During the miserly search for a journo job I held down a nannying job as well as poking my way through different freelance gigs. I didn't get it. I was freelancing, actively applying my training and doing it but I didn't manage to get an actual in-house job. Freelance is a schizophrenic lifestyle, symptomatic of a range of highs and gutter lows.
Knowing how my own mother felt, one of the worst products of suffering from depression or addiction is dealing with the social stigma attached to it. Embarrassment, shame and humiliation are some of the shattering emotions our society has smeared on a very real problem. Who deemed it so, that a person suffering from depression should be less deserving of recognition and compassion?
Why is it such an 'out of the blue' experience for everyone that Robin Williams killed himself? Is it because we think if someone's funny they must spend their lives, head thrown back, wheezing away? I know very few comedians who in their real lives have their heads thrown back, it's not funny being funny; it's a killer.
People like you and me, who have been committed to grow in consciousness throughout the millennia, have always practiced various forms of mindfulness in community. Today's fledgling "shared mindfulness" movement is both a continuation of a noble tradition, and at the same time, a timely response to our life conditions in the 21st century.
Once we are more readily in touch with or conscious of the thoughts and feelings that trigger an anxious response, it may be that we are in a better position to start voicing them to someone we can trust. Often even just the verbal acknowledgement that we are feeling a negative emotion can have a hugely healing effect.
Being spiritual is easy if you spend your life meditating on a mountain top with intermittent breaks for yoga and energy treatments (I actually know people who pretty much live like this) but for most of us attempting to live a spiritual life of sorts we simply don't have the pleasure or privilege of living in this way.
The bikes are normally blue but this summer there's a limited number of yellow bikes to celebrate the Tour de France coming through London and as I arrived at the bicycle stand there was a special yellow bike among the blue bikes. I felt like Charlie finding the golden ticket in a chocolate bar and took it as a good sign.
I'm placed next to Brain Cox and something inside me wilts because I know I am sitting next to a superior being and he will soon find out I'm a two-celled worm... This is my trigger, if I'm near someone that smart, I tailspin into the interior pre-recorded CD made in childhood that goes something like this, "You're a total idiot and people will find out that you're an idiot."
What do you think of when you read the word 'Now'? Perhaps you can hear the distant warbling of Elvis Presley passionately proclaiming 'It's Now or Never'? The constant advertiser's dream slogan that piles on the pressure to 'Buy it Now'? Better still, you engage with your experience and senses right now to focus your attention on the present moment?
One in four people - so on average, someone in the typical two parent, two children family - will suffer from a mental illness at some point in their lifetime. Yet even though so many people are affected, mental illness carries a devastating stigma, which can harm sufferers in every aspect of their life.
Mindful moments can occur during the simplest of tasks - taking the register, hanging out the socks or making a cup of tea... Whatever profession you are in; whether a teacher, a nurse or an architect; you will be more effective, productive and creative when you include a mindful practice into your working and personal life.
My life was a train wreck, but I was committed to recovering, and over time, I learned how to manage my illness so effectively that it doesn't negatively impact upon my life anymore. Below are 14 self-care practices that I learned from various therapists, doctors, self-help books, athletes, artists and my parents that helped pull me out of the abyss and lead me to happiness.
Wow, I thought. Life is great! GREAT! And for a moment I was flooded with happiness and joy about how well everything was going. And then, as it always does, sheer dread kicked in. This can't last, I thought. Oh my God, I'm too happy. Things are too perfect. It's just a matter of time before the other shoe drops. Horrible, awful things happen to people all the time. I should know.
Travel is such a rich area for mindfulness. It's driven partly by curiosity, an interest in what's out there, and partly the essential need to take time out from routine. In a sense it's a bit like the practice of meditation... Here are a few tips we've put together to help you be a more mindful traveller.
Meditation is not a religion. Nor is it a tradition involving levitation while sitting cross-legged on the floor pretending to be an all-knowing master of the universe. Meditation, sometimes disguised as boredom, slows our breath, lowers our heart rate, relaxes our mind and provides space for self-exploration while restoring our natural energy.