FOUR ELEMENTS COACHING

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Decluttering Your Mind

 

There is so much research on the benefits of meditation – in fact, there are over 3000 scientific studies that you can access here.

Meditation helps you focus and increases memory, brings you a feeling of calm and reduces blood pressure, enhances self-esteem and self-acceptance, and lessens anxiety.

So if meditation is so helpful, why aren’t all of us doing it every day?

I’m not sure. I struggle with a daily practice as well, especially when I need it the most! I think we just don’t put the things we need to be calm and centered on the same priority list as those things we need to make money, care for others or manage a household. We think it’s less important somehow to make self care a priority. Or maybe we picture a guru sitting on a meditation cushion for hours at a time and that doesn’t feel right for us. But even just five minute or less of daily meditation brings the same benefits as a much longer practice.

I have discovered I am more likely to meditate when I add it to the end of my morning yoga routine. It’s a natural fit for me and I just add about five minutes to the end of my practice. Some people feel that they are most successful when the meditate before ever getting out of bed.

What I do know is that it’s one of the best self care activities for decluttering our mind of intrusive thoughts which can generally make us feel out of sorts. But eliminating those thoughts doesn’t happen immediately. This definitely takes practice.

Let me tell you how easy this can be. You can set a reminder in your electronic calendar or on your paper planner to meditate at a certain time every day or every other day. You can just find a few quiet moments somewhere comfortable in your home and do it yourself. Or, if you want to take advantage of electronic apps, here are a few I have used:

Smiling Mind (which is also tied to a research project!)
Insight Timer
https://www.calm.com/meditate

Remember – using electronic versions of meditation tools may not mean your phone won’t ring or your text and email notifications will stop. You may have to mute or turn off a few things to make sure you have uninterrupted time.

Just want to spend a few moments taking some deep breaths? Try the My Calm Beat App, which lets you choose your breathing rate per minute and gives you a tone when it’s time to breathe in and another when it’s time to breathe out.

Commit to four days at first – what Martha Beck calls a Four Day Win. Once you’ve meditated for four days, congratulate yourself. Reward yourself with something small but significant. And then commit to another four days. And then another four and so on. After about seven of these small commitments, you’ll have an entire month of meditation practice!

After about 12 days, think about how you feel – do you notice any changes in your thought patterns, focus, memory or sense of calm?

Still having trouble? Get yourself an accountability buddy who will check in with you to make sure you completed your daily or four-day commitment.

I’m off to take five and make my morning meditation time a priority.

Decluttering takes consistent time and effort. It’s more of a self care activity than many people realize. Getting rid of clutter brings in space for things that will really serve you. However, I encourage you to be gentle with yourself. Acknowledge your feelings when you are sad about the connection you feel to a particular item.

What one thing can you do to create or get back into your natural rhythm or flow?

This is a self care question I ask a client when they are feeling overwhelmed.  The “What” they need to do is sometimes clear, but they are feeling like things are too out of control for them to be able to engage in normal or routine activities, leaving less time for self care. In other words, the “What” and “How” are interfering with the “Who.” 

I’m not going to write a whole lot about this video, because I want you to just take it in. I could explain how this relates to self care, but I think by now, you get it and there’s no need.

This is by far one of the most powerful self care tools I have used and shared with my clients and friends.  It’s also one of my favorite Ted Talks, because Amy not only shares the research, but she shares her own vulnerability in a profound way.

This summer’s blockbuster movie proved that Wonder Woman still has a wide appeal. She represents strength, survival and a desire to find the truths necessary to save mankind.

What if Wonder Woman could fight off the bad mojo that creeps into your life?

Have you ever had one of those days when nothing seems to be going your way? It just seems like one thing after another piles on and makes you feel like whatever you do will turn to disaster.

These days, there are a lot of troubling things happening all over the world. It used to be that we got news from a couple of nightly news shows, magazines or the newspaper. But now, we see news throughout various social media platforms and apps, which also provide notifications of breaking stories throughout the day.

This constant exposure to real time, shocking or upsetting information can lead to feelings of anger, frustration or fear. And these emotions can cause anxiety and increase our levels of stress.

Yet in times of stress, many of us crave connection with others. After all, it is this connection that helps us to feel loved and cared for, right?

As adults, we get caught up in work and summer home repairs and chaperoning our children or grandchildren to camp or play dates. We may go on a vacation, but a lot goes into preparing to leave and acclimating back to work and routine when we return. Summer often loses the spontaneity of play we experience as children. 

How often do we say we’re sorry for things we’ve done that don’t require a sorry response? Has guilt become an automatic state of feeling for us?

We often say “Sorry” automatically without even thinking about it. “I’m sorry you’re sick.” “I’m sorry you didn’t get the job.” Neither of these things can be controlled by us, yet we often hear or give a ‘sorry pattern’ response.

Gratitude can change your life.

No kidding. A daily practice of writing down even three things you are grateful for will significantly change your life in many ways. In fact, research shows that people who regularly practice gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon the things they’re thankful for experience more positive emotions, feel less anxiety, respond to stress more calmly, sleep better, are more compassionate and even have stronger immune systems. 

On day one, I shared my belief that when we’re in crisis or depleted of energy from our “busyness”, we tend to be reactive rather than responsive. When we create personal energetic reserves, they help us feel as though we are connected to a place of balance and control. And creating personal energetic reserves is the best way to practice self care. 

Your daily habits can be whatever you want them to be and you don’t absolutely have to do each one every day. In fact, at first, it may be hard to fit them all in. And these habits don’t have to be time consuming.