Seven Tips to Meditate More Easily Even If You do not Think You Can

Have you tried to meditate but you found it too hard? Your mind kept wandering off or thoughts kept rushing in as soon as you started to meditate, maybe you felt frustrated because you told yourself that you didn’t seem to get it right or you could not feel what you thought others felt when they meditated?

As a result you maybe decided that it was not for you or did not work for you and have not tried again since.  Or maybe you are practicing meditation but only sporadically because you find it difficult to keep the momentum going and keep forgetting to do it.

Well let me tell you, I have been through this myself. The first few times I ever meditated I did not think it was for me either especially that at the time I was doing a Buddhist meditation that involved counting the breath and I did not think that it worked, my mind kept wandering off, I found myself out of breath and felt frustrated.

After I learned more about how to meditate and tried different types of meditation, I was able to do so but for the first couple of years it was only sporadically because I found it too difficult to keep the momentum going on my own.  It only was after I did a meditation course and got into the habit of practicing every day that I was able to practice regularly even if some days it was only connecting with my breath for a minute or 2 during the day.

So it is normal for minds to wander off, that is what they do! The mind does not like to be in the present moment, so it will try to get you into the past or the future or to judge yourself, others and what is going on.  When we meditate we are retraining the mind.  If you want to build your muscles, you are not going to be able to lift heavy weights right away, and what is heavy will of course be different for different people, you are going to have to do a little bit every time before you get to that stage.  Also if only go to the gym sporadically, it is not going to get easier and as you will not see results. Well it is the same with meditation.

When you start to meditate, your mind may try to resist because it does not like to be in the present moment, and you may have thoughts like: `this is boring’,  I can’t do this’,  `it’s not working`, it’s too hard’, it's not for me'.  So why should not I listen, you may ask? If I think this it must be true!

Through mindfulness and meditation we learn to become the observer of our thoughts and the more we practice we realize that we cannot believe all the thoughts that come into our mind.   We all have acquired beliefs and a particular mindset from our childhood experiences but a lot of these are not very helpful to us in adulthood and prevent us from being happy and fulfilled.  If you tell yourself that `something is too hard' or `it is not for you’, then you have closed your mind to it and thus to new possibilities.

A friend of mine who experienced depression, anxiety and much stress in her life was adamant that she could not meditate. She had decided that meditation was not for her because her mind was too active.  Even though I explained to her that mindfulness did not only consist of meditation but many different techniques to become aware of what was happening in the present moment and that there were different ways to meditate, she still closed her mind to it for quite a while.  One day, I was finally able to get her to come to one of my mindfulness workshops and she was very surprised that she was able to do some of the meditation techniques that I showed.

Indeed there are many different ways to meditate and practice mindfulness, so it is worth trying different techniques as some will work better for you than others.

So how can you meditate more easily? Here are seven tips that will help you meditate more easily.

1. Not trying to push thoughts away

When we meditate we are not trying to push thoughts away, on the contrary we are allowing whatever thought to come in whether, it is pleasant, unpleasant or neutral but rather than holding on to them we let them go without by bringing ourselves back gently without judgment to our focus of attention.

2. Keeping an open mind

It is important to keep an open mind, if thoughts like `I can't do it', `it’s too hard’, `it won’t work’ come in just observe them and let them go like any other thought.

3. Not trying to achieve anything

It is also very important to not try to achieve anything, mindfulness meditation is about just being in the now. If you try to be peaceful or try to feel something or expect a certain outcome while you are practicing, you will just create more stress for yourself and will feel frustrated.

4. Starting with watching your breath for one minute at a time

You do not need to start with a 5 or 10 minute meditation, you can just start by watching each movement of the breath for its full duration as you breathe in and out and feeling the sensations associated with each breath for one minute. You can then add one or two minutes when it gets easier.

5. Using guided meditation

It is also easier to start with a guided meditation if you are going to do more than one minute at a time. There are many different types of guided meditation so you can try a few to see the ones that you prefer.

6. Not calling it meditation

If you told yourself before that `meditation was not for you’, it will be easier if you do not use that term. In mindfulness, we talk about formal and informal mindfulness practices.  Meditation is a formal mindfulness practice because we take time out out of our day to do so.  However, as mentioned in no 4, you can start practicing watching the breath for one minute anywhere, in the car, sitting at your desk at work, waiting for the train, even in the toilet! So you do not have to take time out of your day, you are just connecting to your breath and bringing yourself in the present moment.

