• Making Self-Care a Daily Habit

    self-care

     

    A common side-effect of practicing mindfulness is that we start to notice the ways in which we neglect our well-being. Whether it’s unhealthy habits or addictions, stresses in our lives, or unkind judgemental thoughts about ourselves, in becoming more mindful we see these issues with greater clarity. With this new awareness can often come a desire to start treating ourselves with more care.

     

    For those of us who have been self-critical or neglectful of our well-being throughout our lives, self-care may at first feel a little awkward and unfamiliar. We might also not be so good at recognising when we need it. Developing a new, caring attitude towards ourselves can take time as we undo a lot of old, ingrained uncaring patterns and habits.

    At first we might only notice that we need self-care when we feel really low, like when we have the flu or when our depression is really bad. This is a great first step! However, self-care doesn’t have to end there. We can turn acts of self-care into a daily habit. With practice it may even start to come as naturally to us as brushing our teeth!

    Although small self-caring actions are better than none at all, to truly cement self-care into our natural way of being it may be useful to intentionally set aside at least 30 minutes a day to do something nice for yourself or to simply rest. That way you stop everything else that you’re doing and just focus on you.

    It could be that you take some time after work to do a relaxing yoga routine so that you can enjoy the rest of your evening, or that you go to bed earlier than usual to read a book. Or you might make a healthy meal with all of your favourite ingredients.

    It could even be that you sign into Netflix and order a pizza, just as long as you’re doing it with that intention of treating yourself nicely, rather than as a distraction or zoning out.

    Far from being selfish or self-indulgent, developing a daily self-care habit can give us more energy and resilience to deal with all other aspects of our lives. Over time, we can find balance in an unpredictable world.

     

    The Mindfulness Project offers a range of courses and workshops focused on self-compassion, including the 8-Week Mindful Self-Compassion Course. 

    VIEW CALENDAR

    • Marina

      Meditation, Tea, scrapbooking, time with friends, board games and yoga with my kids, lunch dates and long curious conversations with my husband

      Reply
    • Beth

      I also enjoy long conversations with my husband, we are both venturing into mindfulness meditations, so it is very meaningful to be on this journey together.

      I am going through a difficult time with my daughter and so, I do practice meditation to be grounded and centered in kindness and in seeking wisdom.

      Going for walks, taking photos of flowers, talking to close friends who are spiritual and practice meditation really help me.

      Reply
      • TMP Admin

        That's so nice that you can share your experience with your husband Beth. It always helps to have a meditation buddy or two!

    • Hayley

      This was a really nice article to read, very uplifting.
      I always say to others, that I don't have time to do something nice/fun when I'm on my own. I always have too much to do and go to bed when I'm too shattered to do more.
      But actually, I always make the effort to cook myself a good meal, so that is my way of being productive (as I have to eat), yet having nice time to myself :) Thanks :)

      Reply
      • TMP Admin

        Thank you for your feedback Hayley! Cooking is such a great way to practice mindfulness when you really focus your attention on what you're doing rather than it being another 'chore'.

    • Hi, thanks for the post.

      I like the way you describe the intention of doing something for yourself as being the key. Like watching a film and eating fast food isn't bad or good on its own, but its the context within which it occurs that is key. I know I like chocolate, but I can eat too much when it's about zoning out.

      Self-care is a compassionate act and you need to practice mindful awareness in order for you to do this well. It helps me do self-care mindfully, which is different to satisfying a craving or an urge.

      Many thanks,
      Jim

      Reply
      • TMP Admin

        We're glad you like the post Jim. Thank you for your helpful insights - that's so all so important. Warm Wishes!

  • Opening Our Hearts to Grief

    grief

    In our mindfulness practice we may welcome the idea of opening up to experiences of happiness, and may even see the benefits of doing so with sadness or anger. Yet fully opening to the pain of grief may seem more difficult, and understandably so; grief is perhaps the most painful feeling we are ever likely to experience. Whether it’s the loss of a loved one, or the loss of a friendship or relationship, that absence of something or someone precious to us can leave a gaping hole in our lives.

    When we find ourselves in the midst of grief, we might notice that our minds go into overdrive. We think of all the things we never got to say or do, or of all the things we could try in order to get back what we’ve lost. Our minds are not very good at accepting unresolved endings, and our internal scrambling for solutions can result in yet more pain.

