Are you controlling your body or is it controlling you?

I had a felt sucky day. I had a headache, felt sick, allowed myself to be used like a doormat. My body controlled me. I didn’t control it.

When I looked at session 2 of my positive steps course; I found it quite fitting. It was called controlling your body. That our bodies change and our physical symptoms impact our mood.

Definitely did with me today!

It went over the vicious cycle. Hoping by now I understand my own and what effects me. I’m certainly learning that.

It went on to explain stress on the body. Looking at the physical symptoms you have. I knew I had symptoms but I didn’t realise how many.

mde

No wonder I feel more stressed and have unhelpful thoughts when my body feels this way.

There are two ways our mood is affected by our bodies; muscle tension and Automatic Nervous System. Looking T my body model, I have more in the muscle tension category then the other.

The symptoms we get are due to our fight or flight responses. It’s our bodies way of saying there’s a threat. Whether it’s work, kids, bills, arguing, even the housework. Money, work and my to do list are my obvious threats.

My tiredness, lack of motivation and lethargy is where my depression kicks in with the stress.

Then it gives me tips on how to combat the stress and depression. All the things you already know but have to hear anyway for your mind to click.

I certainly need to stop asking for reassurance, reduce avoidance and do some exercise.

Then there’s the relaxation techniques. I’ve met these before in my relaxation module. Think I need to go over my relaxation techniques 1 and 2 to refresh my memory. Then do.

Just doing something at the moment is an achievement for me.

Mindfulness: Turn Off Autopilot

This morning I’ve looked at the next section within my mindfulness module. As you can see from the title of the post this section was about being on autopilot. I tend to live most of my life on autopilot. I suppose you don’t really notice it until you’ve had your day and wondered what you’ve actually done.

I have a few of them. I even can be on autopilot when driving. End up at my destination and wonder how I got there. Which is not a good thing. Turning off my autopilot is what I need to learn.

What does it actually mean when you’re running on autopilot? 

It is doing things automatically without paying attention to your experiences. You’re not focusing. Meaning the negative thoughts and worries can easily start to build a life of their own.

What does becoming aware mean?

Learning to become aware of your thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations. Being in tune with what you need and want. Hopefully, to guide your actions.

My module gave me two exercises to try to help me become more mindful; The Raisin Exercise and The Body Scan.

The Raisin Exercise

This exercise you really do need to embrace the silliness of it. As you’ll see from my reflections on the exercise, I felt silly doing it. It’s called the raisin exercise but if you don’t have any or don’t like them (like me) then use another food. I chose grapes.

This exercise is to show you how it feels to be fully present in the here and now. If I felt silly during this exercise does this mean I feel silly when it comes to being in the here and now? 

You have to focus your attention on eating the raisin (or food choice). Involving being aware of the smells, images, sounds, feelings or tastes. Most of all try experience without the judgement. If your mind wanders, just bring it back.

The module gave seven steps to complete this exercise. I’m not going to detail them all. I’m just giving each step the title. It’s self-explanatory really. Just focus on that part of the food at the time of you completing the step.

  1. Find a spot
  2. Hold
  3. Smell
  4. Hear
  5. Taste
  6. Eat
  7. Swallow

I’m not gonna be mindful if I don’t put in the work, am I?

Here’s my reflection from completing this exercise:

  • I could feel the weight of the grape in my hand
  • I could smell the sweet smell of the grape
  • I noticed saliva in my mouth
  • I could hear my stomach grumbling
  • As I swallowed the grape I could feel it move down my throat

Where you able to be open to the experience and not be judgemental?

No

Did you allow yourself to be curious during the exercise?

Yes

How you found the exercise overall?

I felt silly about doing the exercise. I sat in my room where it is quieter. It got me to eat the grapes only (I don’t like raisins). I tend to eat while doing something else. When I smelt the grapes I always thought of wine. When I listened I heard what was going on around me. The washing machine going, my mum getting herself a snack and drink and a plane going over. Tasting I felt strange holding it in my mouth before I chewed it. When I swallowed, I realised I don’t think about that part before. As I continued to eat my grapes I tended to miss out steps 2 and 3. I did listen to what was going on around me. I slowed my eating down instead of rushing to eat the grapes. I think when eating I need to be more present. I may find I can enjoy food that way. Hoping it can encourage me to eat better again.

