Mind full or Mindful? How you can regain control of your life

sunset 2As you guys will have gathered from my posts, I’m a pretty busy person. I work two jobs now, but it was four not long ago, and I have been constantly busy either at car boot sales, with friends and family, blogging and planning my travels along with anything else I can cram in. Ever since booking my flights, I feel like time is running out faster and faster, and yet I still have so much to do – so much to prepare for travelling, and so many people to spend time with before I go. I’m not quite at panic mode yet, but I’m definitely feeling the effects of going full pelt all the time. Luckily, I’m quite good with managing my time, and I am Little Miss Organised, to the extent that my friends call me “Monica Gellar” from Friends. But that doesn’t take away the fact that you are constantly on the go with no real time to spend reflecting and unwinding. I guess I’ve kind of postponed that until next year when I know I will have a lot of time on my hands to relax.

At least, I had postponed it until a blogger friend of mine sent me some details about an NHS Wellbeing Service that works in the area and is holding a series of free taster workshops for those who are busy and stressed out, and are in need of time to unwind. Well it sounded perfect for me and knowing how many others are, like me, in a situation where they have to give 150% every single day with no let up, I thought it only right to share these Mindfulness workshops with you guys. So what is Mindfulness all about? And how will it help us to feel more in control of our life?

Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to the present moment by using meditation, yoga and breathing techniques.

It involves consciously bringing awareness to our thoughts and feelings, without making judgements about them.

By paying attention to our thoughts and feelings in this way, we can become more aware of them, less wrapped up in them and more able to manage them.

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Remember my post from the start of the year about when life became a bit too much? Well we’ve all felt that way at one point or another, and it is how we deal with these times that often defines the type of person we are. Some shy away from the problem, push away family and friends and bury their heads in the sand. And others take a break from the situation, give themselves a chance to rest and put things in perspective, them make a decision about where they want their life to go. These are the more mindful in society, and according to research they are the ones who are less likely to suffer from psychological distress, including depression and anxiety. Basically ,I think the message is that problems don’t just go away if you ignore them – I’m sure we all know someone who likes to avoid their problems, perhaps by just not talking to a loved one after a fight, but it always catches up with them eventually.

By using the Mindfulness techniques suggested, you can help yourself to keep your problems in perspective, to keep control of your decisions rather than being forced into panic or impulsive decisions. So it seems that as well as helping you to chill out and get a moment’s peace to reorganise your mind, you also have the chance to save yourself from worsening the situation by not rushing into making the wrong move. There are three main techniques for introducing Mindfulness into everyday life:

  1. Observe Mindfully by taking mental notes of everything around you, indulge your five senses by thinking about what you can see, hear, smell, taste and touch. Every day, make the effort to notice and appreciate an object of beauty, whether it is your child, your car or a natural wonder. It only takes a few minutes a day, but can make all the difference to your overall happiness.
  2. Walk Mindfully when taking your daily walk to work, or around the park at lunchtime. Give yourself 10-15 minutes to focus purely on the movements of your body and the feeling of walking, giving your mind a chance to clear of all the stresses and worries of the day. Plus some fresh air is great for you.
  3. Eat Mindfully when scoffing a piece of fruit, chocolate, or even a bowl of soup. Take in every detail of the food you are eating, the colour, shape and size, the feel of it in your mouth and the flavours. So many of us just grab a sandwich while continuing to work through our lunch breaks and it is really bad for our health. We need this time to enjoy our food and to have a break from working.

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All of these are so simple and can really make a difference to your day – trust me, I’ve spent the last week trying them all out and it really has helped me to see how trivial work, money and personal stresses really are in the grand scheme of things. It really makes you appreciate the things your body does on a daily basis – the things we are usually completely oblivious to because we are so caught up in everything else. Not only does it make us appreciate ourselves more, but we appreciate others more because we take the time to take in every detail, to share food with them and to really listen. For those who have more time to dedicate to the practice, meditation, yoga and Tai Chi are also great ways of taking the time to to take a deep breath, relax and be mindful. I used to love yoga and used to do it at home alongside pilates classes, but I just don’t have the time any more unfortunately. But I would really recommend it if life is getting on top of you and you want a way of both relaxing and exercising at the same time. I’m definitely planning on a lot more time spent on all three next year when travelling.

If you like the sound of these techniques – why not give some of them a try this week and see the difference they make to your day? For those living in Norfolk and Suffolk, there are a series of tfree aster sessions and stress-control workshops available, plus telephone support (0300 123 1503), group therapy and short-term one-to-one therapies. Find out more about all of these here. For my local readers, there are upcoming free Mindfulness Introduction workshops taking place in Attleborough, Norwich, Lynn and Cromer this month, with a Lynn session at Providence Street Youth Centre on Monday, October 20, at 6.30pm-8pm.

Do you struggle to keep on top of things? How did you find these techniques helped your daily life?

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10 thoughts on “Mind full or Mindful? How you can regain control of your life

  1. I love the practice of mindfulness.

    I learnt of it may years ago and used it to rid myself of negative thinking and behaviour. Someone once said to me that if you don’t control your mind then it will control you and how true.

    I’m so glad you discovered it – I obviously need to do more of it. I’m so excited for you that you’re going travelling, don’t get so busy during that you miss out on all of those wonderful moments.

    Will you be blogging during it?

    1. I’m so glad to know someone who has actively used it for years – completely agree with you. So important to keep on top of how we feel and think or so easily you can be consumed by it, so easy to let things build up in your mind. Just a few of these small tips applied on a daily basis can help give you head a chance to breathe and gain some perspective 🙂
      Thanks so much 😀 me too – I can’t wait now! I will definitely be blogging along the way and I’m certainly looking forward to some real peace and calm. It will be good to finally have time to appreciate all the amazing things I get the chance to do – so often at the moment I feel like I flit from one thing to another, without really getting a chance to enjoy the experience. It will be lovely to be able to reflect 🙂 You should definitely try to do more of these techniques, it sounds like you could do with them lately – I’m trying to incorporate them into my daily life and they really have made a difference 🙂 Do you do any yoga or meditation?

    1. Thanks hun 🙂 glad you like it! I’m sure if there aren’t the NHS services there will be plenty of Tai Chi, yoga and meditation classes for you to try – the great thing is you can even get apps on your phone that will guide you if you can’t find any of the classes – I used to used a great free yoga app that really helped! Let me know how you get on xxx

  2. I attended a 3 month Buddhist meditation course earlier this year and learnt about mindfulness there too – so useful and easy to apply to everyday life. I’ve been meaning to write a post on it myself for ages since it feels good to share this knowledge with others, just like you have!

      1. My boyfriend’s mum is really into tai chi, I’ve never tried it but she absolutely loves it, finds it so calming 🙂

    1. That sounds amazing Anna – what a great experience. I’d love to do something like that when I’m in Asia, perhaps a shorter version, or a yoga course, anything like that would be amazing and I think after all the stresses of work I think it would really help me 🙂 I love the whole concept of mindfulness – so glad I stumbled across it. Some of it is just common sense, but just drawing attention to some of the things you might already do naturally makes you appreciate them more and the beneficial effects they have on you. You’ll have to let me know if you write a post as well – I’d love to read it and it would be fantastic to read about your experiences of the course 😀 xx

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