    Practicing mindfulness is like opening a door to reality, and when that reality is painful we may want to do anything but be mindful. We might instead prefer to distract ourselves through things like comfort eating, smoking or partying, or we might get lost in memories, or fantasies of what we wish could be.

    This is all normal. And it’s something we will all go through, even if we’ve already been through it before. Opening our hearts to grief is not easy. There is no smooth or peaceful way through grief; it will hurt. However, by letting it in and facing it with honesty and self-compassion, we may have the chance to move through it more quickly than we might otherwise, and we’ll also be more able to reach out for the support we need. When we ignore it, or try delaying it, we tend to turn to more destructive ways of coping.

    Opening to grief might at first feel like raising the flood gates; at first we’ll be completely overwhelmed. Yet in time, a natural flow will come. The grief will still be there, but it won’t hit us as though a dam were bursting. Take each moment as it comes, whatever that moment may look or feel like. The grief will arise, but if we stay aware, open and honest in the face of it, we will make it through to the other side without drowning.

     

    Find out more about our mindfulness courses and workshops.**

    VIEW CALENDAR

     

    **Please note, mindfulness courses are not suitable if you have recently experienced grief or loss, unless specifically noted. Please get in touch if you are unsure and we can advise accordingly. 

    • Marina

      Meditation, Tea, scrapbooking, time with friends, board games and yoga with my kids, lunch dates and long curious conversations with my husband

      Reply
    • Beth

      I also enjoy long conversations with my husband, we are both venturing into mindfulness meditations, so it is very meaningful to be on this journey together.

      I am going through a difficult time with my daughter and so, I do practice meditation to be grounded and centered in kindness and in seeking wisdom.

      Going for walks, taking photos of flowers, talking to close friends who are spiritual and practice meditation really help me.

      Reply
      • TMP Admin

        That's so nice that you can share your experience with your husband Beth. It always helps to have a meditation buddy or two!

    • Hayley

      This was a really nice article to read, very uplifting.
      I always say to others, that I don't have time to do something nice/fun when I'm on my own. I always have too much to do and go to bed when I'm too shattered to do more.
      But actually, I always make the effort to cook myself a good meal, so that is my way of being productive (as I have to eat), yet having nice time to myself :) Thanks :)

      Reply
      • TMP Admin

        Thank you for your feedback Hayley! Cooking is such a great way to practice mindfulness when you really focus your attention on what you're doing rather than it being another 'chore'.

    • Hi, thanks for the post.

      I like the way you describe the intention of doing something for yourself as being the key. Like watching a film and eating fast food isn't bad or good on its own, but its the context within which it occurs that is key. I know I like chocolate, but I can eat too much when it's about zoning out.

      Self-care is a compassionate act and you need to practice mindful awareness in order for you to do this well. It helps me do self-care mindfully, which is different to satisfying a craving or an urge.

      Many thanks,
      Jim

      Reply
      • TMP Admin

        We're glad you like the post Jim. Thank you for your helpful insights - that's so all so important. Warm Wishes!

  • Enriching Parenting with Mindfulness

    children

    written by Liz Lowe

    It’s often said that time seems to speed up as we get older. Weeks whizz by, then months and then seasons, and before we know it we’re shaking our heads in disbelief as another year has passed.

    Adding children into the mix intensifies this feeling. With so many precious milestones we have more opportunity to wonder how they can be crawling already, or putting sentences together or waving goodbye at the school gates for the first time. Surely we only brought them home from the hospital yesterday?

    Mindfulness offers many benefits to parents, but a key one is that it helps us to truly appreciate the fleeting moments we have with our children.

     As parents, life is often hectic: we feel we must focus on the logistics of getting things done and ushering everyone through the day’s schedule. Continually planning our next move prevents us from being mindful. But when we pause and engage with the present moment we are more likely to notice the little things that make life so sweet. This helps us to strengthen our connection with our children, as well as adding to our sense of wellbeing and feeling of gratitude. Being mindful also enables us to appreciate the transitional times, rather than just focusing on the agenda items: sometimes the walk to the park can be as much of an adventure as the park itself.

