If you’ve been following this blog for a while, it’s likely you’re following me in support of my book, or my raging sense of humor. I love you for that. But, mindfulness?
What you’ll have learned recently is that I became qualified as a multi-disciplinary Life Coach, predominantly Mindfulness Master Practitioner from the Academy of Modern Applied Psychology.
I’ve been been an I.T Analyst for eighteen years (bit of a geek!). I still am, got to pay the bills (unfortunately not J. K. Rowling*).
In 2016 I began suffering from anxiety out of nowhere, having panic attacks in the middle of train stations, at work, in the coffee queue and as a result I have been ‘medicated’ ever since. I discovered that this was due to chemical changes in my body that typically happen during menopause.
It was exacerbated by what was going on at work at the time (my up-coming book, ‘Knives in the Office’) – but it got so bad to the stage where I could barely leave the house. The following audio is harrowing and ugly, but displays me having an actual panic attack at work a long while back. I’m displaying it here because I want to demonstrate that I understand if you suffer this way. I had some fore-warning so managed to run out to my car to ride it out.
Meditation and Medication
Someone recommended meditation at this time. Previous to me crumpling in a heap in the Starbucks queue, I’d have been skeptical about meditation. I’d have said ‘Listen, ya tree hugging hippie, I’m not sitting on a beanbag for an hour saying ‘om’. But not now. I got right on that wagon. With some dedicated practice, it started working. I learned to recognize the onset, and I countered it. Ever the analyst, though, I wanted to know why it worked.
I sponged-up a few books on ‘how the brain works’ – since I wanted to understand this from the ground up. I was totally fascinated. It was a life-changing epiphany for me. Wow, this brain thing we have is just SO amazing! who knew!
I have to say at this point that my Doctor DID medicate me. I was put on Sertraline in 2016. The panic attacks above decreased drastically (one every four to six weeks instead of 4-6 hours)
Application of Mindfulness/Meditation
I was so enamored with meditation and mindfulness at this point that I became very interested in how it could be applied to other situations, particularly related to food addiction, overeating and anxiety, but also some kind of TALK therapy. People are so engrossed in their electronic life, that we are missing out. We’re not making eye contact, we’re not engaging in idle chit-chat, we’re not learning anymore. I want to remedy that in some form or other.
Side note: By this time I’d written and published a book (comedy) about being overweight, and my second comedy is underway. So to say I have a great great sense of fun is an understatement. I am a TOTAL believer in the healing power of laughter.
Mindfulness Master Practitioner: Academy of Modern Applied Psychology
When I took up this course, I half-expected it to be particularly about meditation and how we apply Mindfulness to our every day lives.
What I discovered was that it was SO much more than this. It details how we as a species ‘see’ (eyes, mind, heart) and how we function (mind, consciousness, thought) and how we think (consciously, subconsciously and unconsciously). Mindfulness does not require meditation. It’s about seeking what is true, and also considering contexts where this might not be true.
Overall it studies how we relate to ourselves, other people and the world in general.
And, Life Coaching?
This is a method of empowering people to make their own decisions and come to their own conclusions. To become responsible for themselves and to help them become more aware of their mental filters when applied to every situation:
Why can’t I lose weight?
Why am I anxious in crowds?
I’m stressed at work
I can’t seem to get that promotion
Believe it or not (and I suggest you might if you’ve read this far), all these questions have answers, and YOU already have them.
Since becoming a Life Coach, I’ve
- quit eating meat
- quit taking sertraline (very dangerous – see your Doctor!)
- made a plan to switch to a plant based diet
- made a plan to quit smoking
I’m not saying that I’m turning into a tree-hugging hippie or that I’m perfect in ANY way – but I’m saying that my condition is my responsibility. I want to lead by example and teach others that the answer is within themselves.
We are none of us perfect.
Understanding and relating to other people with compassion is what we are about as a species. If you’d like to have a conversation about how I can help you find your answers, then please contact me. I’m right here with you, bud.