Let’s take some ‘time to pause’ for World Mindfulness Day
May 21, 2020
“Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present”
Time to pause from life with the simple excersise of Mindfulness or meditation.
These days the need to stay mindful is becoming more and more recognised and at times essential for wellbeing and good health.
Life can just be – a lot- can’t it? Relentless, Busy, constantly trying to manage ourselves, and the others around us and sometimes we just need a minute to stop! Even thinking about our own self-care can actually prove quite stressful at times.
I am not an expert by any means and I have only been practising mindfulness myself for a couple of years. Even then it’s not as often as I’d like. As I write this I am setting my own goals to make a conscious effort to do more.
I say I have only been doing it for a few years. Actually started 20 years ago. I had my first anxiety attack at 15 it wasn’t recognised as mindfulness it was just breathing I have carried this technique with since then. Then I started doing it a lot more after I had my son in 2010 Whenever I went to the gym or swimming I would sit in the steam room and think about all the bad energy and thoughts exciting my body, it was really beneficial and a few moments in my day to just release all of the bad stuff from myself and mind. as a new mum I didn’t have time to sit in there long only about 5- 10 minutes but in addition to my CBT and other wellness practises it really carried e through! keep reading for my steam room meditation (steam room optional! )
It’s really REALLY, hard to do with the kids and often counterproductive, they digit, wriggle, moan, winge, and frankly piss me off which is a complete Zen block. How can you possibly relax or pause your thoughts when you worried the big one is poking the little one?
It’s important that we atre teaching our small ones these techniques and massvivley beneficial to instill from an early age but I would strongly reccmonend when the kids are meditationg you are helping them learn this and then taking extra time for yourself at a different point in the day
All in all, it’s really powerful stuff. I find for anxiety, in particular, by forcing yourself not to think it can orten stop an attack in its tracks.
It’s not easy and if you are new to anxiety or recently developed anxiety it can feel almost impossible, but stick with it once you see a pattern in those attacks and learn to recognise the symptoms, It will be a great tool to have in your lifeskill toolbox to ease the sensations and some of the physical sensations and of course, stamp out those negative unhelpful catalytic thoughts,
It works in the same way for depression. Deep depression itself can be a lot more severe but mindfulness, if you can practise it regularly, can give your mind a break from the negative and destructive thoughts that overwhelm and flood the mind, the combination of mindfulness and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can reprogramme those thoughts and if those thoughts at that time are too strong to turn around stop them with a mindfulness technique.
Here are some ideas to get started or continue on your journey with mindfulness
mindful.org is a good places to start to find some information and help answer the questions Why, How and When to practise mindfulness.
They have loads of information and blogs jam-packed with wisdom from professionals you can also subscribe to the magazine or newsletter or sign up to one of their course to really dig deeper.
Try a mindful morning – I try to start my day with a little mindful meditation as soon as I wake up.
Usually, I stay in my room to do this away from distraction when I have got the kids sorted with a task like getting washed or dressed or 10 minutes reading in their room. use my app either smiling mindwhich is one recommended to me by my children’s Senco at school when my son was diagnosed with ADHDor Headspace
I have also just started followingPheobe Greenacre who does individual live and joint sessions on Instagram. This one I did this morning and had a look through her ain’t page. she has a really great way of explaining how it works and why we do it.
Headspace and smiling mind also have their own podcasts where you can listen to inspiration and gain valuable gems of information about each organisation and their active role in spreading awareness of mindfulness and providing sessions available via the apps.
5 million people are using the app for asmiling mind and more since lockdown. The podcast is packed with coping strategies and how to stay positive and motivated with tips on how to incorporate mindfulness into everyday life.
Headspace had been running from 10 years these are especially good if you are new to mindfulness or meditation you’ll find information on why , how and good technique
A really easy way to get started is to do some colouring. any sort of art frankly will work but if you’re not very artistic like me. a mindful colouring book works wonders. The idea is that takes your mind away from the real world and disconnects you from the surrounding world. I used to do it while I worked in a call centre and the phone was ringing for hours on end with no answer. It’s not ideal because you are not able to fully connect but if that’s all you manage to get in that day. It’s better than nothing! plus the act of trying will keep it relevant as part of your day or week!
I would sit and look at the steam on my coffee or dip the end of my pen in and focus on the ripples.
Crafting – If you have time to take up a craft it’s a fabulous way to stay mindful. concentrating on learning something new for fun and relaxation is a great way to concentrate the brain on something else. although you are giving it a rest from your real world. I would also recommend combining it with some actually mindful meditation somewhere in your day as well
There is a number of mindfulness retreats which are of course off limits right now, but definitely something to think about when we are out of this pandemic and back into the real world again I think a lot of people are going to really need that time to pause. Why not pause for a few whole days!
You can find calming peaceful music on apps like Spotify and Calm to help with an unguided meditation if you cheese to do one. using these as a background for your own routine or for the steam room one i have added below.
Comic kids – My children love these. they have guided mediation via youtube and yoga which we do every day. Their morning exercise routine consists of workout with Jo wicks PE ( of course) or a run and a session of cosmic kids yoga then a cosmic kids meditation.
I find that after they have done a work out they are wired. Their adrenaline is heightened and they become overexcited sometimes hyper. combing the three releases the healthy hormones. Gives them a good work out, and burns some energy. Then the yoga brings them back down again and the meditation helps return them to calm ( whatever that might look like for a 6 and 9-year-old!
If I didn’t combine the 3 then home learning would be almost impossible!
I learnt this the hard way in the first couple of weeks of lockdown,
Here are some techniques you can use .
The breathing star – was given to my son by his Senco to help him to stay calm in class.
He would have a little one on his desk that his teacher would maybe wave at him while walking past if his mood was beginning to heighten. to remind him to do his breathing techniques
The breathing Cube works in the same way
A really simple exercise you can do without the need for apps or prep if you have a few minutes in the car of before bed or – well anywhere really Count each breath.
In breath one
Out breath two
In breath three
and out breath four…. and so on and so forth.
Steam Room Meditation
Start with the breath counts above and do this twice.
Then start to notice every part of your body,
Start at your feet and take a deep breath in. while you breathe in think about anything negative for that area, anything at all, if you stubbed your toe and it hurts or you just don’t like the hard skin on your feet.
Breath that negative up from your feet and blow it out with a nice long breath through your mouth.
Then do the same for your ankles ( mine are week), I drag that up with my in breath and blow it out through your mouth with your out-breath
Shins – mine hurt when I run – breath it up and blow it out
Do the same for every area.
Your heart and mind may take a couple of iof breaths each most people carry a lot of weight in these areas.
Once you have done this part of the excersise or every area of your body let your breath return to normal.
Maintaining a natural breathing rhythm, with every in-breath imagine you are breathing in a gold cloud this is your happiness cloud.
Fill your entire body with this cloud bit by bit on each in breath
This exercise is to exhale all of the negative vibes and inhale all of the positives doing it on to parts to cleanse then refresh.
When you leave the steam room ( or where ever you may be envision leaving all those out-breaths behind you I picture a dark cloud in the corner. I even silently say goodbye to the cloud and give it a smile as you walk away feeling the gold cloud of happiness filling your body leaving no room for any negatives to creep in!
Of course, I’m giving you my own dislikes and negatives but you can choose your own you may not have any for a particular are so just be grateful
There are some great activities that you can do as well and this is something you can do with your child. such as mindful walks or mindful eating