Inhale, Exhale, Repeat

Inhale, Exhale, Repeat

Meditation... A Synopsis, by Emma Mills

Focusing

Essentially, meditation is an activity that asks you to focus your attention in a particular way. This could be by concentrating on the sight of a flower, listening to a voice as it leads you through a guided meditation, or simply by focusing on your own breath as you inhale and exhale. Sometimes you’ll do it with an aim in mind, such as improving your concentration or relaxing after a long day at work.

Enquiring

Meditation is also a chance to gather your thoughts and reflect on yourself and your life. From this quiet reflection you’ll grow used to sitting in that inner space. From there, you can start to explore ideas about life or even make enquiries into the nature of things, such as, for example, deciding to meditate on what animates a flower or a topic like ‘the nature of innovation’, or perhaps contemplating the Pink Floyd album The Dark Side of the Moon.

Being

Some of the meditations in this guide invite you to focus your attention in one direction or another. Others have a goal or revolve around something you are looking into. Yet meditation can also be a time to sit quietly and just be – without any agenda. Here you have an opportunity to let thoughts, feelings and senses appear, unfold and dissolve. This ‘just being’ approach can give us some much needed breathing room.

Rest and Reset

Rest and Reset

Top Tips: Mindfulness in the Workplace

One conscious breath...

With one conscious breath we can re-set, this has the potential to change the whole day, reminding ourselves through out the day to take a moment to stop and deeply breathe. It doesn't need to be fancy or profound, a simple moment of taking a deep breath and choosing to re-set from there. 

Essential Oils

Working with essential oil blends is a great way to breathe deeper and treat yourself at work. Feel free to contact Carly with any questions about the oils she uses. 

(Lavender is great for relaxing, Wild Orange for Uplifting, Balance is a blend for general support - you can also put on the soles of your feet before bed to support a deeper sleep). 

Mindful Browsing

On Carly's Website there are a few short meditations to start your day in the best way before work, or also to unwind after a long day. 

       

Coming Up... Carly has a series of events to support balance and well being - coming up next is movement and sound healing - supporting you to move your body to release and let go ending with a deeply restful sound bath with the Alchemy Crystal bowls. Register to hear more. 

Coming Up...


Carly has a series of events to support balance and well being - coming up next is movement and sound healing - supporting you to move your body to release and let go ending with a deeply restful sound bath with the Alchemy Crystal bowls. Register to hear more. 

 

 

 

Breathing into Your Day

Breathing into Your Day

How Do I Bring  a Little Mindfulness into My Work Day?

Remember not to over-complicate meditation. It is as simple as paying attention to your breath and coming back to this as an anchor whenever you get distracted.

Try to be gentle with your 'monkey mind' when you do feel distracted during meditation (...or during a work meeting.) This is only natural. Bring the focus back to the breath with compassion, not fustration! 

 It doesn't have to be 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening. It is how you feel and act throughout the day that matters most. See how many times you can ask yourself;  "Am I present right now?"

 Contrary to popular belief, we don't want to be taking deep breaths in order to calm down. Instead, allow your breathing to naturally become slow and steady as you bring your focussed attention to this. 
 

Shine a Light on Parenting

Shine a Light on Parenting

Top Tips

The true nature of parenting, not the Instagram perfect one, is often characterised by sleeplessness, chaos, noise, overstimulation, thwarted will and a juggling act, as well as deep abiding love, meaning, purpose, connection and joy. The mantra to use is: ‘savour the joyful moments, make peace with the rest’.

Parenting has a potent impact on our mental health commonly manifested in anxiety, low mood and energy, depression, anger, and a feeling of a frazzled nervous system. Sleep deprivation alone can have a significant impact on our outlook and clarity of thought. There is also a natural grieving process involved in the transition to parenthood – letting go of our old lives and allowing the dynamics in relationships to evolve.

We need to develop a whole new self-care toolkit to buffer ourselves from the burden of parenting – specifically activities that take little time, energy or effort. If guilt gets in the way, remember engaging in self-care is the means by which you become the parent you aspire to be, so it’s the ultimate win win. The mantra ‘it’s not me first, it’s me as well’ might be helpful.

