David has taken our online Mindfulness course and has been practicing Mindfulness for ten months. Below he talks about his experience of discovering Mindfulness and the impact it has had on his life:
"Imagine carrying two heavy cases wherever you go. Of course, they’ll get in the way and make your arms and back ache. But because they belong to you, you can’t just leave them somewhere.
Now imagine if one day, someone says: “You can leave your cases right here, just drop them on the floor where you stand.”
“But I can’t,” you say, “they’re my responsibility.’ But you do as you’re told – and the relief is remarkable. It’s an immense feeling of freedom and lightness.
I’ve been carrying a heavy burden of worry, anxiety and fear needlessly for years. The almighty relief I finally achieved came after practicing Mindfulness meditation for several months via the Mental Health Foundation’s online course, which suited my life at the time.
This change wasn’t immediate – the process was long and without shortcuts. It’s a process that’s still developing and will, I expect, do so for the rest of my life. Along the way, I saw glimpses of the life I could be leading, which made me more determined to stick with the programme.
The benefits of practicing Mindfulness for me are many. The most important has been a removal of the crippling feeling of dread and anxiety which used to be part of my routine. I’m a calmer person now and have much more control over my life. Generally I’m happier and I don’t spend my time anticipating whatever disaster might come next.
Communicating with other people at home and at work has also improved. I don’t always feel like I have to answer back or have the last word. In awkward situations my stomach used to be in knots or feel like I’ve been punched there. It was an interesting process to realise that, after a while, this feeling started to lessen. I would wait for a punch that never came…
Mindfulness has not been a magic cure for my worries and anxieties. I’m still the same person with the same character traits, and I still worry. The difference is now is that I’m in control and I know that I don’t need to worry and stress myself.
Nevertheless, I don’t consider the statement that “Mindfulness changed my life” too dramatic. I had to put the time in and continue to do so - it’s an investment but a very worthwhile one." Find our more information about our online Mindfulness course
11 January 2012