7. Set up a routine

It is important to do the practice roughly at the same time everyday, put it in your diary if it helps, even if it is only connecting with your breath for one minute 2 or 3 times a day.  For instance, it could be connecting with the breath for one minute when you wake up, one minute before you start work, another minute before going to sleep.  Making it into a routine will help you considerably in keeping the momentum going.

Also remember that mindfulness can also be practiced through your everyday activities, so that you do not need to start with meditation but connecting with the breath for one minute is a very good way to start.

If you would like to have a free 20 minute mindfulness phone discovery session to discuss how I can help you have more calm, joy and fulfillment in your life, please contact me or check out my upcoming 6 week mindfulness course, in which I teach a wide range of meditations as well as mindfulness techniques to incorporate into your everyday activities, in St Kilda East, Vic, starting on Wed 25th Oct. from 7 to 9 pm, by clicking here.

How Can Eating Mindfully Improve Your Health and Well-Being?

What is Mindful Eating?

Mindful eating is about bringing awareness to how you eat, what you eat and the actual experience of eating in itself.  Eating is something that we often do on automatic pilot without always paying attention to what we eat, how much we eat, how it tastes and how it affects us.

Doing an everyday activity mindfully involves using all our senses and connecting with the sensations in our body to ground ourselves in the present moment.  So to eat mindfully, start by having a good look at what you’re about to eat. Take note of the textures, shapes and colours. Notice the smells and sounds. When you take a bite, notice the temperature, the texture and all the different tastes.

Be aware of how the food feels on your fork or in your hand, then how it feels in your mouth. Notice your mouth chewing away and how it feels when you are swallowing. Pay attention to the thoughts and feelings that you have while eating.  Certain foods may remind you of a particular event, whether pleasant and unpleasant.

Mindful eating also involves paying attention to how you feel before and after eating, how you shop for food and how you prepare food.

Impact of Mindful Eating on Health and Well-Being

Research has found that eating mindfully improves digestion, gives more energy; prevents type 2 diabetes, overeating, excessive snacking as well as helping lose weight. It does so in three main ways by:

  1. Focusing your Attention

When you eat mindfully, you do so very slowly as you focus solely on the sensations associated with eating, if thoughts come in, you notice them but let them go, bringing yourself back to feeling the sensations in your body. By doing so, it will improve your digestion. Indeed, if you eat while thinking about other things or doing something else, you may feel tense as a result which will affect your digestion.  Similarly, if you eat very quickly to be able to go and do something else, your digestion may also suffer as a result.

Mindful eating also helps improve health and well-being by enabling you to really appreciate the foods that we eat and be fully in the present moment either on your own or with family and friends.

  1. Tuning into your body

Indeed, we are not always aware of what we actually put in our bodies and how the foods that we eat affect us. Some type of foods or ingredients or drinks may make cause us discomfort but if we ignore those body messages, the symptoms are likely to get worse overtime and impact negatively on our health and well-being. That is something that I have certainly experienced on several occasions.

By tuning into your body and how you feel while you eat and after you eat, you will be able to notice how different foods affect you will make it easier for you to avoid products and ingredients that are causing discomfort at least for a certain period of time.  By eating mindfully, you will be able to notice when you are feeling full and avoid overeating.

  1. Becoming aware of our attitudes to food

We are not always aware of why we eat when we do.  Indeed, we might be overeating or snacking when we are not really hungry because we crave for sugary foods or we eat out of boredom or for comfort. Therefore, it is also very important to notice our thought patterns and emotions associated with food before we can change our attitudes to food.  For instance, ask yourself if you are snacking because you are really hungry right now or if it is for another reason. What kind of thoughts are going through your mind? What emotions are you feeling that are causing you to eat right now?

This awareness will help you lose weight, improve your relationship to food and improve your overall health and well-being.

