Doug talks about the three-step program he has devised for staying calm, healthy and mindful in his everyday life.
When I was 19, I wasn’t very good at dealing with stress and managing my life. I woke up some mornings as early as 5.30, got ready for the day and attempted to finish my readings for uni while standing on the train. I’d still be half-asleep, desperate for a coffee and feeling overwhelmed by thoughts of all the commitments I had at the time.
Most days I wasn’t eating well, and I was only getting about six hours’ sleep at night. The glands in my neck were often swollen from fighting a cold I couldn’t get rid of, my skin was pale, and I’d be sweating by 8 am. I knew it must be possible to ‘do life’ better – to organise myself more efficiently in terms of looking after my physical wellbeing while also meeting my commitments.
I’m now 22 and my body and mind feel better than they ever have. I think the most important thing I do is to take a moment, several times during the day, to think about how I’m going and what’s affecting that. This is a part of being mindful.
For me, being mindful means that I stop what I’m doing and check out how my body feels and what sort of mental state I’m in. Do I feel tired – should I go to bed early tonight? What am I thinking about – are these negative, stress-related thoughts? Am I hungry – do I need to eat? These are just some of the ways I ‘check in’ with myself during the day.
Here are the three things I make sure I focus on every day to support myself and keep my stress levels in check.
So, these are the main things I do to keep myself healthy and well, and to make sure that stress doesn’t take over my life. It’s taken me years to figure out what works for me, and how to put these practices in my life, but nowadays I barely think about them – I just do them, because they’ve become part of my every day.