To be or Not to be – Mindful Decision Making

Shakespeare said, “To be or not to be, that is the question.”  I often think about that quote when I have to make a choice/decision I call it Mindful Decision Making – Yes (to be?) or No (not to be?).

The Bard - To be or Not to be

The Bard – To be or not to be.

That is the key to decision-making – it all boils down to choice –  “will you – won’t you?”

What are the deciding factors?

Now, do you use Mindful Thinking Time (MTT) or just say the first thing that comes into your head? I hear you reply, ‘Usually the first thing that comes into my head Diva’ – ‘WHY’ I yell at you? You are a grown up!

  • Conditioning is one reason
  • Fear is another
  • Your needs don’t matter
  • Anything for a quiet life
  • You could add to the list

FEAR!

Fear tends to be the big one…’if I say no what will be the repercussions’? It’s often to do with;

  • wanting to be liked
  • pleasing people
  • be seen as a good person
  • meeting all family needs
  • anything to stop arguments.

Saying YES – moving forward to saying No!

I don’t know about you, but I used to find saying  ‘NO’ to people so difficult when they asked me to do something for them because I loved to please others.  The upshot would be that I over-committed myself and got so stressed trying to spin lots of plates, juggling many balls. Eventually, I had a breakdown.

Interestingly it is always your needs that get left behind. Then you feel animosity towards whoever you had said YES to and angry at yourself for not being strong and declining the request. Does this feel familiar?

Firstly, it’s not their fault if you can’t be assertive and most people don’t mind readers.  Secondly, you permit them to continue to keep asking because you have never said NO!

Remember this old phrase; copy it out and stick it on the fridge;

‘WHEN I SAY NO

I AM REFUSING

THE  REQUEST

NOT  REJECTING

THE  PERSON’

There may be no particular time of the year that you find yourself being pulled in all directions (maybe festivities) it can be any day.

So, what to do about it?  Consider why you say YES…do you feel under pressure to do so? Is it often against your better judgment too.  If this is so, then there can be a few reasons why.

  1. You aren’t clear about your priorities.
  2. You may feel the other person will dislike you if you say no and will become upset.
  3. The other person is a friend, and you always please your friends.
  4. Because you have always done it
  5. It is expected of you – (remember you have been permitting for years)

check out more from tiny buddha;

 Reality Check!

Why do you say YES and then regret it; there will be a reason – sort it out! Move forward it’s your life – it’s SELF-CARE!

Remember your priorities should come first when you say yes then you are often saying no to something else.

Only say yes to those things you want to do. You don’t have to give a reason why you say ‘NO,’  however, you need to practice saying it as some people (often family) make it hard for us. Top tip: try your practice out on friends

One strategy I get all my tribe to use is to say, ‘give me a few minutes and I will check my diary and get back to you.’   You can even say that you will ‘sleep on it.’  That way you give yourself a bit of mindful thinking time (MTT).

You then decide if it is a yes or a no.

YES - NO Decision Time

YES – NO
Decision Time

If it’s a NO, acknowledge the other persons request and what they are asking is important (to them), however, that you have ‘other commitments /priorities’ or ‘you don’t have enough time’ or ‘don’t have the skills.’

You can help the other person solve their problem by making a suggestion of someone else they can ask.  Keep in your head that ‘this is not my problem.’

Remember Some Top Tips:

  • When you say ‘NO,’ you are refusing a request not rejecting the person.  State your position clearly and in a positive way.
  • Don’t hang around after coz the other person may think you could be changing your mind.
  • Consider your tone of voice – keep it neutral
  • Watch your body language, is it saying the same as your words?
  • Develop Self-respect for your own needs as it is core to your Self-Care
  • You always have choices about everything you do no matter how hard it may seem.

Your Challenge – Your Life

To get to a stage, I could say ‘NO’  without fear I had to practice; so my challenge to you is to find a friend and have a practice.

Take a situation like an invitation to an event you don’t want to attend and just have a go, listen to the feedback from your friend and Practice, Practice, Practice.  It will take time, but you will feel the benefits.

Yes, there may be a few casualties along the way. However, they may be the ‘Toxic Energies’  or ‘Energy Vampires’ you needed to ditch anyway!

Its Your Do you want it?

