Celebrating World Mental Health Day with mindfulness & self-compassion

While updating apps on my phone, I learned via Google Play that today is World Mental Health Day. Appropriate then that I already had started the day with continuing a course I started earlier in the week, “Coping With Anxiety in Times of Coronavirus” with Dr. Lillian Nejad on the Insight Timer app.  I also have been reading Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn and plan on continuing that today.

I thought throughout the day, I’d share highlights from each, starting with Dr. Nejad’s course:

Mindfulness does not remove the stresses and demands of your job or life. It does not change your difficult circumstances. It does change how difficulties, challenges, failures, and painful experiences affect you and how you respond to these experiences. Ultimately mindfulness changes your relationship to the realities of life so you can live it how it really is right now.

Here is what I’m listening to as I start my day:

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that in addition to starting Dr. Nejad’s course on Tuesday morning, that I started another course on Tuesday night, an online six-week introductory course for Christian Meditation that is being hosted by a group in Houston, Texas and to which I was invited by Deb Nance of the blog, Readerbuzz, and host of the weekly Sunday Salon. The group is part of The World Community for Christian Meditation. The first week was on what Christian meditation is, with the course continuing for five more weeks. I didn’t know what to expect, but it was with a group of about 30 people, including Deb, on Zoom.

While I thought it was good, as it was after work and dinner, I was distracted primarily by myself, not realizing the hour would include a 20-minute meditation on a mantra, in this case, “Maranatha” (an Aramaic word meaning, “Come Lord Jesus”).  I also was distracted to a lesser degree by the group leader, whom it sounded like had a baseball game on the radio in the background. Luckily, during the meditation portion of the course, he had his sound muted, but I still had a hard time focusing as I still was distracting myself. I did let the host know about the background sound issue, so hopefully next time, it will be corrected. As for me distracting myself, I’ll work on that.

It is now early evening and I haven’t read as much as I’d like, thanks to distractions and a nap. The distractions included my wife stepping on my glasses, that I accidentally left on the floor, my getting an eyeglass repair kit at Rite Aid, and then trying to fix them. However, we couldn’t get a screw out so I’ll have to take it Monday to the optician to repair. In the meantime, I popped the glass on the right side in enough to hold for the weekend.

Now after the nap, I had dinner with Kim before she goes to work and am beginning to read again. Here is one of the highlights so far tonight from my reading in Wherever You Go, There You Are:

We have precious few occasions nowadays for the mind to settle itself in stillness by a fire. Instead, we watch television at the end of the day, a pale electronic fire energy, and pale in comparison. We submit ourselves to constant bombardment by sounds and images that come from minds other than our own, that fill our heads with information and trivia, other people’s adventures and excitement and desires. Watching television leaves even less room in the day for experiencing stillness. It soaks up time, space, and silence, a soporific, lulling us into mindless passivity. “Bubble gum for the eyes,” Steve Allen called it. Newspapers do much the same. They are not bad in themselves, but we frequently conspire to use them to rob ourselves of many precious moments in which we might be living more fully.

This explains fairly well why since mid-May this year, I have been taking a break every Sunday (and some Saturdays too like this weekend) from news and work to focus on reading, journaling, listening to music, and watching TV in what I have called “My Own Personal Sabbath,” of which this post is a part.  As for what I’m listening to tonight, it’s mostly disco-themed, with Róisín Murphy and Tracey Thorn.

It is 10:48 p.m. and I have finished Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Overall, I liked the book, although I admit I found myself skimming some as I really couldn’t relate or I didn’t find some of it applicable.

Update, Sunday morning, 9:30 a.m.: Initially, I had planned to celebrate World Mental Health Day on just one day, then changed my mind to celebrate both Saturday and Sunday. I was going to include reading the book, Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Dr. Kristin Neff. This morning, I changed my mind back to only celebrating it for one day, yesterday, and gave myself compassion to not think I “had to” extend it for two days for you or anyone else.

8 thoughts on “Celebrating World Mental Health Day with mindfulness & self-compassion

  1. I hope you were able to get your glasses fixed. I started meditating at the end of last year, and I do it pretty much every morning. Getting distracted is my biggest issue too. Everything starts fine, but then I find myself thinking about something random, and then the meditation is suddenly over.


  2. Did you get your glasses all fixed up?
    Also, I know how you are into music so you will appreciate this but for my daughter’s birthday I got her Spotify Family (premium) which means all of us get it so I have been enjoying ad free music. I have been listening to a French Cooking channel. It’s a good mix of songs and relaxing.


  3. Learning how to destress, take time for ourselves, and to be mindful is so important, and not just during the pandemic. Unfortunately, I have a number of educator colleagues that are now on mental health leaves.


    1. It’s certainly understandable during these “unprecedented” times. Even though our numbers have not been high in our county, it’s still mentally taxing day in and day out at work (at a library) as we work with different protocols that we’re not used to “normally” doing.


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