Here's an article written for us by Matt Pearson where he shares some of his personal experiences with anxiety and how despite being someone who previously scoffed at the idea of meditation found it to be the key to a more positive and healthier outlook on life. We hope you enjoy the article and that you find it helpful.
At school we’re taught diverse subjects ranging from algebra and biology to history and IT but we aren't necessarily given the knowledge to look after what's going on in our own heads, and I don't get that. We live in a society where mental health has never been so important. One in four people suffer from a mental health problem in their lifetime - that’s one person in the average family. From office workers to elite sports people, mental health issues afflicts people from all walks of life.
Earlier this year, I found myself going from being a confident and driven person to someone who didn’t want to leave the house. It was a strange experience and my problem essentially came down to overthinking and anxiety. My experiences opened me up to the world of mental health and how millions suffer in silence. Being mentally strong is one of the most important things in life and my experience led to a huge shift in the way I think I want to teach health and inspire others.
If someone told me a year ago that they meditated, I’d probably have raised an eyebrow and maybe even laughed. As Bob Dylan says, “don’t criticise what you can’t understand”. It took a change in my own health for me to fully realise how meditation is such a powerful tool to improve mental strength. It teaches you to live in the moment. Similar to sport, meditation puts the individual into a "mode" that gets them thinking about their present situation meaning unnecessary thoughts are put on hold. The aim is to get you in touch with your senses and to focus your mind. Meditation allowed me to look at stressful situations in a whole new light. If I feel like life is getting too much, I meditate and come back ten minutes later feeling ready to take on the challenges ahead.
Keeping an open mind
While being positive is important, remember it's ok to not be ok sometimes. If you need to talk about something, talk to your partner, your parents or your best friends. Being able to express your emotions is important and far more healthy than having the emotional range of a teaspoon. I’m not saying you have to meditate, I’m simply saying that mental health is an issue that needs addressing and it can be reduced with methods such as meditation.
Headspace is an app that teaches you how to meditate. Once you learn the fundamentals, you can target different areas of your mental health from anxiety and depression to your performance on the sports pitch. If you suffer from anxiety, Anxiety UK has a membership package that will allow you a year’s free membership to Headspace. I wish you all the best and hope this article sharing my experiences has been useful. To find out more about Matt, check out the Be section of our blog. You can also find him on Instagram (@pearsonfit_), Youtube (Pearson Fit) and Twitter (@pearsonfit).