It’s Your choice – Do you want it?

The Payoff

Begin to feel how much more relaxed and empowered you are once you have started to say ‘NO’ – less stressed and have more time for the important things in your life. Just think;

  • MORE TIME;
  • LESS STRESS;
  • LIFE BALANCE

and that’s just three payoffs.

Let me know how your challenge goes.

Until next time

Diva X

A Mindful Smile – Can reach all parts of the body

A Mindful Smile can reach all parts of the body!

I know I bang on about Mindfulness and I know you all tell me you don’t have time….even when you are doing it unconsciously (bet I could find you time if I followed you for a day too!). But a Mindful Smile is natural medicine.

Let’s take Mindfulness to a Micro Level which is doable and as we all know it’s about the ‘DOING.’  So my challenge to you is to have a go at one of the tasks/practice I have given my students…….The Mindful Smile

The Payoff will be….

Less stress at the end of the day, those 4 pm headaches will lessen, you won’t go home and kick the cat or the partner and you will have a more peaceful evening!

Make a commitment to yourself

Decide to take 2 minutes time out and sit quietly where you won’t be disturbed.  Feet flat on the floor and back straight.

The Practice

Take a couple of deep breathes in and out relaxing the body; especially the shoulders, jaw and solar plexus!  Just drop into that lovely quiet space you can feel when you daydream

As you breathe in begin to mindfully smile to yourself. Feel that radiant energy flow into your face because you are releasing those smiley endorphins into the brain.  It’s a big cheesy grin that appears and your eyes crinkle.

Cheesy Grin

  • As you breathe out;
  • Release your mindful smile, relaxing the whole of your face and notice how your body also releases tension.
  • And now breathe in smiling again feeling it reach your eyes
  • And out, relaxing the face….don’t forget to release the jaw as that gets so tense during the day resulting in migraines/headaches.
  • Notice how the lungs and belly expand.
  • Let go of thoughts by just focusing on the breath, the smile and the energy beginning to change throughout your body

Keep this going for 2 minutes and check out how happy and balanced you feel at the end along with more energy.

Moving On

Do this a few times throughout the day and it’s amazing how your energy changes.

Continue with the rest of your day.

Want to ramp it up a bit then check out How Bubbles can boost your energy and wellbeing click here

Guess what…this is a phenomenal exercise to do with the kids they love it…start them early.

Until Next time

Warmth

Donnah 

Bubbles –They are not just for Kids you know!

Bubbles, who doesn’t love them?

Bubbles you see them and smile. You drink them they fizz, and they tickle. Did you know you can use them for Balance and Relaxation?

Bubbles make you Smile

Bubbles make you Smile

At the end of the summer term, I donate a small gift to  each of my students for having the persistence and commitment to remain with me for another year.

I never know what that gift will be until it jumps out at me; this year it was BUBBLES…. Why on earth would I give a bunch of middle-aged adults kids bubbles?  For three extremely good reasons.

By blowing bubbles from time to time, they would be;

  • Getting Breathing Practice – a Key to Balance and Stability
  • Connecting with the child within (playing!)
  • Visualising themselves being surrounded by a bubble of light

Continue reading

Dreams-Rainbows-Lemon Drops-Wonderful World-Music

Dreams we all have them.

Dreams – Do we take the time to visualise or hear them all?

  • Dreams inform our goals, our vision for our future.
  • Rainbows remind me of childhood and pots of gold
  • Lemon Drops are my Nan; she always bought me sweets on a Thursday
  • Finally, Wonderful World, I feel privileged to be part of the World around me and all those I have contact with I love your all and of course I have a real fondness of listening to Louis Armstrong singing about it.

Words are so powerful; take term Your Dreams; it conjures up different recollections and visions for everyone; what does it bring to mind for you?

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars, to change the world”. Harriet Tubman

Previously I have mentioned Words as a Powerful Motivator at several levels; however, Music just hits the very core of everyone and produces emotions.

Music is the strongest form of Magic.

Music is the strongest form of Magic.

Continue reading

Splish, Splash are you taking a Bath

Splish, Splash are you taking a Bath

Ok, so this blog is more about Soaking Away Stressors rather than Splish Splashing…. It’s a Whole Person Compassion Technique but you can chuck water about should you wish to.