Eating mindfully is also a very fulfilling, peaceful and joyful experience that you can enjoy on your own and with others.  If you live in Melbourne and would like to try a very unique sensory dining experience consisting of mindful eating activities and discussions in small groups in a friendly non-judgmental environment in a restaurant, then come to the event of Living with Mindful Awareness on Friday 20th October at 7pm in St Kilda. For more information and tickets please go to, https://www.meetup.com/Living-with-Mindful-Awareness/events/243353884/

 

5 Ways to Address What Your Body Needs

When we feel stomach pains or abdominal discomfort, it is our body trying to tell us something.  We do not always want to listen to these messages and we sometimes continue eating the foods and drinks that do not agree with us because they give us emotional comfort and they become also part of our lifestyle. We all ignore these signals at times but not listening to them can cause longer term health problems.

I have a very sensitive gut and have had to learn to really pay attention to what I put in my body. However, it took me a long time to be able to do so as I had a lot of resistance to changing my eating and drinking habits.  For instance, even though I was getting increasingly uncomfortable after eating wheat products, being French, not eating bread or pastries seemed unthinkable! I used to love coffee and could not conceive either of not doing so even though my stomach was upset afterwards.

As it got worse increasingly, I had to do something drastic and had to stop eating a lot of things including gluten, sugar, dairy products, fruits and vegetables with high fructose, and stop drinking coffee and alcohol.  It took quite a long time before I was able to reintroduce some of these items. If I had listened to my body signals earlier, I could have avoided feeling so unwell and having to avoid so many items at once. Then I had to deal not only with the difficulties of finding what I could eat and the physical symptoms but also the distress from not being able to continue the same lifestyle that I had and using food or alcohol to find emotional comfort.

Through regular mindfulness practice, I have learned to accept that I needed to listen to my body and that I had to avoid certain foods and drinks. Nowadays, as it is easier to find gluten and dairy free products on the market it is less challenging to find good alternatives.  Mindfulness has also helped me deal with difficult emotions and accept myself so that I no longer feel the need to eat to fill a void.

By being more aware of how I felt in my body after eating and drinking, and using probiotics, I have been able to re-incorporate some of the foods that disagreed with me after a certain time and am able to eat some high fructose fruits and vegetables as long as it is in moderation.  I do eat the occasional pastry and dark chocolate!, and goat cheese instead of cow’s milk cheese and enjoy one or two glasses of rose or red from time to time. As long as I listen to what my body is telling me I can avoid being unwell for weeks or months at a time.

Here are 5 ways that you can address what your body needs.

  1. Listen to your body

After eating connect with how you feel, notice any sensations of discomfort, become aware of the foods that seem to disagree with you and experiment by leaving them out to see how different you feel.  Maybe your body keeps telling you that you are overeating if you always feel really full after eating a meal.

  1. Accept that it is happening

It is important to learn to accept that certain foods or drinks may cause problems for you and that you need to change some eating and drinking habits. If you are invested emotionally into these habits it will be more difficult but it does start with acceptance rather than struggling against it or pretending everything is fine. It is also about accepting when there is pain or discomfort that it is there. This does not mean that you have to like it or resign yourself to it but accepting it is there will help you take steps to do things differently. If you feel distress or frustration from not being able to eat and drink in the same way as you have been used to, it is also important to accept it, or you will create more stress and frustration for yourself.

  1. Ask your body what it needs

By connecting with the sensations in your body when you feel hungry and after your eat, you can become more in tune with what you need.  Say if you feel like eating a bag of crisps, ask yourself if this is what your body really needs right now.  The more you practice, the easier it will be.

  1. Find other alternatives

Leave out some of the foods and drinks that do not agree with you and make your body feel uncomfortable.  It does not mean that you will never be able to eat these again, you may be able to reintroduce them later on in moderation. Find healthier alternatives that you can eat without discomfort that you can enjoy and you will get used to them after a while. For example, I can no longer drink coffee but I now drink strong flavour herbal teas that I really enjoy and I do not miss coffee anymore.

  1. Eat Mindfully

By eating more mindfully, you will be able to appreciate the texture, smell, colour and taste of everything that you eat and drink so that it will be easier to avoid or reduce the consumption of foods and drinks that you have been eating on a regular basis.

How You Can Use Technology More Mindfully

For most of us, mobile technology like phones and tablets have changed how we connect and interact with others and how we spend a lot of our time. It can feel like technology has taken over our lives but of course it is only so if we let it.

