Mindfulness, being more aware of yourself and your surroundings, can have a positive impact on your mental health and wellbeing. Jamie, born and bred in Ayr, is an advocate for taking more time to be in the present. He shares his positive experiences of mindfulness and meditation.
Jamie knows the positive benefits of mindfulness and recently he visited a school to give a talk about his experience of growing up in Ayr and to share how mindfulness has helped him to make positive changes in his life.
Mindfulness for Young People
“I took a packet of Maltesers along with me. I gave each kid two sweets each. The first one, I said, ‘Go for it and eat it straight away. Tell me what you think. The second one, I asked them to take their time. Take a minute and a half to eat the Malteser. Experience it. Think about what is really going on and notice what is happening. There were so many different responses between the two. It isn’t about sweets, it’s about mindfulness. It’s about being in the moment. That moment you just had, it’s already gone. You will never have it again. Imagine taking this way of thinking to your classes and life in general. It can have such a massive impact. Just look at how much you all noticed about the sweets with a small bit of mindfulness!”
Jamie acknowledges the challenges facing young people growing up today. He says, “There’s an issue with drugs, alcohol and gang culture. It is what is. The same things are happening now as when I was a kid.”
Jamie’s advice to young people today is, “For you guys, it’s about being in that moment more. In class, listening more, being in the moment, writing your ideas down. Taking stuff in. Try a wee bit harder and realise that it’s a pretty cool moment.”
Keep yourself away from negative influences. Don’t be afraid to reach out. It’s okay not to be okay. I’m still working it out in my forties, when I was younger I couldn’t see a way out. I wish someone had said that to me then. It would have been great to be at this point earlier
It's Okay Not to Be Okay
He believes that this way of thinking could stop young people from making the same mistakes he did when he was younger. Jamie reflects on facing tough times in his own life. He says, “it’s very easy for things to get on top of you. Then it’s very easy to forget things are getting on top of you. Before you realise, it’s all closed in. It’s very easy for all that to happen, for all the negative things to build up and take over.”
Jamie’s advice to himself and others is “Keep yourself away from negative influences. Don’t be afraid to reach out. It’s okay not to be okay. I’m still working it out in my forties, when I was younger I couldn’t see a way out. I wish someone had said that to me then. It would have been great to be at this point earlier.”
“Sometimes you need to remove yourself from certain groups and situations. From my own experiences in life sometimes you have to cut out the negativity. When you’re making those changes you need to find the things that are right for you. I found it was easy in Ayr to make the changes I needed to. I’ve made new friends and connections through meditation. It’s a very daunting thing to join a new group but you make new circles of close friends.”
People need to realise that Ayr is amazing. Last night, I walked all the way along the front – walking down the shore and along the river - you don’t get that in the city! It’s wonderful. You can’t get this anywhere else.
Positive Approach to Local Challenges
Taking time to appreciate what’s around him has also changed Jamie’s outlook on the town. He has discovered places to go and things to see that have always been there but that he hadn’t always noticed. Jamie sees the positives. He sees new businesses opening with a local twist. He feels there is a positive energy in the town with many places feeling re-energised.
As Jamie says, “The challenges facing the town don’t define it. It’s just a part of it.” He believes looking for the positive things can make a big difference to the way people feel.
“People need to realise that Ayr is amazing. Last night, I walked all the way along the front – walking down the shore and along the river - you don’t get that in the city!
It’s wonderful. You can’t get this anywhere else.”