Life tends to rush past in a blur as we juggle work, families, friendships, exercise and a myriad of other ‘things’ which make up the mainstay of our day to day lives. Sometimes, we don’t even have time for the things we love to do, as we’re so busy actioning everything that ‘has’ to be done.
Taking time out for yourself is essential to your own wellbeing. Time to assess your personal strengths, those things you’re fiercely good at and proud of, the things which make your heart sing helps to start building a different, more positive relationship with yourself. It can be hard to assess your strengths, especially in tumultuous times such as now, when the world can seem like its upside down and challenges seem to be more frequent than not. But think back to the last time your boss or your client praised you. What was it for? Did they comment on your incredible organisational ability? Your team spirit? Your thoughtfulness? How about if you think about how your family and friends view you. Are you the determined one? The caring member of your tribe?
Unless you take the time to be Mindful and reflect on your strengths, it’s easy to overlook them. When we’re in a constant state of busyness, our bodies and minds can feel overwhelmed and enter into a permanent state of ‘fight or flight’ mode which scientifically impairs us from focusing clearly, or in this case, being able to analyse our own relationship with ourselves. Mindfulness – whether it’s a quiet 5 minutes relaxing in the bath, an uninterrupted car journey or a breather at your desk allows you to reground yourself and embrace simply being ‘you.’ It permits you to reflect on those positive gems of praise, of self-pride or of acceptance and build upon them, creating a far stronger self-perception that can be achieved otherwise.
In the month of St Valentine – symbolising love, I challenge everyone to ignite joy by doing the things you love. The activities which make you feel great, the people who make you smile – it’s about taking time to be Mindful, to be selective in prioritising the current moment. The more you practice invoking a state of wellbeing, the more your body and mind will become accustomed to making this a part of your daily life in your thoughts, actions and behaviours. Happiness is a state of mind which simply needs to be found, buried in the overwhelm of daily life and by tapping into it and connecting us to our innate thoughts, we’re creating the ideal culture for a happier, more loving state of mind.
As a ‘Personal Trainer for the Mind’ I help clients to reset and rewire their brains with Mindfulness and meditation. Our brains have an amazing capacity to form new pathways and change how they are wired – we simply have to know how and practice, practice, practice! Try these three easy ways to provide yourself with some Valentine’s Day self-care and nurturing:
1. A short guided 3-minute meditation – perfect for those moments where you’re feeling overwhelmed and ‘too busy’ to focus on yourself. Bring your focus back to the present and appreciation who you are.
2. Move from thinking into sensing. Feel what’s going on around you and what you’re experiencing – what can you smell? Who is around you? What is your breathing doing? Every time you feel your mind wander, bring it back to just feeling your environment and accept your experiences for what they are. Be kind to yourself as you accept your own attributes without judgement.
3. If you’re finding a situation challenging and it’s invoking negative thoughts or emotions, try to understand what you’re feeling. Be curious as to why, how this feeling is negatively affecting you and how it’s making you want to respond. Choose how you react to this situation thanks to the advantage you’ve provided yourself in being Mindful.
Regular practice of Mindfulness will allow you to tap into the source of happiness within you. It’s different for each and every one of us but knowing how to access it can be a powerful tool for life at work and at home.