🌜A Year of Living Mindfully: Week 1🌛

 


‘A year of living mindfully’ by Anna Black is a workbook I bought recently to help me introduce mindfulness into my everyday tasks. Inside are 52 easy to follow exercises to guide us how to bring mindfulness into our daily lives.

 Mindfulness is something that everyone does each day without realising. It’s about paying attention to each experience we encounter without judging it. Children are the most mindful of us all! They focus on whats happening now in the present. When they play games they are only concentrating on the game and the majority of the time stay in the present moment. As we get older we begin to daydream, ruminate about the past and worry about the future. Technology has also impacted on this, as we tend to take pictures of experiences or text our friends about them instead of being present as it happens as we visually and mentally capture it. A few weeks ago I was in Croke Park at a Beyoncé concert. She stood directly above me and the first thing I did was whip out my phone to video it. I regretted it instantly as I barely looked at her face as she stood there. Instead I was staring at her through my phone. She came close by again a few songs later so I kept my phone in my pocket and just stared up at her as if she was God (which she is) and had a much more fabulous time. 👑🐝


Mindfulness is paying attention to an experience as you experience it. It is being aware of your surroundings, along with both your inner and outer experiences. Awareness of your breathing, emotions, feelings good or bad, sounds, senses, smells, scenery.

Week 1: 

Writing as practice: Exploring intention 1

 It is important to start off with our intentions for wanting to practice mindfulness. This can be done by writing down some reasons you want to start and some goals you would like to achieve by bringing this into your life.

 The first activity involves sitting and asking yourself “why do I want to practice mindfulness?” Sit with this thought for a few minutes whilst inhaling and exhaling slowly. Concentrate on each breath. Inhale through your nose and hold for 5 seconds then exhale your mouth slowly for at least 5 seconds (I’ll do a future post dedicated to breathing  exercises as it can be a bit more complicated than just breathing in and out). Set a timer for 3 minutes, get a pen and paper and write down any thoughts that come to mind whilst following these rules:

  1. Don’t stop. Keep repeating ” I want to practice mindfulness because…”
  2. Don’t edit your words or cross anything out.
  3. Don’t read what you are writing until the timer sounds.

Here’s what I wrote:

 I want to practice mindfulness because…. 

Live in the present, remain calm in stressful situations, mindful eating (I inhale my food), comfortable doing things alone, stop being dependent on others, happiness, stress free, content. 

 I’ll continue to post each exercise as I complete them over the next while. The main thing I like about this book is that there is no pressure to complete the exercises. It’s all at your own pace. If you want to complete two in the one week you can or leave the book down and not touch it for 3 weeks that’s perfectly OK too. These books aren’t for everyone and I’ll probably lose interest after a few weeks and look at it again in a few months but it’s nice to know it’s there when you need it ⭐️

J x

Advertisements

💨Aaaaand Breath…..💨

Breathing, we all do it! 

 This post will explain why we breath, how we breath, what happens when we over or under breath and ways of controlling our breathing. We all need oxygen to survive so I think this information is vital before we begin to learn about any other form of mindfulness or other hippy related topics! Something as simple as breathing can have major benefits for our physical and mental well being.

 When we breath we inhale oxygen and breath out carbon dioxide. For our body’s to function to the best of its abilities we need the correct balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in our body’s. This can be done through the correct rate and depth of our breathing. Usually we just breath automatically and the odd time can control it. For example blowing up balloons or holding our breath under water is a form of control.

 Our moods have a major impact on our breathing. If we feel anxious or stressed our breath may quicken and you may find yourself taking deeper breathes to try calm yourself down. People tend to panic when this happens. This can bring on things people know as ‘panic attacks’. When we breath too much we increase levels of oxygen to the blood and decrease levels of carbon dioxide. Also not breathing enough will decrease oxygen and increase carbon dioxide. When the body notices this imbalance it reacts with a range of symptoms: dizziness, confusion, breathlessness, blurred vision, increase in heart rate, tingling sensations, clammy hands, stiffness. I think we’ve all experienced these feelings before exams, interviews, first day on the job…. Some people may think they are having a heart attack or in extreme cases are ‘going to die’. You might feel as if you’re smoothering and cannot get enough air into your lungs but in fact you are actually taking waaaay too much air in and that’s why you experience these symptoms.