Stress Release - Soothe the Body Mind Spirit

Stress Release – Soothe the Body Mind Spirit

It is a successful technique I share with my tribe, and it’s your challenge for day 5 of a 7-day challenge.

How often do you get to a point where you need to give yourself a bit extra? Not just at Physical level but Public/Mental/Emotional/Spiritual levels too?  Without a doubt, you will also need to cleanse your energy after a busy day undertaking all you have to do and all the people and situations you come into contact with.

You will need to set some ground rules with your nearest and dearest so that you can have a bit of space and time just to indulge in this stress reduction Self-Care routine.

Continue reading

Scan your Body or Forget Your Body: Your Choice?

The Basic Body Scan

Your Body Mind Spirit – During the first few days of August I have set a little Self-Care challenge each day for those who wish to take it. Most of the tasks will take between five and ten minutes not much time in the scheme of life. I know that many will say they don’t have time; if that’s the case your Skills and Techniques Toolbox will be lighter.

Why a Basic Body Scan? In truth, regular scans of your body during the day will

  • aid tension release
  • it will increase your mindful practice
  • bring you back to a necessary balance in your body, breath, and mind.

There are lots of writers who have shared their version of The Bodyscan; my  favourite is one of the first I came across in the very early 1990’s from Eric Harrison ‘Teach Yourself to Meditate’ a ‘fab’ book to use as a tool for development.

Continue reading

Self-Care vs Social Media – should it be a contest?

Self-Care vs Social Media

Should it be a contest?

Over the next 7 days, I will set a little Self-Care challenge each day for those who want to take it. I know that many will say they don’t have time; well if this is the case get over and see The Time Doctor…

Those of you who read my Blogs know that even though you get a few Musings of a Vintage Diva you also get my take on Mindfulness and Self-Care. After 40 years of ‘People-Work’ I have a bit of insight into what makes them tick or explode having been both sides of the coin myself. However there is only one constant and that YOU.

Mindfulness as a Tool

If you haven’t tried Mindfulness properly then let me remind you what Jon Kabat-Zinn said,  “Mindfulness is not a special state you achieve through a trick or a technique. It is a way of being.” so when you drink a cup of tea, just drink a cup of tea.

So why is Mindfulness so necessary in the 21st century? In truth I believe it helps bring balance and wellness back into lives. It aids combating tiredness and helps to increase energy levels; many students find it can also help with reducing challenges like;

  • Insomnia
  • Lack of self-esteem
  • Low self-confidence
  • High stress levels

Several of my tribe use most of the techniques we practice find that tension in their body reduces considerably. Headaches are reduced and that they believe it aids coping with day to day lives in this busy world. Significantly it helps them to focus on the present rather than rushing furiously into the future or getting caught up in the past.   They keep all these excercises and techniques in their Tookbox/Bag.

Customise your Tool Box

Customise your Tool Box – Bag

Undertaking practice on a regular basis can enable individuals to take further control over their lives and ultimately find time to have more FUN.  In fact just 5/10 minutes essential relaxation included into your daily life will help you greatly and 5/10 minutes a day is far better that 1 hour a week. The daily habit begins to embed into the brain and becomes part of your routine  –  Relaxation is the first key to emotional well-being and helps reduce stress and other ailments once you can learn to relax effectively then Focused Relaxation, Mindfulness & Meditation will be the next stages.

Brain Spam/Mad Monkeys

One of the biggest distractions of learning to relax is the millions of thoughts that come hurtling through the brain.  Buddhists describe the mind as: ‘the mad monkey’ and that relaxation and meditation is a way of training that monkey.

Tame the little buggers!

Tame the little buggers!

Because when we are at the beginning of undertaking our relaxation practice, we are leaping from one thought to another just like the monkey jumping from tree to tree with no purpose, planning, we are illogical, erratic and irrational.   However, if you use the monkey as an analogy for your attention then you can begin to train your attention gently to focus on breathing, subtle feelings, symbols or images and thus cut down the times you leap from tree to tree until you become proficient in just focusing on relaxation

Lets start with DAY 1 – Practial Relaxation

 PUT THE LAPTOP DOWN!

