Following on from the healthier eating post from last week, I feel it's just as relevant to talk about the importance of a healthy mind.
We all get caught up in what we put in to our bodies, what will benefit us, what will help us function in a physical capacity in a more effective way, and that's fantastic... I really believe a healthy body is a happy body.
Yet we neglect the most important and empowering part of ourselves, our mind.
Our senses are bombarded on a daily basis. The news, the printed media, our colleagues at the water cooler, our friends. All have an opinion and the power to affect not only our daily mood but long term mental health, and most of the time we don't even notice.
We soak up the energies of others like a sponge, absorbing their opinions in both a positive and negative way and not even thinking twice about the impact. Of course when someone praises us, gives us a compliment, does something nice for us - we feel good. Sadly the feeling is fleeting, lost the second something negative comes along to distract us from that positive connection. Yet why is it when someone or something has that negative impact, the effects are far more long-standing. We can dwell on negativity for hours, days, months... even years. I bet all of us can remember a specific event where someone hurt us, someone made us feel small or isolated, even as far back as our school days and whenever that memory is triggered we have those same feelings again. Can you remember when someone gave you a compliment in school? Can you remember when you had a really good day as opposed to a really bad one? Probably not, I'm really pleased if you can!
Do we ask why that is?
We find it, as a species, much easier to accept others negativity as truth. If someone was to randomly do a nice thing, a kind gesture, out of the blue for you, the majority of us would question their motives right? Why are they doing that? Why are they giving me a compliment? We find it so tough to simply accept the humanity in others as we are so used to being told the world is a bad, dangerous place full of uncaring people, when that's simply not true.
We know of course that terrible people do terrible things. We know there are those who seek to spread terror and despair. But they are not the majority and we need to see and feel the good in others and we do this by seeing and feeling the good in ourselves. But how do we do that effectively?
I am a great believer in positivity. I am a great believer in mediation to calm the mind. I am a great believer in the power of focusing the mind to empower the body.
Before you think I am telling you that we can combat every evil in the world with the power of "thinking positive", I'm not. I'm not naïve. But I do believe it can make a difference in our own lives, our own day to day and if we all strive for that then who knows what greater difference it will make.
Meditation is personal, it's all about how you, as an individual, connect with your earth energy. That may sound strange but we all have a connection to our surroundings. For example, you walk into a place you have never been, meet someone for the first time, and immediately you have a sensed opinion. You can "feel" whether this is somewhere you want to be, or someone you would like to carry on a conversation with. That's a connection.
There are many ways to meditate and for a variety of reasons, but I can share with you a simple technique I like to use. Prior to a photo-shoot, a public appearance, an interview, anything where I am in the spotlight, I like to take a few minutes to shut out everything else and just centre my energy. How?
I focus on my breathing. Simple right?
Well I want you to just stop and become aware of each breath you are taking right now. Deep? Shallow? Quick? Slow? It's something we do without thinking and are rarely aware of. I try and ensure follow the 3/5 rule, inhale for three seconds and exhale for five, controlled and assured and into the stomach. I'm not suggesting you huff and pant like you're in labour but simply begin to become aware of your breaths, it's quite amazing how out of kilter that breathing may be when you start to focus on it. Once you are focusing on your breathing, then relax your hands and feet. Most stress we accumulate physically goes straight to the hands and feet. Don't believe me? Think about the first thing you do when in the dentists' chair! You clamp your hands together and your toes start curling right? So really focus on starting with your hands and feet, a finger or toe at a time. You will feel much better trust me.
Obviously this is just a start. My fantastic hypnotherapist, Louise Phillips, has assisted me so much to manage my focus, but you don't need therapy to help yourself. Surround yourself with positive people, know you deserve to feel happy. I am blessed to be supported by an amazing Management team, a positive and driving force in my life.
We all have negative influences but how much we allow their presence to have an impact is up to us. Positivity attracts positivity and sometimes we need to cut back the weeds in order for the flowers to bloom.
You deserve happiness, you deserve good things, you deserve the rose garden.