mindfulness

Mindfulness – How to Shine a light

I have always tried to include an element of mindfulness into my therapy practice. It is a useful tool when working with clients who suffer from anxiety, which can include but not limited to; worrying thoughts, feel overwhelmed and pressured to do things outside of their comfort zone. 

You may have heard about mindfulness but what does it actually mean?

Mindfulness is making the conscious effort to include techniques such as pausing and a form of meditation that helps to build your awareness to yourself, your body and your environment. It involves an attempt to be truly present by stripping away all the noise that covers up your core. 

Kim Davies Pause 50 instant exercises to promote balance and focus every day

Within the book there are 10 ways pausing can help you, but for me what stood out was wanting to achieve a feeling of being calm, less reactive and stressed. 

Your reasons may be different or a combination of the 10 Reasons Kim Davies has highlighted in her book.

01 How to Shine a light

This technique is similar to what is used within counselling to help someone who may be anxious, is feeling panicked, overwhelmed and finding it difficult to be calm.

It knows as the 5,4,3,2,1 method for grounding. It helps you to distract from the thousands of rushing thoughts in your mind.

Taking a deep breath in and out at all times during this method.

I will now go through the method:

5 – What are the five things you can see? You can say them out loud or in your mind. 

I can see a candle burning, my fireplace, TV, Flooring, a Wall Clock.

4 – What are the four things you can hear?

I can hear Two people talking, muffled sounds of possible radio, cars driving by and a Clock ticking.

3 – What are Three things you can feel? You can move or reach for different objects.

The sofa I am sat on has soft upholstery, the pillow I am leaning on has rough pattern on it, my own hands are cold.

2 – Notice two things you can smell. 

This might be harder; I can smell the scent of my candle that is burning. It has a sweet undertone to it but not overpowering and another oil base in the candle and I can smell blueberry. 

1 – Notice one thing you can taste. 

I just ate dinner so I can taste sewai aka seviyaan which is a sweet dish, made of vermicelli, sugar and milk. If you can’t taste anything you can take a sip of cold water and just bring your attention to it. 

image from clipart.com

By engaging my 5 senses I am able to become present in the moment. It helped me by clearing my mind of the inner chatter. It is something that I will attempt to do more often as I found that it just brought my attention to where I am within the room.

If you are struggling with some of the tasks such as smell or touch maybe move about the room don’t limit yourself to one spot. 

How do you feel about including this technique into your daily life? Leave a comment below to let me know how you got on.

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Mindfulness – When can I find the time?!

Sometimes trying to find a balance between focusing on our everyday tasks and finding time for ourselves can be difficult. In all of the chores, work commitments and other mental checklists we tend to forget to pause and we end up putting our own needs on the back burner. 

This can result in us feeling overwhelmed, rushing from one task to the next, never finding a moment to relax. If we do, we feel guilty that we are not productive enough. 

I myself find it difficult at times to switch off and just be present in the moment. If it’s not rushing around trying to get the odd jobs done, its more about what have I done that I can class as being productive. 

The pressure we can put on ourselves can result in us feeling burnt out. It becomes a vicious cycle of irritation, moodiness and unfulfilled feeling that we should be doing better. 

We all have heard of the benefits of mindfulness, even I have purchased Pause by Kim Davies which provides 50 instant exercises to promote balance and focus every day. But to actually find the willpower to sit down and start is another thing that I struggle with.

Browsing the Works store, first what attracted me to the book was the bright colours and the word PAUSE in bold. “I need to pause.” I remember thinking to myself. “I need to find some Me time.”

You would think a stay at home mum, part time volunteer and qualified counsellor attempting to start my own private practice, would in fact have plenty time to pause. But I felt like I was wasting my time. If I sat down to do nothing, if I didn’t achieve that mental check list then I was failing somehow.

I myself feel that doing daily chores such as cleaning, washing up, laundry and weekly shops are unpaid, thankless, and let’s face it things we have to do to live jobs. But what about feeding our soul? Who am I?

So, I picked up the book and paid for it, brought it home and then placed it on my desk. “I will get to it”. I kept telling myself. Then I decided to renovate my downstairs which meant that even if had wanted to, I couldn’t surely find 10 minutes to do some mindfulness exercises. The house is a mess like someone had just picked it up given it a good shake and set it down. When I wasn’t doing the redecorating, organising and cleaning I was just too exhausted.

So now all the work is done, I say all but who am I kidding. Most of it is done. I want to try to find some inner calmness. 

Each day I will try to find time to do one of the instant exercises within this book. I will share the technique and how easily they can actually be integrated into every-day life. I am committed now to this, because truth is you need to practice what you preach. As a counsellor I always encourage my clients to carve out some time for themselves. Where they can be relax and reconnect with who they are.

I plan to reconnect with my surroundings, be present in the moment and try and find some inner peace which can be difficult to achieve in the busy lives lead. Will you come on this journey with me?