Thursday 2 July 2020

Return of the vibe....

I have been teaching relaxation techniques and meditation since I started working in a mental health day hospital 20 years ago, day hospitals are a thing of the past, they had their place and for some patients were beneficial but could also be considered institutionalisation. 

I loved working there. I ran a group called "Learn to relax" I used to do the first part of the session about different relaxation and meditation techniques and the second part as an actual relaxation demonstration.

The patients loved it and the class was always full. I can't deny it, I found it super relaxing myself and always wanted to pursue it. The vibe amongst the patients was immense. 

Sadly back then mental health and anything remotely associated with it was dismissed regularly and we didn't have access to unlimited relaxation/meditation and mental health services that we do now.

It used to take me ages to search for resources, as the internet, smart phones and apps were either limited or didn't exist! Made my job so much harder than now!

Over the years I have had times when I have utilised the practice myself and times when I kind of lost faith in how it made me feel. 

Relaxation and the ability to meditate is a skill and like anything if you don't practice you will never excel and when you need it most, likely to fail in such a mind set.

Over the past few years, especially since mental health services have been over ran by referrals and technology has become smarter and more advanced, private companies have started to introduce relaxation and meditation programmes. 

Alternative ways of thinking have become more and more popular. Values and beliefs are changing and the world is becoming a place where people are expressing themselves far more than ever was acceptable only a few years ago.

Alternative ways of thinking, the mind, yoga, relaxation, meditation and mindfulness is everywhere now a days, if you don't here the latest buzz words on TV, pod casts or the radio you are reading them on memes and all over social media. Words like, "Manifest" "Mindfulness" "Empath" "Narcissist" "Grounding" "Gratitude"

These words have always been around but somehow suppressed into the depths of darkness and dismissed readily. Now a days everyone has jumped on the new age vocabulary band wagon and are using these words. But do they really understand the true meaning of them or is it just the latest trend? I hope this isn't the case. But sadly having worked in mental health a long time I do believe these words get banded around without people knowing the true meaning of them. A bit like if anyone likes their house immaculately clean they suddenly have OCD....ermmm sorry to say folks there is a little more to it than that.I bet some people do not even know what the letters stand for but feel confident in giving themselves a severe and enduring mental illness diagnosis! Lets hope they can become educated sooner rather than later. 

Mindful colouring books, meditation apps and books like The Secret, The Law of attraction,  yoga classes and alternative therapies are getting bigger. I am so pleased that people are finally getting the message that mental well-being is finally having a place in society and there are ways of treating some mental health symptoms and distress with such alternatives. Obviously the medical model and medication might sometimes be utilised too but it is all about personal choice, something we have not been able to provide for patients or society in the west for many years.

Since the pandemic society has been far more aware of mental well-being and phrases like "Be kind" "It is good to talk" (Although I am pretty sure that came from a Bob Hoskins BT advert from back in the early 90s) But where ever it came from the words speak volumes. 

The pandemic has been a lonely place for some, giving many people time to positively reflect or sadly negatively over think or a combination of the two.

Nations have pulled together and have attempted to promote well-being. I am pleased that alternative ways of thinking and behaving are being promoted far and wide. The vibe is getting stronger!

We have come a long way since I first started teaching relaxation and meditation 20 years ago and I am so pleased that people now have access to unlimited amounts to countless memes that promote well-being, apps that can provide knowledge and guidance about how to take part in alternative type ways of thinking and behaving. I just hope that it sticks and it isn't the latest trend.

I continue to teach my patients the benefits of relaxation and enable them to engage in relaxation techniques and assist them in guided meditation in 1:1 sessions. I yet to convince the powers that be to allow me to run a relaxation/meditation group but that's the constraints of the NHS!

I haven't practiced my meditation properly since November 2019 and it has only been recently that I have been doing it everyday. I have found my vibe again.

I guess back in November life was chaotic for me, in a good way, I was hanging out with someone special that I found solace in so neglected my practice slightly. Only dipping in and out every week or so rather than everyday and several times a day. I am now back to my old self and am practicing 3 times daily to keep my mind focused and on track. 

I am currently working on some new material that I can support my patients with, I am feeling the vibes and I hope they do to.

I want to focus mainly on non reactivity meditation which enables people to acknowledge physical sensations, sounds, thoughts and emotions in a non judgmental way. I am keen and feeling the vibes of this and looking forward to it. Do I thank the band wagon and the latest pandemic for pulling me out of my lack of faith to pursue this ..... maybe.....