Gerry Farrell: I’d like to offer you a peace of my mind

Will Young is touring the summer festivals talking about the benefits of meditation. Picture: Tom Van Schelven
Will Young is touring the summer festivals talking about the benefits of meditation. Picture: Tom Van Schelven
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You’ll fork out three quid for a cappuccino but how much would you pay for peace of mind? Honest, I’m not selling you ­insurance but I did notice that back in April, financial giant Standard Life started offering their staff free ‘mindfulness meditation’ classes. One in five American companies already do the same. Mindfulness isn’t just for Buddhist monks and happy-clappy hippies. Everybody’s doing it.

Under the cheeky headline I Think I Better Breathe Right Now, I read that Pop Idol winner Will Young, recently dropped by his record label, will be touring the summer festivals giving talks about meditation.

Edith Bowman has launched a mindfulness programme for mums and dads called Quility, short for tranquility

Edith Bowman has launched a mindfulness programme for mums and dads called Quility, short for tranquility

Former Fifer, ex-Radio One DJ and TV personality Edith Bowman has launched a mindfulness programme for mums and dads called Quility, short for ‘tranquility’. Even schools are discovering that it helps children to concentrate in class and behave better.

If you’ve ever found yourself screaming “CALM THE F*** DOWN!” at your partner then two seconds later realised how ridiculous that sounds; if you’ve ever yelled at your children then wished you hadn’t; if you’ve ever shouted “I CAN’T HEAR MYSELF THINK!” then mindfulness is for you. Instead of giving somebody a piece of your mind, you can give yourself peace of mind. And it’s easy.

You don’t have to buy a floor mat and twist your body into a pretzel. Just download one of the apps on to your phone and give it a try. It won’t cost you anything to learn. Headspace, Mindfulness and Breathe all give you free guided meditations from five to 30 minutes long. You put your earbuds in or your headphones on, tap the app and listen to a fellow human being voice telling you gently and kindly what to do next. At its very ­simplest, all you have to do is sit in a chair or lie down, start consciously breathing in and out and focus the rise and fall of your belly.

I use all these apps regularly. Especially when I have battles in my own life with depression, anxiety and lack of confidence. Last year, I had a health scare. It turned out to be nothing sinister in the end. But when these things happen, it’s easy to think the worst and panic. I was all over the place so I tried mindfulness meditation myself. I lay on the bed and concentrated on the voice in my ear. I managed a 30-minute session. When I got up again, I felt able to cope and I’ve used the apps ever since.

There’s nothing weird or wacky about it. On the Breathe app, you can actually see how many other people in the world are meditating on Breathe at the same moment as you. It’s also encouraging when people in the ­public eye open up about their own problems to help other folk who are struggling. Edith Bowman, now a mum of two, says: “I find mindfulness clears my head and reminds me to take a breath before I react to a stressful situation.”

Ruby Wax swears by it. If you prefer turning pages to tapping screens, she’s written a funny book on the subject called A Mindfulness Guide For The Frazzled. (It’s an audiobook too, in case you’re too frazzled to read.)

Concentrating on the moment rather than things that have already happened – or might happen – makes us feel better because it brings down the level of the stress hormone cortisol in our bodies. Maybe we should call it ‘unwindfulness’.

QWERTY control standards slip

This is an experiment. I’m rubbished at typing on a small screen. To show you aexactywas I mean, I’m not going to waste time checking what I write. I’m just going to batter it ought like my sister magggie does, without corrrectikn the mistsakes. Correct that. I have had a belter idea: speak to Siri really quickly in a Scottish accent. I let Siri do all the work for me. I don’t really Scott delete that one I’ve got a strong action when I talk fast. Especially when I’m talking to another Scottish person. Especially when talking to feel someone from leaf. No no leaf Ellie no no L E E C H. nO! L E I T H leaf!

Mope, Siri can’t handle my Scottish account. Back to Predicy text. This is all going to aubergine. And i Betsy your getting really piddst off. Over and ought.

When my wife says that it’s in the bag, she really means it

At Edinburgh Airport, my wife gave me her handbag to hold while she was trying on sunglasses. Ooft, it weighed a ton.

“What have you got in there?” I said, like many a man before me. “My whole life,” she said. When we got to Budapest, she offered to show me in detail. Enjoy.

1. In her handbag she had three other bags, one tote bag and two fold-up bags for impulse shopping.

2. Two phones, her smart phone and her ‘dumb phone’.

3. Two sets of keys, one for Budapest and one for Edinburgh.

4. A tartan umbrella and an emergency poncho, we all know why.

5. Reading specs and sunglasses

6. A posh pen, a Muji biro and a refillable pencil.

7. An eye pencil and an eye pencil-sharpener.

8. A compact mirror.

9. A vanity kit.

10. A sewing kit.

11. Nail clippers.

12. A tiny screwdriver, for tightening the screws on her glasses.

13. Panadol, Lemsip and tissues, in case she catches my man-flu.

14 A giant paper-clip.

15. A Stevia dispenser.

16. Chewing gum and mints.

17. Mint flavoured dental toothpicks.

18. Heel plasters, in case she has to buy new shoes.

19 Her purse, in case she has to buy new shoes.

20. Her document case.

21. Finally, her beloved fidget spinner.

Next week, man-bags.