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  • Writer's pictureDawn Helmrich

My Mindfulness Practices Look Different and That’s OK

Updated: 6 days ago

Text with headshot of Dawn Helmrich. Headline: "Shining Light on Shadows: My Son’s Struggle With Social Anxiety and the Difficulty of Getting Help" Text: "One day, my son told me, the world was not set up for kids like him.  Kids that have social anxiety."

If I am going to be completely honest, mindfulness is not my strong suit. I grew up in a household that was rather chaotic. As a matter of fact, my whole life has been a series of chaotic events. I have tried meditation and yoga. I have listened to tapes and tried calming music to help me sleep, but I can’t shut my brain off long enough to feel the peacefulness and tranquility that so many of my peers talk about.


I have learned over the years not to fault myself for not being able to practice mindfulness in the same way as other people do. Mindfulness comes in all different forms. My mindfulness practices just look a little different because I am a little different.


 

I will be discussing mindfulness on a new show that I launched with Neil Parekh, “Shining Light on Shadows: A Candid Conversation About Mental Health.” Ambrose Wilson-Brown, a mindfulness coach, will be our guest.

You can watch the show Thursday, June 27 at 6pm CT / 7pm ET or the recording on Facebook, Twitter*, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram* and Neil’s website.


*The link to Twitter goes to Neil's account. The link to Instagram goes to my account. We won't know the exact urls until we go live.

 

When I was talking to Ambrose, I really realized that I am so used to chaos that quiet is alarming for me. When life is quiet, I am triggered because that means that something is bad or wrong. At least that is what my brain defaults to. So, it is better for me to be mindful in a very different way. Breathing helps me a lot.


When the panic sets in or the anxiety is in full effect, I know that if I stop to breathe deeply that I can calm my heart rate and settle my thoughts. I can breathe anywhere and at any time. I don’t have to be in a quiet space or have my eyes closed. I don’t have to meditate or sit on the floor. I can breathe in the chaos of life around me and that helps me to focus.


Ambrose and I talked about using mindfulness in a different way than you would typically think about. Mindfulness can be energy exercises too. I like to do things for other people. That makes me really happy so for me, mindfulness can be baking cupcakes or cooking a meal. Mindfulness can be writing a poem or working on a blog. Mindfulness can be calling a friend or going shopping. People might call all of that self-care, but for me, it distracts me from the anxiety or panic and helps me focus on the good in my life instead of the constant chaos that is happening in my brain.


I think we all practice mindfulness in different ways and that is ok. You don’t have to get on the floor and cross your legs and meditate. You don’t have to do yoga or listen to calming music. You can do those things if they work for you, but mindfulness is a state that you choose in order to help you cope with any type of situation that might be disrupting your life. I really thought I was doing it wrong, but after talking through the ways in which I focus my attention to leave the chaos that is my brain I realized that my mindfulness practices are what works for me and that as long as I am trying to help myself with my anxiety, depression and panic and it is easing my tension that it doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s practice.


Do what is best for you in a way that meets your needs and allow yourself that opportunity to feel a sense of calm in whatever chaos you experience.

Title Card for Show. Text and headshots of the co-hosts and guest. Headline: "Shining Light on Shadows: A Candid Conversation About Mental Health" Copy: "Ep. 7 Kate Easton Parenting a Child with Mental Health Challenges Thurs., May 9 7pm ET / 6pm CT / 4pm PT"


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