Technology can be addictive because it distracts us from ourselves and emotional pain or feelings of dissatisfaction with our lives we may be experiencing. Technology also becomes a habit, we are so used to having a mobile phone with us everywhere and using it for so many different things that we may feel lost without it. It can also be used as a safety blanket. For instance, I have seen so many people getting their mobile phones out at social networking events when they find themselves suddenly on their own or there is a silence in the conversation with somebody else.

However, we do have the choice to use technology differently. Because we are so used to these devices we may not be aware of how we use them and how they may impact negatively on our lives, relationships and health and well-being. You may be so distracted by technology that you are not fully present in the moment and do not take time out to connect with yourself very often. As with everything it starts with awareness as you cannot change what you do not acknowledge.

The way we use mobile phones can also impact very negatively on social connections and relationships because reaching for the mobile has become one of these daily activities that we do on automatic pilot, we may be glancing at our phone in the middle of a conversation with our loved ones or at work and thus not fully listening to the other person. This can lead to conflicts and misunderstandings. After all we all want to be heard, listened to and understood and the quality of our relationships and connections will suffer if it does not happen.

Here are some of the things you can start being more mindful of.

1. Next time you are interacting with others, notice if you are taking your phone out and putting it on the table so you have it ready just in case and you can look at it from time to time when there are blanks in the conversation. Or do you reach for your phone in your bag or pocket anytime that you get a Facebook notification or a text? Or do you answer your phone in the middle of your conversation with the people in the same room as you?

2. Notice what impact this has on the quality of the connection and interaction between you and the others in the room. How many times does your mind wanders off from the conversation your are having because you are thinking about somebody who has sent you a text or about a call you need to make or something you have read or seen on Facebook? Pay attention to how you are feeling in the current social situation. Pay attention to how the others are reacting to you reaching for your phone, observe their body language and expression.

3. Try putting your phone away on silent and not reaching for it when it buzzes when you are interacting socially even if the others you are with are doing it themselves, instead be fully present and engaged with the others when they are talking, giving them their full attention. It is likely that by doing so they will not reach for their phones themselves but even if they do resist the temptation of doing it yourself. Instead, connect with how you feel in that moment, do you feel frustrated? ignored? irritated? Simply observe the feelings in your body and let them go. For instance, you can say to yourself i notice a feeling of irritation, so you do not get pulled into the emotion. Notice how you feel when the person has resumed giving you attention.

4. When you are waiting for a train, tram or bus or waiting for somebody or in a waiting room or when you are on public transport, try to spend some time without reaching for your phone or tablet, instead connect with your breath and watch the movement of the breath for 1 or 2 minutes and if thoughts come in just bring yourself back gently to the breath without judgment. Or maybe smile at somebody and start a conversation! Connect with how that feels.

5. When you take a break from work during the day try to not do so by only checking your emails, texts or Facebook, go for a walk instead and pay attention to how you feel as you are walking, noticing the colors, smells and sounds around you without judgment to be as fully present as possible in that moment.

 

How to Deal with Difficult Emotions

We all experience emotional pain from time to time such as, for example, sadness, hurt, shame, guilt or anger. We tend to want to escape these emotions and avoid looking at them because they are of course painful. However, trying to push them away and wishing there were not there or giving ourselves a hard time for feeling this way  simply compounds the pain and creates additional stress for yourself. Alternatively, we can keep thinking about how bad we feel, also reinforcing emotional pain and creating more stress in our lives in the process.
Both options contribute to depression and anxiety and often to physical health problems in the long term. In fact, we need to learn to deal with difficult emotions by looking at them rather than running away or getting hooked by the stories we tell ourselves about our lives and who we are. Mindfulness will help you do that. Here are 5 steps that will help you deal with difficult emotions so you can have more peace, joy and tranquillity in your life.
1. Name the Emotion
Say to yourself here is a feeling or I notice a feeling of, for example, sadness.
2. Remind yourself that you are not alone in this
For example, you can tell yourself, `we all experience these at time’ or` it’s only human’.
3. Notice where the emotion is in your body
Bring your attention to the emotion and notice where it is in your body without judgement.
4. Stay with the sensation
Notice how the sensations feel in that area of your body. Any thoughts come in just notice them and let them go, bringing yourself back to feeling the sensations and breathe into them so that you can relax into them.
5. Investigate with gentle curiosity
Notice the shape, colour, thickness of the sensations associated with that emotion in your body without falling into a story. You will notice that the sensations will shift and change.
The more you practice this, the easier it will become to do. It is recommended to start practicing these steps with a feeling of unease like frustration or disappointment rather than a very strong emotion.
If you would like a free 30 minutes consultation to discuss how I can help you deal with painful emotions, stress, anxiety through mindfulness coaching PM me on Facebook or contact me through my website https://mindfullyserene.com.au/ 