The Body Scan

This helps you experience thoughts, feelings and physical sensations as they are. Being aware what happens in your body, without trying to change anything. By focusing on each part of your body, you become in tune with your whole body.

Your body can give you loads of information. Whether you’re mindful of it or not. When I was asked which information do you remember your body giving you, I was like what you on about. Thankfully there was an example. Here is mine:

  • When I have a headache, it’s often because I’m stressed
  • When my chest hurts, it’s often because I’m anxious
  • When my shoulders hurt it’s because I’m feeling tense
  • When my stomach is noisy, it’s because I’m hungry
  • When my eyes start to feel heavy, it’s because I’m tired

To complete the body scan I listened to the audio that was about 15 minutes. To sum it up you find a spot you won’t be disturbed, even if it’s for 5 minutes. Lie down, be comfortable. Just try not to fall asleep. Be open to the experience and not be judgemental. Focus on one part of your body at a time, going from your toes to the top of your head, slowly.

My reflection:

What did you notice?

That parts of my body were tense and others ached. I found it nice to be laying there not doing something taxing with my mind.

What went well?

I really liked having the audio there. It made me go back to doing what I needed if I did get distracted. But I did find that I was being distracted less.

What was difficult?

Unsure if there was actually something I found difficult. Yes, I got distracted but because of the audio, I was able to go straight back. I have saved it to listen to it again at a later date when I’m completing a body scan.

Coming to the end of the module. It gave me homework. I felt I was back at school. My homework is this:

  • Pick one daily activity that you will complete with total awareness. (Try a simple activity) > I’ll choose brushing my teeth
  • Pay special attention to the 1st bite of your dinner
  • Practice the body scan at least 4x a week
  • Fill in your mindfulness diary each time you practice

I was gonna see how many sections I could get done today. But now that I know I have homework and I should be taking everything slowly. I will do a section a week on my mindfulness day.

Then in between, I can carry out my homework. Putting the work in to be mindful.

 

Confidence

I started week one of The Courage Council today. The first five-minute task were prompts about believing in yourself. I wrote things down but I struggled to answer.

That realisation of not believing in myself or knowing what I’m proud of about myself. It’s disheartening to me. That positivity and strength, Molly was talking about. I lack within myself.

This needs to change!

The next task to write down the doubts I carry. Well, that wasn’t hard. I even kept going over time.

The doubts need to change to beliefs!

Again I found the same thing during the slices of life task. I was able to fill in my destroy and weakness boxes. The build and strength ones on the other hand only had one or two in or nothing at all.

I may have already started this work but I’ve already noticed something I need to improve upon.


I’ve always struggled with confidence but I thought I had belief in myself. I find simple things hard to do. Just like a moment ago for instance. I needed my neighbour to move her car to enable me to move mine, in order for my stepdad to get his van on the drive once he got home.

I went straight to panic mode. Even asked my mum if she’d do it. I knew the answer was gonna be no. I took a deep breath, put a big jumper on and went round.

My neighbour was lovely with it. Happy to move her car. Said she was even watching out for my stepdad to get home.

I don’t know why but I find speaking up, asking for what I want scary.

Let’s make a goal.

Goal: Do the things that scare me

It’s quite a broad goal but right now a lot of things scare me. I have a fear of baths remember. Big or small. I need to do them.

 

Learning About: Mindfulness

This evening I started my mindfulness module I received after my first week of councilling. It is a very big module so I’ve only done the first section. Learning about mindfulness. I don’t wanna do too much too fast and it not work out.

What is Mindfulness?

It’s a technique that teaches you to live with awareness. Learn to truely experience the present. Be more excepting of what has happened and to focus on being in the here and now. Helps you to see things differently. Because you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings. No longer stuck in them and gain control. Become accepting of what you think or feel.

That would be a great feeling. Recognising what I think, feel and accepting them and having control. Once I read the advantages I starting having more of an opened mind about mindfulness.

