Anxiety or depression getting on top of you? Panic attacks starting to affect your every day life? Feeling like you need to slow down? Need better mental health? Feeling burn out?
This may be the place where you find your tool box to start tackling your issue that has lead you to this blog.
"Our life is shaped by our mind, for we become what we think"
Did you know that simply sitting and breathing mindfully can significantly change the brain?
Mindfulness is something new to me, but has slowly become imbedded into my life to ensure I am getting enough SoulFood. Without this, I do burn out. Its a cycle that I was stuck in for many years until the final time stuck and I was so burn out I wasn't good for anyone. My journey on becoming a counsellor, enforced this into my life, and I can only be thankful for the changes it has made.
People who have more mindfulness tend to be more happier, and have less physical and mental health issues in the long term benefits.
Mindfulness been shown to be effective for people with a wide range of conditions, including chronic back pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, multiple sclerosis and cancer. Long-term illness and pain can often lead to sleeping difficulties, anxiety or depression. Clinical trials show mindfulness practice can be as effective as prescription painkillers and it also boosts the body’s natural soothing and healing systems. Neuroscience demonstrates that it can cause physical changes in the brain’s structure, allowing us to feel less anxious and more contented. Its benefits are now widely accepted in modern psychology and health care.
"In today's rush, we all think too much--seek too much--want too much--and forget about the joy of just being." - Eckhart Tolle
Personal recommendation's from myself, that personally keep me sane and are my SoulFood:
* Sleep Meditation Apps
* Apps for wellbeing -" I am" is a good one I would recommend
* Gratitude Lists or Affirmation Cards
Imagine yourself in a beautiful place that you love. Perhaps it’s your favourite place to watch the sunset, a stream, a lush forest, a secret beach, or a field of wildflowers. Invite all of your senses to imagine yourself there. Hear the evening crickets, feel the sand in between your toes, and smell the flowers. The power of the mind is that we can travel back in time to visit a good memory and experience the positive feelings in the present moment.
5-4-3-2-1 Grounding Exercise:
When you’re feeling anxious, pause and settle your mind by naming:
5 things you can see
4 things you can hear
3 things you can touch
2 things you can smell
1 thing you can taste
Quick & Easy Mindfulness Tips:
You could add into your everyday life.
1. Yawn and stretch for 10 seconds every hour.
Do a fake yawn if you have to. That will trigger real ones. Say “ahh” as you exhale. Notice how a yawn interrupts your thoughts and feelings. This brings you into the present.
Then stretch really, really slowly for at least 10 seconds. Notice any tightness and say “ease” or just say hello to that place (being mindful — noticing without judgment). Take another 20 seconds to notice and then get back to what you were doing.
2. Three hugs, three big breaths exercise.
Hug someone tight and take 3 big breaths together. Even if they don’t breathe with you, your breathing will ground them.
3. Stroke your hands.
Lower or close your eyes. Take the index finger of your right hand and slowly move it up and down on the outside of your fingers. Once you have mindfully stroked your left hand, swap and let your left hand stroke the fingers of your right hand.
4. Mindfully eat a raisin.
Take a raisin or a piece of chocolate and mindfully eat it. Slow down, sense it, savour it and smile between bites. Purposefully slow down. Use all your senses to see it, touch it, smell it, and sense it.
Then gently pop it into your mouth and really savour it. Savour its texture, its taste, how it feels in your mouth. Let it linger and then swallow it. After you have swallowed it, let your lips turn up slightly and smile. Do the same thing for each raisin you eat or bite you take.
5. Clench your fist and breathe into your fingers.
Position your fingers and thumbs facing down. Now clench your fist tightly. Turn your hand over so your fingers and thumbs are facing up and breathe into your fist. Notice what happens.
Stand up and breathe. Feel your connection to the earth.
Tune in to your body. Lower your gaze. Scan your body and notice physical sensations or emotions. Discharge any unpleasant sensations, emotions or feelings on the out breath. Notice any pleasant ones and let them fill you up on the in breath.
Observe. Lift your eyes and take in your surroundings. Observe something in your environment that is pleasant and be grateful for it and its beauty.
Possibility. Ask yourself what is possible or what is new or what is a forward step.
If you find yourself being reactive, try the following steps:
Pause and take one to three big breaths.
Say “step back.” ( You don’t have to physically step back, you can just do it in your mind.)
Say “clear head.”
Say “calm body.”
Breathe again. Say “relax,” “melt” or “ease.”
7. Mindful breathing for one minute.
Lower your eyes and notice where you feel your breath. That might be the air going in and out at your nostrils or the rise and fall of your chest or stomach. If you can’t feel anything, place your hand on your stomach and notice how your hand gently rises and falls with your breath. If you like, you can just lengthen the in breath and the out breath or just breathe naturally. Your body knows how to breathe.
Focus on your breath. When your mind wanders, as it will do, just bring your attention back to your breath. You might like to say ‘thinking’ when you notice your thoughts and just gently shepherd your attention back to your breath.
This can be done for longer than one minute. However, even for one minute it will allow you to pause and be in the moment. Or you might just like to breathe out stress on the out breath and breathe in peace on the in breath.
8. Loving-kindness meditation.
For one minute, repeat ‘May I be happy, may I be well, may I be filled with kindness and peace.’ You can substitute “you” for “I” and think of someone you know and like, or just send love to all people.
9. An aspiration.
Decide on an aspiration. Just ask yourself this question: What is my heart’s aspiration? Pause for about 20 seconds. Do this a second or third time and write down what comes. Perhaps it is to come from love, or to be kind to yourself or others or to be patient.
Once you decide which aspiration you like best, say that at the beginning of the day. This will set you up for your day and your interactions with others (and even with yourself).