Mindfulness & the senses

ship-harbour-boat drop anchor to calm your senses
Drop your anchor into calmer waters

Drop anchor into the sea of now through mindfulness and the senses.

Busy mind. Tired body. Feeling unfocused and sometimes overwhelmed. Sound familiar?

Our busy lifestyles and overstimulating environment mean that we’re always on the go and there’s always something to do – there’s precious little time just to slow down and be.

There’s a saying oft used in yoga: Where your attention goes your energy flows.

If your attention is flitting around all over the place between past, present & future; getting lost in the past; fretting about the future; or judging and wanting to change what’s going on now,  then your energy is going to feel diffuse and scattered – no wonder you’re tired and feeling confused!

But you don’t have to feel lost and out of control.

I’d like to remind you that we all have five things which are always available to us to bring us home; to drop anchor into the sea of now.

Our senses. Read more…

Start your day with intention

Sunrise: start the day with good intention
Rise & shine

Here’s a question for you. What’s your intention for today?

Did you answer something along the lines of, “Erm, dunno”?

Daily life can all to easily turn into a hamster wheel of: get up, go to work or look after the kids or run around all day doing stuff, arrive home exhausted, flop in front of the TV, haul yourself off to bed before repeating it all the next day.

We’re so busy, busy, busy – in a culture which unhealthily glorifies busy and being productive – that one day can easily feel like the next.

Events determine what we experience each day and how we feel.

What would it feel like to know there’s another way?

Imagine living each day with purpose and intention.

Yes, you might still need to do the same stuff but what if you no longer needed to feel pulled this way and that as if you have no control over what you do and how feel? Read more…

Be kind to tension

be kind to yourself - release tensionWhere do you hold tension?

We all have a place where we feel it most.

It might be in your back; your jaw; your shoulders. It might be in clenched fists or tightness in the chest or throat or perennially clenched buttocks!

Maybe it’s become so habitual you don’t even realize you’re constantly holding a part of you tense.

For me it’s in my shoulders, throat and often my jaw.

Our busy, fretful, planning, judging, rarely-present minds create this chronic tension in our bodies.

So, it’s time to come out of your head and into your body.

Listen to your body and it will show you its wisdom.

And it’s definitely worth listening because often the whispers of tension will become shouts of pain or illness if we ignore them.

But, a word of caution. Read more…

Tough love on self-care

Relaxation time - cute dog
Sit and stare and just rest

When was the last time you did nothing? 

Rested? Pondered over a cup of tea? Stared out of the window to watch the clouds? Stood and listened to birdsong? Went for a walk with no aim in particular – just for the love of it? Sat and let your feelings come and go with no judgement?

Recently? Not in ages? Never?!

If this isn’t something you regularly do, I’m not judging you! I know how difficult it can feel to pack into your days all the activities you need and want to do – let alone finding time to do nothing!

But … this do-nothing-in-particular time is actually really important.

And the fact it is usually overlooked and not allowed in our lives is contributing to the high levels of stress and anxiety as well as fatigue and niggly illnesses in modern life.

Why? Because rest is essential to bring our bodies and minds back into balance.

It brings our bodies out of the stress response which modern-day life puts us into, and into the relaxation response where our body can rest, digest and heal. Rest balances the nervous system and soothes the mind. Read more…

Sensitive Manifesto for Living Life Well

Sensitive and proudI’m on a mission. To raise awareness of the trait of high sensitivity. To empower and inspire highly sensitive people.

15-20% of the population has a nervous system which is more finely tuned to the environment & stimuli. Amongst other things we tend to be very aware of the subtleties in the environment; we pick up on other people’s moods; we need quiet-time on very busy days.

There’s nothing wrong with HSPs. It’s not a syndrome or a condition to be cured or managed.

The way I see it, some people have brown hair others blond. Some people have blue eyes, others brown. Some people have a highly sensitive nervous system, others don’t.

But because we live in a noisy, over-stimulating world we HSPs often feel anxious and stressed and overwhelmed because our nervous system reaches saturation point long before non-HSPs.

So I’m on a mission to help HSPs take care of themselves in order to thrive. Read more…

The mindful way through stress and anxiety

Choppy waters - let mindfulness calm you
The waves of life can crash against us

When your head is full of thoughts. When you’re worried or scared. When you’re tired and just can’t be bothered any more. When you’re tense. When you’re in pain. When you’re so overwhelmed that you think you’re just going to go into melt-down. When burnout feels around the corner.

