Have you ever been outside with all the noise of traffic, people talking and daily life and ever just noticed the birds? Connecting to one sound such as the birds just for a few minutes helps to reduce a busy over thinking mind and become more present.
We may miss all the small sounds in everyday life because our minds as so busy with noise and thoughts. Taking time to notice a the sound of the breeze, the birds, even your breath all help you to reduce a noisy mind that may be adding to stress, anxiety and pain levels.
Using music that gives you a sense of calm and peace or music that uplifts you and gives you energy all help improve wellness.
Connecting to our sense of smell can have a powerful affect on the way we feel through the daytime. Noticing the scent of the shower gel in the shower may make you more consciously aware of how busy our minds are in the shower! Just taking a few minutes to notice the fragrance and the water all help us to be more present each day.
Throughout the day using scented hand creams, aromatherapy candles, sticks, scents on a tissue, room sprays all help us to draw us back from a busy over thinking mind to being present letting stressful anxious thoughts go and relieve pain to find an inner peace.
Use you sense of smell each day just a for a few seconds throughout everyday to become more mindful. Become aware of the scents you choose and how they make you feel. Choose ones that make you feel uplifted, energised, calm and relaxed depending on the time of day to help boost physical and mental wellness each day.
On a lovely winters day it is lovely to feel the fresh breeze on my face it makes me know I am alive! Our skin is our main sensory organ. In our busy lives rushing round in automatic pilot we may not notice what we are touching or what we feel against our skin. Taking 1 minute to notice the breeze, the sun and all that nature shares with us, and feel it with our skin helps us to be mindful and present. We only live in the present, taking time to notice it helps reduce stress and anxiety and improve wellbeing.
Noticing how our body feel wrapped up in a cosy scarf and hat, warm boots and socks when we move outside helps us to be present. Taking time to notice these small things helps stimulate the part of the brain that deals with positive rational thinking. Its quite easy to go for a walk and miss all of this whilst we worry about the bills, our health and future.
Feeling and touching things that we notice that make us feel alive and gives us comfort are important every day. Whether it is the sun, breeze, cosy socks and hat, holding hands with loved ones, stroking a pet or cuddling under a big blanket they all help improve wellness if we take the time to notice and feel them each day.
How long does it take to look up at the sky? A few seconds yet for most people our thoughts are elsewhere. Taking time just 1-2 minutes to stop, look up and notice the clouds and sky helps our minds to become present, to notice what is happening right now.
We may be lucky to look up one day and notice natures wanders such as a rainbow. The dash of bright colours in the sky that make us go WOW! Having a WOW moment just for a few seconds stimulates the part of the brain that deals with positive emotions. The more we notice things that make us go WOW the more we are likely to feel happy, positive, grateful and present.
If we keep the rainbow in our mind each day we can apply a simple principle to our food. Our we eating a rainbow of colours everyday? Red, orange, yellow, purple and green everyday all help ensure we get a good balance of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that support our immune system and help our physical and mental wellbeing.
Keep the rainbow in your mind each day to help build a positive, healthy & happy day to improve your everyday wellness.
Mindfulness has also be termed ‘ kindfulness’ as it helps us become more self – aware of how we treat ourselves and others.
Our internal voice can be very self critical, reminding us of what we don’t like about ourselves, what we haven’t done or achieved and this eats away at our confidence, self belief and self worth. Practising mindfulness makes us more self -aware of our internal voice and if we choose to, to focus on the things we do like about ourselves, what we have achieved and what we feel happy and grateful for in our lives. When we do this we become kinder to ourselves, we learn to love who we really are rather than what we think other people want us to be. Mindfulness helps us to reduce our judgements about ourselves and become more aware of noticing the present in a non- judgemental way.
When we love ourselves a bit more when may then find we judge other people less, and find we feel more kindness, love and compassion to friends, family, work colleagues and strangers. If we wish everyone we meet love, happiness and kindness each day we reduce judgement, bitterness, anger and irritation all emotions that cause us to feel stressed, anxious and unhappy. Having positive emotions each day such as feeling love, kindness and compassion actually helps our bodies lower our internal stress response (fight or flight). Positive emotions towards our selves and others helps to lower our heart rate, blood pressure, reduce stress hormones adrenalin and cortisol and helps our body release immune boosting hormones DHEA.
Whilst Valentines day may be seen by some as a commercial enterprise it also gives us all a nudge to remember to be kind and loving to everyone as we would wish they were to us.
