Path to happiness – a mindful journey

“Hello and welcome. Flourishing Mind offers mindfulness training for a balanced, more engaged  life, designed to grow well being and happiness” Find out more about us here

Hello. Welcome to my first blog ! I thought I’d use this blog to tell you a little more about who I am and how I caught the mindfulness bug.

For as long as I can remember I have been a self confessed workaholic, driven by self critical thoughts and a strong fear of failure. Non-stop busyness was my default setting with the assumption that to do more was to achieve more. The concept of work/ life balance was not lost on me, but like most people in today’s hyper connected world, achieving the right balance was a daily battle that work almost always won. Stressed out and emotionally depleted I found myself asking how I got here and how do I find a way back?

As my work hours increased and my stress levels rose I found less joy in the activities and people I worked with. In 2007 I was going through a difficult time of loss and upheaval I was subsequently diagnosed with depression. I struggled to cope with many aspects of my life that had come so easily to me before. It sounds simplistic but all I wanted was to feel lighter, happier and put some joy back in my life.

Frantic googling revealed an overwhelming array of different techniques and self help tools, I had no idea where to start. Several unread self help books, a positive mantra app and after spending a fortune on exotic vitamin supplements I was disappointed to find little had changed for me.

I came across a newspaper article that mentioned Mindfulness. Again I sought guidance from my oracle ‘google’ and stumbled across a meditation retreat centre in Devon. The concept of meditation and terrifyingly ‘a day of silence’ was totally alien to me. I was desperate and willing to give anything a go so with some trepidation and a good deal of scepticism but with nothing to lose, I packed myself off on a week long retreat in Devon.

It was here that I got my first taste of mindfulness meditation and I have never looked back.It wasn’t a magic cure that happened overnight but diving into the immersive experience of a week long retreat gave me insight into what could be and provided light at the end of a very dark tunnel.

When I returned home I felt calmer, less anxious and more content in myself and with my life. I made a promise to myself that I would continue with a daily mindfulness practice. For anyone who has tried you will know this is easier said than done. Life is busy and my mind would frequently give me a million and one reasons to do anything other than sit and meditate for 20 mins. It wasn’t easy and it took time to build a regular sitting practice but I kept at it.

I decided to join an 8 week Mindfulness course to support me integrate Mindfulness into my life. It really helped to see that other people were also struggling with an unruly mind and it gave me a gentle nudge to continue with the practice.

Friends and family started to notice that I was less stressed and commented that I seemed happier, I was going out more and getting involved with life.  Over the period of a year I was no longer taking antidepressant medication I felt more confident, life regained balance. I even started a new relationship with a man I am now proud to call my husband.

I can honestly say that Mindfulness is the single catalyst that sparked such a radical change in my life. Surprisingly what I discovered in my quest for fix myself…to be better…to be less like this and more like that….. was that I was already all the things I sought. It sounds like a cliche but once I was able to let go a little, to move towards accepting rather than fighting against thoughts that seemed so real, I found they lost their grip on me.

To this day Mindfulness continues to have a transformative effect on my life, it’s opened my mind and heart in ways I never thought possible. For me Mindfulness provides a remedy to the plugged in, stressed out, constant busyness of modern life. I am always amazed and delighted by the many, new and unexpected ways in which Mindfulness enriches my own life and the lives of those I teach.

Find out how Mindfulness can work for you too. Sign up to my next 8 week course here