    Mindful parents take as much opportunity to connect with their kids as they can. We tend to talk about ‘quality time’, but really any time spent together can be made meaningful. Being present during seemingly mundane interactions is just as beneficial as making time for mindful play or other focused activities. Pausing for a quick cuddle during the breakfast rush, or making a game out of packing bags for the day, makes our daily schedule more enjoyable as well as building closeness.

    Morning and evening routines sometimes feel like chores when we’re tired or stressed, but approaching these mindfully can make them more pleasurable, and even relaxing. Modelling mindful behaviour is also the best way for parents to encourage kids to adopt it for themselves, and mealtimes and shared routines are a great opportunity to do this.

    Giving someone your full attention is a great gift, and making the effort to truly listen to our children has many benefits. As well as allowing them to feel heard and understood, we are better placed to uncover any issues that may be hiding behind words or behaviour. When we allow ourselves to tune into and be led by our children’s cues, we ensure we are meeting their needs.

    And, although it may feel like it at times, of course parenting isn’t all about the child! Practicing mindfulness also ensures that we are attuned to our stress triggers and are able to regulate our responses. This enables us to parent from a place of calm, with kindness and empathy, and encouraging us to remain positive even during challenging days.

    Mindful parenting helps us to really value the transient time we have with our children and they, in turn, will thrive as we strengthen the parent-child bond.

    .....

    MEDITATIONS:

    Body Scan

    COURSES/WORKSHOPS:

    Mindful Parenting Workshop

    RETREATS:

    3-Day Mindfulness and Nature Connection Retreat

    • Marina

      Meditation, Tea, scrapbooking, time with friends, board games and yoga with my kids, lunch dates and long curious conversations with my husband

      Reply
    • Beth

      I also enjoy long conversations with my husband, we are both venturing into mindfulness meditations, so it is very meaningful to be on this journey together.

      I am going through a difficult time with my daughter and so, I do practice meditation to be grounded and centered in kindness and in seeking wisdom.

      Going for walks, taking photos of flowers, talking to close friends who are spiritual and practice meditation really help me.

      Reply
      • TMP Admin

        That's so nice that you can share your experience with your husband Beth. It always helps to have a meditation buddy or two!

    • Hayley

      This was a really nice article to read, very uplifting.
      I always say to others, that I don't have time to do something nice/fun when I'm on my own. I always have too much to do and go to bed when I'm too shattered to do more.
      But actually, I always make the effort to cook myself a good meal, so that is my way of being productive (as I have to eat), yet having nice time to myself :) Thanks :)

      Reply
      • TMP Admin

        Thank you for your feedback Hayley! Cooking is such a great way to practice mindfulness when you really focus your attention on what you're doing rather than it being another 'chore'.

    • Hi, thanks for the post.

      I like the way you describe the intention of doing something for yourself as being the key. Like watching a film and eating fast food isn't bad or good on its own, but its the context within which it occurs that is key. I know I like chocolate, but I can eat too much when it's about zoning out.

      Self-care is a compassionate act and you need to practice mindful awareness in order for you to do this well. It helps me do self-care mindfully, which is different to satisfying a craving or an urge.

      Many thanks,
      Jim

      Reply
      • TMP Admin

        We're glad you like the post Jim. Thank you for your helpful insights - that's so all so important. Warm Wishes!

  • How to Have a Mindful Look at your Dark Side

    dark side

    A key element of living a mindful life is being able to observe feelings (how they arise and fall away) and learning to be objective enough to allow that process to happen naturally. However, when it comes to extreme emotional experiences, such as hatred or intense anger, should we still be so accommodating? Can we really cultivate compassion if we make space for these destructive emotions?

    Mindfulness encourages us to become less judgemental, and so we are faced with a dilemma. If we don’t negatively judge feelings of hate, might it not just start to fester within us and start affecting our behaviour?

    It’s important to find some balance between knowing and living from our core values (i.e. being a compassionate person) and acknowledging that despite our best efforts we are not immune from experiencing the darker side of our humanity. People, events and tragedies are bound to sometimes trigger dark emotions within us; emotions that we would likely not want to admit to others for fear of judgement or misunderstanding. And this is where we might start to see the importance of allowing space for such experiences.

