I am Corinne Bates, and I am the daughter of melloBe’s CEO and founder, Julia Bates. My mom created the melloBe for me when my chronic illness, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), was at its worst. She had read about the impact meditation can have on the autonomic nervous system. Unfortunately sitting up straight in chairs, couches, and traditional meditation cushions was too difficult for me. So she made me a special one.
Now, I am a lot better physically. I don’t pass out regularly anymore, I haven’t had an IV in a year, and I am able to eat a fairly balanced diet. I still have a lot of chronic pain and fatigue, but it is no longer debilitating.
But not everything is better.
I am an over thinker. I always have been. Perhaps it’s because I am a “creative.” Maybe I get it from my parents, or it could be a product of the amount of time I spent alone while I was sick. I’m not sure, and I definitely don’t want to spend time (over)thinking about it.
All I know is that it’s making me miserable.
I spend more time worrying about my past and my future to really focus on the present, which is the complete opposite of what mindfulness is about.
So, in an effort to quell my obsessive thought patterns, I have decided to take a 10 day course on Insight Timer by Jana Roemer called “Overcome Obsessive Thinking”.
In the first lesson, Jana talks about “looping thoughts” which is one of my worst habits. I will sit and go over past events or conversations over-and-over trying to figure out what went wrong, or how I could have done something differently to ensure my ideal outcome. These types of thoughts are never productive, but they are so easy for me to slide into.
Jana’s advice for when you notice these thoughts coming up is to focus on your breath.
She continued through the next 10 lessons which included: a yoga nidra practice, breath exercises, a journaling practice, a information on how to calm your nervous system.
There were times during the course where I felt so overwhelmed by my feelings during the lesson that I would have to pause it and cry, but it felt good. I was finally allowing myself to let go of thoughts and ideas that had festered within me. I was breaking the looping thought patterns by gently shifting my attention from them to my breath or the feeling of my feet on the ground.
I have been meditating on and off for a few years now, but going through a detailed and specific course on obsessive thoughts really gave me a goal to work towards. I felt a sense of accomplishment when I got to the end of the 10 days. I had done something. I was proactive in dealing with my mental health and that was just as empowering as the things I learned during it.
So I would encourage all of you to find a 10 day mindfulness course that resonates with you. It could address anxiety, depression, chronic pain, or anything really, but find a specific course. Sometimes starting something can be really intimidating, but having a detailed lesson plan or schedule to follow can make it less daunting.
I still have trouble with obsessive and looping thoughts, but now I have the tools to bring myself back to the present, and try to make myself a little more mindful everyday.