Self-care series | How to look after yourself Vol 1 – Mindfulness

Introduction

We have created a new series of content which is designed to help you become a pro at self-care. We will release a new article focusing on the self-care and wellness side of our brand mission – to help you rest, refuel & thrive in modern life.

This month we are focusing on mindfulness: The brain is the most powerful organ we have and yet many of us are just scratching the surface when it comes to understanding, and more importantly, harnessing its true potential.

The secret to success is understanding one’s self and doing what works best for you in order to be successful. Success is relative and only you know what works for you – so let’s explore ourselves before we look forward to realising our goals.

Definition

Mindfulness is a conscious state of awareness and being in tune with your mental and physical state. In order to attain this, we must be aware of how we feel mentally and physically. The two are inexorably linked and physical pain is often a manifestation of our mental state.

When we feel stressed our body tenses up – a common symptom is for us to get knots in the muscles in our back & shoulders. We are often not aware of these everyday aches and pains until they are addressed. For example, when someone starts massaging your shoulders – how often do we think “I didn’t realise how tense I was!”? This is a classic example where being mindful and investing in self care is something we don’t do enough of – we need to consciously take back control.

Social media plays on the basic human condition of craving acceptance and is the modern form of status within society. The more likes we get the better we feel. We have been conditioned to care what others think, and the number of likes is an easy way of measuring success. This can be incredibly stressful and is a cause for many mental illnesses – practising mindfulness can help you rationalise these everyday interactions which in turn can give you back control to your mental wellbeing.

Carving out 15-30 minutes a day can have a dramatic effect on your state of mind, which in turn affects decision making and your relationships. How can you be successful if you don’t know what you want? You can’t! So, invest in yourself and you will reach your potential.

We recommend using your bath or shower time to switch off from the outside world, and practice mindfulness. I find the feeling of water running over me incredibly relaxing and for me feels like my worries are being washed away. With the help of uplifting essential oils, it gives me the creative space I need, and I find I have my best ideas in the bath and shower. It helps me organise my thoughts, preparing me for the challenges ahead.

Techniques

I have laid out some techniques that work for me, but there are many ways to practice mindfulness and everyone is slightly different, so try out a few and see what works best for you.

Be present – In the modern world we have endless daily stresses that take over our subconscious mind and distract us from being in the moment. Your mind will always try to wander – the meeting you have, the person that annoys you, the commute, your boss etc. Recognise when your mind is trying to wander without judgment and bring it back to focus on the present. Block out your worries and stresses and just focus on how you feel right now.

Body and mind – Often you have little aches and pains that you aren’t even aware of. We recommend gently massaging your body with oils while bathing or showing, find those micro-tensions and work them out. This will not only help relax your physical state but will also promote a state of mental calm and relaxation.

Address the root – Investment mogul Charlie Munger popularized the “inversion principle” where you flip an issue on its head. This can be applied to mindfulness – Instead of asking “how can I become more mindful?”, you flip the question and ask, “what causes me to have a busy mind?”.

Recognise your emotions – A bit of soul searching is needed here. How do you feel, and why? These questions can be answered if you learn to tune into your emotions, enabling you to master them. This will help you take control of a situation and not let other people dictate your mood.

Engage emotionally – When you have a better idea of your feelings you can express them to others, this process of sharing will help you through your situation. It is true that no man is an island, and we all need to engage and interact with people. Most people don’t go out of their way to make others feel bad, so if someone has offended you in some way, they probably didn’t realise. Sharing your feelings with them calmly, honestly and non-judgmentally will help you work out a solution.

Self-acceptance – Be happy with the person that you are, and don’t be too hard on yourself. We all make mistakes, but if we dwell on them it soon spirals into a bigger issue.

Be positive – Consciously practice looking at things in a positive light. If you are stuck in a traffic jam or are running late – so what? Try smiling and breathing rather than beeping your horn in anger, then things won’t seem so bad. We recommend making a list of 3 things you are thankful for every day – I like to do it while having a nice bath (obs!).

Breathing – Concentrate on your breathing whilst relaxing in the bath or shower. Take full, deep breaths for around one minute, in through your nose and out through your mouth. When you exhale feel the stress leaving your body and you should be left feeling calmer and more relaxed.

Exercise – Exercise releases endorphins which make you feel happy. It also helps you sleep and boosts energy levels. We could all probably do with making more time for it, but as little as 6 mins high intensity exercise can have a profound effect on your mental wellness.

We hope this helps. If you have any comments or feedback please share below.

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