It can feel impossible to know what to do.

But there is something you can always do to help yourself. To reconnect back to yourself. To self-soothe.  To come back from the brink.

I know because I’ve experienced all of these myself.  The tension, overwhelm, exhaustion and whizzing mind.

They still sometimes creep up on me, but now I know what to do to stop them in their tracks and recover my equilibrium.

I take these 3 simple but powerful steps. Give them a try and see how they work for you. Read more…

Are you ready to rise?

Rise like a snowdrop showing the first signs of spring.
Mother earth is stirring

Early February. How does it feel to you?

Have you noticed the slightly longer daylight hours and a subtle but perceptible strengthening of the sun’s rays? Can you feel the sap rising?

2nd February (as well as being my birthday!) was the festival of Imbolc – in the ancient Celtic Wheel of the Year this marked the first day of spring.

A shift from the dark, cold, introspective energy of winter to the start of the growing season of spring.

A time to look outward and look forward.

This time of year is a perfect time to get outside and notice signs of the rising sap, the first shoots of spring and the lengthening daylight hours.

Nature is stirring. Read more…

Self-Care for Sensitives

Sweet Pea - sensitive tend to appreciate the delicate, intricate beauty of things
Are you sensitive to the delicate, intricate beauty of your natural surroundings?

When you’re sensitive to your surroundings and other people and you feel easily overwhelmed by too much stimulation and information, life can feel both challenging yet also soulfully rewarding.

Tiredness, overwhelm and feeling scattered and discombobulated may be feelings you know all too well. You crave withdrawal from this frantic world.

You’re also conscientious, observant, intuitive and empathetic to others’ feelings. You think about things deeply, you deeply feel the beauty of our natural surroundings and can easily be profoundly moved by music, art and acts of kindness.

You’re tuned into life around you. You have a delicate appreciation of the subtleties of life.

You may feel anxious, kind, connected, different from everyone else, aware, soulful, confused…

In short, you experience life intensely and sometimes it feels like a blessing and other times like a curse.

I know all this because this is how I experience the world. And if, like me, you’re Highly Sensitive (and if you’re not sure then take this short test) then you’ve probably felt all of these feelings, and more. Read more…

Make joy your resolution this year

Southampton yoga teacher Stella with her joy jar
My Joy Jar 2016

Happy New Year!  Goodbye to 2016 – a very, ahem, “interesting” year for Britain and the world… How was it for you?

Hello 2017! Here’s to a calm and soulful year of reconnection. Let’s make 2017 a wonderful year of kindness, self-care and compassion.

Would you like to feel more joyful? More present? At peace, calm and contented?

Then start this new year as you mean to go on: choose an attitude of gratitude and notice the joyful moments that occur each and every day in your life. You just need open eyes and a willing heart and you will see them.

No matter the measure of health and wellbeing you have. No matter the challenges you are facing. There is always something which can spark joy.

Maybe it’s the robin jumping around in the garden. The blue-green sheen on a Mallard’s head. The pattern of raindrops as they roll down the window. The rustle of leaves in the breeze. The pattern of frost on a leaf. The smile of a loved one. The feeling of understanding as you chat with a friend. Quiet-time alone to recharge your batteries.

Everyday there will be something in your life which connects you to your heart, to joy, to the present moment. Read more…

3 yoga tips to stay calm this Christmas

Stay calm at Christmas with yoga
Stay calm this Christmas

How do you find the festive season? It can be enchanting. But it can also feel overwhelming.

If you tend to experience anxiety anyway, then you’ll know that there’s something about Christmas-time which can really aggravate and intensify the symptoms.

There’s nothing like an impending, immoveable deadline and yet-to-be-done Christmas shopping to get the stress hormones flooding your system!

And if (like me) you have a nervous system which is highly sensitive to external stimuli you’re more likely to experience the symptoms of anxiety.

And this time of year there are so many stimuli bombarding us: bright lights; crazy-busy towns, cities and shopping centres; parties and “dos” to go to; sugary & fatty foods; alcohol; Christmas shopping; the pressure to visit as many family members as possible; and jingly-jangly Christmas music everywhere!!! Read more…