 Things that can help rebalance your oxygen and carbon dioxide levels are simple tasks like yawning (my personal fav). Being in control of your breathing is also skill to have. Its main aim is to relax the mind and body which can be done through deep, slow and controlled breathing. Below is an easy an easy to follow exercise for controlling your breath. As they say, practice makes perfect!

 Find somewhere comfy to sit or lie down. No music, no tv or other interruptions, knock your mobile on airplane mode and Try this simple beginners exercise below:

  • Take a deep breath in for 4 seconds (through the nose if possible)
  • Hold the breath for 2 seconds
  • Release breath for 6 seconds (through nose if possible)

 A lot of my future posts will refer back to breathing so it’s good to have a bit of background on its importance and have some practice before you try out some proper relaxation stuff. I personally use controlled breathing every day. It’s become part of my daily routine. I use it when I experience quick  breathing from exercise, anxiety in interviews or during meetings or just everyday sh**t that we all experience.

J x

💕Steps: Learning to love yourself💕

 The following steps will be explained individually in future posts. I understand a lot of these steps aren’t for everyone and may come across a bit ‘away with the fairies’ but just be open minded and read them anyway…

  1. Stop being so judgemental and talking about any creature that walks by. Negative attitudes bring negative vibes.
  2. Do what you want. If you don’t want go to town with your friend then don’t.
  3.  Be content in your own company. Stop depending on others to do activities.
  4.  Treat yourself. Stop waiting for your knight in shining armour to buy you flowers and bring you for dinner. Buy yourself the flowers and bring yourself for dinner!
  5. Nourish and look after yourself. Keep active. Put good food in your body it will make you feel good.
  6. Get to know yourself. Spend time alone doing things you like.
  7. Meditate. This doesn’t mean you have to sit in silence for hours. I’ll write up some easy steps to meditation in a later post.
  8. Be mindful. Acknowledge your surroundings. Focus on the now. I’m doing a 52 week mindfulness challenge at the moment which I’ll also discuss in a future post.
  9. Take up a new hobby or interest. Iv wanted to join yoga for a long time now so I have finally booked in for a yoga course in August. Excitement!
  10. Show affection. Tell others how you feel.
  11. Use affirmations to make yourself happy. Sometimes mind over matter really does work.
  12. Remove negative relationships from your life. This doesn’t mean removing a friend who is a bit of a ‘fart’ but maybe minimising the time you send with them as their negative and unmotivated vibes ill defiantly touch off on you.
  13. Stop being so dependent on others. If you want some flowers go buy them! If you’re bored sitting in and no one wants to do anything, bring yourself out!
  14. Do not depend on others for love and affection. Yes of course it is amazing to be loved by others but loving yourself should always come first. By loving yourself first it will help you avoid all those toxic relationships and will build a steady foundation.
  15. Self assessment and self awareness is key! Be aware of your own prejudices. Know what you like and don’t like. Know your reactions, facial expressions (my weakness).
  16. STAY AWAY from those back biting conversations with friends and work colleagues. This creates negative environments which is a feeding ground for negative toxic people. BEWARE!
  17. Have goals! Make a list of things you want to achieve and give yourself time frames.
  18. Organisation is key! Keep a diary. Organise your room, personal life and work life. Tidy room = tidy mind.
  19. Don’t neglect yourself. I am not one for wearing make up everyday and I barely wash my hair but I always make time to moisturise and the odd face mask.
  20. Get out of your comfort zone. Earlier this summer I decided to do something that has been on my bucket list for a while now. NUDIST BEACH. Me, a rock, the sea, on a tiny island off Croatia NAKED!!. It was AMAZING!
  21. Be active. Join a gym, go for a walk, sign up for a marathon. Exercise releases ‘happy’ energy.

J x

💫Words of wisdom from Matthew Silver💫

 My first blog post will be dedicated to this remarkable individual who has succeeded in spreading self love and creativity throughout the streets of New York City. Mathew is a passionate performer who uses a ‘non-serious’ approach when playing with taboos, rules and social norms. He parades around the streets of New York City in his under wear, creating smiles, laughter and loosening peoples judgements and superiority. He believes each individual is important, along with their their dreams, relationships, friendships. Matthews theory on the meaning of life is ‘To live in the magic of now’. You can’t get away from your heart so do what it loves.

‘We should encourage each other instead of judging each other’.
Love now, create, inspire. It repeats itself.

J x

 

See the links below for snippets of Matthews performances…. Continue reading