  • Let go of certain problems
  • Are able to enjoy the present more
  • Health improves
  • Handle stress better
  • Ability to concentrate improves
  • More energy then before
  • Feel better about yourself
  • Handle emotions better

Even my module said it wasn’t easy. You need to practice a lot to make this change. That you should practice daily. It’s a big time investment. Keep practising until it becomes second nature.

Wow, mindfulness as a habit that’s a thought. There are different techniques. I haven’t got to that part yet but here are a few tips.

  1. Adopt an open mind
  2. Know your benefits
  3. Find support
  4. Go for it!
  5. Reward yourself

Make a list of the benefits mindfulness could provide you. Here’s mine:

  • Relieve stress
  • Improve sleep
  • Increase creativity
  • Bring peacefulness to your life
  • Increase connection to my body
  • Alleviate digestive problems
  • Help me concentrate

Practice even if you want to do something else. I wanted to watch One Born Every Minute but decided it was best to do something. Be kind to yourself. If you manage to practice as often as you intended. Do something that makes you happy.

Time to make a commitment to put it into practice!

On which day will you make the sessions?

Friday

Where will you practice?

My room or the garden

At what time does practising suit you?

Early afternoon on days I’m working. Mid-afternoon on my days off. I have every other Friday off. 

What are you expectations?

Accept my thoughts for what they are without passing judgement. Letting go of problems in order to improve my health.

That is my commitment to mindfulness. I’ve put it in my diary and making it an official goal.

Goal: Practice Mindfulness

I hope you learnt something about mindfulness like I did and that you could make a commitment. A commitment to accept and gain control of your thoughts and feelings. Hoping to learn more at each stage of my module.

Much Love xx

 

I’m Writing for Me

There are times before I come to my journal, and think “What have I got to write about?” “What’s on my mind?”

It’s not until I put pen to paper that the words come, I didn’t realise was there. I don’t believe myself to be a writer. I just write what comes out the pen, that’s on my mind. I’ve done a post in the form of a poem before. Poetry isn’t something I read or think about. At the time my friend was writing and I felt inspired.

I think I need an outlet in some way. Such as this to learn about myself. To work out what goes on in this head of mine. In away I’m surprised I’m being successful at journaling daily. Pleased though.

I’ve tried writing before. But it didn’t work out. I didn’t get in the habit and found it stressful. I was putting pressure on myself to write. To share with the world. To have it perfect to get followers etc.

But now I don’t have the pressure on myself. I’m writing for me. Yes, I’m sharing but I’ve got into the mindset that my writing is for me. Once I’ve shared it people can think, say or do what they like about it.

I’m doing it my way. If people read then that’s great. Thank you, readers. If people like, follow, share. Well, that’ll be amazing. It’s a nice thought that I could potentially help someone with what I write.

But at the same time, I need to be selfish right now. Put me and my writing first. Statistics are great but they won’t benefit my writing if they don’t help me.

Right now, I believe writing is helping.

Job Questioning

I’m not really sure what to do about my job. I know I don’t wanna do it or should I say I don’t wanna be doing it how the role I’m in does the job. To begin with, I liked the driving about, being in different places all the time. I think the novelty has worn off.

I like caring for the customers. Helping them where I can. But it’s the travelling about and the unsuitability of being in the community I’m struggling with.

Each week is different. But not good different. In the sense, I don’t know what my rota is gonna say. I may have regular customers but I don’t have a regular pattern to my rota. Or when I feel I have one. It changes again.

I need structure, routine. Be able to know when and where I need to be in advance. Being able to plan things help me.

To be able to have a full day where I’m not anxious to look at my phone just in case its work. I need to be honest but I don’t wanna lose my job.

Anyone been in a situation like this?

The thing that’s stopping me from just looking for another job is my NVQ. My employer paid for my course fees. If I leave before three months after its completion, I have to pay them back.

I don’t know the cost. I did ask at the end of my module hand in email the cost but not sure whether they’ll be able to tell me. I have a week until the remote call. See what happens next week on the job front.

Accomplishing rather then Hiding

My little fluff ball is slightly better today. Still got a limp but weight bearing.

I was able to complete my NVQ module today. Which, I’m glad. I’ve felt like I should be hiding under the quilt away from the world.

It does make me feel slightly better for accomplishing something.