Hi, and welcome to part 3 of this guest blog post by my musician and author friend, Andy Beck.
Welcome to part 3 of Andy’s guest posts.
In this post, Andy talks to us about how mindfulness works.
So, how does mindfulness work?
Mindfulness teaches you to let go.
Unlike other forms of therapy, which teach you to analyse whatever is troubling you, MBCT takes the opposite approach. “I can let it go,” is one of the most powerful statements I’ve come across.
When I catch my mind starting to run away with itself, I can let that negative thought or feeling go.Tweet
Of course, it’s perfectly natural to worry when bad things happen in the world.
That terrible crime reported on the news, the gang violence rife in some cities, the political and financial corruption pervading much of the world.
BUT: all your worrying and fretting will not change the way the world is.
It won’t reverse any of the examples I’ve just given, and it won’t stop people from being pricks to each other. But what you can control, and change, is how you deal with it all.
Two of the most common mental health problems in the world are depression and anxiety.
I’ve had both, as confirmed by my own self-diagnosis on e.g. the NHS website.
Now depression is rooted in the past; you can’t be depressed over something unless it’s already happened.
Meanwhile, anxiety is rooted in the future; you can’t be anxious
about something unless you’re afraid it might happen.
The reason Mindfulness works is because it knocks both of these bastards out.
By engaging us in exercises where we’re forced to live in the present, Mindfulness stops us from dwelling too much on the past, or fretting too much about the future.
I think this logic is genius.
And the result?
Both depression and anxiety have had the wind knocked out of their sails, their arms removed.
Change the song
One weird thing about my mind is how it’s sometimes like a broken record.
I think about music so much that I can barely get through a day without 3 or 4 songs being stuck in my head, the same snippet repeating over and over again in my head for a good 45 minutes.
It could be any song, by any band; Biffy Clyro, Julie Fowlis, INXS and Sir Reg are all recent examples.
Gus, being the male protagonist in Folk Springs Eternal, is in exactly the same boat.
A sure sign of how much we both love music?
Enough to drive anyone mad?
Fortunately, over time I’ve started to noticed the trend.
I’ve noticed how the music in my head can and does affect my mood.
Sometimes, when I’m on auto-pilot, with that broken record spinning, my mind starts to run away with itself. This is what the professionals call “ruminating”.
Now, thanks to MBCT, if I can feel that mental fog starting to gather, I just
notice it (“Ah!”) and then change the song.
One of my go-to pieces of music for keeping a clear head is Aphex Twin’s “Parallel Stripes”, which makes me feel like I’m floating through space.
A great piece to relax to.
Changing the song is a life-altering habit that Mindfulness has helped meTweet
cultivate, one that in turn cultivates calm and composure in my mind and heart.
It helps me keep on top of things mentally, to prevent that ol’ rumination
from happening and dragging my heart down.
My challenge to you, then…
Like life, music is about the highs and the lows.
The euphoria and the grief.
The tears of joy and those of sadness.
In this post, I have focused on the lows—and what one might do about them.
I encourage you to give MBCT a try, starting with Mark Williams’ audiobook.
See what it can do for you.
And by all means, let Karin and me know.
It is true that bad things will happen in life.
No matter what we entrepreneurs do, negative experiences and events will rock us.
But we can still prepare ourselves mentally, so that such moments don’t drag us down for any longer than necessary.
For me, Mindfulness meditation makes that clear.
I hope the same will be true for you, too.
I hope you enjoyed this installment of our Guest post this week.
We will be collaborating with Andy for a few more guest posts, so if you haven’t, subscribe to my blog to follow them (see the form below), and also do go follow Andy’s blog page through this link for more on folk music, self-care and updates on his upcoming products and services.
We’ll have a new post series by Andy starting next Wednesday, all about how to survive as an entrepreneur.
Watch out for it at 10am GMT Next week!