Seven Ways to Lose Weight with Mindful Eating

Research has found that eating mindfully can improve your digestion, prevent type 2 diabetes, overeating, excessive snacking, and help you lose weight. Mindful eating is about bringing awareness to how you eat, what you eat and the actual experience of eating in itself.  It also involves paying attention to how you feel before and after eating, how you shop for food and how you prepare food.

We all know how difficult it can be to lose weight because we tend to have such a strong emotional attachment to food and often have very deeply entrenched eating patterns that we are not necessarily aware of. Indeed, often we eat without paying much attention to what we and how we eat and the sensations as we chew and swallow food because we think about something else or we eat while watching TV or being distracted by other things.

We do not necessarily pay attention to the type of food that we are eating and how it might affect our body. We may overeat at times or eat without being really hungry because we feel a void and need emotional comfort or to cope with stress and difficult emotions.

These are seven ways in which mindful eating can help you lose weight:

  1. Notice your hunger signals

When you are about to have a snack, ask yourself if you are really hungry. Maybe you are just feeling bored or sad or it is just out of habit. Connect with how you feel, observe whatever sensations you feel in your body. When thoughts come in, notice them without judgment but bring yourself back to the sensations in your body. If you decide that you are not really hungry, take a few deep breaths, observing how it feels as you do so. Maybe go for a walk or do some gentle stretches instead of snacking.

  1. Shop mindfully

When you are shopping for food, pay attention to the types of food that you are putting in your trolley, how much you are buying, what ingredients go in them, not only in terms of how high in fat or sugar but also to how much preservatives or artificial coloring there are. Pay attention to where the food comes from and how it was made, ask yourself if you really want to put this into your body.

  1. Involve your senses

The process continues when you prepare the food, pay attention to how much you are making, what ingredients you are using and combining. Pay attention to the sensations in your hands as you peel or chop vegetables and the texture, smell and colour of the food. You can ask yourself if that is something that your body really needs.

  1. Focus your attention

Before a meal, put your phone on silent, turn the TV off and do not do anything else but eat so you can focus only on the sensations while you are eating. It will completely change the relationship that you have with food and will help your digestion.

  1. Eat mindfully

Now we get to the eating itself! Start by having a good look at what you’re about to eat. Take note of the textures, shapes and colours, then, notice any smells and sounds. When you take a bite, notice the temperature, the texture and all the different tastes. Be aware of how the food feels on your fork or in your hand, then how it feels in your mouth. Notice your mouth chewing away and how it feels when you are swallowing. It is recommended to start practicing eating mindfully with a snack, then when you are used to it progress to a full meal.

  1. Tune into how you feel

Notice how you feel once you have finished eating, maybe you feel like you have overeaten, notice how certain foods might agree or disagree with you by connecting to the sensations in your body after eating.

  1. Keep a Food Journal

To help becoming more aware of food habits and patterns, It is also useful to keep a daily food journal for at least a week, taking note of what you eat and how much at each meal and how often and what food you eat between meals, and also noting thoughts and emotions when you have a food craving or feel hungry between meals.

Regular daily mindfulness practice in addition to mindful eating will also enable you to accept yourself for you who are by being kinder and compassionate with yourself and accepting what is happening in the present moment. It will also help you be calmer and deal with stress and negative emotions more effectively.  As a result, it will be easier to become aware of how you eat and to change how you eat if you wish to do so.  Alternatively, you may decide that by accepting who you are, you do not need to lose weight.

