The meditation method goes way beyond just relieving stress.
Lockdown has been a difficult time for many people. The coronavirus pandemic - and all that's come with it - has magnified any cracks in our lives that we've maybe tried to paper over, and it's unsurprising that there's been a spike in anxiety at a point when we’re facing huge changes to our daily lives, coupled with a crippling sense of uncertainty about the future.
'Self-care' may indeed be up there with 'unprecedented times' and 'uncharted territory' as some of the most over-used terms of the last few weeks, yet despite its repetition, we’ve kind of forgotten what the phrase meant in the first place. Some might associate it with face masks or spa days, but in truth, the concept actually refers to any activity that we do in order to take care of our mental, emotional and physical health.
According to Lee Tracey, mindfulness does indeed fall under the self-care umbrella as the perfect remedy for stress and anxiety, but for her, it has become so much more than that. Both she and Annie Kirwan, who set up Reformation together in 2017, have been getting so many enquiries about mindfulness since lockdown began, that she wanted to share her story.
Mindfulness as Medicine
"In my mid-twenties, everything looked great on paper. I had the job, the partner, the house – in other words, everything I thought I had wanted. Except, I was miserable. It took my body physically breaking down for me to accept that something was wrong. When I began to work through what was happening, I realised I was deeply unhappy in the safe life I had constructed and that needed to change."
"It was with the practical tools and techniques of mindfulness that I began to rebuild my new life, one I was certain that I wanted this time. It didn't happen overnight, of course, it took time, deep contemplation and confronting some hard truths, but all of the work was worth it. I quit my job, left my partner, moved from my home and started afresh"
"Now, I'm a successful entrepreneur and co-owner of a business called Reformation, where I get to do what I love every single day, as well as helping other people to find their passion and purpose. I am married to the man of my dreams and about to have my first baby."
"Without mindfulness, I never would have had the courage to take the leap of faith that has brought me here, nor would I have been equipped with tools such as manifestation to help clarify my vision. Mindfulness has enabled me to lead an empowered and creative life, always moving towards my highest potential. Does that mean it feels unstable and messy sometimes? Certainly. Am I the happiest I have ever been? A Big Fat Yes!"
Below is a list of Lee's mindfulness benefits... the more surprising ones
- It's the ultimate wakeup call. You get the opportunity to be really certain about the things you actually want, instead of the things you are told you 'should' want.
- You'll feel empowered. It allows you to stop viewing yourself as a victim of your circumstances and take responsibility for your own life. Difficult? Yes. Worth it? Hell, yes.
- You'll realise your boundaries. You know those lines you don't want to cross with yourself or others? They are your boundaries. When you get used to saying no, and let others know where you draw the line, then you get happier. It has been proven that the happiest people have the most established boundaries. Just ask Brené Brown.
- You'll have better relationships (and sex). Personally, I think this is one of the best, and least talked about perks of practising mindfulness. It'll give you the confidence to speak up and take ownership of your relationships, sexuality and sensuality without feelings of shame or fear.
- You'll realise that it's not all about you, and that's liberating. With some internal reflection, you'll come to put less weight in other people's opinions and realise that actually, most of the time people are way too self-obsessed to give you and your actions much thought. There's no need to censor yourself unnecessarily for fear of others' reprisal or disapproval, chances are they are far too caught up in themselves to even notice, so go forth and be brave!
If you're interested in starting your own mindfulness journey, the Reformation team have launched a course called The Mindfulness Method, which is curated specifically for the time we find ourselves living in right now, and it promises to give you everything you need to create a life-changing habit that will positively impact the rest of your years.