It was my wife who first introduced me to the concept of mindfulness. She's always been one step ahead of me when it comes to my wellbeing.
Always one step ahead
I’m the first to admit to being a stick-in-the-mud for change, but my wife's never been afraid to gently cajole me towards anything that could benefit me. And she should know.
I’ve had MS almost 40 years, we’ve known each other for 33 of them and she knows me better than anyone. So when she tried to introduce me to the idea of mindfulness I just didn’t get ‘it’.
Practising meditation for ten minutes a day had already turned my life and MS around – what more was there for me to gain?
Meditation is like a holiday
When I meditate my mind rests, as does my body. It’s like being on holiday. I feel relaxed and refreshed, who doesn’t?
But you can’t meditate all day everyday, just like you can’t be on holiday forever. There’s always a time where you have to go home and face up to the problems you’d left behind.
So I wondered if mindfulness would help me in a way that was more sustained and long-lasting.
Awareness of all sensations
Unlike meditation, mindfulness is a 24/7 mental discipline. It’s about living in moment-by-moment awareness, a ripple effect of sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch.
Mindfulness gives me pause for thought about emotions, bodily senses and my surrounding environment.
Being aware of the sensations when I eat, when I sit, when I walk. The taste and aroma of food, how it feels on my tongue, touching the grain on a wooden banister, the smoothness of a polished surface, the sights and smells in the garden, in the park, the interaction of friendship. All these realisations – now becoming as natural as breathing air – are all it takes to begin to connect with mindfulness.
While mindfulness gives a nudge to meditation, what it also embraces is another mental discipline of self.
To live a tangible field of calmness by adopting mindfulness could be the way to further my well being. And if it helps me manage my MS then I’m all the richer for it.
Martin is an MS blogger and influencer. You can read more of his blogs at martinbaum.co.uk.
Will you join Team Stop MS?
We’re the closest we’ve ever been to treatments for everyone. We can see a future where no-one needs to worry about their MS getting worse. To get us there we’ve launched our biggest fundraising appeal yet and we need your help.