For many years I used to feel lost, stuck and confused about what it was that I wanted to achieve in life. I felt like I wasn’t where I wanted to be at this stage of my life and even though I surrounded myself with amazing, supportive family and friends and I had a job that I enjoyed, I still felt like there was something missing. Due to this I felt unhappy inside and over time I’m convinced that this unhappiness and low mood manifested itself in different ways. Looking back I realise now that when something is not quite right on the inside it starts to manifest itself in different ways outwardly. Some suffer from anxiety, panic attacks, depression and others with health concerns and issues.
During this time I suffered from headaches, nausea, muscle cramps and aches and extreme tiredness. After several months I visited the doctors and had a series of tests and examinations but, the results showed nothing. After 2 years I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, CFS.
I started looking into this and could completely resonate with the symptoms and signs of CFS and eventually took the strength to take some time out from work to recover and rest. It was at this time that the doctor recommended that I take some time out to relax and recharge. This was a difficult message to hear because I was so used to rushing around and at first I really struggled with this. He suggested I try meditation and yoga and begrudgingly I tried them both.
I practiced meditation on and off for a while and found it difficult at first to relax and during meditation I found it hard to sit still and focus on my breath as my mind kept wandering. I kept getting distracted but, over time I got better at meditating and I started to realise the benefits of meditation, it enabled me to pause life for a few moments and I began connecting with my breath. As soon as I realised the positive effects it was having on my body, mind and mood I started practising it more frequently.
When I adopted a more consistent approach to meditation I started to reap the rewards and it enabled me to take a step back from life and in those moments of meditating I was able to gain clarity and see the world as it was. Meditating helps me to pause and notice when my mind begins to wander, during meditation I gain a sense of self awareness and clarity.
This helps me to look at life in a very matter-of-fact way, there is no room for drama, negativity or pessimism as it helps me to adopt a positive outlook and see the best in everything. Since I began practicing this I have changed my perspective and feel much richer in life because of the way I view everything.
Mindfulness and meditation cannot be taught they have to be caught. Mindfulness teaches us to respond to situations instead of react and it encourages its participants to adopt a beginners mind. I have cultivated a sense of curiosity about life and through self awareness I understand the patterns that I have adopted over time. By understanding these patterns I can be aware when I am overdoing or taking too much on.
I feel happier in myself and adopt the mindfulness approach which encourages adopting a loving, kindness approach to both yourself and others.
Some people still think that meditation and mindfulness is a little ‘out there’ but, mindfulness seems to be everywhere at the moment; in the workplace, in schools, in the NHS and individuals are much more willing to attend a mindfulness course as it seems to have a sense of acceptance within society.
Three years on, I have now developed my meditation and mindfulness practices and have started my own coaching, personal development and wellness business, Aspirational Living. In this business I have the opportunity to help others gain a sense of balance and learn how to be emotionally resilient in such a fast paced world.
I now encourage others to take a step back from life and ask them to cultivate an attitude of loving kindness towards themselves. I shine a light up to them and show them how they can too be their harshest critic at times, this enables them to have the confidence to move forward.
There are endless benefits of mindfulness and meditation and they can benefit you spiritually, emotionally, mentally and health-wise. In today’s climate even the NHS are referring candidates onto mindfulness courses as it can help others overcome anxiety, panic attacks, depression chronic fatigue and other illnesses.
I choose to live life fully, openly and consciously and now have the opportunity to make a difference to others lives and that’s what Aspirational Living is all about!