Today is #WorldMentalHealthDay got me thinking about the tools I use on a regular basis that has formed a solid raft in my life. It is something I come back to time and time again. It has quite literally kept me alive and at others, filled me with such peace and acceptance of who I am, what I can do, what I can not and the courage to express that.
The self-reflection that comes with the practice, has helped me forge strong boundaries, grown belief in myself and raised my worth and value from off the floor. It costs nothing to do except time and needs nothing of great importance to practice. I do it as needed, so it has become an integral part of my life; and that of my children. I consider it to be one of my most valuable tools for life and up there with how to cook, change a plug and earn money.
Mindfulness is a deeply complex subject and something I’ve been exploring for over 20 years but for me, it simply means to be awake at the moment, of bringing my attention into the now. Of tuning into the present, still my mind and slowing down. Feeling inside my body, feeling anchored into the present moment. And it’s by being here right now and awake and aware at this moment that brings me time to be in creation of my behaviour rather than in reaction mode and playing out past outdated programming that’s been triggered within me.
It’s when I am in this place of being, in this place of awareness I can choose to move my focus of attention from what I don't want to have happen, to what I do. It gives me time to consciously create the steps to take me and the situation that I am into a positive conclusion.
And to help do this we can use our senses. By focusing on what you can see or hear around you, what you can smell, what you can taste, what you can feel, leaning into where you are right now rather than brushing it under the carpet and using the numerous distraction techniques we have all mastered.
Using your breath and doing some focused breathing will rapidly change how you are feeling. It will regulate your nervous system helping settle your brain so you can think more clearly, changing your emotional state from the fight or flight mode, to the rest and digest mode.
Focused breathing will pull your attention from the negative spiral of thoughts about what could happen, what has happened, the worry and fear around that, the overwhelming feelings that are coursing through your body and reconnect you to an anchor; the breath. It will help you stay connected to the present moment. Where you realise you are safe and all is well in this moment. It is in this state of ‘being’ that we have a choice, you have the ability to choose the direction you wish any particular situation to go.
We can create an anchor with our children and ourselves really easily. You can use their favourite teddy, my son had a clothes peg he would squeeze when he was overwhelmed, space can even be an anchor, sitting on your favourite part of the sofa can be an anchor. One of my anchors is up by the cooker, being at the helm of my home.
I like to use one which incorporates a bit of EFT tapping and breath work and when I use it my body relaxes and my mind goes still. It brings me back to myself. It regulates my nervous system and deescalates situations really quickly. It’s one of those things that the more you practice the more effective it becomes.
Start by tapping the edge of your fingertips tips, by the nail, with your thumbs, go through each finger, however many taps and cycles you need and at the same time take a deep breath in through your nose for the count of 4 and out through your mouth with pursed lips, for the count of 6; or longer.
I like to call this Ninja Tapping or Stealth Tapping because you can do this in the supermarket or the children can do this under their desk in school and no one will see them doing it.
Try it now…
As you tap and breathe bring your focus of attention to this and only this, notice how the body relaxes, your shoulders will drop and your mind goes still.
Our mental and emotional health is as important as our physical health. We need all three in balance to experience a positive and healthy life and there are a lot of amazing tools out there that can help. We have a Positive Parenting online course that is free at the moment if you fancy that or if you would like any more info or have any questions then please get in touch I'd be happy to help.
Founder of WiggleBums, NLP Master, Trainer and Integration Therapist