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Running away from being still

When we were told the next thing we would focus on with our blogging journey would be self-care mindfulness yoga, I groaned to myself.

I have been running away from being still and calm my whole life. There have been so many crappy things that have happened to me that, when I’m forced to be quiet with my thoughts, I experience rumination, intrusive memories and flashbacks. Just the thought of doing mindfulness yoga made me panic.

Being busy is a way to cope with trauma

To avoid giving those traumatic experiences a chance to be relived, I’m constantly doing and thinking. Keeping busy and striving to achieve goals helps me to avoid those extremely painful thoughts. I never relax and that is a deliberate coping mechanism. But running on adrenaline is exhausting. I feel constantly stressed.

My past experience with yoga

Some people love yoga but I’m not one of those people. I’ve tried yoga a number of times and I’ve hated it every time.

I’m not flexible and feel silly and ungainly doing it. In the middle of a downward dog, I find myself thinking about that uni assignment that’s due next week, the parent-teacher interviews I need to book, those multiple work deadlines, that pile of laundry lying on my bed waiting for me to fold and put away, all that junk in my garage I need to sort, that broken doorknob I need to fix, our dog’s yearly vaccination I need to arrange, and oh, is my butt in anyone’s face?

Empty my mind and, sure enough, I will fill it.

What has helped me

So, I didn’t do the yoga exercises we were tasked to do. That was slack of me, but I still needed to write this blog, so I’ll talk about what has helped me.

Doing meditations or yoga is not my cup of tea, but I have found that certain grounding and mindfulness exercises where I need to concentrate for an extended period of time do help me in a similar way.

Music grounds me

Meditation focuses on breathing, and I do that with singing.

I love music. I took up singing lessons this year. When I’m singing a song, I’ve been taught to focus on technique, and breathing is a big part of that. We need to breathe from our diaphragm and sing from our belly. So, I’m focusing on my breathing while at the same time enjoying the music.

Another thing that helps me is learning piano. I’m not very good yet, but when I’m playing or trying to learn a new song, I am completely immersed in what I’m doing. It takes my complete concentration to work out what note I am supposed to play next and where my fingers are supposed to go.

So, playing or trying to play is grounding for me. I am so focused on what I am doing that my brain doesn’t have room to think about anything else. I don’t have the capacity in that moment to entertain the past or the future. I’m absolutely in the present.

Give it a try

I hope my experience helps you. If, like me, you’re not into yoga, there are other ways to practise mindfulness and ground yourself in the present. Music, in the form of singing and piano can connect your senses to your physical surrounds without emptying your mind and allowing those traumatic memories to come back. It works for me and it might work for you, too.


Blogging GEMS program

This Blog is a part of the Blogging GEMS program, which supports domestic violence survivors to practise the self-care strategies of Gratitude, Exercise, Mindfulness, Support, and Service (GEMS). As they practise the strategies, they blog about can read their survivor GEMS Blogs:

Gratitude Blogs:

Exercise Blogs

Mindfulness Meditation Blogs:

Service Blogs

Support Blogs

Self-care plans

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