Sometimes I describe my brain as a box in a house.
When I’m feeling okay, the box is in one of many bright rooms in the house. There’s plenty of space to think. On days when I’m feeling low, the house has shrunk to just one dark room and I have much less space to think and cope.
But on some days (I don’t even have to be feeling particularly low), my head feels so blurry that it’s as if the house has shrunk to a single black room that is only barely the size of the box. I don’t think it even counts as a room any more! I don’t have any space to think and I struggle to maintain a pattern of thought and hold conversations. Everything feels fuzzy and slightly wrong, and I am powerless to change this. For a long time, I’ve simply had to wait it out.
Everything feels fuzzy and wrong, and I am powerless to change this
I went into today’s practice feeling like this. I had been feeling a bit off all day, like my head was stuck in treacle and I couldn’t think fast enough. I also felt quite negative about how I was managing to cope with this blurry head, which led me to feel low as well.
I decided to try some short mindfulness practices to see if they would have any effect on this head-space.
The first practice I used was Belly Breathing from the app Stop, Breathe & Think. It involved placing my hands on my belly and breathing deeply. It was fairly simple, but that was all I could manage whilst in the difficult head-space. I ended the practice feeling like I had a little more room to think, but my head was still fairly blurry.
Next I tried another app called Calm. It has a meditation series named 7 Days of Calm, which is an introduction to mindfulness meditation. Having previously completed Day 1, today I listened to Day 2, Returning to the Here and Now, which involved sitting up and focussing on my breathing. I finished the practice feeling calm and a little more clear-headed.
I then tried Day 3, Paying Attention. I was led from my head to my feet in a quick body scan. I managed to maintain my awareness for most of the body scan and ended the practice feeling relaxed and calm. I felt like my head-space had grown and I could think again. The box of my brain was at least in a room bigger than it now, if not in a whole floor or house. I also felt less negative about my mood than I did when I began today’s practices.
Nothing else has had such an impact on my mood and ability to cope in as short a space of time as 30 minutes
This effect of clearing my head and giving me back some mental capacity is what continues to draw me to mindfulness. Nothing else I’ve tried has had such an impact on my mood and ability to cope in only 30 minutes. I really think mindfulness practice refreshes the brain.
Do any of you have unusual ways that you use to describe your head-space on difficult days? I’d be really interested to hear how you find mindfulness effects you when you’re in that place.
Photo by Francisco Gomes on Unsplash