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  • Writer's pictureJulie

Coming clean on anxiety and why I am passionate about mindfulness....

It is only recently that I really acknowledged suffering from anxiety. Whilst that may seem a bit odd, the condition is so much a part of me that I have never really stopped to question it, for me it is normal. I look back over multiple business trips and only now can I appreciate the weight of responsibility I carried with me. I could spend an entire two hour train journey playing through each and every scenario or conversation that might arise, trying to work out the answers in advance. Everything had to be perfect and anyone working in software delivery knows that failure comes with the territory. For me, it wasn’t just my personal reputation that I felt I was putting on the line, but my own sense of self worth. I didn’t have the insight to differentiate between them. I was popular with the customers because I was absolutely guaranteed to go above and beyond. In physical terms I was probably in fight or flight mode a good proportion of my time. This can lead to defensive behaviour so I also knew I had to manage my interactions with people carefully. With hindsight it is not surprising that I eventually wore myself out. As a perfectionist I do not exaggerate when I say that I was absolutely mortified when I had to tell my boss that I had been signed off with depression. However, I would go through this cycle many times before I would stop and ask whether it was something I was doing and that’s a tough question because who would make themselves ill? One of the most debilitating and ironic things about depression was that it gave me another thing to worry about. Every time I caught a cold or felt tired I’d start to wonder whether it was coming back. Minor illnesses would drag on for a long time because my immune system was compromised and there is neurological research evidence that explains how our minds impact the immune system. So this is where mindfulness comes into it and you may have seen numerous articles that allude to its beneficial impact on stress and anxiety. It isn’t a magic cure or a quick fix but through this practice I have learnt to take a step back. I can observe the thoughts, I can observe the feelings, even those of anxiety, but I am not consumed by them. In mindfulness terms this is often likened to climbing out of a river. Initially we are swept along by the river consumed by our thoughts and continually reacting to them. Through the practice, we cultivate the ability to sit on the river bank and not get so caught up in our thoughts. Some of the habits we have formed have developed over many years and are very powerful so we can still be swept along, but hopefully with practice, we get better at recognising this. Mindfulness has offered me personal transformation like nothing I have ever studied, so I really am passionate about passing this on to others. I am setting up a number of courses at and I would love you to join me if you think it would be beneficial.

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