I am in the lucky and privileged position of embarking on my first house-buying adventure. Over the years I have witnessed my friends go through the stress of this, so I was anticipating some challenge. Trying to navigate what feels at times like a confused jumble of mortgage advice, surveys, solicitor quotes, paperwork, etc has certainly been daunting so far. It is interesting too that in England there is no guarantee you will actually get the property until you get your hands on those keys. This creates a strange limbo-like state – maybe I will move house in October? Or maybe not. Although this stressful situation is completely new to me, the patterns of my stress reactivity are very familiar, and therefore feel manageable, or at least navigable. My mindfulness practice of regular meditation, as well as greater awareness of my thoughts, feelings, sensations and impulses during daily life, has given me a good map of the territory of stress – those roads that my thoughts travel along, the rise and fall of emotional landscapes, the crackles and constrictions within my body, those rivers of feeling running through.
What I notice is certain thought patterns that can show up in any stressful situation, which all have associated emotions, impulses and bodily sensations:
discrepancy monitoring and aversion - “it shouldn’t be like this / it should be like this”
great expectations and attachment - “the new house is going to be amazing, I can’t wait to leave this tiny flat”
fears - “HOW much money??!”
catastrophising - “I can’t deal with this, I have no idea what I’m doing!”
The mindful approach is so practical here. Noticing these reactions without trying to push them away, then questioning the truth of these thoughts, and offering myself kindness and understanding. Recognising that I have no control over the process – it will unfold as it will. Acknowledging that life in the new house could be amazing, or it could be terrible – I have no way of knowing. Appreciating all the great things about the place I am living in now. Seeing that in order to move forward I must feel the fear and do it anyway, as the saying goes. Reassuring myself that most first-time buyers have no idea what they are doing, and yet manage to do it – as will I. And pretty much anyone buying a house will feel stressed at some point, so I am not alone in this experience (plus I am grateful to be teaming up with my lovely husband on this!).
I am planning to teach my next 8 week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course in Stroud, starting in September. This means I may well have some very fresh and current experiences of using mindfulness to support my sanity in the process of house-buying and moving…!
If you like the sound of the practical support that mindfulness can offer in all sorts of stressful and challenging times, please get in touch and I will be happy to answer any questions you have about the course – here are some details with links for you: