Do you want to introduce daily mindfulness into your life?
Isn’t life busy….. Rushing from one thing to the next with a massive to do list and thoughts whizzing round in your head. And you just want to stop. Just for a bit. And recover, refresh and regain control.
You’ve probably heard of mindfulness but you might not know what it is. Or you might have tried to do it already but got a bit lost, or maybe it didn’t work or you didn’t keep it up consistently so didn’t feel the benefits. Mindfulness is one of the easiest ways to reduce stress and relax but it does take a bit of practice and dedication to make it part of your everyday life. That’s why it’s called a practice I guess 🙂
So what are the benefits of mindfulness?
Research from Harvard Health Publications says that Mindfulness improves well being, physical health and mental health. some of the key benefits are listed as:
Being mindful makes it easier to savor the pleasures in life as they occur, helps you become fully engaged in activities, and creates a greater capacity to deal with adverse events.
By focusing on the here and now, many people who practice mindfulness find that they are less likely to get caught up in worries about the future or regrets over the past, are less preoccupied with concerns about success and self-esteem, and are better able to form deep connections with others.
help relieve stress
And it can help with easing depression and anxiety which are two of the most common things I treat in my Hypnotherapy practice in Sussex.
So how can you practice mindfulness easily on a daily basis?
When you first wake up in the morning and you are still in bed, notice your breathing and take five breathes. Notice each one.
Be aware of any changes in your posture. Notice if your limbs and loose or stiff. Heavy or light. Notice what changes when you move from one position to the next.
Be aware of sounds around you. Really notice them. Whether it’s a phone ringing, a bird singing, a train passing, laughter, a car horn, the wind, the sound of a door closing—use any sound as a signal to be mindful and present.
Over the course of the day, when you are distracted, remember to come back to your breath and notice your breathing and take five breathes. Notice each one.
Before you eat something compose your breathing and notice it so you are fully present. Realise that the food was connected to something that nourished its growth. Think about what made that food grow. The sunlight, the rain, the earth, the farmer….. Eat slowly and conciously and be mindful that what you are eating is going to nourish every cell in your body. Notice the smell and taste of every mouthful and take the time to chew and swallow slowly.
Be aware of the movements of your body throughout the day. When you move, walk, stand or sit. Notice your posture and feel your feet connected to the ground. Notice any breeze on your face and in your hair and maybe the sound of the wind, rain or other noises. Be aware of your speed.
At any opportunity, on hold on the phone, in a queue, cleaning your teeth, getting dressed, cooking, waiting at traffic lights or in traffic. Be aware of how you feel. Are you tense or relaxed? How is your breathing? Where is your breathing high or low in your body?
Notice any tension in your body. Where is it? Can you relax it? Notice the difference that makes.
Be aware of any points of tightness in your body throughout the day. See if you can breathe into them and, as you exhale, let go of excess tension. Is there tension stored anywhere in your body? For example, your neck, shoulders, stomach, jaw, or lower back? If possible, stretch or do yoga once a day.
At bedtime, once you are in bed and still, notice your breathing and take five breathes. Notice each one.
As you can see, it doesn’t take long to be mindful and it’s easy to do. give it a go now. Just shut your eyes (hold on read this last bit first!) and notice yourself. Your feet connected to the floor, your breathing and your posture.
If you need more than mindfulness…
Even mindfulness can’t get you thought some stuff so if you need help to overcome your depression or anxiety please do get in touch and I can help you.
Or you might like to try my free relaxing download which gives you deep relaxation in just 12 minutes.
This is meant to be the peak time of year when people book holidays. Maybe it’s the January blues or just the desire to go somewhere warmer! One of the main things that people want to do when they go on holiday is to relax. To ‘escape from it all’. But what if you could could ‘escape from it all’ anytime you wanted to?
So what ways do you currently relax? With a glass of wine or a beer at the end of the day? With a bubble bath? With yoga? Everyone’s techniques and strategies are different.
There is physical relaxation and mental relaxation. They are interlinked and often relaxing one, relaxes the other. For example, if you’ve ever had a massage you might notice that when you lie on the massage table you are still thinking about the day’s work, or your kids, or your partner or your mile long to do list but as the treatment progresses, those things seem to ease and you are able to enjoy lovely ‘floaty’ feelings.
Build relaxation into your mindset
But what if you didn’t need to get to the point where you feel desperate for the need to relax on holiday or to unwind with a massage? As a Hypnotherapist, I spend most of my life in a relaxed state (don’t worry, I still get lots done). So much so that when I go on holiday I have plenty of energy for sightseeing and exploring! Because I have built relaxation into my mindset and make it a priority and you can too.
A lot of my clients say ‘they think too much’ or they ‘can’t switch off’ and then they have Hypnotherapy and say ‘wow!’ because it is a truly deeply relaxing state like no other. A state where you can just be and have lovely thoughts and visions in your subconcious (like meditating but better). Once you have connected to this deeply relaxed state, you will want to do it again! I give my clients recordings to listen to at home.
Do you have 12 minutes spare to relax?
Just share from this box and you’ll be able to download a fantastic audio that will help you relax. I’ve been told that this is a really easy way to switch off and relax because all you have to do is lie down and listen!
You can listen to a free relaxing download by me here
So how else can you relax?
The benefits of relaxation include lowered blood pressure and reduction in the thickening of the artery walls. Also slower age related memory loss and brain-cell deterioration. Being relaxed also improves your digestive process.
Improve your breathing, Breathing is our life-force and we take it for granted! Just try this. close your eyes and monitor your breathing for a couple of minutes. Then slow it down slightly and notice any difference. “Learn how to exhale, the inhale will take care of itself” – Carla Melucci Ardito
Progressive muscle relaxation. Lie down. Work from up to down your body or down to up. Tense the muscles in your feet and then relax them, then do the same for your legs, your buttocks, your stomach, your arms, your hands and lastly your face.
Try sitting quietly and focusing on your heart. When you have settled, place your hand on your heart and take slow and considered breathes and really connect with your heart.
Shake your legs and hands for one minute. When you finish you will feel relaxed.
Take a nap.
Play some relaxing music.
Use aromatherapy oils around your house. Lavender, neroli and ylang ylang are relaxing.
Make a space in your home where you can relax.
Add your ideas for ways to relax in the comments. We would love to hear them.
The important thing is once you build relaxation into your life, it becomes a habit. You mind understands what is required and does it for you more easily. It will soon be second nature:)
This blog is one in a 30 day series about self-development and practical lists we will be making to enhance our lives. I’m using these blogs to provide coaching and advice in my capacity as a qualified coach and Hypnotherapist working locally in West Sussex and Worldwide on Skype.
Quick review of your tenth list list:
Your tenth list was about judgements you might hold. Were there any surprises on that list for you?
Your eleventh list:
Your eleventh list is simply to make a list of ways you can personally relax. Choose things that appeal to you, that fit into your life. Even if you were to relax for 2 minutes every day you would feel benefits in a week.
Your mind power is the most powerful thing you own.
In fact so powerful, you even have two! The conscious and the subconscious. The conscious mind helps you operate in the ‘now’ and makes rationale decisions. The subconscious operates at a deeper level and looks to protect us in all we do. You can read more about your two minds here
On Day 2 we started to look at mind chatter. Many of my clients spend more than 50% of their day thinking negatively or hearing negative mind chatter. If you watched sad films for that amount of time, they would probably lower your mood. But the good news is, if you spent the same amount of time watching positive films this would no doubt lift your mood.
Now this isn’t saying you shouldn’t watch sad films or feel negative emotions because we are human beings. We need to feel the whole range of emotions to have a complete human experience. This is about being aware that when a negative thought comes into our mind, it may not be the truth and maybe we shouldn’t spend time dwelling on it or believing it if it makes us feel bad.
Negative thoughts are like criminals in your mind
Say you lost your job. This is a serious life affecting event and can have a huge effect on people. Now say you spent much of your time thinking about:
‘I should have worked harder’
‘Why didn’t I take that course so I would be better’
‘I’m no good’
‘I’m not clever’
‘I’ll never get another job’
These thoughts are like criminals in your mind.
You might spend a few hours a day thinking about these things. These thoughts may run concurrently in your mind and feel like a cloud around your head, stifling you. When your friends and family are talking to you, you might not be listening to what they are saying because you are so wrapped up in what you are thinking. You can’t really read or watch TV properly because you are thinking about the ‘bad stuff’. It starts affecting your sleep. You lose enthusiasm for things you used to enjoy. All because of these thoughts. These thoughts are affecting your enjoyment of life, your relationships and opportunities. You might find it harder to get another job because your self-esteem is low and everything becomes much more difficult.
You need mind COP ne naw ne naw
Mind COP is a good COP. He (or she!) is there, patrolling in your head, looking out for negative thoughts and helping you to; Catch them. Own them. Protect yourself.
Tomorrow I will be showing you mind how COP will protect you against those criminal negative thoughts in your mind. And yes, you really do have the power of arrest (in real life, it’s a citizens arrest ). We will look at how mind COP will help you make arrests and bang the baddies to rights.
Now all this talk about mind COP and criminal negative thoughts is using our imagination. This is the beauty of the mind. It’s imaginative (which is a problem when it creates negative thoughts, phobias and anxiety) but wonderful when it creates excitement, possibility and power.
So let’s imagine mind COP now…. close your eyes (but read this first!). Can you see mind COP? What can you see? Does mind COP have a voice? A uniform? A face? How big is mind COP? How will mind COP help you?
You create your own thoughts you see. With your amazing, powerful, imaginative mind.
Here’s the plan:
Keep noting your mind chatter in your notebook
Read your gratitude list often
Come back tomorrow and I will show you Mind COP in action catching those criminals and keeping your mind safe
You’ve completed your first week of 30 days to a happier you. I wonder what you’ve noticed about your thoughts and the feelings they generate? And maybe you feel that you have a lot more control over your happiness than you think…..
You are the owner of your happiness
Here’s a reminder of what you’ve been up to over the past week in your mission to be a happier you.
Day 1 – you gave yourself a current happiness score out of 10 to see how happy you currently are.
