I have stillness and peace.

    Of course, I get shaken off my zen. The fire, my divorce. Huge blows that shook me to the core. Yet yoga and the philosophy that is it’s true power hold me together.

    I do some sitting meditation, headspaceetc, and I like them, but I find my yoga practice has been sufficient to make mindfulness a part of my daily life. Yoga is my path. I teach yin yoga because I feel most people need an hour of quite and doing less and that’s how I teach.

    I hope you find yours.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Wow. That’s fab thanks. I am a little scared of the idea of attending a yoga class. Silly really because I go to all sorts of other classes on my own. I want to find the things that help me manage difficult times. The drinking was never going to allow me to do that. I’m feeling motivated to give yoga and meditation a try. Good for you. You strike me as one strong lady.
      Claire x

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Binaural tones …i say that 100 times with emphasis. After 20 years of trying to meditate they were the only thing that worked for me. Lots of free ones on youtube and you can look up info about them on the internet. i cannot recommend them enough. As for yoga…did it for a few years but then stopped and now staring again but finding it not as easy( more body pain etc) but i keep at it..hugs and encouragement from afar!p.s. are are the links to some posts on my blog in case you haven’t seen them: https://theglassvidalia.home.blog/2019/11/25/seamless-the-meditation-of-the-body/
    https://theglassvidalia.home.blog/2019/10/16/romancing-the-tone/
    https://theglassvidalia.home.blog/2019/08/13/binaural-tones-meditation/

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  5. Yep. I used headspace a couple of years back but I think I was actually struggling so much with my mental health at that stage it just didn’t happen for me. There is a yoga class at my gym but I’m a bit scared everyone will be so advanced and I can just about cross my legs!!! Maybe starting with online ones would work initially.
    Claire x

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Claire 🙂 Congrats on wanting to start a meditation/yoga/whatever practice (as Nelson says, it’s all about letting go of our “efforts” to do something and discovering the incredibly subtle art of being gentle and kind to ourselves -and others. Practicing yoga several times a week for the last five years, then meditating daily for the past year and a half or so have really changed my life (and outlook, especially in terms of mental health things). Apart from apps and mp3s (which are great!), there are also a ton of great books out there to lay out the basic guidelines and principles, and help you decide which kind of practice works best for you. Maybe this can be a good place to start https://www.amazon.com/Meditation-Beginners-Jack-Kornfield-Ph-D/dp/1591799422 Otherwise I am listening to a great audiobook called “one breath at a time” by Kevin Griffin. It’s about the similarities between the 12 steps and buddhist philosophy, and how to reconcile them. The guy went from being an anxious alcoholic pot-smoking musician to a calm and happy sober meditation instructor, his story is inspiring. Anywayyy have fun discovering this infinitely fun territory !!! My only advice would be: even if things feel uncomfortable at first, keep trying ! I had a panic attack in my first yoga class. I hated it. It felt so unfamiliarand wrong/ridiculous. Five years down the line I cant live without it ! Same with meditation: at first I thought “urgh what’s the point ? I can’t do this!” then I understood that not being able to do it is PART of the practice: slowly growing to be OK with not being able to do it. And applying that to other areas in life. That’s the real work 🙂 xxx Anne

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s soooooo helpful Anne. Thanks. It definitely puts me out of my comfort zone but actually you are right .. maybe that’s where I need to be sometimes and know that I can manage it! I’ll try the links and the audio book.
      I’m quite excited about all this now. Peoples insights have been great 👍
      Xxx

      Liked by 3 people

      1. yayayay ! yes and i think the more we gently try, the more the “out of comfort zone” seems less scary and more comfortable 🙂 (and the audio book also exists as a normal book ^^ I just love audio books cause I can take a walk or cook and listen at the same time). Let us know about your experience !!!! xoxoxo Anne

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Claire
    I think everyone finds their own way of being mindful or meditating or whatever works as a way of calming the mind. I’ve seen kids transformed by gardening where it’s almost a meditation, others get lost in making music. I found meditating by myself very hard but I love guided meditations. Headspace has been mentioned and I quite like Buddhify. Most local Buddhist centres also run guided meditations and these are open to all usually. In hypnotherapy I often recommend visualising a special place, somewhere re real or imagined that makes you feel safe and happy. Then engage all the senses in imagining that place, the smells, textures sounds as well as the sights. Recreate it in detail and it’s somewhere you can be at peace anytime you need to feel calm and relaxed. Again it’s whatever works for YOU. Good luck Jim x

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s brilliant, thanks Jim.
      I need to spend some time trying a few differing things out. I’m sure there are a few options I can use 😊. I’ll definitely try the Buddhify app.
      Claire xx

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  8. Loving the comments as I am also in the same boat as You Claire. Let me know how you get on. I have the calm app. My daughter uses it more than me as she like to listen to the stories to send her to sleep if she is struggling. I have tried a few of the 10 minutes mediations but I just want to giggle a bit. It certainly requires practice. Do share if you have success xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it’ll take a while for it to not feel strange and to stop the giggles!! My issue is the others being so noisy I find it hard to shut it out. Shouting at each other, at the football, at the Xbox … it’s not the most conducive environment for ‘calm’ 😬
      Xx

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Coming a bit late to this but yoga is fantastic – I started doing it regularly again when I first stopped drinking. Really calms your nervous system down. Find a class that’s gentle and more about breathing and relaxing than postures or moving a lot – and you def deserve a smug moment you’ve got through Xmas and new year sober! Xx

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Well Done You.
    I agree with Nelson, I started simple because I love flowers – looking at them, smelling them, arranging them and simply sitting quietly with them. Perhaps begin with giving yourself fifteen minutes of You time – what would you do? Then increase it.
    I am huge fan of yoga but some get caught up in ‘going to’ yoga or finding outfits – yoga is a practice that can be performed (gently) anywhere.
    My main practice is gratitude. I rise each morning and give thanks – it opens up the heart chakra and i stay mindful of my gratitude throughout the day adjusting myself when/if I begin to slip. I hope this helps

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