Do you feel like you’re going nowhere?

If someone asked you where are you heading, what would your reply be? Might it be going nowhere? That’s not intended as a frivolous question, though many right now might feel tempted to reply with variations around “get lost!”. It could be something around, “don’t ask me questions I can’t answer”. Because such is the state of the world right now that there don’t seem to be answers and many people feel incredibly uncertain and anxious about the future, and even focusing on the immediate can be really hard work and tiring. What’s your state of the world? In the … Read more

Do you need to change your lifestyle before stress does?

Are the warning signs flashing that you need to change your lifestyle before stress gets the better of you and brings about some unwelcome change? In fact are you heeding the signs? People don’t always see that the signs are there, that what was previously OK about how they were living and working is now no longer OK. We think we can cope and assume things can be as they have been so far, when in fact the body is protesting and the style is draining it of the ability to be able to cope. What is important is that … Read more

Sleep problems tell us what we need to change in our lives

When did you last have a good night’s sleep? Lots of people are now reporting having sleep problems, like difficulty getting to sleep or waking up during the night and then lying awake, perhaps more than once, or waking prematurely, or all of these! The health implications of continued poor sleep are considerable and they challenge us to look at our patterns of living as well as any other underlying condition we’re not aware of. A recent report showed that many people are using their digital gadgets late in the evening, and even at night, and that this is causing … Read more

What stops you being in present moment awareness more often?

If you are having a lot of stress at the moment, now is a good moment to pause and take some deep breaths, deliberately, consciously and in full awareness of the present moment. Notice a difference? Just taking some deep breaths, then breathing steadily and in present moment awareness, letting go of what’s going on. It’s so simple. So why don’t we do this, what comes naturally, more often? One of the great values of mindfulness practice is that it is such a great way to manage and reduce stress. Jon Kabat-Zinn’s mindfulness-based stress reduction program (MBSR) is well-known and … Read more

Do not believe everything you think

Do you wake up with a list of “got to’s” buzzing through your head, like a shopping list of things that “have” to be done? If so you’d be like very many of us, with multiple things claiming our attention. It’s like the moment we wake up, there is the sheer drivenness of our lives, right there in the flood of often chaotic thoughts. Then the body responds, with racing heart, sweaty hands, butterflies in the stomach and so on. For some of us, our sleep has been like that, and we’ve even gone to bed with it, if not … Read more

Do you really have a cold mindfully or simply feel sorry for yourself?

It’s something we all get, The Cold. “Ugh!” you might think. But how do you usually deal with it? Do you march forward stoically, suffer in silence, disappear behind mounds of tissues, or slump before the metaphorical fire feeling sorry for yourself? Having a cold mindfully can seem a contradiction in terms. Emerging from a few days with a furious cold I do at last feel free, free that is from cold-induced mega-congestion, to communicate once again and this time reflect on what it means, to me at least, to have a cold in 21st Century Britain. I noticed that … Read more

Stress makes it difficult for you to think clearly

Do you find that when you’re living under pressure you find it difficult to think clearly and structure your  thoughts. In fact do you lose your words? People talk of feeling like their brain is scrambled and say they are “losing it”. People who meditate by contrast, and thus become mindfully aware,  find that while they might beforehand be struggling for ideas, they come out of the meditation thinking much more clearly and have often got the idea or solution they needed. Of course meditation isn’t the only way this happens: try having a shower or notice what comes to … Read more

Did you find it hard to switch off this holiday?

It’s seemingly a necessary function of taking a break for a North European to go where the rhythms of life are slow, the climate warmer and the day’s activities seem better organised for serving the senses. Being in South West France it was for me therefore good to take time out to observe and be present with the process of its life, to enthuse at the rising of the sun, read in the cool of the morning air, shop in the local market, eat out in a welcoming cafe, indulge a bit where it’s been necessary all year to mind … Read more

Are you living your life in a way that really serves you?

In these holiday months it might be customary for some of us lounging by the pool in some sun-drenched beautiful location to reflect on the pace of life, and ask why do we put up with it and why can’t we do things differently. The lazy discussion on living your life as you really want, after say some complaints about the sharing of tasks, might result in some intentions to make changes. Yet like lambs to the slaughter we go back to our driven, city-centred life-styles and very quickly all the relaxation and sense of wellbeing has vanished and we’re … Read more

Psychological pain and suffering are not necessarily illnesses

With yet more signs of increasing stress, depression and anxiety amongst many people, it can be quite tempting to cast it as the spread of “mental illness” in society were it not that this term can be highly misleading. It is therefore heartening to read of highly-placed people cautioning against the over-use of the term. The “medical model” is a common approach to pain and suffering, treating conditions like depression and anxiety as “mental illnesses”, with the implication that they can be “diagnosed” and “treated” with medication. Psychiatry is typically based on this approach, although not all psychiatrists would agree … Read more