Mar
24
0

It’s just a thought….

It’s just a thought…It’s just a thought.

 ‘A thought is not a fact – a thought is just a thought’.
– Jon Kabat-Zinn

Wow, this statement really hits home for me…no matter how many times I read it.

It’s crazy just how much our thoughts run our lives  or can run our lives (if we allow them to!!) No more!! It wasn’t until I read this statement where I was able to understand just how powerful our thoughts are and more importantly how insignificant they are; that they shouldn’t control actions. We need to disconnect action from thought.

One example of how my thoughts take over:  
Thinking, thinking, thinking, then worrying, stressing, being completely ahead of myself and worrying about something that hasn’t even happened and actually most likely won’t even happen? Story of my life! {was} the story of my life….

Until I discovered mindfulness and really understood the statement ‘a thought is just a thought’.

How often do you treat thoughts as if they are facts? Which then turn into beliefs? You’ve thought something several times therefor you start believing it? (Also going back to my positivity post ‘think it, say it, believe it’.)

When we start to pay attention to our thoughts and recognise them as only thoughts with a little curiosity, we then start think about thinking and nderstanding that it’s just a thought, not a belief, not fact.

One of my mindfulness methods I’ve used to appreciate thoughts as thoughts and not see them as fact is:

‘mindfulness of the breath.’

Such a simple exercise that can be practiced anywhere at any time!

Start by bringing your attention to your breath and allowing yourself to notice any thoughts that come into your head. Notice the thought, pay attention to it for a moment, acknowledge and accept the thought in a non-judgemental way.

For example, don’t beat yourself up for having the thought, there’s no wrong or right here!! Also, don’t read into the thought or why you are having it, just accept it as a thought – let me elaborate: Accept a thought as exactly what it is, just a thought. Not bad. Not good, not wrong. Not right, It simply is what it is. The thought that you happen to have at that particular moment.

IT’S OK to have these thoughts. Practice thinking about these thoughts, even if you think ‘I can’t do this’ well that’s a thought in itself. Allow yourself to think about that. Once you’ve recognised your thoughts, practice letting them go. Allow the thoughts to just float away. Some people imagine them as ‘leaves’ floating away gently in the wind, me, I envision clouds that shoot off from my head, whatever works for you. There’s no wrong or right, just see the thoughts floating away, getting smaller and smaller until they are non-existent. Literally!

Thoughts come, and they go. Once you’ve accept this, bring yourself back to awareness of your breath.

 Now here’s a thought – Practice makes perfect :)

 

It's just a thought

Jan
26
0

Yay Yoga!

I’ve found it difficult for a little while to really practice mindfulness in my nightly meditation. I know I’m a lot better at practicing mindfulness in every day-to-day life particularly with stressful situations (I’m still working on it!) but really am finding it hard at night to ‘switch off’.

I almost use that time as my thinking time, I come up with ideas, remember things I need to do, worry about things I haven’t done, get excited about things and many more thoughts run through my mind, I wonder, why couldn’t I think of this before I put my head to rest?

It is mind blowing  just how much our thoughts run our life. Think about it! (haha). Do you ever just be? Take in that exact moment what is happening? Feel what is happening? This is my goal, the ultimate. To live in the exact present moment.

I’ve mentioned before what practices help me with mindfulness, one of which is yoga.

For quite a while I was in a really good routine, doing my regular 2 yoga classes a week and found myself getting better at it. Getting better at yoga isn’t about flexibility or skill (in my eyes) it’s about your breath.

When you bring your awareness to breath, you bring yourself to to this moment, to this breath, not last years breath, not tomorrows breath, but now. This very moment. The breath is closely connected to the body, and also the mind; it is a link between the two. When you tune in to your breathing, your body and mind are in sync – you are present.

I’m yet to really ‘get into’ the spirituality side of yoga (third eye, sun, moons etc) but am still open to this side of it. My main reason for practicing yoga and enjoying yoga is focusing on the breath and ‘mastering’ mindfulness.

Unfortunately, I stopped going to yoga for this very reason. The teacher that instructed the yoga classes I was attending, very much was about the breath and I found it so easy to be in the present moment in her classes, on the mat, not thinking, just being. Not to mention the wonders it was doing for my body. The teacher that then started to instruct classes was more into the spirituality side of things. One of the first classes we were humming, panting, in prayer position a lot and the whole thing kind of, well I found it annoying and distracting, I allowed myself to feel this way and not enjoy my yoga practice.

I stopped going.

Don’t get me wrong, the teacher was absolutely lovely, but I just found her way of practice wasn’t for me.

