When I was going through a particularly rough period back in the beginning of 2013 I was in my local Boots and noticed a leaflet for BE ME Cornwall which is a service for people with psychological or emotional difficulties and it was through them that I discovered Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and mindfulness. I immediately Googled mindfulness in Cornwall and found a Mindful Yoga class. As a massive fan of yoga I was really excited to start this and I remember after my first class feeling the most relaxed I had felt in a long time.
Mindfulness is a Buddhist practice and the concept is really quite simple, you focus on THIS moment using your breath to bring you back to the present. As humans we spend most of our day thinking, planning, remembering, worrying, fearing, daydreaming, the mind is so powerful. The idea of mindfulness meditation is to allow your thoughts to come and go like waves in the sea and as soon as you recognise that your mind has wandered bring your attention back to your breath and focus on the rise and fall of your chest because all that really matters is RIGHT NOW, we are living NOW, not in the past and we can't predict the future.
Shortly after finding my yoga class I downloaded the Headspace App - Its a fantastic app which is a really great place to start if you are thinking about giving mindfulness a try. You basically take 10 minutes out of your day to just sit and be mindful. If i'm ever feeling particularly anxious I will put on my app and take 10. The great thing about mindfulness is that you can practice it anywhere. I quite often do it when i'm walking the dog or driving my car. The app also has some great podcasts on it, I find the sleep podcast particularly helpful when I'm finding it difficult to nod off. I also purchased an audiobook called Budhism for Mothers as Fletcher was still a baby back then and it was such an inspirational book with some great references.
Although I don't attend my mindful yoga class anymore (it was too far to travel every week) I have taken so much from it to the point where I think this is what really helped me when Fletcher had his diagnosis of diabetes. I knew I couldn't change it and just accepted it for what it was. There are times that i worry about his future and what life will be like for him at secondary school when he's different to all the other kids or whether he'll ever get so bad that he has to be hospitalised, but then I remind myself that at this present moment in time he is fine and I will worry about that when it happens.
Mental illness affects so many of us and although mindfulness isn't for everyone I found it really helped me when I was at my lowest. So if your feeling low, suffer from anxiety and your mind is full of worry then mindfulness might just be worth a try.