Recognising Mental Health Awareness Week 2020
I just wanted to acknowledge Mental Health Awareness Week and also the fact that the lockdown has been a global forced retreat of a kind. I certainly have, and I‘m sure many of us have, gone through many feelings and states of being, from enjoying the peace to feeling frustration and fear of the unknown. Depending on one’s home circumstances and experience of life itself, feelings present and vary and at times of course you may have even felt trapped.
I, myself, have had personal experience of anxiety and de-pression through growing up with a mother who suffered and therefore the effects of this throughout my childhood and into adulthood.
Although attitudes to mental health issues and grief are changing, it is still taboo. It’s hard to not be ok and still function in our world. We don’t have a society that allows for not being ok or that allows for difficult or complicated emotions.
Meditation is a practice of mental training which may help in this area. Neuro-science has shown us that, when attention is paid to a particular focus, such as breath, or a candle, or the sea, it can help soothe/activate the part of the nervous system that helps us switch into rest and digest mode, rather than fight, flight or freeze mode.
The simple act of following one’s breath can immediately calm one’s anxiety. It’s, of course, not necessarily easy which is why practice is called practice, and develops and builds upon itself just as replaying a story of anxiety or trauma builds upon itself.
I understand, it is way more complicated than this because if one has had an experience that cannot just be deleted but one’s perspective and perception of that experience can alter depending on one’s mental, emotional and psychological state which builds resilience.
So, although it is a process which takes time, it does help a shift in one’s ability to care for oneself therefore increasing well being.
There are many readings and resources I would recommended but, to start with, I would suggest Thith Nhat Hanh , Pena Chodron and Dan Siegel.