    Judgement leads to a denial of our internal world, and of the experiences of other people. This way of being is not in line with living a compassionate life. As dark as these feeling may be, it’s useful to look at them with the same openness and curiosity as other feelings.  Doing so creates a strange paradox; by looking at our very darkest emotions, we get to know them better, we get to see that they are fleeting experiences that we don’t need to hold onto or act upon, and also that we are not alone in experiencing them.  Therefore we are more able to become genuinely compassionate to the full spectrum of human experience, rather than simply the nice or comfortable parts.

    Being unafraid of our dark side, and honest about its existence, can help us live with greater presence and authenticity. And by shining the light of kind awareness on our darkness we reduce the risk of developing the types of cruel beliefs and ideologies that can grow from that darkness if left unchecked and ignored.

     

    Find out more about our mindfulness courses and workshops.

    VIEW CALENDAR

    • Marina

      Meditation, Tea, scrapbooking, time with friends, board games and yoga with my kids, lunch dates and long curious conversations with my husband

      Reply
    • Beth

      I also enjoy long conversations with my husband, we are both venturing into mindfulness meditations, so it is very meaningful to be on this journey together.

      I am going through a difficult time with my daughter and so, I do practice meditation to be grounded and centered in kindness and in seeking wisdom.

      Going for walks, taking photos of flowers, talking to close friends who are spiritual and practice meditation really help me.

      Reply
      • TMP Admin

        That's so nice that you can share your experience with your husband Beth. It always helps to have a meditation buddy or two!

    • Hayley

      This was a really nice article to read, very uplifting.
      I always say to others, that I don't have time to do something nice/fun when I'm on my own. I always have too much to do and go to bed when I'm too shattered to do more.
      But actually, I always make the effort to cook myself a good meal, so that is my way of being productive (as I have to eat), yet having nice time to myself :) Thanks :)

      Reply
      • TMP Admin

        Thank you for your feedback Hayley! Cooking is such a great way to practice mindfulness when you really focus your attention on what you're doing rather than it being another 'chore'.

    • Hi, thanks for the post.

      I like the way you describe the intention of doing something for yourself as being the key. Like watching a film and eating fast food isn't bad or good on its own, but its the context within which it occurs that is key. I know I like chocolate, but I can eat too much when it's about zoning out.

      Self-care is a compassionate act and you need to practice mindful awareness in order for you to do this well. It helps me do self-care mindfully, which is different to satisfying a craving or an urge.

      Many thanks,
      Jim

      Reply
      • TMP Admin

        We're glad you like the post Jim. Thank you for your helpful insights - that's so all so important. Warm Wishes!

  • Why Uncertainty is Good for the Brain

    uncertainWhen it comes to world events, family disputes, office politics, etc., we are often quick to take a side, and sometimes very passionately. Once we have taken a side in such an argument it's usually difficult for our minds to reassess, even when presented with new information; our emotional stance can make it difficult to assess (or even want to assess) the situation with objectivity. But what is the apparent safety of such decided opinions? Why do our minds so easily choose a side, and why do we have an adversity to uncertainty? Cognitive neuroscience may provide some insight.

    Different Types of Uncertainty

    Decision making is crucial to our survival; it’s important that we judge correctly whether it’s safe to cross the road, if this fish is still good to eat, or if we can trust that person.  According to Hsu et al. (2005), there are roughly two types of uncertain events that we are regularly faced with: risky and ambiguous. Risky decisions tend to be when the odds are known, and the probability of outcome may be assessed and estimated, e.g. I know I have 10 red cards and 10 blue cards in a deck, so I can roughly guess my chances of picking a blue card. Conversely, in ambiguous decisions, the uncertainty of the odds creates a difficulty in analysis, e.g. I have 20 cards, but I have no idea what proportion is red, and what proportion is blue, hence picking a blue card feels more down to chance.

    How Uncertainty Affects the Brain

    Hsu et al. (2005) found that in the face of uncertain events, in both hemispheres the amygdala (raw emotional responses) and prefrontal cortex (executive function) increase in multimodal sensory stimulation as ambiguity of a situation also increases. Like a pressure cooker, the missing information in a decision that creates uncertainty effectively puts pressure on our mind to seek out more information to inform our decision.

    Brand et al. (2006) also suggests that unlike risky decisions, ambiguous decisions often rely less on previous rational feedback from past choices, as well as being more susceptible to emotional responses associated with comparable situations. This could explain why we tend to repeat the same kinds of arguments with people we have history with: it’s difficult for our minds to view each new situation mindfully due to our past emotional responses.

