Mindful Based Stress Reduction - A Journey With Emily
October 10th, 2018
As many people around the world come together to raise awareness around mental health today, we would like to share the experience of just one of our amazing colleagues in Alderley Edge, Emily Shore. Emily recently took advantage of one of our many New World benefits, Educational Subsidies, by signing herself up to a Mindful Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course.
We asked Emily some key questions about her experience with 'mindfulness', which has been picking up momentum over the past decade in the western world.
What inspired you to take the course?
"I started researching mindfulness and was immediately drawn. In my role, and I suppose on a day-to-day basis, I forget how much I rush. I rush walking, I rush serving to turn tables, I rush through my week and I think we forget to just be. Be with ourselves, be with our thoughts, and be in the presence of others - a most underrated thing."
Tell us about mindfulness and the MBSR course…what do you actually learn?
“I didn’t fully understand mindfulness before I started and thought it was more about being calm and slowing down but actually it's nothing like I thought. I thought meditation would mean I'd need to slow down so much that I’d be entering almost a sleep like state, but it’s exactly the opposite! Mindfulness is all about a hyper awareness with your body at that particular moment in time. There's no right and wrong to mindfulness, the key is whatever you're experiencing… go with it."
Were there any milestones you hit through the eight week course?
"I have one milestone that, aloud, sounds so small… but personally was so huge! My first few weeks were difficult, things like getting frustrated from falling asleep during meditations, feeling silly doing the ‘body scans’ or being asked to speak about my feelings, all quite overwhelming. Then four weeks into my course the instructor read a poem by Rumi called ‘The Guest House’ and THAT WAS IT, things fell into place after that session. Nothing has or had ever resonated with me so much and it was almost automatic from that point. I’m still human of course, but now I can deflect bad days, or thoughts, as I think back to that poem and use the skills I learnt. It reminds me to ride it out, because not all our thoughts are to be believed. They are just thoughts and they will leave! Mega poem."
How has the skillset changed your life?
"Very simply, mindfulness taught me MY MIND IS NOT REALITY. Literally THAT. We all lose ourselves in our thoughts, sometimes they're lovely daydreams but other times it's anxiety talking, and that's when it's hard. I think it has taught me so much compassion too. I know the struggle of my own mind, even after the course it's a very real thing for me, but I can appreciate others' struggles so much more. I’m not saying that because I practice mindfulness there's never conflict or anything, but when a problem arises I am simply much more equipped to deal with it well."
Who would you recommend it to?
"With all my heart I'd recommend mindfulness to anyone. It's not for any one type of person and that's why I think we could all learn something from it and its theories. I think at some point every person has woken up and had a 'bad head day' as I call them. The kind where things just seem cloudy and your head space is dark. I have had my fair share and mindfulness has by no means stopped these, they come and go at their own choosing but what it has taught me is to invite these days openly because I have the power now to decide when they leave. For anyone who suffers from these regularly I would urge them to practice mindfulness in the hope they can train their minds to notice when their bad thoughts are taking over and help them realise the moment will always pass as whilst riding it out, meditation can ease the pain."