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Mindfulness changed my life

03 Jul 2013 | Gareth Walker

Hello. My name is Gareth, and mindfulness changed my life.

I was diagnosed with MS a few years ago which was an extremely stressful and anxious time for me. I decided that level of stress wasn't doing me any good and resolved to do something about it. I had heard that meditation was good for stress relief, so I picked up a book by Jon Kabat-Zinn called Wherever You Go, There You Are. Kabat-Zinn is the man who first secularised the concept of mindfulness and brought it to the Western world. This book changed everything. I fell in love with the ideals of mindfulness as soon as I first truly understood them, and the more that I practised the more peaceful I became. 

Your Body Is Present

I have now been practising mindfulness for about three years and the feelings of peace and happiness in my life are unparalleled. It seems quite unbelievable that this is as a result of a practice which is so simple and is free of charge for any human being. Mindfulness does not equate to happiness of course, but it does create the conditions in which happiness can grow and flourish. These days my body is fundamentally broken, yet perversely I don't think that I have ever been as happy in my entire life.

You see, most of the bad stuff with MS comes from the future: "If I lose my sight then I will no longer be able to look at my beautiful children" or the past: "I can't climb mountains and see the countryside like I used to". With mindfulness, we train our brains to live more and more in the present moment and those kind of stories in the mind become fewer and fewer, as we become better at escorting our minds back to the present moment. For me at least, the results of this daily practice have been breathtaking: significantly less anxiety, improved concentration, better sleep, increased creativity, the ability to deal with stressful situations and a general feeling of wellbeing that has persisted for a long time now.

About a year ago I had the idea to create a website about mindfulness, to tell others about these massive benefits and also to help de-mystify the practice, which could be considered by some to be something religious or mystical, when in fact it is neither. Mindfulness can be tricky concept to get your head around at first, especially if you have never tried anything like this before. The website I created is Everyday Mindfulness and it tries to explain mindfulness in an 'everyday' way without any of the other issues that can come with mindfulness. The site is a work in progress, and we hope to improve it within the months and years to come, providing methods and support for people wanting to undertake the practice of mindfulness.

There is also a forum attached to the site, where people can come and get advice on their mindfulness practice and talk more generally about the whole thing. We also have a Twitter account and a Facebook page which are growing in popularity. The only aim of this project is to promote mindfulness in the best way that we can and anyone is welcome. Do come along and join us.

Why Everyday

Visit Everyday Mindfulness to find out more.

 

 

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