    In ambiguous situations, our minds may choose to seek a definitive answer to alleviate this pressure that we sense building. Our mind attempts to balance the discomfort experienced when no clear path is right or wrong, and we are faced with a choice that doesn't involve a binary option.

    Watching How Our Minds Seek Answers

    A great way to explore this tendency of the mind is to delve into that part of the internet that we seem to love and loathe in equal measure: the comments section! News stories are particularly good places to try, and the more complex the matter the better. Not only will you find a multitude of arguments and counterarguments, but you’ll also be more likely to already have an opinion of your own too. As you read through the opinions, watch what your mind does. Notice any tension that builds when you read an argument you disagree with, or if you find yourself feeling torn between two (or more) different points of view.

    The point of this exercise is not to decide which individual is correct in the argument, but to simply become aware of the reactions and pressure our mind presents us with in the face of allowing ourselves to sit in uncertainty. Try to ‘surf’ the urge to settle on just one point of view. In other words, notice the urge to ‘know’ what’s true, but see if you can ride it out.  Being aware of this rising inner conflict has in fact been shown to strengthen the brain structures associated with executive functioning, and our ability to navigate beliefs loosely, and with more freedom. This ability is a key element to living a more mindful life.

    Our ability to form opinions and make decisions is definitely a useful evolutionary tool that helps us navigate our day-to-day environment which can often be highly ambiguous. However, the persistent need to find an answer can indeed produce a fragile perception of reality and impede our navigation of complicated dilemmas.

    .....

    MEDITATION:

    Body Scan

    TIPS:

    Why Meditate?

    The Present Moment

    RETREATS:

    3-Day Mindfulness and Nature Connection Retreat

    COURSES/WORKSHOPS

    Introduction to Mindfulness

    • Marina

      Meditation, Tea, scrapbooking, time with friends, board games and yoga with my kids, lunch dates and long curious conversations with my husband

      Reply
    • Beth

      I also enjoy long conversations with my husband, we are both venturing into mindfulness meditations, so it is very meaningful to be on this journey together.

      I am going through a difficult time with my daughter and so, I do practice meditation to be grounded and centered in kindness and in seeking wisdom.

      Going for walks, taking photos of flowers, talking to close friends who are spiritual and practice meditation really help me.

      Reply
      • TMP Admin

        That's so nice that you can share your experience with your husband Beth. It always helps to have a meditation buddy or two!

    • Hayley

      This was a really nice article to read, very uplifting.
      I always say to others, that I don't have time to do something nice/fun when I'm on my own. I always have too much to do and go to bed when I'm too shattered to do more.
      But actually, I always make the effort to cook myself a good meal, so that is my way of being productive (as I have to eat), yet having nice time to myself :) Thanks :)

      Reply
      • TMP Admin

        Thank you for your feedback Hayley! Cooking is such a great way to practice mindfulness when you really focus your attention on what you're doing rather than it being another 'chore'.

    • Hi, thanks for the post.

      I like the way you describe the intention of doing something for yourself as being the key. Like watching a film and eating fast food isn't bad or good on its own, but its the context within which it occurs that is key. I know I like chocolate, but I can eat too much when it's about zoning out.

      Self-care is a compassionate act and you need to practice mindful awareness in order for you to do this well. It helps me do self-care mindfully, which is different to satisfying a craving or an urge.

      Many thanks,
      Jim

      Reply
      • TMP Admin

        We're glad you like the post Jim. Thank you for your helpful insights - that's so all so important. Warm Wishes!

  • Six Ways Mindfulness Eases Parenting Stress

    parent

    written by Liz Lowe

    As soon as I had a child, people who already had them began telling me several times a day to, ‘enjoy it,’ because, ‘it goes so quickly’.

    Sometimes, battling through endless sleepless nights followed by tired, tantrum-filled days, I just wanted time to fly by faster.

    But time flows on, and today’s stresses become tomorrow’s fondly recounted anecdotes. No matter the age of your child there are always challenges, and as we move through each stage there’s a tendency to look back at the previous one and realise how good we had it.

    Chaotic family schedules, differing agendas and conflicting opinions or advice can all cause stress. Parenting is a full-time job (on top of our other roles and responsibilities), but one with no motivational appraisals, nor promise of promotion to an executive role with more sociable hours. Of course there are bonuses though: one cuddle or belly laugh can soothe a tired head, and make us forget that we just spent three hours scraping porridge off the sofa.

