It really is astounding when you start to be more aware of your habitual reactions, and even more miraculous when you start to be able to pause and respond – rather than react – before those habitual patterns kick in. When I read ‘Finding Peace in Frantic World’ by Professor Mark Williams and Danny Penman, and discovered that my thoughts were not always true or real and therefore did not necessarily need to be acted upon, I felt like I’d literally had the veil lifted from my eyes; like I’d been let in on some strange joke that everyone else must have known the punchline to.
As a teacher, Sundays can easily be over-taken by a feeling of foreboding doom about the upcoming week. This feeling was not unusual to me a couple of years ago as I struggled with the incessant workload and stress levels associated with wanting to do your best for approximately 30 children, day in, day out. When I started my mindfulness practise, I started to notice my weekly patterns of reactivity: the thoughts that accompanied the feelings and emotions each Sunday went something like this: My job is so hard; I’ll never cope; I will never get it all done; I’m the only one that can’t do it! The thoughts and feelings were so negative, no wonder I was becoming overwhelmed. So, imagine my surprise when I first started to consider whether they were true.
Yes. My job was and still is stressful. Being responsible for 30 young souls for 5-6 hours a day, will always have its challenges, but I started to notice how I was focusing on the difficulties and wasn’t registering the lovely moments I was guaranteed to witness and be part of, each and every day. I realised that I wasn’t alone in the workload and actually, that I had a group of wonderful colleagues, who were there with a hug and a cup of tea,if only I’d ask. I recognised that I was actually quite good at what I was doing and that lots of people would give their proverbial right arm to be in the job I was in. My mindfulness practise had given me a new pair of glasses and with these glasses I could get some respite from mu usual Sunday evening thoughts and reactions. when they would arise, I would recognise what was going on and simply think: there are my worries, before letting them go. I literally did start to find a bit of peace.
I can’t recommend the book at the end of this link enough http://franticworld.com/ and I hope more people out there are able to use mindfulness to give themselves some respite from their reactions.