MINDFULNESS TIPS INCLUDED ON MIKE WAIN'S SHOW ON SILK106.9
A MINDFUL DAY
Mindfulness is as much an attitude as it is a skill. We can use it to step out of our auto pilot way of thinking and being.
Some thoughts on how to have a mindful day
1. On waking focus on your breathing for a few moments before you rise
2. Continue having a shower, cleaning your teeth mindfully getting ready for the day
3.Pencil in your diary a meeting with yourself at a particular time each day so that you can sit quietly and breath mindfully for a few minutes
4.Decide to do the breathing practice a few times a day, perhaps every time you wash your hands, when you have a drink of tea or coffee
5.Those moments that in the past that would have led to frustration or annoyance like being stuck in traffic of waiting for someone can now be used to simply take in your surroundings, really seeing life as it presents itself in that moment
And when the day is coming to an end you may want to note down in on a note pad or on your phone your EGS of the day
E what did you Enjoy today
G What are you grateful for today
S What are you satisfied with today
Before you switch off the light connect with your body, notice your breathing and smile to yourself.
MINDFULNESS FOR BUSY PEOPLE
MYTHS ABOUT MINDFULNESS
Let’s take a look at some the common myths and ideas about Mindfulness.
1.Mindfulness is not obscure or exotic. It has been around for probably 2,500 years and has been practiced by many people for all that time.
2.Mindfulness is not a special added thing we need to do. We already have the capacity to do this – to be present in the moment. We probably do it already and don’t realise we are doing it.
3.Mindfulness doesn’t ask us to change. Mindfulness recognises and cultivates the best of who we are.
4.Mindfulness is a way of living. It brings caring and awareness to everything we do.
MINDFULNESS FOR BUSY PEOPLE
We can build mindfulness into our busy lives by some very small steps
Notice, right now, your focus of attention. Where is it?
Observe and say to yourself (and notice) whatever you are doing,
I am breathing
I am sitting
I am looking
I am listening
I am walking
Wise Mind: Where shall I focus my attention now?
BUSY PEOPLE'S MINDFULNESS PLAN
Choose an activity to do mindfully throughout the day, for one, two or five minutes. For example: Drink a cup of tea. Walk. Wash the dishes. Shower with your eyes closed. Brush your teeth with the other hand.
Whatever you are doing, be in that moment, right now. See, hear, smell, touch, feel, breathe.
Simply notice whenever other thoughts and sensations come to mind, then re-focus on your chosen mindful activity.
Be patient and compassionate with yourself.
Describe rather than judge good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant.
It is as it is.
MINDFULNESS TO CALM ANXIETY
We are living in strange, unprecedented times. As human being are brains do not respond well to uncertainty. We find it stressful. Anxiety is the brain and body's way of telling us we are experiencing too much stress. So how best to deal with this when we live in uncertain times when things seem to change on a daily basis?
On a bad day, and at the moment for some people, these come one after the other, every little thing can cause us anxiety and lead to irritabiity, lack of sleep and poor eating habits.
First thing to do is to STOP watching every bit of news and social media about the current situation. Too much conflicting information leads to overload which leads to anxiety.
Then slow down. Now that we are in lockdown this can be easier. Anxiety speeds everything up. Racing thoughts, pounding heart,faster breathing. That means we find it difficult to make good decisions or even think clearly.
Mindfulness helps us stay with those difficult feelings with the endless analysing and encouraging them. When you allow yourself to acknowledge what it is that is worrying you it often puts them into perspective and they really do get less powerful.
Mindfulness allows you to explore the underlying cause of your anxiety.By looking at what your fears are really about, rather than using energy fighting or running away from them, you create a space to look at how realistic these fears are.
Learn mindful breathing. Use this technique to focus on your breath at difficult times. It slows down the heart rate, the thought process.Can reduce your blood pressure and generally encourage a calmness.
As part of this process be more aware of your body. A full bodyscan exercise can be found on Page 6.
Use Mindfulness to explore what we can control and influence. We have little or no control over the bigger picture.
We can influence our personal circumstances. We can control how we respond to the situation.
MINDFUL EATING - ENJOY EVERY MOUTHFUL
One of the classic Mindfulness exercises is eating a raisin! A raisin? Well any small tasty morsel will do. A small piece of chocolate, a small piece of fruit. Something that you know is delicious to you.
You then savour the taste, texture, smell as you very slowly and deliberately eat your morsel. It awakens the senses and your attention to what you are eating very well.
How often have you eaten your food whilst still working at your lap top, or watching TV and not actually taking any notice of how much you have eaten or really what it tasted like?
Mindless eating leads us to over eat, perhaps make less healthy choices and deny ourselves one of the most pleasurable experience we can indulge in - eating.
Steps to mindful eating
Breathe before you eat. We often move mindlessly from one task to another. By pausing and taking a breath before we eat it allows for a calm and distinct transition to eating.
