Mindful or mind full?

It is easy to get carried away with the seemingly never-ending to-do list, running around on autopilot and feeling like you can’t quite complete everything you need to in the short space of time you have available to do it! 

Coming to the realisation that you can give yourself permission to step back, relax and enjoy the ride is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves. The gift of inner peace and time for ourselves. Of course our busy life gets in the way at times, and there are things we must do in order for our day to go to plan and to flow, but building time into your day to just stop and smell the coffee (or flowers, trees, sea air… whatever floats your boat!) is such a powerful tool in reconnecting with ourselves and taking the time to simply just… be.

Below I share my top tips for reconnecting and grounding. These are tips that have helped me when in the midst over overwhelm and I have felt like my mind is full!

  1. Just stop and breathe.

When you feel yourself starting to feel like things are getting a little much, or perhaps your head feels a little foggy, just stop and take a moment for yourself. Take some time to simply reconnect and ground yourself. Ask yourself the question of ‘how do I feel right now? Learn to identify the physical and emotional triggers and treat yourself with loving kindness. Breathe deeply into your belly, keeping the shoulders relaxed and engaging the diaphragm. Breathe in steadily through the nose and into the belly, hold for a second or two and then exhale through the mouth for a little longer than you inhaled for. Engaging with the breath in this way for just two minutes reduces cortisol levels and helps us to feel calmer, less stressed and more in control.

  • Immerse yourself in observation and awareness.

It is amazing how much we miss in our everyday lives simply because we don’t take the time to be fully aware of our surroundings. Engaging with our senses and noticing the world around us can be such a calming and grounding experience. Spending time in nature allows us the time away from the hustle and bustle and take in the true beauty of our environment.

  • Spend some time doing something that you enjoy that requires you to be in the moment.

Give yourself permission to step away from technology and have a detox. We were not born glued to our phones and computers but for some reason we often feel a sense of being ‘lost’ without them. Of course, we are not lost, in fact, it is only when we step away from the ‘connectedness’ of technology that we can start to find and rediscover ourselves and allow our mind the time to unwind without constant distraction. Remember, you are allowed to ignore that message and respond at a more convenient time. You are allowed to say ‘no’ to being constantly at the end of the phone and you are allowed to stray from the constant pull of social media. Give yourself permission to break the contact for a while and be fully present in the moment.

  • Be kind to yourself.

We are human and we all make mistakes. It is these mistakes that help us to learn, grow and develop. Treat yourself with kindness and respect and talk to yourself with the same love and compassion that you would show a child. Flipping the script from “I’ll never be able to do this!” to “I am on the right path and doing my best. I am glad of the opportunity to learn and grow and am moving forward towards my goal” is a much more gentle way to speak to yourself and will help support your wellbeing through the power of positive language and self-talk.

  • Meditation.

Meditation is a powerful tool in reconnecting with the self and observing thoughts as they arise. Meditation does not require you to sit still for prolonged periods of time whilst not thinking about anything. To not think would be to switch off the brain, and we cannot do that! Simply notice the thoughts as they arise and as you become aware of these thoughts, bring your attention gently back to your breath. Your breath serves as an anchor for when you notice your attention drifting and helps you to reconnect and become more grounded in the moment. 

Understanding yourself and taking the time to discover, or rediscover, what it is that helps you to relax and feel good is such an important and worthwhile exercise. It is then that we can build up a bank of ‘go-to’ methods of grounding and relaxation that we are able to call upon that work for us. What works for your friend or spouse may not necessarily work for you, so taking the time to experiment with what makes you feel good is important to your wellbeing and building these moments into your daily life.  

Rachel Ashcroft

Founder at http://www.colouryourworld.org.uk; Mindfulness Practitioner; Teacher and Coach.