What’s your default?

Let me ask you a question – truly, when was the last time you really thought about all the good things you admire about yourself?  Was it this week?  Last month?  Last year?  Or at worst, never, maybe you have never taken the time to notice the positive things about yourself??

Well today, if you do nothing else, I want you to sit down and be truly kind to yourself. And maybe it has to wait until everyone else is in bed for you to have five minutes alone, that’s ok, it won’t take long!

You are going to practice writing a list of (or at least start with one thing) that you wholeheartedly admire about yourself.  You will be kind to yourself in a way you would be to a valued friend, this is the practice of self-compassion.

Let me get things started – I love how determined I am once I set my mind to something. When I was a child, I imagine this was quite punishing for my family, but it has absolutely set me in good stead as an adult.  What’s the first thing on your list?  Maybe you can write five, or more? Do that now.

Ok, good, tell me you have something written, or at least is in your mind – the task for the coming week is to pick one of the things you admire and say this to yourself each day.  Repeat as often as you like.

So, to be fair, it might take more than a week, but there are a couple of good reasons to practice this:

  • we need to regularly practice being kind to ourselves (so when there a threats to our self-esteem, self-compassion, not self-criticism, is our default),
  • Even our minds need reminding how awesome we are sometimes AND
  • when we hear something enough, it changes the way we think about ourselves – and that itself, is really powerful!

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Know what makes you tick.

Topic – Mental Fitness

Best way to look after your mental fitness – know your real self and know what you need.

It makes sense really, doesn’t it?  Knowledge is power – so if we know what our preferences are – we can work towards using that knowledge to choose a marvellous life?

No one else will benefit from this.  Just you, which is 100% the goal here!

Here’s a few questions to start you thinking about your level of self-awareness:

When was the last time you engaged in an activity you walked away from taking you could take on the world?

When did you get so irritated by something that it made you ‘explode’ or ‘implode’ as the case may be?

Do you prefer your own time or to be surrounded by people and/or sounds?

What do you do to ‘recharge’?

How do you prefer to approach conflict?

How do you show people you appreciate them being in your life?

Once we are consciously aware of the way we prefer things to be, life is more likely to be marvellous!  Decisions just get easier.

It is also important to remember – we should never stop learning about ourselves!!

While our basic values don’t tend to change much, our experiences do!  And we know experiences can have profound effects on how we view the world.  That’s why we need to keep checking in with ourselves to make sure the action we are taking, does indeed, line up with the person we are at that time.

These are a few great resources I can recommend to ‘check in’ with yourself

  • Via Character – http://www.viacharacter.org – a free strength profiling website – you do a quick survey and in exchange for your email address, it gives you your results.
  • Personality Plus – there are lots of great personality sorters out there – this is one I have used and recommend – such an interesting exercise! There is also a ‘for Parents’ version of this one – personally, it answered lots of questions for me as a mother!
  • The Five Love Languages – a book, or I think there is an online version too, that profiles the way individuals prefer to give and receive ‘love’ – a must for anyone in a relationship!

Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list – but these are ones I’ve used and encourage you to check out to move along on the ‘knowing yourself’ path. **  I receive no endorsements – I just genuinely liked them and feel they could help other people too.

In terms of knowing what you need – knowing yourself usually informs this – if I’m someone who avoids crowds – a music festival isn’t going to be relaxing for me, or if I like to be alone and i live in a shared house, these don’t match up, do they?!  You get the idea!

Please, be kind to yourself – be really conscious of knowing what makes you tick and take note of the positive effect on your mental fitness (and the moving closer to your marvellous life)!

 

Image Source – http://www.quotemaster.org

 

I will not use my mobile phone whilst driving.

I’ve made a decision this week to never use my mobile phone while driving.

Yes, I confess, I’ve done it before – and if you asked my children I was ‘arrested’ – for the record, I wasn’t, but I may have received a sizeable fine and a little bit of a damaged ego – but that’s a story for another day!

You see, the reason for my decision and declaration as above is that I’ve been doing a great online (and free might, I add) course about Mindfulness and Peak Performance.  To tell the truth, whilst I’m a little behind, I’m actually loving it.  One of the notions we have been learning about the attentional blink and that effective multi tasking isn’t really even a thing, nor is it a way to be more productive.

In fact, complex multi-tasking sees increased errors, missed information and increased stress levels, which all, in turn activate the part of the brain which sets off the stress response. Like, walking and talking is an act of simple multitasking, but driving a car and using your mobile phone is an example of complex multi-tasking.

You know, multi-tasking is actually a ‘misnomer’ – it is not possible for our brains to process two tasks/activities at the same time- so while we think we are doing two things effectively at one time – WE’RE NOT – sorry ladies!

When our focus is on one task, not only is it not on the other task, there is also time lost on the time it takes to switch between tasks.

This time is called the attentional blink – so when previously I was talking on my phone and driving my car – neither was getting my focused attention – so I’m here telling you, I’m making the change – and if you ever catch me – feel free to call me out!

Another point to note is that the more stressed we are, the longer this ‘blink’ is – it makes me wonder about those people who work with two computer screens – I would absolutely question if they believe this makes them more productive??  And if they do think they are more productive, are they really?

Efficient attention switching on the other hand is a learned skill and one that I see is necessary in our modern world.  It sees intense focus on one task at a time, which decreases stress and increases productivity. Easier said than done, I know, but with practice, definitely an incredibly valuable skill to have in your repetoire`.

One way to learn this is through practicing mindfulness frequently, so when you actually need the skill, your mind knows what to do.  They used a good example in the course about learning to swim – you don’t wait until you are the man overboard before you learn how to swim – you diligently went to the lessons and learned the skill as a preventative measure – mindfulness practice, therefore, is a preventative measure for good physical and emotional health.

So…. what simple actions can you do today that will help you be more mindful?

  • Try catching yourself out and becoming more aware of your thoughts.
  • Do one task at a time – I’ve got to say this is harder than it sounds.  Keep practicing bringing your attention back to the task at hand.
  • Practice self-compassion when you catch your mind wandering off – just be gentle to yourself as you bring your attention back.

Remember becoming more mindful is a process to be practiced and that small daily actions are what become helpful habits.

I love sharing this information, the more I know about it, the more I believe mindfulness has such a place in this modern world we live in!

So, I’ve committed to not using my phone while I’m driving, and I’m working on some other simple, more mindful actions, what will you commit to?

 

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Copyright : John Takai