    Developing a mindfulness practice is undoubtedly one of the most positive things I have done for my family. Here are six ways that mindfulness can help parents to savour the sweet spots and sail through the storms.

    1. Mindfulness helps you press the ‘pause’ button

    Our auto-pilot setting seems useful at times; when you’ve done the school run and appear to also be dressed, yet can’t quite remember how it happened. But it can result in days that blur into one another, and missing out on the little moments that give life sparkle. Being mindful enables us to pause, appreciate and imprint those moments into our minds.

    1. Mindfulness improves our response to stressful situations

    Communicating effectively with young humans requires depths of patience we never knew existed. They can push our buttons like no-one else, and it’s easy to interpret their boundary-testing behavior as a personal attack.

    Parenting, especially when we’re being challenged, can bring up fears and negative beliefs that were born in our own childhood. By recognizing and addressing these feelings we are better able to empathize with our kids, and to respond with kindness. And in turn, their response to us will be far more positive.

    1. Mindfulness puts us on our children’s wavelength

    Children, especially younger ones, naturally exist in the present moment. They don’t have ‘to do’ lists; they do what they feel like doing. They’re oblivious to the oppression of ticking clocks; they do things in their own sweet time.

    When you’re running late, a toddler that wants to stop and pick up every leaf on the path can be ‘quite’ annoying. But slowing down to their pace, even occasionally, opens our eyes and brings a fresh perspective to familiar scenes. Sharing in their wonder at the world can bring a sense of happy calm, as well as strengthening our bond with our child.

    1. Mindfulness builds our resources

    Nurturing ourselves is crucial if we are to support others. A regular mindfulness and meditation practice, even just a few snatched minutes a day, boosts our energy and positivity and helps to keep things in perspective. Better still, mindfulness can easily be incorporated into our everyday routine.

    1. Mindfulness helps us to accept things as they are

    Mindfulness helps us to accept a situation for what it is, in all its messy, imperfect glory. We learn to resist wishing that things were unfolding in a different way, or fretting about how to make them better: we can just ‘be’, and engage with the present moment.

    Even uncomfortable circumstances can provide the opportunity to explore our feelings and learn from them, becoming less critical of ourselves and more tolerant of others.

    1. Mindfulness helps us appreciate what a great job we're doing

    Being mindful increases awareness of our actions and the feelings behind them. And once we’re conscious of our triggers, it becomes easier to pause, reflect and move forward with a calmer outlook.

    It’s important to take time to appreciate our efforts and progression. Perfect parenting is an impossibility but any time we respond mindfully, and with kindness, we are officially winning.

    And remember: just enjoy it, it goes so quickly.

    .....

    MEDITATIONS:

    Body Scan

    COURSES/WORKSHOPS:

    Mindful Parenting Workshop

    RETREATS:

    3-Day Mindfulness and Nature Connection Retreat

    • Marina

      Meditation, Tea, scrapbooking, time with friends, board games and yoga with my kids, lunch dates and long curious conversations with my husband

      Reply
    • Beth

      I also enjoy long conversations with my husband, we are both venturing into mindfulness meditations, so it is very meaningful to be on this journey together.

      I am going through a difficult time with my daughter and so, I do practice meditation to be grounded and centered in kindness and in seeking wisdom.

      Going for walks, taking photos of flowers, talking to close friends who are spiritual and practice meditation really help me.

      Reply
      • TMP Admin

        That's so nice that you can share your experience with your husband Beth. It always helps to have a meditation buddy or two!

    • Hayley

      This was a really nice article to read, very uplifting.
      I always say to others, that I don't have time to do something nice/fun when I'm on my own. I always have too much to do and go to bed when I'm too shattered to do more.
      But actually, I always make the effort to cook myself a good meal, so that is my way of being productive (as I have to eat), yet having nice time to myself :) Thanks :)

      Reply
      • TMP Admin

        Thank you for your feedback Hayley! Cooking is such a great way to practice mindfulness when you really focus your attention on what you're doing rather than it being another 'chore'.

    • Hi, thanks for the post.