If you would like to get a free 30 minutes consultation via Skype or phone to find out more how I can help you lose weight, cultivate self-love and self-compassion, manage and reduce stress or deal with difficult emotions through mindfulness coaching, contact Lise on 0405067030. For more mindfulness tips and techniques to improve your health and well-being go to https://mindfullyserene.com.au/

5 Ways to Fall Asleep Quicker

Do you find it hard to fall asleep at times because you keep worrying about work or other things in your life? Or do you wake up during the night and find it difficult to fall back to sleep, sometimes staying awake for hours because your mind is so busy and active? As a result you will feel tired, worn out and irritable the following day, and a lack of sleep may create health problems in the long term.

Indeed, I have experienced this many times myself, you go to bed but as soon as your head hits the pillow, your mind goes in hyperactive mode and you worry about work, money, relationships or about what you have to do the next day or your mind goes back over past events. You may then tell yourself over and over again that you have to sleep and may even give yourself a hard time for not being able to do so. This of course makes it worse. You end up feeling restless and agitated and stay sometimes awake for hours before falling asleep.  If you are like me you and you wake up several times during the night, you may also have the same problem going back to sleep.

I have experimented with many different techniques over the years and while practicing mindfulness daily can help sleep better, I know that I still need to use specific techniques at times to calm down my busy mind when I am trying to fall asleep. I have found five ways that help me calm my mind and fall asleep quicker.

1. Write a list of what you have to do the following day at some point in the evening, prioritizing what you will need to attend to first. By doing this it will make it easier for your mind not to keep thinking about what you have to do the next day when you are trying to fall asleep.

2. I have found very helpful to bring myself to the present moment before going to bed by turning the TV off, put your mobile and tablet aside, and pay attention to the sensations in your body and your movements as you prepare for bed, for example as you brush you teeth, undress, being fully present. If thoughts come in just watch them without judgment and bring yourself back to the sensations of the brush against your teeth, the toothpaste against your tongue, the sensation of the water in your mind, etc. If you meditate, do so before going to bed.

3. Even if you do not meditate, as you go to bed or as you are trying to get back to sleep connect to your breath, for at least one minute, longer if you can, watching the movement of the breath and feeling the sensations in your body, letting the thoughts go. 

4. Another technique, involves, while lying on your back, counting the breath by inhaling through your nose to a mental count of four, holding your breath for a count of seven, then exhaling completely through your mouth while you count to eight. Repeat this breathing exercise at least 3 times. This exercise is very effective and easy to do.

5. If you wake up during the night and no 3 and 4 are not helping you to go back to sleep because you have already been hooked by your thoughts and feel too restless and agitated, you can either get up and do a sitting meditation even if if it is only for 5 minutes, you can use a guided meditation to help you. Or try walking around the house very slowly, feeling the sensations in your feet and legs as you do so. Then go back to bed.

Try these and let me know what works best for you!

If you would like a free 30 minutes mindfulness consultation by phone to discuss how I can help you manage and reduce stress and anxiety, deal with difficult emotions, gain clarity in your life and enjoy life more through mindfulness coaching contact Lise on 0405067030.

Dr Lise Saugeres
https://mindfullyserene.com.au

5 Steps to Improving your Work Life-Balance

Recent research has shown that the balance between work and life has been deteriorating for many Australians as a result of working long hours.  Long working hours of course reduce the amount of time that you have to spend with your family and friends, reconnect with yourself and do leisure activities.

If you work long hours you may also be more likely to feel exhausted and irritable when you get home. This in turn will also impact your ability to be productive at work and have good working relationships. If you have your own business it may be even more difficult to separate work and home life, especially if you work from home and the boundary between the two can be blurred.

However, it is not only a matter of how much time you spend at work but whether you are actually able to transition from work to home life in such a way that you can be present and fully-engaged with your family and friends and truly switch off from work. If you keep worrying about work in your home life or social activities or bring work-related stress into the home, this will impact negatively on your family life, relationships and your overall wellbeing.

At the same time, it will likely also impact negatively on your ability to be fully present while you are at work. In the long-term, a life that is dominated by work at the expense of home and social life is likely to cause stress that may in the long term lead to physical or mental health issues. This is why having a balance between work and home life is so important to your overall health and well-being, your relationships and your ability to be productive at work.

