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  • A Challenge

    10 Day Recipe for less stress, less rumination, less negative self talk, less reactivity and more inner peace and joy.

    Stress, rumination and negativity are mostly just bad habits, with awareness and the right ingredients these habits can be changed.

    All you need is intention, the right ingredients and a bit of practice for 10 days!

    There is no cost, no risk and no pressure! You only have to make one promise; When one day you don’t live up to your intentions for the programme, then you don’t conclude anything about yourself but simply say: ‘This is what happens whenever we humans are making change. I noticed the slip and now I am back on.’

    Here are the ingredients:

    Exercise

    If you are not exercising then start! Aim is at least half an hour a day. Exercise is step number one when it comes to dealing with our mood, depression and stress. I recommend that you decide to do it every day otherwise it easily slips. Go for a brisk walk in the morning perhaps mixed with gentle running. And if you don’t do it one morning don’t let your mind tell you that it is all over, rather know that it is part of making any change. Part of the change process is reverting back to old habits – temporarily.

    Fish Oil

    Recent study in New Zealand revealed that fish oil was more effective than Prozac when it came to reducing symptoms of depression. Fish oil worked in reducing symptoms of depression for 57% and Prozac for 51% of people. Start to take Fish oil every day.

    Permission to reduce workload

    Decide on max three or four things that you have to do for the day. If you do more that is fine, but you can feel good after the three rather than lousy after 7!

    Sleep

    Ensure that you get good quality sleep.

    The Harvard Women’s Health Watch reasons to get enough sleep:

    1. Learning and memory: Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory through a process called memory consolidation. In studies, people who’d slept after learning a task did better on tests later.
    1. Metabolism and weight: Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates, and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite.
    1. Mood: Sleep loss may result in irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness. Too little sleep can also leave you too tired to do the things you like to do.
    1. Cardiovascular health: Serious sleep disorders have been linked to hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, and irregular heartbeat.
    1. Disease: Sleep deprivation alters immune function, including the activity of the body’s killer cells. Keeping up with sleep may also help fight cancer.

    If you have trouble falling asleep or have a tendency to wake up in the middle of the night due to the busy mind, then practice body awareness in bed. Simply interrupt the mind by being present in the body or present with the breath. Checking in with the body from the perspective of the body; asking what is the body sensing? As soon as you notice thoughts arise again, bring the attention back to the body. Go on a body wander, an exploration of sensations in every corner of your body. Hold the exploration in curiosity, acceptance, kindness, presence and non-judging.

    Generate Kindness and compassion for yourself and others

    ‘My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.’ – Dalai Lama

    Generously splash Kindness onto self and others. Kindness and compassion are the best soothers for our tendency to be reactive. Set an intention of giving kindness to at least one person a day. Check in with yourself to see how kind your interior is at least 5 times a day. If it is not kind, then take a breath and invite in ‘Kindness’. You can do this by bringing to mind the person you think is most kind or an experience of kindness that you have had. Sit with the feeling of kindness and feel it in your body.

    Attention

    Regularly check in with where your attention is, what are you shining your torch on? Is the attention focused on problems, the negative, self or the inner critic. Are you the centre of the universe in your own head? Because that is pretty much a recipe for disaster. Need for a quick shift and expand the focus to others. Sometimes when we are really stuck in the soup of self indulgent muck we need some intense exercise to ‘snap’ us out of it. You might turn on the music and dance, or run, or skip, whatever works for you. Good news is that once you are aware you can shift the focus.

    Gratitude

    A good way to generate more positive thoughts, general wellbeing and optimism is to start cultivating gratitude. Check out the most wonderful clip on You Tube here. Watch it every day for 10 days and see what happens. You can also start to say grace before a meal. Consider before one meal each day what has been involved in producing this meal.

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