Use the Vitality Wheel to brainstorm your self-care toolkit and turn to it when you need a boost or when there is a rare moment to yourself!

What are we aiming for? There is no perfect parent, there is no perfect colleague. Tap into your personal values and take action to be that person you aspire to be. ‘Be the adult you want your kids to be’. How can we be this best version of ourselves? Only through regular nourishment. Get out that Vitality Wheel!

Signs of burnout and overwhelm: extreme tiredness, suppression of the immune system, aches, pains and tension, subdued mood and difficulty focusing, anger and reactivity, diminished enjoyment.

What to do if you’re having a tough time and how can you be supportive of others: talk about it, empathise with others, ask how you can be helpful and shape the help that is offered, make the commitment to regular self-care, reach out if you’re not sure what to do to help yourself. Know that your organisation wants you to speak up and they want to nourish and sustain you.

Further Advice and Support

If you’re concerned about someone or would like further support with your own mental health, the MIND website is a great source of knowledge and advice

Please also remember that the Mindshare Mental Health Champions are here to support you too. You can find out more about them here

Suzy's Vitality Wheel

3 Minute Wind Down

A short yoga routine – great for pre-bedtime unwinding or if you’re feeling anxious

Naomi Wright talks to us about 'Cleaning Your Internal House'

Naomi Wright talks to us about 'Cleaning Your Internal House'

Although its normal to experience feelings of stress, worry, anger, sadness, fear, anxiety, fatigue or uncertainty - these are actually all cues for a call to action within ourselves to make some changes and to break the cycle of strain within.

Often when we’re busy, we ignore these emotional cues and keep pushing on with our ‘to-do list’ despite the warning signs. Stopping to reset, recover and reconnect to that place of being, beyond the doing, doesn’t need to be another overwhelming item on your to do list. It is arguably the most important time-out you’ll take all day and a hugely effective way to clear the mind-body system of unwanted rubbish!

A short meditation session can include any of the following:

Closing the eyes, placing the hands on the belly, and deeply filling the lungs from the belly, up through the chest and exhaling gently through the nose. 3-5 mins of this will help settle your internal system.

Practicing body feeling and awareness. This can be practiced now at your desk! Close the eyes, and scan the body from the scalp to the toes, systematically putting your attention and awareness on all areas of the body and letting go and relaxing areas of tension.

Taking a walk on your lunchbreak in a nature filled space. Connection to nature has an extremely calming influence on our state of wellbeing.

And remember, it’s not only you who stands to benefit from your happiness, in the same way, its not only you that suffers when you are stressed. Your positive presence has the potential to uplift and inspire everyone you come into contact with. Become part of a peaceful ripple effect by making a simple decision to make your own state of mind, thought and action your own priority. Its a win-win for everyone!

Meditation & Creativity

Meditation & Creativity

Meditation & Creativity

If you’re curious about the science associated with the benefits of meditation on the brain and creativity, then give this article a read, recommended by Naomi Wright: 

Naomi hosts some of our monthly Rest & Reset sessions at Mindshare, so be sure to check out the Rest & Reset page to sign up for upcoming sessions.

Shine a Light on Depression

Shine a Light on Depression

Dr Barbara Mariposa joined us at Mindshare on 13th April to Shine a Light On Depression. Here you can discover a summary of that talk, covering how to look after your own wellbeing, spot the signs that someone close to you may be struggling and how to best support them. 


Key Messages about Mental Illness

Let’s Talk About It - we all need to connect, communicate and care to be well

Say No to Stigma - mental illness is no different from physical illness

We Are Not Broken - recovery is normal since people heal, learn and grow


Supporting Yourself to be Well

Remember the Basics - regular exercise, good nutrition and hydration, enough sleep are the basic essentials of wellbeing

Do Things You Love to do Regularly - for no reason other than they feel good, especially things involve other people

Social Support - nurture a few worthwhile friendships where there is mutual care, trust and respect

Positive Environment - aim to work in a positive environment where you play to your strengths and are appreciated, supported and valued

Health is Other People - if you feel rough, talk to someone you trust. Don’t keep it to yourself


Spotting Distress

Depression can be hard to spot because we wear a protective mask. It’s a lonely, isolated place.

