Karen’s Journey to Mindfulness
When I think about mindfulness these days, I smile – but it hasn’t always been that way.
Not so very long ago, the word “mindfulness” alone would have had me questioning the sanity of those prepared to buy in to the kind of mumbo jumbo I felt it was. I like to think that I approach everything in life in a measured way. I have always prided myself on being the kind of person who tries not to judge – so there’s a salutary lesson to be learned from passing judgement on something I clearly knew so little about!
I had developed a late-night habit of trawling the internet looking for supplements and books, gadgets and gizmos, articles and websites. Anything I could lay my hands on, in the battle to manage relentless and wretched Menopause symptoms. My nightly reconnaissance fed greedy and astonishingly clever internet algorithms and I was bombarded with advertisements for all manner of menopausal cure-alls. One of the solutions that social media platforms regularly spat out at me was an endless and ever-growing collection of magical mindfulness apps promising me the miracle of sleep and calmness. I spent a long time simply irritated and dismissive of never-ending pictures of tranquil scenery and I paid no heed to promises of calmness and serenity.
Yet in the middle of another desperate night of no sleep, and more exhausted than I could ever remember being, I lost the battle against the algorithms and marketing gurus, and at my wits end, downloaded my first mindfulness app. I immediately opened it up and selected a random sleep track. I had no interest in the science behind my choice of track or the app I chose, I simply wanted to sleep!
And sleep I did!
Not for the whole night, and I was convinced it was simply a fluke or a happy coincidence, but the seed of doubt had been planted. What if there was the ghost of a chance that I was wrong about mindfulness? What if it wasn’t the nonsense I had assumed?
Over the next few weeks and months, I kept at it. I used the sleep tracks to help me drop off. I tried the guided meditations, and despite feeling daft, self conscious and discovering that I didn’t really know how to breathe properly, I began to notice some changes. My anxious menopausal mind seemed somehow less so. My bedtime routine became something I looked forward to instead of dreading, and I began to claim back the night, enjoying more sleep, if not quite the full adult quota I had been yearning for.
As part of my work as a community moderator on the LiveBetterWithMenopause community forum, I was introduced to a mindfulness app called Clarity. The founder, Becks Armstrong, became one of the experts on our forum, and it seemed the most natural thing to download and try, in case it was something I could recommend to some of the many women who come to the forum looking for help with their menopause symptoms.
Clarity has turned out to be one of the best things I have in my list of things to deal with menopause symptoms, and is by far, the most transformative. It’s a regular part of my bedroom routine, and has begun to creep into my day to day life too. At a time in our lives when we frequently feel overwhelmed, Clarity has a range of sessions, that helpfully, and without patronising, guides you through your particular choice. The voices are soothing. The effect is astonishing.
Whether it’s help to sleep, or coping with hot flushes, soothing an anxious mind, or simply giving yourself a breather during our modern high octane lives, I am so happy and thankful that my mindfulness curiosity has brought me to Clarity.