Happy Mind

Nourishing the soul

I’m taking part in Kat McNally’s December challenge

Today’s question: What made your soul feel most nourished this year?

Ooh, what a question. I love questions that I don’t have an instant answer for, questions that really make me think.

Putting on a smile
Putting on a smile

2013 has been quite a year for me, for better and for worse. My anxiety hit an all time high (or low?) this summer, and the fear (and the fear of fear) was so intense that I was forced into acknowledging that something fundamental had to change. All my battles and attempts to change over the previous decade had got me absolutely nowhere.

My changes:

  • Discovering mindfulness
  • Finding a great counsellor
  • Telling everyone that I was struggling
  • Starting the Silver Linings Project.

Each of these changes, or actions, have nourished my soul. Perhaps “action” is the important word here, reading all the self-help books in the world won’t make a difference, I realised that in order to change how we think and feel, we have to change how we act. Perhaps even more importantly, we have to keep it up.

  • Discovering mindfulness – I listen to my mindfulness cd daily, and I practice mindful thinking everyday. For me this includes noticing my surroundings, and noticing my feelings and thoughts – without criticism. I think this has nourished my soul the most – I find myself enjoying the sensation of being rained on (well, for a few seconds), noticing when I’m getting anxious, and noticing that it just a series of thoughts that will pass. I don’t need to get caught up in the spiral of thinking that would take me back to where I started, I have a choice.
  • Finding a great counsellor – I struck gold with Penny, she listens and she questions, all very gently. Through talking to Penny I have come to realise that my thinking was very black and white, pass or fail. Now I know that I do this, I can spot it and question it, and try to spot the 50 shades of grey in between!
  • Telling everyone I was struggling – up until this point only a select few knew how bad my anxiety was, but being signed off prompted me to come clean. I knew I couldn’t keep covering up what was going on, and I didn’t want to keep telling white lies, or living a lie by pretending everything was ok. The result? It was amazing. Without exception everyone was supportive, and I have made closer friends as a result, I think honesty does that for you. I was also overwhelmed by people who told me that they struggle too, people who I envied for being so cool, calm and collected!
  • Starting Silver Linings Project on Facebook – I knew that I needed to keep the momentum going with my new positive outlook on life, something I’ve been particularly bad at in the past. Through the Facebook page, and this blog, I am meeting so many wonderful people, people who nourish my soul every day. Thank you x

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