Below are 5 steps that will truly help you make the transition between work and family life:

  1. At the end of the working day, reflect on what you achieved at work that day, what went well.
  2. Make a list of what you need to do the following day at work.
  3. Take a few minutes to connect with your breath and acknowledge that you are leaving or finishing work and notice how you are feeling without judgment.
  4. After leaving work, take some time out for yourself by doing an activity where you can be fully present in the moment, for instance you could go for a walk or do some exercise and take in fully what you see , hear, smell and touch. If you meditate, doing 10 to 15 minutes meditation or mindful movements like yoga or pilates after work will help you be fully present and make a smoother transition between work and home life.
  5. The previous step will also help you being fully present and engaged with your family or friends. Make sure you set some time aside to interact with the people in your life without being distracted by technology so you can be fully engaged with them. If you live alone, you can do something that makes you feel nurtured whether it is taking a bath, listening to music or reading a good book.

For more information on mindfulness and our services go to https://mindfullyserene.com.au or call Lise on 0405067030 for a free 30 minutes consultation.

 

How to Reduce Work Related Stress

We all experience work related stress at times, whether we are an employee or have our own business. If you are employed, you may be stressed because you feel overworked, worn out, unappreciated, unheard, having to deal with conflicts or are not satisfied with your role.

If you have your own business you may be stressed because you worry about how to grow your business, you may find it hard to keep your head above water financially, and may also feel overworked, worn out and overwhelmed by so many things to do.

If we do not find ways to manage stress it can impact very negatively on our health, well-being, work and family life.  With mindfulness, there are many different ways to minimise and manage stress. With these 5 following tips, you can improve your working day by becoming more aware of your thoughts and feelings about your work and working environment and giving you more effective strategies to help you be calmer and more focused and engaged.

1. When you walk into work, tune into your breath, and notice the thoughts and emotions that you may have without judging yourself. If your face is tense, try smiling and take a couple of slow deep breaths.
2. Pay attention to how you interact with others during the day, noting the kind of thoughts that you have and the body sensations you experience as you do so without getting hooked by them. Be as present as possible in your interactions, keeping eye contact and really listening to others.
3. Rather than multitasking, try doing one thing at a time and giving it your full attention.
4. Take a short break every hour if you can: doing mindful stretches, neck and shoulder rolls, walking indoors or outdoors, or watching your breath for a minute standing or sitting.
5. At lunch time, try to eat away from your desk, if you are on your own, fully connect with the sensations of eating or eat with people you feel comfortable with. If you can, go for a walk, paying attention to your surroundings and the sensations in your legs and feet as you walk.

For further information and videos on how to practice mindfulness techniques to reduce stress and improve your concentration, go to our website, https://mindfullyserene.com.au/
or call Lise for a free 30 minutes mindfulness phone consultation on 0405067030.

How to Start your Morning on the Right Foot

How you get out of bed and what you do in the morning before going off to work, or starting work if you are based at home, will set the tone for the day ahead.
Indeed, if you jump out of bed and rush to work, you may feel more easily stressed and irritable during the day. If you spend time worrying about work after you wake up you may also feel anxious and experience work related stress more easily.
 
There are 5 things that you can do that will help you being calmer, more grounded and centered so you can deal with potential challenges and work related stress more effectively and make the most of your day.
1. After you wake up, connect to your breath for one minute to start with, simply feeling the sensations in your body as you breathe in and out. If you mind wanders off, note where it has gone to and without judgement bring yourself back to the breath. You can do this lying or sitting down, and can add one or two minutes every now and then as it gets easier. 
2. Do gentle stretches mindfully, such as yoga or Pilates or jogging or other physical exercise by watching and feeling each movement and connecting to the sensations in your body. You can also do this at the gym.
3. Find 3 things that you are grateful for and breathe deeply after each one. 
4. Bring awareness to the process of preparing for the day, for example while you showering, or  brushing your teeth or preparing breakfast, use all your senses (touching, smelling, tasting, seeing, and hearing) to connect with the present moment and feeling the sensations in your body.
5. If you are having breakfast with family members, be fully present and engaged with them. If you have breakfast alone, eat mindfully, paying attention to the sensations to the smell, texture and sensations as you are chewing and swallowing the food. Let go of any other distractions.
You may think that you do not have the time to do all this in the morning before going to work but I guarantee you that it is worth taking the time, try it for a week and notice how different you feel during the day.
 
For more tips and information go to, 
https://mindfullyserene.com.au