It is no secret that I have, at times in my life, been a ruminator, a worrier, a procrastinator, and 'catastrophiser'. Yes, take any problem, add a lack of sleep, a pinch of paranoia, negative stress, think about it a bit more and before you know it, something that seemed perfectly manageable at first has pretty much turned into Armageddon in your brain, and the worst thing is ... no one knows about the pending disaster apart from you!
Worrying could, on occasion, and completely unintentionally, become my most absorbing pastime - taking up time that could much more usefully have been absorbed by watching David Attenborough documentaries ...
I knew at the time, and I still know, that worrying is not very healthy or good for my wellbeing. Also, despite taking up a lot of time, worrying in itself has never actually solved a problem for me. So I started to look around for a way of reducing how much time worry took up in my life, given its value and return rate.
My sister suggested that I look into something called 'mindfulness'. I was completely ignorant about what this was and so immediately turned to Google for the answers ...
Having read a description of the 8-week mindfulness stress-reduction course, it sounded like it could be very helpful to me. But, despite the description of the course hitting the nail on the head in terms of what I was looking for, I had several reservations.
It seemed quite expensive - I am a bargain hunter (no secret to friends and family), but I figured I spend enough money on my physical health, so could handle spending money on my brain.
My next worry (yes, yet more worry) was that I would be judged by colleagues as a bit of a hippy and be ostracised from all corporate canteens for evermore. Funnily enough, this didn't happen - quite the opposite in fact. I have come across other lawyers who have either done the course, or who are interested in finding out more about it.
Next, I had serious concerns that I wouldn't have time to fit in home practice and Netflix all in one evening. I worried that I might be no good at mindfulness and be bottom of the mindfulness class. But my biggest worry by far was that the course would do nothing for me and I'd be left with the worry of never-ending worrydom.
So after ruminating, procrastinating, and worrying a little more, I am pleased to say that I booked the course. As silly as it might sound, that was the biggest hurdle for me so far with mindfulness - persuading myself (yes, with that internal dialogue that we all love) that I wasn't going to be wasting my time/money, be judged (and judge myself) as being a bit odd, or set myself up to fail at something outside my comfort zone.
The result for me has been that it has been better than any gym I have ever subscribed to, or in fact any course I have ever done. And having found it so beneficial myself these past few years, I trained to run the 8-week course so that I can pass on the benefits to others.
I know that it doesn't 'fix' things for me, but practising mindfulness has made me much more aware of who I am, how I cope with pressure, and what I need to do to regulate my stress levels. And as for the worry ... it doesn't rear its ugly head in mine nearly as much as it used to. So that can only be a good thing. I now have much more time just to enjoy David Attenborough in all his glory.