03 May Mindful In May – Part 1
Are you Mindful of Mindfulness this May? Part 1…
We came across the Mindful in May challenge recently and were completely inspired by both it’s vision and cause: meditation for 10 minutes per day for better health, but also to help build clean water projects for those who need it most. No brainer huh?
For most people, meditation doesn’t come easy or naturally and requires a reasonable amount of dedication. Who has time to meditate when you barely have time to brush your teeth? But what if for the month of May 2015, you made a 10 minute per day commitment to meditation, to create more calm, focus and clarity into your daily life? Find out why 10 minutes is all it takes!
Are you up for the challenge? The Mindful In May challenge gives you an accountable program to do just this for a small fee. You receive guided audio meditations and video interviews with global experts in the field of mindfulness, mindset and neuroscience. Join us in the pursuit of mindfulness this May!
In fact, we were so inspired that we have dedicated our May blog posts to share with you why it’s so important to being mindful in all areas of your life.
Mindfulness and Digestion
Our philosophy is about helping women reclaim their health and better understand their digestive system. We know that the foods we eat have a direct impact on how our digestion functions. But what about our mind? Our thoughts and nervous system? How does our mind-set affect the digestive issues we’re dealing with?
A large body of research suggests that mindfulness exercises like meditation and deep breathing can have a positive impact on how our digestion functions. And really if you think about it – to mention the simplest example, when you’re nervous or anxious, where do you feel it first? In the gut! It’s the butterflies in the stomach. So you’re experiencing a direct physical symptom from the state your mind is in.
One study showed an 80% decrease in symptoms in Irritable Bowel Syndrome ( IBS) sufferers solely by following a guided meditation specifically designed for digestive problems! ( Chris Kesser 2013). This clearly illustrates that we cannot heal our physical ailments just by diet and supplements alone. If we don’t find ways to change our life style and reduce stress, all the best supplements in the world won’t heal.
As professional women, our lives are incredibly busy and we often forget to put our well being first. We loose touch and before too long, are so ill, so broken or have even hit rock bottom and unable to function.
Have you been there?
At For Life Retreats, we’re all about giving you the tools to take your health into your own hands (with the right support) and re-connect with your body.
It’s critical that we understand the importance of becoming quiet to hear our bodies’ signals. We truly believe that becoming mindful with your body (and in everyday life) allows you to listen to your inner feedback system, and develop a deep connection and understanding with your body.
The For Life Retreats program allows you the opportunity to attend a powerful life-changing workshop with our mind-body specialist, life coach and NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming) expert Hayley Carr. Hayley will will take you on a journey deep inside your body and mind to discover your true and incredible healing potential.
We caught up with Hayley recently and chatted about her view on stress and the importance of being mindful…
Hayley have you noticed the effect stress has on your clients outlook on life?
Absolutely. When we are experiencing stress in our lives, our outlook narrows. Physiologically, the hormones and chemicals in our body send us into fight or flight mode, and our energy becomes centred, hardened, and focused on the problem at hand.
Emotionally and Mentally, I see them seemingly looking through the eyes of their problem, as opposed to looking through the eyes of solution. What you focus on expands, so their outlook on life also narrows, hardens, and centres.
Naturally, the more stressed my clients are, the more they forget how powerful, expansive, and made of pure-potential they are!
Can you reveal to us some common stressors you see through your work?
Yes of course. Mostly the pressures of expectation. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to keep up with the high demands we place on ourselves, in order to meet expectations we’ve created for ourselves along the way. Most of my clients are high performers, who compare themselves always to where they want to be, which sounds like a good idea, except for when it becomes comparison, and a feeling of “I should be here by now, instead of letting it inspire them, and focusing instead on how far they have come.
It’s a case of not giving themselves and break and a pat n the back for a job well done. The best person that can come from is yourself.
That’s so true. So with that in mind, would you be able to share with us how stress has impacted your own life?
I used to be a competitive martial artist, and no matter how much I won, I was never satisfied. This hunger made me really successful in my career, however not stopping and being proud of myself along the way for how far I’d come, led me to exhaustion and Chronic Fatigue.
Stress is not a bad thing. Stress makes us take action, and kicks our bodies into gear when necessary – but taken too far, it can chronically inhibit the way you experience life, and there’s never any need for that.
Unfortunately, I learnt that the hard way.
You must have some strategies then for for dealing with stress and an being more in the moment. Can you tell us what are your 3 top tips to being more mindful and present in everyday life?
- Take deep breaths. As often as possible.
When you are feeling stressed and pushed beyond your comfort zone, the body hits fight or flight mode. It has the same chemical reaction as if it were being chased by a lion and possibly going to be killed.
Through continuing to breathe deep, you’re physically telling your body that it is safe, and there is no need for that response.
Plus, it feels great. And anything that feels great brings you back into the present moment.
- Check in with your body.
Take a moment, close your eyes and do a little scan. Ask it what it needs. It feels weird to do this in the beginning if you’ve never done it before, but over time you start to listen and hear exactly what your body is telling you, in order to be able to take great care of yourself.
Meditation has changed my life. Imagine your mind like a mixed up rubix cube. Each time you sit down to meditate, it’s like unwinding the rubix cube a little more, and over time, returning it back to it’s ordered, colour-co-ordinated state.
Through the day we get wound up. Meditation creates spaciousness, and recharges the brain, allowing us to restart and become present again
What is your advice on managing stress in the long-term?
Think about this: What you focus on expands.
The way you are feeling is determined largely by what you are focusing on. If you are imagining something to go wrong, you’re probably going to feel anxious before you even start.
Next time you’re feeling stressed, switch your focus to what you want. Switch it to your goals. Switch it to seeing yourself jumping over any hurdle in the way of your biggest dreams, and see yourself completing whatever your stressed about, having done it perfectly.
And finally, Keep things in perspective.
Everyone experiences stress in their lives – it’s a natural state. – weather you’re a parent, a business owner, a teenager who lives by the beach or a billionaire. And it’s all relevant to whoever is experiencing it. But if you remember that it’s an everyday part of life instead of resisting it and wishing you were someone, or somewhere else, you’ll better put the above into practise.