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.
December. Full of joy and sparkling lights. Full of cold bugs, coldness and darkness. Every coin has two sides eh?
How are you feeling?
Me, I work up earlier than usual this morning. It was still completely dark. I wasn’t feeling full of joy, to put it mildly (more to do with being day 26 of my cycle than anything else: I know from charting my monthly cycle all through this year that days 25/6 are often the days my inner critic gets LOUD).
But I still took myself to my meditation cushion and sat and allowed whatever was coming up, to come up. It wasn’t particularly pretty. But, with mindful awareness I offered kindness towards myself and to what I was feeling.
I began my usual practice – focusing on the cool-in breath at the nostrils and the warmer out-breath. I gradually took my awareness down through my body to ground.
Feeling grumpy, I continued to breathe. Read more…
Finally. You have 30 minutes with nothing scheduled. Some precious me-time alone. Time where you can just do what YOU like. Ah lovely…
But then, you remember the bins need putting out. Ah, you forgot to answer that email. Hmm, you haven’t spoken to such-and-such for a while may you should give them a ring.
And you start to feel guilty for not getting on with stuff which “needs” doing.
Feeling guilty. It usually comes with an unhelpful dose of “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts”. That nagging feeling you should be doing something else instead. The knot in the stomach. The tension in the head and shoulders. The chattering thoughts.
The guilt comes with an extra whack when we’re doing something just for ourselves. Some aspect of self care that we know we desperately need but we somehow find difficult to allow ourselves to have. Quite time away from the kids and family. Time to go for a walk and get some fresh air at lunchtime to get out of the office and away from the ever-refilling email inbox. Saying a gentle but firm “no” to looking after the grandkids at short notice when you had some me-time planned.
And we either cave into the guilt and prioritise others’ needs or the guilt consumes us and we don’t enjoy what we’re doing.
Fight, flight or freeze? Which one is your go-to reaction to stress and anxiety?
In our pressurised lives and busy, over-stimulating culture each and every day our body and mind is constantly bombarded with physical, emotional and mental stimuli – information, time demands, unexpected events…
Whether it’s constant deadlines, an over-flowing email inbox, an over-bearing boss, the daily commute, hearing your child is ill at nursery, looking after ageing parents, hearing/reading about injustice and violence in the news.
And add to this the more nebulous psycho-social pressures and fears which gnaw away about the state of the economy, your finances, your job, losing your home, fear of missing out, comparing your life with others’ …
… all of these provoke a stress response from your body.
And if you’re particularly sensitive to your surroundings and what’s going on around you and find it difficult to relax and unwind then your body’s stress response will more quickly tip you into feeling overwhelmed … and keep you there. Read more…
Where does your attention go when you’re on the yoga mat?
Are you day-dreaming? Do you mentally write lists of things to do? Do find yourself judging your body, wishing it felt differently? Do you feel annoyed / fidgety / frustrated if your teacher is inviting you to hold the pose longer than you might like to? Or are you mindfully noticing what’s going on for your body, breath mind and emotions as you move through and hold the poses?
Maybe it’s a combination of all of the above?!
Chances are this reflects what’s happening in your mind throughout your day. Flitting around between the past and future. Worrying. Judging. Day-dreaming.
Noticing what’s going on for us on the mat is a great way to hold a mirror up to our mind and emotions. And what we learn on the mat we can take forward to help us find a greater sense of equanimity in everyday life as we retrain our mind to live in the present moment. Read more…
Did you know that physical conditions, discomfort and pain can be linked to your emotional state?
Maybe you’ve experienced this yourself. If you’ve ever gone through extended periods of emotional/mental stress or anxiety you may have noticed your digestion being affected (e.g. IBS) or you suffered tension headaches or migraines, or even back pain.
Or think of a time you were nervous – before a job interview or giving a presentation for example (or in my case my recent first drive through Southampton in rush hour!). Chances are you felt a tightening of the muscles, a fluttering in your stomach, you sweated more than usual and perhaps fell over your words a little.
Just a couple of examples of how our emotions affect us tangibly and physically. Read more…