PUT THE LAPTOP DOWN! Let Go of Social Media for 10 Minutes

Have a Practice  this one I have used for years; similar can also be found at; Quick, on-the-spot relaxation:

  1. Sit up and back in your chair so that you feel firmly rooted, legs slightly apart, feet flat on the floor. back straight, this keeps you energy flowing
  2. While you take a deep breath, letting it out slowly and drop your shoulders. Close your eyes if it helps. Focus on your breathing. Breathe in slowly to a count of three or four – hold for a count of three – breathe for a count of three or four – pause for a count of three. Repeat at your own even, comfortable rhythm.  It can help to imagine yourself relaxing more each time you breathe in and the tensions flowing away with every out breath.
  3. Next, slowly tense, hold, and release the main muscle groups, working up through your body. Start with toes and feet; tense as much as possible, hold and release. Move on to legs and thighs, stomach and torso, in the same way.  Paying particular attention to your back and shoulders, this is where we hold a lot of tension.  Then work on your fingers hands and arms..  If you are brave enough, screw up the muscles of your face and neck and slowly release.
  4. Return to focusing on your natural breathing and check your body for any remaining tension just like a slow bar-code machine.
  5. Finally, check your seating position, drop your shoulders again, and place your hands comfortably on your upper legs and concentrate on the sensation of warmth as it flows out through your hands.

The Payoff

Everyone is aware that research shows that most people use Social Media for a minimum of 45 minutes a day, TV much longer, are you worth just 10 minutes. Should it be a contest or should you put yourself first? #JustSayin

Check out Tiny Buddha for more Self-Care ideas

Learning to use relaxation as a Self-Care tool in this way can be invaluable if you get anxious in public places and need to sit somewhere to compose yourself . Use it at work when you feel overwhelmed, it is well worth the 5 minutes to put your pen down or leave the computer and completely erase the scrambled thoughts from your brain! (some of my tribe go off to the loo to relax for a few minutes to get away from the distractions.). Can Social Media do this for you?

Give Mindful Relaxation a go, with practice you will embed it and use it as a tool from your toolbox/bag.

Day 2 tomorrow….Watch out for it…..

Diva x

 

 

Banish “BRAIN FOG” : Gain WELLNESS

“Brain Fog” vs.” Wellness”

“Brain-Fog” appeared on my radar 12 months ago.  I was aware something had triggered my condition and had put it down to the Post-Concussion Syndrome I had acquired after my accident last June where I had 17 staples in my head…..but it was going on too long. So what next…..?  The Full Version

I ploughed through my lengthy repertoire of what could be causing it…..was it my SAD which attacks me every year but I have strategies for that….was it my diet…..ok that can always do with a check over…….was it I was under-challenged and needed a new undertaking….?

Nothing was making sense….so time-out? I took a break. I returned as tired and washed-out. All I wanted/needed was to sleep, would drop off any time but not at bedtime! Stare at the distance and do nada! My short term memory was none existent.  I would be in the middle of a conversation and totally forget what we/I was talking about…..I would lose my train of thought and go off into Diva world.

  Diva 'Brain Fog' World

Diva ‘Brain Fog’ World

This needed sorting – the medical model of care could not find the cause…it’s Easy to point the finger at getting older – NO! I knew it wasn’t that, Brain Fog was real.

My Symptoms included:

  1. Muscular pain
  2. Joint pain
  3. Poor short-term memory and concentration, and difficulty organising thoughts and finding the right words (“brain fog”) WOW my words….!
  4. Bloating/constipation/diarrhoea (yes….you really wanted to know that!)
  5. Sleeping problems, such as insomnia and feeling that sleep isn’t    refreshing
  6. Sensitivity or intolerance to light, loud noise, alcohol and certain foods
  7. Psychological difficulties, such as bouts of depression/irritability

So, what do you do when you need to reflect on ‘self’……run! No, you recognise you need a bit of support/help and ask for it.  But what sort of help or support? It is different for everyone…..but you know deep down.

I decided to do what I usually do and take a few mindful minutes to meditate on the challenge. I had been meditating on it but was getting nothing. So one time I just asked “who/what do I need”…..simple. I just left it to the universe to chuck the answer/s at me.

Coming back from one meditation after a lovely visualisation but no eureka moment I was p****d off.  Went for a stomp (Diva Style).  Yes, the alter ego gets in the way lol!  During the stomp, a name came to me. An old colleague who gave up teaching many years ago to become a Homeopath……stomping stopped. Got an answer; thank you Universe.

