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1 hour of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) study and/or practice each day. (And putting the techniques into practice throughout my day.)
1 guided meditation or mindfulness exercise each day.
Why did I choose these challenges?
I had a lot of different ideas for my challenges this month. I chose these because I want to dedicate this month to making a big improvement in my mental health. I’ve realised this needs to be a priority for me. When I am in a better place mentally, I will be more successful in all the other areas of my life that I want to work on.
I didn’t originally intend for my two challenges to be interlinked. However, I’ve realised from what I’ve read so far that many of the CBT techniques involve mindfulness, or are closely linked to it. I chose both these challenges to help me towards the same goals, so I think they will complement each other well.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
I have heard a lot about CBT, and I think it could have the potential to help me overcome my anxiety, and other issues I am facing. I want to see if I can learn some of the techniques by myself, and put them into practice.
From what I have learned so far, CBT is essentially about deliberately noticing and changing your thoughts, from unhelpful patterns to more helpful and empowering ones. This could definitely help me, as I have a tendency to get stuck in certain thought patterns that don’t get me anywhere.
I already firmly believe that by changing our thoughts, we can change our lives. I suppose that CBT is actually very similar to The Law of Attraction (where we attract what we think about), but it’s just a more scientific way of looking at it, as opposed to a ‘spiritual’ way. In my opinion, combining the mindsets of both CBT and the LoA could be very effective!
Meditation and Mindfulness
For the past several years, I have gone through phases of attempting to meditate, but they have generally been short-lived and not very successful. I tend to get very fidgety and easily distracted when I meditate. However, I recently purchased an acupressure mat, and I have found that lying on the mat puts me into a very relaxed state. I have tried meditating whilst on the mat, and I find it much easier to keep still and focused.
In general, I find it easier to use guided meditations, rather than meditating silently, because it gives me something constant and tangible to focus on. This way, I am less prone to distractions. I especially like guided meditations that have music or nature sounds, because they are soothing. Guided meditations that only have talking and no background sound tend to make me jump every time the voice speaks! I really like the guided meditations by The Honest Guys. They have a lot of free guided meditations on YouTube. They are all different lengths, and made for various purposes. I really recommend them!
I would really like to get better at meditation, because it is supposed to have many benefits. By combining guided meditations with my acupressure mat, I am hoping to be more successful in my meditation practice.
Rather than just saying ‘meditate every day’, I have created a more specific, measurable goal of using 1 guided meditation or mindfulness exercise each day. This way, I know if and when I have completed my goal for the day. If I just said ‘meditate every day’, it would not be so clear cut. For example, I might attempt to meditate, unguided, and lose focus after a few minutes. It would then be debatable whether that counted as a meditation or not!
On any particular day, I can choose to do a different specific mindfulness exercise instead of a guided meditation. Other mindfulness exercises could include:
- Going for a mindful walk.
- Mindful eating.
- An exercise on a mindfulness app.
- An exercise suggested in a mindfulness book.
I think that most days, I will choose the option of doing a guided meditation, but I will aim to mix in some other mindfulness exercises as well.
Summary of the reasons I want to do these challenges:
- Ease my anxiety and develop ways to cope better with it.
- Access the physical, mental and relaxation benefits of meditation and mindfulness.
- Help me to overcome some blocks and hurdles in my current life situation.
- Create an overall sense of happiness and wellbeing in my life.
- Help me to live more in the present moment and find joy in all my daily activities.
- Help me to develop skills and strategies that will serve me for life, and that I can use to help other people too.
I would love to know if any of you have any knowledge and experience with CBT, or with meditation and mindfulness. I would also be grateful for any advice and resources that you would recommend. Let me know in the comments! As ever, I will report back at the end of the month.