Living with mental health issues is hard, really hard. I have done since I was five when OCD joined me. Living every day for years in a web of anxiety, depression, and loss was making me an unhappy person. I couldn’t see good in anything. I felt numb, like an object that was just getting by. The small things in life didn’t mean anything to me and I never paid attention to them. I lived in the past or in a world I would create in my head. Living in the moment was something I had never done! It was when I was 18 I was first introduced to Mindfulness. I was in a bad place. My moods were unstable, I was very depressed and I wasn’t living a life at all. I was having CBT for my OCD and it was part of my therapy. Being honest I thought it was a load of rubbish but once I started being mindful I never stopped.
Mindfulness is being present in the here and now and not being fixated on the past or future. It’s what you are doing at the exact moment that counts. You might notice that when your watching TV your mind drifts to worries, things you need to do and what isn’t going well in your life. These thoughts might make you anxious or depressed. This is you losing touch with the here and now and you are not giving your all to what you are doing.
Mindfulness brings you back to the now and what is happening around you. It’s a state of calm. Anyone can practice mindfulness and you can learn whilst you are doing it.
Why the Little Things are a Big Deal
Today I want to talk to you about being mindful of the little things. When was the last time you sat down with a drink and were present in that moment? Not fretting about something, chatting away or on your phone with your nose glued to a screen?
When you look at your day you might think you don’t have enough time to fit everything and you might be in a rush to get everything you need to be done. This is unhealthy and if you do suffer from a mental health condition it’s not going to help in the slightest. Being mindful of the small things helps bring a sense of calm and balance to your life. It helps you be grateful for all the good things and helps make problems smaller. I have been practicing this for a long time and it does make a huge difference to the way you look at life and problems.
When you are doing something simple like having a cup of tea – become mindful of that moment. Make the tea and be immersed in the way you are making it. Take your time adding your milk and stirring it. This is your cup of tea after all! When you are drinking it just be with the tea. Focus on how the mug feels between your hands and the warmth it brings. Take your time drinking it and be with this moment. That is being mindful of the small things and it’s grounded you into the here and now, the moment in which you are in. The past, the close and far future are not in sight. Of course, your mind will drift, it always will but it’s about bringing it back to the now. Just let the thought be and carry on being with the now.
Going for a walk is a great way to be mindful and in the present
Be aware of all your senses. Pick up on smells, sounds, textures and what you can see. Being mindful when you’re catching up with friends and family is a lovely thing. Allowing yourself to be fully in the conversation and not away with the thoughts. Ask questions, think about what they are saying and answer because you want to – not because you’re in a rush. This might sound strange but when you think about it how many times do you just say something because you’re in a rush to get on or because something else is on your mind? Don’t! Not only will it bring you and your loved ones closer but again you are living in the now!
You can practice mindfulness whilst doing anything in your everyday life
Eating, watching TV, cooking, etc. It’s limitless! Just stay present in the moment. Once you practice and learn you will have a inner peace and be more grateful in life. This isn’t just to calm your thoughts and busy stressful life. It helps you realize how lucky you are to be alive and it helps you be mindful of all the good that you have because it is always good! I’m not saying this is a magic cure for problems but it’s a start and it’s proven to make you feel good when you work at it. Practice makes perfect and there will be times when it’s harder than others but you will have those moments where you are just here and it’s bliss!
For me, it’s made me aware that my problems are a lot smaller than I think they are. I realize how lucky I am to be alive and life isn’t all bad. I don’t let myself stress about deadlines or worry about the future as much. I live for now and I try not to ever look back at the past because how is that going to help me now? The small things in life I enjoy to the fullest and it really does make me feel content and happy, even on a bad mental health day. Give it a try, what have you got to lose?!