“I wanted to see what would happen if I didn’t give up” - littlestlady.com

Mindfulness with Rita Riccola

Hello everyone,

I hope you’re all doing well!

If you follow me on social media you will know I have spent a bit of time breaking down mental health skills and just what helped me in my recovery.

This week on my blog I am going to be breaking down one of the main skills that helped me during my journey and thats…

Mindfulness!

Now, my journey into mindfulness wasn’t smooth sailing and its safe to say I fought against the whole thing for a long time. See, I was deeply broken, hurt and lost and was finding therapists telling me to breathe. At least thats what I thought. It used to make me angry that they were suggesting such a thing after all I had been through and would look at them in amazement as they would tell me the wonders of it.

I couldn’t get my head around the idea at all. I didn’t understand what they meant and why they were suggesting it to me. How could a breathing technique help me unravel 18 years of abuse and trauma. I didn’t want something small that might help me feel better. I wanted it all to go away and I wasn’t convinced this breathing technique was going to be thing to do it.

I also had this funny idea and image in my head that came with mindfulness that I imagine many of you would have also had at some point. Somebody sat crossed legged in yoga pants.

Right?!

It was only when I went to my last therapist did I give mindfulness a chance. I had heard it so many times before in previous therapies, but this time a therapist I loved and trusted had now mentioned it. At first I did what I used to do. Rolled my eyes and thought here we go again. Yet I had this nagging voice in the back of my head saying ‘maybe there is something in this?’

I finally gave in and asked just why so many had recommended this thing to me and how she was expecting mindfulness to help me. She talked through just what I was doing all the time and how I was stuck on loop. I mean, I knew I was stuck on loop. Daily my PTSD was leaving me replaying the past, asking questions and searching for answers. My OCD was leaving me repeating all these checking rituals and even when I wasn’t actively taking part in them I was thinking about when I would be later.

My therapist explained mindfulness as quite simple, stopping. Yep, teaching my brain to just stop. I would go on to later look and learn more about what mindfulness really was, but this out look was so simple yet effective. Though it wasn’t going to erase all this hurt and heartache, stopping my racing thoughts for even one second did sound pretty great!

My therapist started off small and doing some short practices to get me into things. I chuckle to myself thinking back to how many times I interrupted those practices to tell my therapist that ‘this just wasn’t working’ in which I dont think she was far off from telling me to

just be quiet!

With time (and patience, whoops!) I started to understand just why people had recommended mindfulness to me so many times. My thoughts were still racing, but I felt them almost slowing down and becoming more distant. I had room to think more about my goals and what I wanted to achieve in therapy.

From that point I had started using mindfulness in my everyday and to assist me through therapy. After therapy, I found myself still using it. I wasn’t using it because I had been told or encouraged to. I was doing it because it was so a part of my every day and it was more of a case of why wouldn’t I use this powerful tool?

After leaving therapy and practicing it daily I started to research more into mindfulness and figure out what was really happening. As mentioned my therapist had previously explained it as ‘stopping’ and that was easier for me to digest at the time, but I knew there was so much more to it.

It’s safe to say there was and I found myself saying “YES!” as I scrolled through articles, read books and watched videos on the powers of this practice. Pages and pages upon research that have gone into just what mindfulness can do and how it has been proven to not only help relieve people from anxiety, stress and those racing thoughts, but also help us sleep better, let go of anger and frustration and also relieves the mind of the past and allows it to move to the present. I realised thats what I had been experiencing. It was allowing me to focus on the now.

For so long my mind was stuck on loop. I was so attached to my past and the things I had been through. Not only was I still living in fear with no danger to be seen, but I was angry and frustrated about the things I had been through. Yes, it was important for me to be angry and to be upset, but i was at the point of it making me unwell. I wasn’t getting anywhere, it wasn’t productive and it certainly wasn’t helping me (as much as I thought it was at the time)

Mindfulness was saying to myself;

Yes there was danger, but is there danger now?

Yes that did happen, but is it still happening?

Yes everyone should be held accountable, but is working all this out in your head 24/7 allowing you to actually achieve that?

and the answer was usually, no

It wasn’t about sitting crossed legged in yoga pants (and my images was very much based off meditation, a little different!) it was about being in the present, checking in with yourself and where your mind may be. You don’t have to only do it with a therapist, it can be done formally or informally and it doesn’t matter what you are wearing or what kind of lifestyle you lead.

I wanted to talk about this topic because I have seen many people roll their eyes at even the thought of mindfulness just like I did. I get it, I really do, but now I also get mindfulness and I really want to encourage others to build this skill and have it as part of their tool kit.

With that I want to introduce you to, Rita Riccola. Rita started Mindfulness in New Zealand in 2012 after wanting to teach others about the powers of mindfulness. After spending many years studying the topic, traveling the world and learning from the best of the best she wanted to pass on all she had learnt about the mind and the emotions attached.

Since 2012 she has been teaching mindfulness in schools as she too believes that mindfulness is a skill that should be learnt from a young age. She actively works not only with children, but teachers, parents, social workers, counselors, psychologists, social workers to encourage the practice.

“Practicing Mindfulness has been shown to alter the structure and function of the brain, which is what allows us to learn, acquire new abilities, and improve memory.” Dr. Romie Mushtaq

Rita really is changing lives and not only in New Zealand as she offers an array of online courses to help people start their journeys too. Rita is currently offering her Start Practicing Mindfulness – 8 week online course for an astonishing price of $39 US (55 NZD). In the 8 week course, you will be introduced to mindfulness, what it is and learn powerfulness techniques that will allow you to change and transform your life. It comes with written manuals, and also audios for each weeks exercises. You also get access to the members forum where you can discuss your journey with other people who are in a similar position and looking to learn the benefits of mindfulness.

If you are New Zealand and looking for a more 1:1 approach Rita also has mindfulness classes up and down the country and is also teaching people how to teach others the mindfulness practice. If you are a little on the fence and still not convinced Rita has also put together a free Ebook as a quick introduction to mindfulness and what you may find in her courses.

All information can be found on website and on her Facebook page.

Mindfulness has easily been one of the best skills I have learnt in my journey and I hope this post has encouraged you to at least give it a go and be patient with it. It really is a skill to learn and does require time and patience just like any other skill you may have learnt from learning to cook or play a musical instrument!

Is mindfulness something that you practice or are you still on the fence about the whole idea? Let us know in the comments!


Take care

 

littlestlady

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