by Lisa Williamson
Hello, I’m Lisa and I work in accounts and process applications for MiSP courses (I know, I know but someone has to do it). I am so excited about working for MiSP because I want children to have the wonderful life tool of mindfulness that I discovered for myself only five years ago.
I was first introduced to mindful practice at a Practical Philosophy evening class. I had considered myself a balanced, laid back ‘sorted’ kind of person and certainly didn’t think I needed any help or to change the way I thought, but wow, the classes were a game changer! They introduced me to mindful thinking, awareness , being awake and present in the moment. I can honestly say that I think differently now and am not the same person I was five years ago, I am so much more measured and calm. I now hear the birds sing, see the flowers grow, taste my food, listen to my friends, control my thoughts and even sleep better!
I passionately believe that everyone can benefit from living more mindfully, for our own mental and physical health.
I now fully appreciate how lucky I am to have horses, dogs, cats, pigs, hens, turkeys, ducks and rabbits to care for at my small holding in Kent. They are all are rescue animals and now have a wonderful life living with as much freedom as I can safely give them in as natural an environment as possible. What I get back from them is immeasurable, they show me love, trust, friendship, they entertain me and they are always making me laugh. When I am amongst them I am calm, relaxed and mindful.
We can learn such a lot from animals. Yes they experience stress, no living thing can live without some stress, but it’s usually fleeting. Once the danger has passed the stress is gone and they carry on with their lives. The trouble with us humans is that we experience stress, probably many times a day, but not because we are being chased by a predator. Instead we get stressed because a car pulls out in front of us, we are late for work, or we’ve forgotten our phone. Which is all fine if we get over it quickly, but we create further stress in our minds; paying the mortgage, trying to climb the work ladder, body image, deadlines, exams, relationships, etc, etc. This kind of stress does not go away it becomes chronic, and this is where the damage is done.
Mindfulness can help us to deal with and make sense of all these problems we have created in our own minds.
A lot of people come to mindfulness after they have had a bad event in their lives or a mental illness, but wouldn’t it be great if mindfulness was a prevention rather than a sticking plaster? This is why I was so excited when I saw there was a charity that taught teachers to teach children mindfulness in schools. Not only does this give the teacher, but all his pupils, this valuable tool in their ‘life toolbox’.
Some children will use mindfulness immediately to help them through their exams, relationships and anxiety, but others may not use it until one day in the future they remember it’s there in their toolbox and they can use it to get through the tough times before any serious damage is done.