Blog, Meditation, Mindfulness

#Mindfulness for calm

photo of foggy lake
Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh on Pexels.com

Its hard to relax and focus on calming thoughts at the moment. I’ve found practicing meditation has helped me in the past and now at this difficult time. 

Why practice mindfulness?

Clinical researchers have carried out a number of tests which have shown that mindfulness can improve your overall health and wellbeing in these ways:

  • lower stress levels
  • lower depression
  • improve the quality of sleep
  • reduce anxiety
  • encourage positive thinking
  • alter the way the mind reacts to difficult situations
  • improve decision making

How can mindfulness be described?

In a nutshell, it’s focusing our attention purely on the present moment. Doing this without letting the mind drift back to past memories or thinking about future events. Mindfulness is embracing the present with acceptance, without judgment.

The monkey mind🐒

There are so many distractions for us to focus our mind on. To illustrate the monkey mind, try this exercise for a couple of minutes.

Focus your mind on your breathing.  Think about where you can feel movement in your chest from your breathing.  Concentrate on this area, for a few minutes. You will notice your thoughts stray, thinking about numerous things other than the breath.

These thoughts are from past or future experiences. The mind is rarely focused on the present. It jumps from one subject to another, like a monkey playing. This practice is called the monkey mind.

How do I start to practice mindfulness?

Start by focusing on your senses when you carry out your everyday routine. By thinking about the feel, touch, smell and the sound of everything you are experiencing.

If you carry out a task such as washing the dishes, think about the heat of the water, the texture and feel of the plates, the scent of washing up liquid and the sound of water filling up the bowl.

“If you have a regular daily routine build some time into it every day to practice mindfulness.”

You could try changing your daily activities. For example if you regularly go for a walk and always walk the same way; try changing the route to one your not as familiar with. Or try a completely new walk.

By changing your routine to something different or new it will get your mind to focus on a familiar task in a different or new way.

stack of stones
Photo by mali maeder on Pexels.com

Thought watching

If you find while you are concentrating on tasks thoughts interrupt you. Just observe them, try not to be side tracked by them.

Introduce a label for each thought that arises; ‘I’m nervous about a exam result’, label it ‘thought’, or a feeling ‘I feel worried’ label it ‘emotion’; and go back to the task you are carrying out.

This practice will help train the mind to not follow a thought and get sidetracked by it. Just observe thoughts without judgment, acknowledging them, and labelling them. Going back to the task.

Mindfulness meditation

Taking mindfulness a step further incorporating it into daily meditation practice can encourage the mind to work in a regular pattern.

Mindfulness meditation works by silently spending a few minutes every day thinking about one aspect of the body, such as breathing awareness and acknowledging thoughts, when they arise and bringing back attention to the breathing.

Have a look at my page on Meditation for more information about suggestions for meditation practice.

 

Blog, Coronavirus, Kindness, Sunshine Blogger Award, Volunteer

This week is different…

aerial photography of body of water
Photo by Asad Photo Maldives on Pexels.com

For most reading this now your normal routine has been drastically affected by Coronavirus.

So far I’ve wanted to keep my blog free from the endless news about it.  But I don’t live on a desert island, although it’s appealing at the moment…

To all of my followers you’re all amazing people, thank you so much for all your likes and comments. You have helped me to find the confidence to write and find my voice and express myself.

I plan to keep writing my posts every week, but I hope you will understand if I miss any as other events may take over.

I’ve been looking back for inspiration to write my post this week, at the past year. I came across the  The Sunshine Blogger Award 🥇 post in May, last year.

Reading one of my answers to the questions; it sent a slight shiver down my back.

‘If you could change anything in the world, what would it be?’

My answer to this was:

’I would create a world kindness day and give everyone the day off. We would then have time to do something positive for others, stranger or not. Be it raising a smile, saying hello, or volunteering to help someone else.’

After reading so many reports in the media of food running out, people bulk buying, people fighting over toilet rolls and tins etc. The greed and selfishness of some is terrible to see.

Spare a thought for the doctors and nurses caring for us in hospitals; working a 48 hour shift. They are selflessly working to save lives right now.

We are all trying to cope and adapt to living at home with the fear of what’s happening and uncertainty about the future.
What will get us through this we may ask ourselves?
Every aspect of our lives is changing and in ways we never imagined before?

Finding kindness and compassion for others is the way forward from here. Take out the negative and replace it with positive action to help humanity.

If we all decided to do just one positive thing for others every day, it would make a huge difference to all our lives.

It could be ringing an elderly friend in social isolation, having a chat and checking they are OK.

Signing up to volunteer and help with online shopping for  vulnerable, elderly and self isolating people, via a call centre. 

I ask this because me and my carer were helped by some kind people this week; due to self isolation. Had it not been for them we wouldn’t have had any food for the next few weeks. Thank you to my kind friends for helping me out.

   In the difficult times ahead I hope you can stay safe, keep well and reach out to others if you are able.