Day 2 – you started to catch negative mind chatter going on in your head and made a note of it in your notebook.
Day 4 – you became a mind COP by realising how much time you spend thinking negatively. You are now focused on catching those negative thoughts as they come in, owning the thought and protect yourself by realising it might not be true.
Day 5 – you did the shake N vac and started to freshen your mind with gratitude.
Day 6 – you wrote a really good gratitude list that means something to you.
Wow, what a great start! Well done you 🙂
Why wait any longer to be a happier you?
If you haven’t done all the exercises, or you have just found this blog series, no problem! It is never too late to start.
Just go back on the blogs and pick up from there. You just need a notebook and pen, to read my blogs each day and dedicate a small amount of time each day to do the exercises. This is not meant to be another thing on your ‘to do list’. It is raising your awareness to things that affect your happiness and helping you train your brain to be happier.
You are not alone
If you are finding this difficult to do on your own, no problem, because I can help you. I offer 4 session packages in person in West Sussex or on Skype round the world! In 4 sessions people have significiant insights and shifts. If you have an electrical problem, you call an electrician. You probably don’t service your own car. And I doubt you do your own dental check up or eye test!
So if you need help with your mind or issues that you can’t solve alone, seek the help of a professional. Your mental health is a critical part of your wellbeing. 1 in 3 adults will have a mental health issue at some point in their lives and there is lots of help available.
Gratitude lists are talked about a lot now. But rarely are we shown how to write a meaningful one that works.
A gratitude list is a powerful thing. If you capture the things that you are grateful for and they have real meaning to you, it can help you build happiness and can be a source of comfort in difficult times.
Have a go right now!
It helps if your list has a good variety of things and you understand why you are grateful for what you have written. A bit like ‘I’m grateful for x because it means ‘y’. You might need a few goes before you get the finished article, but along the way you are thinking in a grateful way and a positive way. This is great because you are looking on the world as a good place. And the even better news is when you look for the good, it lifts you and then you see and feel better. When you have a gratitude list you are happy with, don’t stick it in a cupboard. It’s a living document with a purpose. Stick in somewhere you can see it. Carry a pretty copy on you or in the car. Have it on your phone/computer/hairdryer/xbox.
So what makes a good gratitude list?
Many people find it hard to write a gratitude list. Here are some examples to help you on your way:
Clean water available everywhere I go. Water is the most beneficial drink for my mind and body and quenches my thirst.
For being able to read so I can enjoy stories and information abundantly
For the sun shining on my face and making me feel good
For the rain that cleanses the earth and nourishes the plants and crops
The kindness of people and the kindness they show me
Trees for giving us oxygen
Wind for flying kites and wind farms
My sense of humour for seeing the funny side in most things
My honesty which makes me a trusted person
My baking skills which helps me make lovely things for people
Air for every wonderful breath
Sleep for renewing my body and making me feel rested and ready for the day
Chickens for laying eggs which make many nutritious meals
Colours which light up my life and give me pleasure
Light for bringing different dimensions to all I see
The sea where I can swim, play and fish
Animals for their cuteness, their comedy and their companionship
My wobbly tummy for giving me babies
Teachers of all sorts of lessons which have helped me grow, think differently and exercise in different ways
Music for giving my ears pleasure and firing my emotions
Food for the pleasure it gives and the nourishment it provides
Campfires for their feeling of freedom and wilderness and not forgetting smores
Touch so I feel my loved ones skin and stroke their hair
Freezer for making ice cubes and my kettle for making cups of tea
Yeast for making dough rise for bread
My voice so I can read stories to my children and make people laugh
My ears which let me hear the tone in someone’s voice which tells me how they feel and the waves crashing on the beach
My nose to smell flowers and perfume and also smells to avoid
My courage that gets me through difficult times
If you are stuck at what to put on your gratitude list consider nature, animals, the human body or people.
The highest level of gratitude is the gratitude for existence itself.
A negative can make a positive
You can get things for your gratitude list from negative situations. This is called ‘reframing’. Basically finding the positive in a negative situation. Ebay do it beautifully when they say ‘you’ve won’ the item when you’ve bought it! But ‘winning’ is a feel good word.
You can find gratitude in most ‘life lessons’ for example if you don’t like someone’s behaviour, you can be grateful that you know how to behave better or that you have the freedom to not be around them.
What’s interesting about gratitude is that it is not about comparing yourself to those less fortunate. People often fall into this trap. We will come to comparing to others in a later blog. It won’t make you feel better to have something that someone else doesn’t have. Gratitude is about noticing and being grateful for things yourself.
Here’s the plan
Continue to catch your negative mind chatter – are you noticing a key theme or time it occurs yet?
Continue to acknowledge that when a thought comes in, it may not be true 🙂
Become a mind COP. Catch it, own it, protect yourself.
Do the shake and vac and put the freshness back by making an awesome gratitude list
Work with me
I’m a Hypnotherapist and NLP Master Practitioner that specializes in helping people ‘reset’ in difficult times. We will work through confusion and find confidence and joy in your life. You can email me with any questions or for a free 20 minute consultation. I am on Facebook which I’m very grateful for obvs!