One of my January goals was to get back into my yoga routine as I knew it would only benefit me with not only mindfulness, but my exercise, my work, my relationships, how I handle stress, everything!

Throughout our life we experience trauma, pain, stress, anxiety, depression and although these things aren’t necessarily physical things, our body holds onto this – creating tension. It might not be a bruise, a scratch or a scar but believe me, our body holds onto all of it, not allowing us to truly let go!

Practicing yoga not only helps heals this scars, release the tension and let it go, it helps to protect your body emotionally, physically and mentally.

So – I started going back to the classes, with the same spiritiual type teacher. Do I regret it – not one bit. Have I benefited so much already – absolutely! I decided to not let the differences we may get out of yoga affect me by not even going to yoga, but to try and learn from her and take out what I needed. Which I have. I’ve been sleeping a bit better and am able to get into the present moment when practicing my nightly meditations.

Yes of course those thoughts still whiz through my head as it hits the pillow, but I bring my attention back to the breath. I might have to do this a thousand times, but the more I do it, the better I will be.

Yoga Yoga Yoga :D Mindful Yoga

 

 

Dec
29
0

Mindfulness

Throughout my life I constantly was worried about something that could happen, may happen, should happen but actually – didn’t happen! I often found myself flustered and getting so worked up about something that hadn’t even occurred and may not even!! I knew what I was doing but just didn’t know how to stop. You can imagine this way of thinking, analysing and worrying creates great anxiety.

Stress – Anxiety – Depression. One vicious circle and cycle.

I won’t go into too much of my darker days under this heading however throughout my ‘blogging’ and ‘updates’ I will be touching over experiences and times where I can now look back and think it’s made me who I am today.

One of the and if not the most effective practices I found to overcome the ‘Stress, Anxiety, Depression’ Cycle (next to eating well and exercising) was ‘Mindfulness’.

There are 3 states of minds

Reasonable Mind – Ability to think rationally and plan behaviour. Able to calmly focus attention on problems.

Emotional Mind – Thinking and behaviour controlled by emotions. Logical thinking difficult. Facts tend to be distorted.

Wise Mind – Integration of emotional mind and reasonable mind. Wise mind adds intuitive knowing (awareness) and logical analysis to emotional experiencing.

Knowingness, feels truthful quiet, peaceful, centred, intuitive, grounded.

 

Mindfulness skills are the vehicle for balancing ‘Emotional Mind’ and ‘Reasonable Mind’ to achieve ‘Wise Mind’.

 What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a skill that can be learned like any other and is one of the oldest and most basic skills known to mankind. In its essence, it’s as simple as rediscovering the taste of fresh water or the blue colour of the sky. It is learning or re-learning how to be present, how to be in this present moment. It can be like stepping out of a black and white tv into a world full of bright colours. There is nothing mysterious about it. It’s like learning to ride a bike or cook good meals or play a musical instrument. You start with easy practice and pogress to harder practice. Sometimes you’ll feel like you’re making a lot of progress; other times you’ll be discouraged. But, it is certain that if you practice, practice, practice, your skills at mindfulness will improve!

It is about teaching yourself to be:

Aware – Of your body, your mind and your surroundings.

Present – In this moment, this very second, right here, right now.

Focused – More able to make choices about where you place your attention. Your reactions.

Body – Being in your body, bringing your mind and your body into synch

Accepting – Of yourself, your thoughts and of other people.

For me, mindfulness started off by a simple practice of focusing on my breath. This then moved to meditation and yoga.

Mindfulness can be as informal or as formal as you want it to be. It could be in a formal setting such as meditating using the breath as a ‘FOCUS’.

It could be as informal as making a cup of tea, brushing your teeth, driving in traffic with ‘AWARENESS’.

We are always paying attention to something, but often not what we choose, our thoughts, our mind jumps from one thing to another without us even realising. I know when I can really get going I could have more then one ‘cycle’ going on in my head at once. Imagine the exhaustion!

Through practice we can come back into the present moment and pay attention:

 On Purpose – By training ourselves to focus on an object of our choice, for me this was my breath

In the Present Moment – Being wiling to let go of thinking about the past or the future, coming back to what is here and now

Non-judgmentally being kind to ourselves as we bring our minds bcd to the focus, over and over. We don’t judge our experience as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ we are learning and accept the experience just as it is.

 Weekly I will be updating this page with different tips on practicing mindfulness and my own experiences whether I meditated, did a yoga class or felt flustered and practices my breathing to come back into the present moment.