Jumpstart Mindfulness

HERE’S A MINDFULNESS JUMP START: IT AIN’T ALL ABOUT THE ZEN
My straight forward version of mindfulness is having a mini break from everyday hassle, or just enjoying some down time.
It’s easy to do and easy to have a mini break for as long as you’d like … although I’d start with just a few seconds, then if you want maybe a minute or two, and then if you fancy having a try at even more time, have a go  (it might be a good idea to set an alarm).

 

Set yourself up in a comfortable place, with added blankets if required and then …

PICTURE THIS …

Select one of the pictures below OR EVEN BETTER, ONE OF YOUR OWN
Concentrate on the picture
At this point you can keep your eyes on the picture if that helps, or close your eyes
Thinking lightly how this picture (place) makes you feel …
Imagine you’re there
You can also add anything you’d like, so if you fancy dragging your favourite slouchy
settee to the beach, then just imagine it as being real and now.
Be aware of what you like, what helps and what makes you more relaxed, calm and comfortable.  You can try out which of the senses works for you best, although I’ve listed pictures, there might be a sound, texture or fragrance that works for you.  Most importantly is how this place and experience makes you feel.

 

As you continue to breathe in a relaxed fashion, notice how this place positively influences you, helping your breathing to become more relaxed, your mind less busy and you continue to be in this place …

Continue as long as you wish (or until the world interjects and pokes you to do something you should be doing).  As much as this may feel annoying if this does happen, you can always come back to this place/experience and do this over and over again.  It’s a good idea to start of with a space of time you know you can have all to yourself, even if it’s for a few minutes at a time.  That bob into mini holiday mode will distract the mind and then relax you, ready to deal with the stuff of every day life.

You can always come back to this experience at any time you want.

OBLIGATORY SAFETY WARNING! – PLEASE DO NOT USE THIS TECHNIQUE when you’re operating machinery and definitely not when you’re driving a vehicle.

Repeat, relax and enjoy 🙂

 

 

Whatever works for you, do it, do it often, connect to it.  Whatever you do, it doesn’t have to be all “sit still and sit cross legged”, although that’s great.  It might be a good idea to go back to what you’ve liked in the past and can recreate for yourself now.  It may have changed, but that doesn’t matter change it around, update it, make it right for you now. Alternatively try something new, it’s entirely up to you.

 

AND NOW FOR THE IMPORTANT BIT …

Do what you like, often, as much as you like, when you like and need to! 🙂

Try to avoid what upsets or annoys you.  That’s very obvious, but it’s easy to keep doing the same things, so maybe think about deciding absolutely, definitely not doing that.

 

TRY VERY HARD TO IGNORE EXPECTATIONS

See how you get on, do a bit at a time, put those HUGE expectations over there, yes, right over there, no a bit further, yes that’s just right.  Because they will mess with your progress, stepping stone progress takes time (sorry about that) but you can enjoy getting there, days will be different, results will be different, but … KEEP GOING 🙂

USING YOUR FAVOURITE SENSES

HEARING:  Maybe use music to help you drift off somewhere else, if it’s music you already enjoy and actively choose to listen to, then you’re really already there, you just have to press play! Nice and easy 🙂  If I hear wind going through trees it can sound like the sea to me.  There’s loads of soundscapes on the web.

Birdsong is lovely, having a noisy little sparrow just yards from the bedroom window, shouting his head off, isn’t quite the dulcet tones of the morning chorus, but bless him, he tries.

SMELLS:  Fragrances and smells do the same thing.  Use what works for you, it’ll be the best version you can have.  Someone’s go to relaxation technique may not be what works for you, and that’s fine.  You find your way, for you – have fun trying out old stuff, find new stuff, make it enjoyable.

TASTES:  see below regarding my herring thing.  Taste too can do exactly the same thing, not sure if drinking salty water will bring back serene memories of the seaside, but if you feel like you need to try … but don’t go blaming me when you’re all pukey and green.

TEXTURE and COLOUR:  That’s what the orange tulips are about, they are my favourite flower for their gloss and colour and downright look at me statement of intent.  Wallflowers, on the other hand are a favourite fragrance.  I love fatsias for their waxy tropical look and the fact they’ll put up with our mad clay garden.  Instant relaxation usually comes via any wafty wavy grasses,  any colour, size, height – from pampas grasses, to cordalines to over long lawn grass and a bit of warm breeze – lovely!

WHAT IS IT ABOUT HERRINGS?

The mind remembers in many different ways, so for example a picture of a delicious plate of herrings served in three different ways is from the Festival of Herrings and takes me back to Tallinn, I love being near a river and mushrooms are a favourite food.

Everyone has different triggers, that help; for instance someone I know loves heavy metal as in HEAVY METAL, and that relaxes them, they also love being in a tent listening to the rain.  I love the sound of lapping waves on the shore, but I hate crashing and banging waves.  A lot of people have a thing about the seaside.

The picture of the steam train is for someone who gets very, VERY excited at the mention of steam trains, never mind actually being near on, and then there’s the complete excitement of a journey on a steam train, this is the picture from one of these outings.  We both love the smell of smoke from the engines – weird I know.

I know someone who is is into wool, all things wool, including sheep, so I’d put up a picture of a sheep for her, if I couldn’t find one of a spinning wheel!  It would be the whole experience for her, a bit of fleece, the smell of the fleece and the feel of the lanolin that comes off the fleece and the plans of what she’s creating with the spun, dyed wool.

I have a collection of pebbles, fur cones and stones; they remind me of where I’ve visited.   Using objects (aka shiny, shiny things in our house) is another great trigger – I have a stone, that’s literally a palm sized stone from a desert and that really takes me somewhere else,  I’ve used it many times, so I already know what’s going to happen, and it does.

I love to look up at the skies at night and watch the stars, and that really relaxes me and puts me in a different mode too.

And then there’s the beloved shed, it’s a potting shed at the bottom of the garden and that too is positioned to have maximum sunshine, especially good in Winter when I want and need to be outside but equally want some shelter.  I LOVE MY SHED

SO? WHAT WORKS FOR YOU?  DO IT OFTEN, A LITTLE A DAY IS FAR MORE EFFECTIVE THAN TRYING TO RAM IN AN HOUR OF FULL SOLID RELAXATION, WHICH, BECAUSE OF EXPECTATIONS AND TIME PRESSURES PROBABLY WON’T BE WORKING AS WELL AS YOU’D LIKE.

ENJOY!