Mindful in May Challenge Week 2 is done and dusted but again many more learnings and mindfulness tips. The challenge still remains to achieve a daily meditation which I am doing but I’m struggling to keep up with the interviews. There seems to be an ‘information overload’ and I don’t seem to be able to concentrate to take in all the information provided – especially when they become scientific. I know I will want to revisit them in my own time.
Many of the interviews cannot be given the justice they deserve in a ‘wrap up’ report. Over the next few months I will be reviewing the interviews and presenting them in more detail. If you wanted to read about my Week 1 wrap you can read it here.
Wellness Wednesday: Mindful in May Challenge – Week 2
Day 8 – Tools and tips for making meditation a lasting habit
Dr. BJ Fogg, pyschologist and innovator directs the Persuasive Tech Lab at Stanford University. During the interview he discussed how to create new habits. He also has a FREE 5 day program (40 minutes in total) available at tinyhabits.com
- Start small when creating new habit don’t try to take on a big project.
- Use a Creative approach redesign the way you are doing something.
- Recognise You haven’t failed you just need to redesign your approach.
- Make it playful
- Change Habits slowly one at a time into place
- If you don’t want the habit don’t waste your time on it. Move on to one you want to change.
- Tap into motivation you already have
- Start small and build on it as a habit – for example, If you can’t on one day do 10 minutes of meditation sit for 1 minute or 5 mins to keep the habit alive.Be happy that you did it for the shorter time recognise you did the behaviour rather than beating yourself up for not doing the 10 minutes
- Common obstacle to behaviour change is when you are first motivated you feel like you can achieve big things immediately. Motivation ebbs and flows so you need to take smaller steps to change rather than one dramatic change which may not last.
A deep yogic relaxation meditation with Lauren Tober. A 17 minute meditation which focused on every part of the body slowly and with awareness. This included timed breathing – counting in for 4 then out for 4, then in for 4 and out for 5 and finally in for 4 and out for 6. This really helped to keep my mind clear and focused. I felt like falling asleep at the end I was so relaxed.
Day 9 – Deepen Your Mindfulness
Today was a 10 minute meditation to deepen your mindfulness by Kate James. This meditation brought our awareness to different areas :
- Awareness to experience of listening
- Awareness of the body and how it is feeling,
- Awareness of the breath – how the body moves to the breath
- Awareness of the thoughts – if mind is busy allow it to be as it is
- Awareness of emotions
- Awareness of all your experience being in your body, breathing and thoughts and feelings
- Saying to yourself: I am here, I am present, I am mindfully aware of this moment
Day 10 – Train your brain and reach your fullest potential
Dr. Michael Merzenich is the pioneer of neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to change and adapt. I found this interview fascinating and would recommend that you check out his website Brain HQ. This website is a brain training program with online exercises that help attention, processing speed and memory. It has free exercises and are all scientifically based designed by experts in neuroplasticity.
- Use it or lose it – we need to exercise our brain just as we exercise our body
- We can all improve ourselves at any stage of life by exercising and using our brain
- Be mindful – look for the surprises in each day in your surroundings – this is ‘brain food’
- Improve your sense of joy and generosity of spirit. Studies show that the brain reacts positively when we give just as much as when we receive.
- Technology is good but it can stop us from using our brain and working it to solve problems rather than ‘googling the answer’.
- Never too old to improve the speed of brain function.
Relaxing back into presence (12 mins) by Tara Brach. This involved scanning your body of where tension is in your body, then untangling them through awareness and relaxing back.
Day 11 – Coming home to the breath and cultivating compassion
This was hard to lay still for that long, especially when I didn’t realise the video had stopped and I was laying in silence for an extra 10 minutes!
Day 12 – Attitudes and antidotes to support greater emotional balance and wisdom
Timothea Goddard, is an Australian and is recognised as a pioneer in bringing MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) to Australia over the past 14 years and is certified with the Center for Mindfulness, UMass. She discussed her own personal journey of mindfulness and recommended attending retreats.
- Retreats – attending a retreat offers the opportunity to meet and work with your own mind for longer periods and immerse yourself with a teacher and teachings.
- There are different styles of retreat so you should look and discuss with those organising the various retreats to determine which one is right for you.
- Need to spend time learning about your mind like you would learning any other subject. We need to spend as much time that we surf the net, surfing our own mind as a priority.
- Beating addiction to social media and takes more effort to practice meditation
- Pleasure or pain is all transient. Real calm and relaxation comes when you realise this and accept that whatever you are feeling at the moment will pass.
The Gravity is Your Friend Meditation 10 mins by Timothea Goddard
This was a 10 minute giving time to be present with yourself using gravity as a point of focus, concentrating on the experience of gravity and the weight of the body. We were reminded that this moment is a moment of potential.
Christopher Germer, PhD is a clinical psychologist specializing in mindfulness and compassion-based psychotherapy. He has always had a problem with public speaking and discussed how we need to have self-compassion when we meditate to allow us to live our lives more mindfully.
- Self-compassion is made up of 3 components
#1 – mindfulness knowing what you are experiencing while you are experiencing it and to accept that experience, even if it is one of suffering.
#2 – find a common humanity feeling connected with others
#3 -focus on self kindness rather than self criticism
- We need to treat ourselves with the same kindness and understanding when we suffer,the same as we would someone we love. 78% of us are kinder to others than ourselves 6% vice versa 14% even
- Mindfulness awareness of present moment experience with acceptance
- Compassion is loving awareness of the experiencer.
- Together Mindfulness and Compassion is a powerful combination
Guided Meditation – 12 minutes
Chris took us through a guided meditation focusing on allowing thoughts of kindness towards ourselves to flow through our minds.
Day 14 – A day for reflection and integration
I made it to the end of Week 2 and Elise asked us three questions to reflect on and also reminded us that if we miss a day or so, that is no big deal. We need to give ourselves a break and that is okay. We are human and doing our best.
What was the biggest challenge of your week and were you able to bring mindfulness into that moment?
I was MC and Guest Speaker at the Co.As.It Mother’s Day High Tea. We all get nervous public speaking and there were 110 in the audience. I used the mindfulness techniques I had learned to reduce my nerves and be in the moment. I felt great during the event because I had found my self-belief.
Take a moment and revisit a challenge in your week. If you weren’t able to be mindful in that moment, can you take a moment now and actively bring compassion to yourself? Notice how it feels to actively bring compassion to yourself – is that a familiar feeling or more unfamiliar?
My biggest challenge this week was putting pressure on myself to make the time during a busy week to listen to the interviews. I know realise that the ‘world won’t end’ if I miss a day or an interview. I need to be kinder to myself. This brings a sense of relief. I am someone who does put pressure on myself to achieve my goals so I need to be kinder to myself.
I actually wrote about this on the MiM Facebook page and found that many people were experiencing the same difficulty in concentrating on the ‘information overload’. That made me feel so much better to know that I can say to myself ‘this is my best for today and that is all I have’.
What are your three most important values in life? What is one thing you can do today to get more aligned with one of your values
I gave this some thought and believe:
- Love and compassion and showing kindness to others is very important to me. Self-love is equally important and is always a WIP for me.
- Integrity is another value in life that I try to live by. That means being honest not just with others but myself.
- Gratitude – focusing on what I have in my life rather than what I don’t have increases my sense of contentment and happiness.