Mindfulness vs Medication

DO THIS: Focus on ‘living in the now’, ‘keeping your thoughts in the present’, focusing on the here and now’, ‘appreciating the present moment’. STOP THIS: Feeling regret / guilt about the past that can’t be changed – Too late, they have already been and gone! Don’t invent potential disastrous consequences for what might (and extremely probably won’t) happen in the future.

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Just as a quick note before beginning:  Bear in mind, this can be a delicate topic. Firstly, let me please  emphasise I am not a medical doctor so please really explore the topic in depth with your doctor. There may be other underlying reasons which mean you need medication for something so consider all this before you decide whether to take medication or to go just with the mindfulness route.

I had a slightly unusual upbringing for my generation as my mother was very homeopathic focussed. I am not sure if this is because she was Irish and her family were more into natural remedies, or whether it was a generational thing, or simply my mum was like that… In any case, we rarely went to the doctor unless it was dire so we did a lot through healthy diet, exercise and natural products be it herbs, oils, ginger, certain foods or any other natural way of treating something. We were very rarely ill either, now that’s a coincidence, or is it? Prevention as well as cure – maybe there is a link!

Due to this, my first instinct is always to look at natural ways of finding a solution no matter what.

 It’s all about your choices…

DO THIS: Focus on ‘living in the now’, ‘keeping your thoughts in the present’, focusing on the here and now’, ‘appreciating the present moment’.

STOP THIS: Feeling regret / guilt about the past that can’t be changed – Too late, they have already been and gone! Don’t invent potential disastrous consequences for what might (and extremely probably won’t) happen in the future.

Recently some of those closest to me having been going through the emotional wars quite badly – including stress, anxiety, depression and even suicidal tendencies.  Showing the progress that has been made in medical views, at least here in the UK, their GPs (Doctors to non-UK readers) actively recommended they try mindfulness (and/or meditation) rather than medication. They also strongly recommended exercise.

Chris tried mindfulness and some exercise and has so far managed to get past the suicidal thoughts and seems to be on the mend. Fred tried mindfulness for about 6 weeks but struggled to focus. He found the breathing exercises that were given helped very well to stave off or manage panic and anxiety attacks. He went back to the Doctor and tried medication for about 6 weeks, found it didn’t help at all, but that the exercise he had started doing had the best effects over everything.

These two people are very different, Chris has recently retired in his early 70s from a job he loved and had also just been operated on for cancer and definitely is not your ‘typical’ mindfulness and exercise type. Fred is much younger (30s), a bit of a trouble-shooter with a lot of responsibility and pressure at work and very dedicated. Also, previously a ‘fittie’ but whose pressure of work has caused his exercise habits to lapse.

(By the way, it is purely coincidence I am telling you about 2 men here, I have several examples of women as well).

Mindfulness is incredibly helpful if we can but develop the habit of practising it, as well as really understanding what it means and how it helps. As Sharon Salzburg says “Mindfulness isn’t difficult. We just need to remember to do it.”

We create our own problems as, often, we spend so much time feeling regret or guilt about things that happened in the past that can’t be changed – Too late, they have already been and gone! Or, we worry, stress and invent potential disastrous consequences for what might (and extremely probably won’t) happen in the future – so basically, complete fairy stories that we haven’t in reality a clue about, unless you consider yourself to be a fortune teller/medium!

Mindfulness is focusing on current time, what we are doing now, what we are feeling now, what is happening now, this very moment with no past and present filtering in to distract or throw us into negative a spin… Now, doesn’t that sound like a real treat?! It is! Do you practise mindfulness? If not, try it – Really, it is so very peaceful and enjoyable!

The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Mindfulness has other benefits too – Harvard Medical School recommend mindfulness when talking about stress and protecting memory “If you don’t have a strategy in place for managing your stress, protecting your memory is one reason to get one. Deep breathing, meditation, yoga, and a “mindful” approach to living can all help”.

Now will you try it?

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