Over the past two months, I have been working with a holistic healer to help regain my period back.
As part of my healing journey we have shifted our focus on three aspects of mindfulness which I will be sharing in ‘episodes’ with you over the month of January – starting with BREATH.
Let’s dive in…
Firstly it’s important to note that mindful moments have been shown in studies to aid in a more positive emotional outlook, improved memory and cognition, improved self regulation and different relationship with pain and discomfort …in the physical it also decreases unnecessary inflammation (thereby helping with tissue healing) and improves gut function both of which contribute negatively to feelings of anxiety and overwhelm. Mindful moments also help you to access release and be able to gain objective view of what life presents to us.
We need to work through physical body awareness and really feel, hear and sense breathe moving in and out of your body.
Follow it all along its path from nostrils to diaphragm and expanding abdomen and then back. Merely note the sensations, do not form associations or judgments (positive or negative) but merely note as an observer. Remember that mindfulness practice is about actively and consciously being in a space of receiving input through your senses, in the present moment. It is about looking, hearing and noting what is received through the senses without processing it.
It is about accessing the place of active, conscious observer and releasing the role of “processor”. In so doing your brain changes neuroplastically and forms a scaffold to be able to shift points of attention with greater ease, access calm and contentment with greater ease, gain objectivity with greater ease and allow chosen actions rather than reactivity which may not reflect your true choices.
The best place to start is to:
- Choose 2 or 3 reminders for having mindful moments – e.g.. wash hand moments, each time you brush your teeth, the first few minutes of each shower, the first bite of every meal, whenever you need to wait in a queue or for a bus or for someone to answer a call, whenever you feel challenging social interactions occurring, while exercising, whenever your emotions feel like they are forming a downward spiral. Reflect on this exploration with journaling if you feel comfortable to do so.
- Form a visual of a “holding area” such as a box or other container to use for thoughts or emotions that are not adding to a particular moment or that you do not choose to work with at a particular moment. If you notice intrusive thoughts during activity or a mindful moment or while you are trying to sleep – then thank them for coming up as they are part of you…but inwardly express that you do not choose to work with them at that time…visualise gently pushing them to the “holding area” and express that you trust that they will come up again at a more opportune time if necessary. If the thoughts or emotions come up again then simply return them to the holding area. Note very carefully thoughts and questions which you do not have enough information to answer at a given time, perhaps because time still needs to pass to reach the moment in question, and push these aside as such questions that are not possible to answer only cause worry and excess burden. Express the trust that they will come up again when you have more information and ability to address them. Remember the “what if” questions we discussed and working with these actively by placing them in the holding space until more information is gained to feel empowered in engaging with these questions. Do this without contaminating emotions such as irritation, regret, desiring something other than…and without self-judgment. Allow each time that you move the thought/emotion aside to feel like the first time so that there is not built up layers of unnecessary emotions.
Experiment actively with using mindful moments and conscious breathing to create the “reboot” moments. To “close all the open windows on your mind’s computer screen” so that you are able to then choose which windows to open. So that you decrease the overwhelm and cycling negative thoughts and distressing questions. Also to aim to decrease the negative emotions of self doubt and anxiety.
Use mindful breathing/conscious breathing throughout the day as often as you remember to, we often forget to breath.
Studies show that over 80% of people stop breathing when checking e-mails or being on social media. This is not good for balance in your systems as the blood then becomes acidic to stimulate breathing again, this increases anxiety and imbalance.
Breathe, breathe, breathe as much and as consciously as possible.
The breaths should be calm, comfortable and unforced.
Allow release and flow by consciously focusing on the path of air.
Exhalation is the most important for stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system (rest, regenerate, digest and connect part of the autonomic nervous system). Breathe in for 6 counts, hold for 1-2 counts and exhale for 8 counts.
Also work with visualising yourself as healthy and whole. Truly feel this place in your visualisation.
Push aside any intrusive emotions or thoughts into your holding area and sit in this visualisation to allow your body and mind to remember what this state feels like so that they can tend towards it. There is shifting and rebalancing that I feel happens physically in experiencing the visualisation as your mind does not know the difference between “imagined” or “real” at a given moment.
Do this morning and evening as comfortable.
I hope you will find value in today’s thoughts and suggestions, until next week where we will discus mindfulness in the way we eat.