Listen to your body. On a scale of 1 - 10, 1 - you actually don't feel hungry to 10 you are very hungry. Ask yourself "How hungry am I?"
Now eat according to that hunger. Regardless of when you last ate just listen to what your body is saying.
Now practice peaceful eating. Slow down, continue to breathe and savour the smell, texture and taste of every mouthful.
And if you don't love it, don't eat it! Take your first 3 bites of any food mindfully, experience the taste,texture and note how much enjoyment you are getting from the food,Make a mindful choice about what you eat based on what you really enjoy. You may find you eat less and enjoy more the food that you do eat.
MINDFULNESS FOR KIDS
Research has shown that teaching children simple mindfulness techniques both at school and at home can be beneficial for their mental health and in helping reduce levels of anxiety.
Perhaps the most obvious place to start is by establishing your on practice. Be the role model. It's difficult to teach children something if you've never done it yourself, or they don't observe you doing it yourself. Start with that few minutes a day mindful practice, incorporating mindfulness into your every day activities.
Keep it simple Mindfulness sometimes seems like a big word for kids to get their head around. Putting it more simply mindfulness is simply about being aware. It is noticing how we feel, noticing what we are thinking, noticing what is around us. Kids are usually very good at this anyway
What are your expectations? Are you expecting mindfulness to transform your children's behaviour? To give you a quiet house? You may be disappointed. Those things are a nice side effect of mindfulness but not the sole purpose.
The idea is to give our kids the skills to develop an understanding and awareness of their feelings and thought processes so that they can become more resilient and recognise that that thoughts are "just thoughts", not necessarily something they need to act on.
Practice Mindful Eating The practice of eating a raisin or a piece of chocolate is a real basic mindful techniques. Kids love it because it's fun. Also having a mindful 3 mouthfuls at the dinner table can create a calmer atmosphere and maybe encourage more experimental eating.
Having a mindful walk is another god way to introduce mindfulness into a child's routine. Call it a "noticing walk" where although the walk is familiar the intention is to notice something that you haven't seen before. Perhaps have one minute of the walk that is silent - just listening to all the sounds around.
Mindfulness is not for everyone. That includes children. Give it a try and if it looks as though they are not really going to be interested then let it go.
A MINDFUL PAUSE - REWIRE YOUR BRAIN
Scientists have proved that practising mindfulness regularly - just 10 minutes a day - can actually rewire the brain. 95% of the time our brain works on auto pilot. Neural pathways form our habits creating shortcuts that enable us to function and find our way through the world. Unfortunately when the brain becomes stressed or anxious we can relapse into old unhelpful behaviours. This is where mindfulness can help. It puts you in control rather auto pilot running the show!
Every time we do something deliberate and new, we stimulate neuroplasticity, activating our grey matter, which is full of newly sprouted neurons that have not yet been groomed for auto pilot. So how can we trigger ourselves to be mindful when we need it most
There are two ways to do that—first, slowing down the fast brain by putting obstacles in its way, and second, removing obstacles in the path of the slow brain, so it can gain control.
1. Trip over what you want to do. If you intend to do some yoga or to meditate, put your yoga mat or your meditation cushion in the middle of your floor so you can’t miss it as you walk by.
Create new patterns You could try a series of “If this, then that” messages to create easy reminders to shift into slow brain. For instance, you might come up with, “If phone rings , then deep breath,” as a way to shift into mindfulness as you are about to start a conversation. Or, “If doorbell rings, take a breath before answering.” Each intentional action to shift into mindfulness will strengthen your slow brain.
Here is a short mindful exercise - The Body Scan. Another basic technique in Mindfulness that really helps calm and relax,
How to Practice Body Scan Meditation
The body scan can be performed while lying down, sitting, or in other postures.
Begin by bringing your attention into your body.
You can close your eyes if that’s comfortable for you.
You can notice your body seated wherever you’re seated, feeling the weight of your body on the chair, on the floor.
Take a few deep breaths.
And as you take a deep breath, bring in more oxygen enlivening the body. And as you exhale, have a sense of relaxing more deeply.
You can notice your feet on the floor, notice the sensations of your feet touching the floor. The weight and pressure, vibration, heat.
You can notice your legs against the chair, pressure, pulsing, heaviness, lightness.
Notice your back against the chair.
Bring your attention into your stomach area. If your stomach is tense or tight, let it soften. Take a breath.
Notice your hands. Are your hands tense or tight. See if you can allow them to soften.
Notice your arms. Feel any sensation in your arms. Let your shoulders be soft.
Notice your neck and throat. Let them be soft. Relax.
Soften your jaw. Let your face and facial muscles be soft.
Then notice your whole body present. Take one more breath.
Be aware of your whole body as best you can. Take a breath. And then when you’re ready, you can open your eyes.