Later that day I was pulling a book off my shelves and spotted one I had forgotten……’Brain-Fog Fix’ by Mike Dow.  Universe strikes 2.  Ok! Getting it now…..I have to ‘Do the Doing’ don’t we all?   Dipping into Mike Dows’ book, what I was reading made sense, however, I needed to get to the core.  So contacted my Homeopath…..and arranged a visit – it paid off! The first visit yes very low energy and several intolerances……worked on those; had to be focused.  The second visit still very low energy, intolerances shifted but energy levels a concern. Third, visit energy up by 20% better than it was.

Planning the way forward

After further discussion and testing, it appeared that I was being challenged by a moderate level of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)/ME which causes persistent fatigue (exhaustion).  It affects everyday life and doesn’t go away with sleep or rest. I had a list of symptoms to consider as well as the fatigue.  Several were a match with mine:

My Plan:

  • Small, simple things like sitting out in the sunshine (wrapped up at the moment) coz vitamin D is crucial to wellbeing…..when suns out.
  • Watch carbohydrate intake – need some but not overload
  • Eliminate any junk/processed foods (not a big deal for me!)
  • Meditation – (Research show that there is a connection between mood disorders like anxiety/trauma/depression and other emotional problems and that regular Meditation can help alleviate symptoms
  • Massage – I have booked a monthly Indian Head Massage with Colleen Budge – this can help stimulate the Vagus Nerve (Every organ in your body is connected to the vagus nerve, so there’s little wonder that stimulating your vagus nerve helps relieve fatigue, anxiety, brain fog and more. The vagus nerve is important to your sense of intuition, or your ‘gut sense’ which can help you to pay attention to tiny but important details that help you make good decisions.)
  • Gentle exercise – for me it’s walking
  • Water – to drink more
  • Mindful Breathing techniques – Helps to slow things down and help reduce anxiety/panic/anger/irritability/impatience
  • Pacing – involves balancing periods of activity with periods of rest, not overdoing it or pushing yourself beyond your limits. If you do more than you are ready to, this could slow down your progress in the long term.
  • Laughter & Happiness – can release the right chemicals in your body that help produce a sense of well-being.

The Future and YOU!

Although I recognise this will need to be ongoing and that the CFS will not disappear I do have much better days than I did.   I continue to see my Homeopath every eight weeks at present and would say that PACING is the most important for me as doing too much sets me right back.

Therefore, how about you? Is it time to reflect on your wellness? Do you need to make a few changes?  In my experience, just like me, many of my clients/students deny the truth to themselves about Self-Care. Why?

Seven ‘R’s’ of Wellness

     Wellness Brain

Wellness Brain

Therefore a quick and simple checklist to consider; embed into your life?

  • Relaxation – Do something good for you/Schedule worry time/Schedule time out/undertake real relaxation
  • Responsibility – Remember you are in control/Establish your priorities first/Say No more frequently
  • Reflection – Know your stress triggers/Be aware of your stress symptoms/Check your balance in life
  • Relationships – Maintain supportive relationships/manage your relationships/improve your relationship with yourself/remove those relationships that are toxic
  • Roles – Be aware of taking on roles you no longer need to/Become a positive role model for other by walking your talk
  • Refueling – Monitor your diet/ditch processed foods/eat mindfully/drink lots of water
  • Recreation – Laugh more/Smile more/Have fun/Enjoy Life

I am sure most of you reading this are doing many of the points here but if, not have a go, you have nothing to lose.

Until next time

Diva x

 

 

Mindful Monday – Gently emerge into the New Week

Mindful Gentleness works wonders…..

Oh, how the weekend appears to flash by and then we return to Monday. Mindfulness goes out of your brain, for many of you the school holidays have started and the pressure is on to entertain the children regardless of age.

This is the time you are continually spinning plates with all you need to do. Therefore NOW schedule some techniques or exercises you can do just for you – ones you can slip into quickly that will give you an energy boost.

How Many do You Spin at a Time?

How Many do You Spin at a Time?

My gift to you today is three you can take and use – just enjoy.  Once you practice them, they embed and become part of your repertoire of routines you regularly use.