Our greatest asset in spotting distress in others is empathy, allowing ourselves to feel what it feels like to be in someone else's shoes, without judgement. It’s an innate ability we all have.

You may notice changes in:

Cognitive Abilities -  to remember, make decisions, focus, feel motivated

Mood - tearful, flat, agitated, pessimistic, hopeless, worthless

Behaviour - withdrawn, eating less or more, addictive patterns, slowed down, excess or poor sleep


Supporting Others

You already have the skills it takes to reach out to someone you think may depressed: 

Ask simple questions without judgement because you want to listen to the answer

Be honest, respectful and be yourself. This is a normal person like you or me

Don’t try to fix people, or offer advice. A simple gesture of kindness makes all the difference

Genuine care will never harm. Distance and judgement can

If you feel out of your depth, suggest the person seek expert help


For further advice and support on depression, or any other mental illness, the MIND website is a great source of knowledge and advice - http://www.mind.org.uk. 

For more information on Dr B and her work, including her book, you can discover more on her website - http://drbarbaramariposa.com

Free Meditations from Carly Grace

Free Meditations from Carly Grace

Carly hosts some of our monthly Rest & Reset sessions at Mindshare, so be sure to check out the Rest & Reset page to sign up for upcoming sessions.

To support you in your meditation practice, or even if you've never meditated before and are simply curious about what's involved, here you can access 3 short meditation audio recordings from Carly Grace. Enjoy!


Are You Surviving or Thriving?

Are You Surviving or Thriving?

In Conversation with Dr Cinzia Pezzolesi 

The focus of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week (8th-14th May) challenges us to consider whether we are we living our life simply ‘getting through’ and doing our best to juggle all of the various demands on our time, money, resources and attention; or are we truly living life to the fullest and thriving? 
 

It’s a stirring question, one which for many of us we’ve probably never given much thought to, but it certainly feels worthy of exploration, because good mental health is more than the absence of a mental health problem.

We wanted to learn more, and so we picked the brains of one of the wonderful experts we’re proud to call part of our team, Dr Cinzia Pezzolesi: 

Qu. 1: How do we know if we are surviving or thriving, what is the difference between the two? 

A very interesting question indeed! I think that when we are surviving there is an element of fatigue, everything requires effort and there is a sense of running against the tide. The days may feel the same and there might be a lack of sense of purpose. When we are thriving, it feels like being in a ‘flow’, it feels right and we are excited to be where we are and do what we do.

Qu. 2: What steps can we take to look after our mental health, building resilience to cope with the demands of life? 

First of all, we need to have some time to step back and observe what is going on in our lives. If we live in automatic pilot we might not notice when things begin to overwhelm us or deplete our mental wellbeing. Awareness is the key!

Qu. 3: Is it okay if at some points in our lives we operate in survival mode, like at particularly stressful points such as moving house, having a baby or starting a new job? 

Indeed, it is not such a dichotomy, some days we may thrive and other days we might survive. It is sometimes comforting to notice and see how impermanent i.e. temporary everything is. For example an emotion only lasts 20 seconds in the brain, so if we don’t invest too much time thinking about that emotion but instead we open up to the ups and downs of life, we can bounce back quite quickly.

Qu. 4: How can we make sure we build long lasting positive habits, to prevent slipping back into survival mode again? 

Habits are based on positive reinforcements. So if we want to foster a positive habit we need to associate the habit with something that is rewarding. For example if you want to develop the habit to eat well, it is important to make sure that enjoyment is present when eating, that could mean making your salad fresh, colorful, and use beautiful plates and cutlery.

Qu. 5: How can we support others who we may be concerned are not fully engaged in life and thriving? 

Listening and observing what is going on with them first, trying to be present but not forcing anything. Is there any material condition that is getting in their way  e.g. working too many hours or not having any childcare support? 

If so maybe offering to help with practical things so that some time is released to savour life. I also think that ‘teaching by example’ to role model is very powerful, especially within families.


Dr Pezzolesi will be leading the Mindshare Mental Health Champions programme. To find out more about that and get involved, click here