How do we be more mindful and how can we make it a habit everyday? Mindfulness has been clinically found to have a positive affect on our mental wellbeing, reducing stress, anxiety, low mood and improving wellbeing. As a mindfulness meditation teacher for the past five years I have had the pleasure of helping people understand the basics of what of mindfulness is, means, and how to build it into your day.
Mindfulness is defined as ‘ noticing the present in a non judgmental way’.
Everyone can be mindful if we choose to notice the present
We are all so busy in our lives rushing around multi tasking we do this in automatic pilot. Our routines are habits and we may not notice our thoughts until we start to feel stressed, anxious and over whelmed. Taking two minutes each day to be mindful encompasses taking a moment to pause…either at work, on the train, at home or in bed (sitting or standing either with your eyes open, closed, or gazing down)
As you pause start to notice how you are breathing, this is something you may not consciously notice , but when we start to notice our breathing it is the first step of coming out of automatic pilot and into the present moment. As you notice your breath try not to change or judge it, just begin to notice how you breathe, the sound and sensations as you breathe. Your mind will want to wander to busy doing thoughts this is natural and normal. Acknowledge what thought comes into your mind and then bring your focus and attention back to your breath. Every time you bring your focus to your breathing your are breaking the habit of following busy doing thoughts, finding a calmer more peaceful mind as you focus on one thought your breath.
This takes practise, so aim to be mindful for 2 minutes or more every day at least once a day. The more you focus your attention on the present the stronger the pathways in the brain become at letting go of over thinking, judging, reacting and focusing on negative emotions.
My 8 year old son is worrier, what if there is a dog in the park, what if i get hit by a football in sport, what if it rains too much and we flood!! For a little brain so many negative thoughts and assumptions of what might happen are based on previous experience and what he sees on the T.V.
As humans our brains our hard wired to notice and store the negative experiences, thoughts and emotions so that if we come across a similar situation our brains quickly send messages that the same event will have the same affect and outcome. But this is not and doesn’t have to be the case if we choose to train our brains to notice the present and remind ourself of all the positive things that happen in our lives each day. If we do this studies suggest that we are less stressed, less anxious as we stop overthinking and we are a happier, calmer person for it.
So how do we do it? Taking a few minutes to be present each day by practising mindfulness trains our brains to recognise how we may have got into habit of negative thinking and over thinking. We only ever exist right now in the present – today and we have’t yet existed in the future. Whilst our minds like to make assumptions of what if this happens, what might happen if we follow these thoughts ,we may believe they are true. They are not true they are mere signals from your brain wanting you to stay connected to past experiences or negative emotions.
I ask my son and daughter on daily basis what good things happened today? They can easily recall the bad things but it takes longer to find a few good things. For most of us this is human nature. The good news is if we get into a habit of being present, noticing our thoughts, and reminding ourself of 3-5 things that we appreciate, were good or we feel grateful for in our day we train our brains to be more positive, we worry less we feel calmer , happier and even excited about what each new day may have in store for us.
If you are looking to worry less, talk through your worries with friends or family or a qualified professional as talking through your worries helps you see potential logical and rational ways to worry less. Be present in your day and use a journal or booklet to record positive thoughts everyday.
Life is short, we only ever live today, make each day a good day whenever you can.
Being present is an increased awareness of what is happening right now. As we become more self- aware in our journey of mindfulness we may start to notice our thoughts. Our thoughts affects the way we feel and the way we behave.
Overthinking, feeling stressed, anxious and in pain may all be exacerbated by thoughts based in the past or projected into the future. We do not live in the past and we haven’t yet existed in the future, we only ever live in the present moment.
Becoming self- aware of noticing if you feel stressed, anxious, low in mood or in pain and noticing what we are thinking about may help us become more aware of triggers that affect our thoughts and feelings. Taking a moment to pause and notice your breath helps you collect your thoughts.
If we are overthinking about the future we have no evidence that our thoughts will come true because we haven’t existed there yet. If our thoughts are based in the past experiences this is not to say that all experiences will be the same. By learning to become present, self aware and mindful of how are thoughts can affect how happy or sad we feel we may notice how we react to people, food, drink and exercise.
What is self- awareness and how do we find it? Could it be the key to helping us all achieve a happy, healthier life. Will it help us achieve our New Year goals. Absolutely!! Studies suggest that being self aware affects how we think, feel and behave. All of that has an impact on what we eat, drink and how we behave towards physical activity and exercise.
By taking 5 minutes each day join me on a journey to find self-awareness through mindfulness and meditation. In those 5 minutes we can even become fine tuned to improving our diets, exercise habits, sleep and improving our health and happiness.
Being socially connected through blogging means just taking the time to read and respond may help increase your wellbeing and mine! Lets begin the journey….