A quick tension release especially when you are sitting for a long time at a desk/on a plane/in conferences/with the in-laws/ boring lunches or at any time you notice you are tense.

To relieve tension in the body have a quick go at this, it’s wonderful just to stay in the moment with it:

 Mindful Foot flexing.

One of the most disregarded parts of the body – how often do you acknowledge them?  They get abused something rotten – give them a pamper once in a while – and talk nicely to your toes, without whom you would topple over!

Say HELLO to your Feet and Toes!

Say HELLO to your Feet and Toes!

Sit down with your legs outstretched.

  • As you breathe in slowly, tense the muscles of your feet as tightly as you can;
  • Hold the tension as you pause your breath;
  • As you breathe out, slowly let the tension go
  • Feel the relaxation spread up your legs
  • Mindfully notice how this feeling moves throughout your whole body.

Do this 5/10 times….it’s great for circulation if you have been sitting for a while.

Quiet Space

      Tranquillity

Tranquillity

  1. Choose a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted.
  2. Before you start, do a few gentle stretching exercises to relieve muscular tension.
  3. Make yourself comfortable, either sitting or lying down, remember you need a straight spine
  4. Start to breathe slowly and deeply, in a calm and effortless way. Notice the breath in and out and the pauses between each
  5. Gently slowly tense, each part of your body on the in breath and then relax on the out breath, starting with your feet and working your way up to your face and head.
  1. As you focus on each area, think of warmth, heaviness, and relaxation.
  2. Push any distracting thoughts to the back of your mind; imagine them floating away.
  3. Don’t try to relax; simply let go of the tension in your muscles and allow them to become relaxed.
  4. Let your racing thoughts go. Some people find it helpful to visualise a calm, beautiful place such as a beach; garden; meadow; hilltop.
  5. Stay like this for about 5/10 minutes, then take some deep breaths and open your eyes, but stay sitting or lying for a few moments before you get up.

Remember, your thoughts will come in and out, let them go but make a note of what distracts your practice when you have finished as often you will need to address them – keep your records

Mindful Visualisation and Music

Why Visualisation you may ask…well you may remember as a kid you would daydream.  You would imagine, at a physical level when playing games like film hero’s/heroines; have superpowers; or just lie in the sun and let your thoughts dwindles and your imagination come to the fore.

Remember that space where you could escape from the day to day stuff that crowded in on you. I used to drape a tarpaulin over the washing line and make a sort of tent with is and sit under it in the rain….I was in a rain forest and could just listen to the sounds the water main as it hit the tent…I knew I was safe and warm.

For you,  just take 5 minutes and absorb the scene and music……..HERE!

See, you can do it….lovely was it? I have more to come.

Now that’s all for today – just a bit of good old Diva Spirituality for all my hardworking entrepreneurs out there….just Chill for a bit.

Until next time

Diva x

 

 

Don’t try to belly breathe in an under-wire bra

‘Don’t try to belly breathe wearing an under-wire bra’

This was a top tip from one of my students a few years ago.  Absolutely right, the air won’t get past the chest as the underwire stops it.  Therefore soft-cups peeps when you practice.

Never ever when Belly Breathing!

Never ever when Belly Breathing!

So, why air this top tip today?  Some of you may wonder what on earth my musings are about and that they seem a bit random. Let me enlighten you; each of my Blogs has an underlying message it’s down to you to decode it…the more enlightened you are the more you decode…. Simples.

Those of you who spotted the washing machine know what I’m on about.  But, today I will make it stress-free and easy-going and offer a little confab about ‘Belly Breathing’.

This particular Blog is totally lifted from my up and coming book. If you are interested in Mindful Breathing this is a great way to start.

The breath is the most important technique to practice; although we breathe all the time we often don’t do it properly. Therefore, to get started keep it simple.  To begin with, it’s all about the Breath, the posture, and a quiet place so you won’t be disturbed and then you move towards your centre/zone.  The magic is about to begin…

Choose a quiet space that you can customize for yourself – it can be as simple as a chair and a little space. Somewhere you can feel comfortable – turn off all distractions and get ready.

Start with sitting in a chair, keeping the back straight so your energy can flow and your feet uncrossed flat on the floor. Just notice how the chair supports you and where you feel the pressure.

