I’m tired of the prejudice and stigma that society has created for mental illness. I’m tired of feeling like I’m broken because of anxiety or depression. I’m also tired of feeling like something is wrong with me because I have negative thoughts about myself. Often times how we view ourselves stems from what we learned from a young age. Family, kids at school, teachers, friends, the media. All the messages tend to have you think the worst in situations because we are required to be powerful, strong, amazing all the bloody time. And, it is so hard to unlearn the negative thoughts of, I’m a loser.

I am going to have a family one day. I am going to have a daughter or a son or both. And I don’t want them to have to learn the way society wants them to be. I want them to be who they are and embrace that with love and adventure. I am not naive to think they will never have to deal with negative thoughts, anxiety or depression. But, I also know they will not grow up to think it is hopeless and that there isn’t a way out.

The other day I wrote about reframing techniques that not only helped with my negative thoughts but with my friends – anxiety and depression. I had intended it to be a post for mindfulness techniques as well but it just didn’t seem right. So, I wanted to share the rest with you now.

Mindfulness is about being actively engaged with your surroundings and not being overwhelmed by what’s happening around you. I started researching mindfulness because it was something a lot of my friends were talking about and I wanted to be able to converse with them. Instead of learning to hold a conversation with them I learned some pretty great mindfulness techniques that helped me instead.

Here are some of those techniques…

Prayer/Meditation. Either works. I do both. Meditation allows me to focus on my breathing and to just really be in the moment. I often find myself having issues with thinking of the past, of my mistakes and I get really down on myself. Meditation allows me to refocus on the now. From there I often find myself on my knees in prayer. Sometimes all I can utter is, “God, help me.” But, it’s something.

Fake it ’til you make it. Oh, how I hate that saying but it’s real. Or this one, You use less muscles when you smile instead of frowning. Even when you don’t believe there is something good in you, just tell yourself there is. Soon, you’ll believe it. Then you’ll soar.

Create. There is something about making something from start to finish that feels good. I think that’s why I love to cook. If I can create something from scratch that feeds my belly and makes the hubby happy it feels absolutely amazing. Of course, create doesn’t always mean you have to build or make something. Just be active. Create energy by singing your favorite tune. Or playing your favorite sport. Do something that makes your soul feel good. You can also do good for someone else. When you make them feel good you feel good in return.

You are the company you keep. Birds of a feather flock together. This shouldn’t be something you take hold of just when you are blue. This should be something incredibly important in your life. Misery loves company. Be around people who understand you, support you, challenge you. These are the people who will bring you up. Foolish friends will destroy you.

Have a grateful heart. My husband and I for the last two weeks have gone to bed asking the other what we were thankful for that day. The other night I choked up a bit but I forced myself to find something, although incredibly minute. I focused on something I could appreciate which, in turn, helped me to refocus my thoughts.

I challenge you to find a mindful technique that works for you. How are you going to prevent negative thoughts and feelings from getting to you? My techniques that I have shared today and on Reframing The Negative aren’t the only ways to cope. Just remember, it’s okay to process those feelings, to process your mistakes. It’s okay to not be okay. It’s also so very okay to want to be okay and finding ways to get there.

Happy sunny skies! xoxo

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