Your Nose is Key

Next, breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Begin to watch where the breath goes – it should go up the nose, down the throat into the lungs, then into the belly at which point the belly should inflate like a balloon – however when most people breathe in they seem to pull everything in. Just pay attention to the breath as it enters the body – the tip of your nose is a good starting point.

Tip of your nose is a great anchor to bring you back to your breath

Tip of your nose is a great anchor to bring you back to your breath

A couple of great tips.

  • Watch babies breathing and see how the belly inflates on the breath in and deflates as the breath moves out.
  • Now lie on a bed and as you breathe in notice how your belly rises and falls. None of this pulling it in malarky.

It takes a bit of practice, but you will get it and start breathing properly again — one warning though if you breathe too deeply, to begin with, you may feel lightheaded so just go back to a more gentle breath.

Just practice noticing the in and out flow of each breath and then notice the slight pause in between the in’s and the out. All you are doing is mindfully being aware of your breathing and your pauses.

Check out this visual aid

Here’s a quick little exercise to get you motivated

The following simple exercise is an effective method for achieving a mindful state. Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed and practice the following exercise twice for several minutes each day: Find a comfortable sitting posture or lie on your back. I advocate sitting in a chair as this can be done most places anytime anywhere.

  • If you’re sitting, keep the spine straight and let your shoulders drop –relax your body checking for any tensions- try to let it go.
  • Close your eyes if it feels comfortable (less distraction)
  • Focus your attention on your tummy, feeling it rise or expand gently as you breathe in and fall as you breathe out.
  • Concentrate on your breathing, ‘being with’ each breath count 1 when you breathe in, and 2 when you breathe out – up to 10 then start again. If you forget, go back to Breathe in for 1 and out for two keep these going for 3 minutes.

Every time you notice your mind has wandered off the breath, then your job is simply to bring your attention gently back to your breathing and the feeling of the breath coming in and out.

Practice – (just like cleaning your teeth it will become habit)

Practice this exercise for 3/5 minutes at a convenient time twice every day, whether you feel like it or not, for one week – and see how it feels to incorporate relaxation practice into your life – Try to do it at the same time each day, so it becomes a habit.

Be aware of how it feels to spend time each day just being with your breath, being ‘in the moment’ without having to do anything

Write down the things that distract you from your breathing practice and share them with someone.you can do this anyway this suits you; book; computer; verbally into your phone;  But, keep a timeline so you can see you progression you will be amazed and your growth.  Many of my tribe keep some sort of journal/diary those that don’t often forget chunks of their journey.

Use the best method of recording for you.

Use the best method of recording for you.

Remember that you won’t get it right all of the time and that’s great as no one is perfect.  With practice you will develop – Olympic Champions had to practice for many years before achieving their medals.

Start slowly and build your foundations

These are my Building Foundations

These are my Building Foundations

With basic mindfulness breathing, you want to try to increase to 5/10 minutes daily, to begin with, this will help you greatly. However if you  undertake all your daily tasks mindfully when you remember you are increasing the mindful habit incredibly.

Mindful breathing is the key to emotional well-being and helps reduce stress and other ailments. Remember you are looking to achieve a state of relaxed body and alert mind.

Keep checking breathing   – In through nose out through mouth; what happens to your diaphragm?  Remember to look at your posture and check out where tension is, breathe into it and release.

Although this exercise may sound very simple, it’s not.  To begin with, it requires time and commitment. Peeps often want to learn to meditate straight away without learning the basic building blocks.  THERE IS NO QUICK FIX – yes I was shouting at you!

As a result of practice, step by step the breath builds into great habits.  You become Mindfulness and Mindfulness is You….its Yin & Yang – complete balance.

     Life/Work Balance

Life/Work Balance

Further Top tips from students:

  • “It is very useful to make notes on your progress, a journal/diary maybe.” “Preparation is KEY.”
  • “Any breathing technique is useful ….I love them all. I use belly breathing throughout the day. I also find flexing my hands or feet on the in breath and relaxing them on the out breath is a good way of clearing the mind in order to get back to sleep. (J.E. 2016)
  • “Breathing and counting, you can’t panic about work and count” (V.W. 2016)

Until next time, happy breathing.

 

Diva x