      I like the way you describe the intention of doing something for yourself as being the key. Like watching a film and eating fast food isn't bad or good on its own, but its the context within which it occurs that is key. I know I like chocolate, but I can eat too much when it's about zoning out.

      Self-care is a compassionate act and you need to practice mindful awareness in order for you to do this well. It helps me do self-care mindfully, which is different to satisfying a craving or an urge.

      Many thanks,
      Jim

      Reply
      • TMP Admin

        We're glad you like the post Jim. Thank you for your helpful insights - that's so all so important. Warm Wishes!

  • Dealing with 'Impostor Syndrome'

    bambi

     

    Do you often attribute your successes to luck rather than your abilities? Do you feel that you’re tricking people into thinking you’re more competent or intelligent than you actually are?

     

    If so, you may be experiencing ‘impostor syndrome’ – a term first used in the 1970’s by psychologists Dr. Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes to describe high-achievers unable to internalise their accomplishments. It is also coupled with an ongoing fear of being exposed as a fraud; that one day people will realise that you’re not as good at what you do as they first thought.

    Whilst ‘impostor syndrome’ is not defined as an official mental disorder, it is often a painful character trait to live with. Not only do we fear judgement or rejection from others, but we also miss out on experiencing satisfaction and pride in what we do.

    Even when we do receive praise, this may be followed with anxiety over whether we can perform to the same standard again in order to avoid disappointing those who have praised us. So what can we do about it?

     

    Breaking the Rumination Cycle

     

    Those of us who feel like a ‘fraud’, whether it’s in our career or creative pursuits, may find that we typically spend more time ruminating about our failings than we do on enjoying our successes. Even if we succeed nine times out of ten, we’ll probably dwell on that one mistake more than anything else. Here’s where mindfulness can come in handy!

    By building some awareness around our thought patterns (i.e. “I know they said they liked it, but it could have been so much better”) we can begin the process of detaching a little from those thoughts. It may even help to give them a label, to help with recognising them for what they are.

    So for example, next time you find yourself reflecting on how you duped your boss into thinking you were good at your job, you can think to yourself, ‘Impostor syndrome thought’. This can be done with all kinds of thoughts actually, but the point is to start identifying with the thoughts less, so that in time you may come to think of yourself as less of an actual impostor, and more as someone who just has impostor thoughts.

     

    Find out more about our mindfulness courses and workshops.

    VIEW CALENDAR

     

    Lingering on Praise

     

    When someone praises us, our first thought might be something like, ‘Oh, it was nothing’, ‘I just got lucky’, or ‘Anyone could have done it’. If we’ve experienced impostor syndrome for a long time, we may brush off praise without even being aware that we’re doing it.

    Yet it may be helpful to start giving more attention to the positive feedback we receive. By spending a few moments to let the good feelings in, we can start to do a little rewiring of the brain to help it become more attuned to receiving praise. As Dr. Rick Hanson describes:

     

    “By taking just a few extra seconds to stay with a positive experience—even the comfort in a single breath—you’ll help turn a passing mental state into lasting neural structure.”

     

    So next time someone tells you that you did a good job, experiment with letting that positivity in, even if it feels a little uncomfortable at first.

     

    Self-Compassion

     

    This may seem like a difficult thing to give yourself if you’re feeling like you’re no good at anything, yet bear with us. When we’re feeling inadequate, what is it that we most crave? It’s probably a sense of self-confidence, or better yet, some self-esteem! We want to feel adequate, competent, enough.

    Yet, we tend to base our sense of self-esteem on our achievements, which puts impostor syndrome sufferers in a rather hopeless situation. As Dr. Kristin Neff says it in her book ‘Self Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind’:

     

    “It’s the old carrot-and-stick approach—self-judgment is the stick and self-esteem is the carrot.”

     

    Instead of constantly trying to succeed enough to earn ourselves some elusive self-esteem, we can instead give ourselves something that doesn’t rely on such conditions. After all, we don’t usually give compassion to others based on how much money they earn, how high-ranking their position is, or how popular they are. Rather, we give compassion to those who are suffering, and that can include ourselves too.

    Although mindfulness can’t completely remove our impostor thoughts, by using the above practices we can start to relate and react to them in a lighter, healthier way.

     

    Find out more about our mindfulness courses and workshops.

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    • Marina

      Meditation, Tea, scrapbooking, time with friends, board games and yoga with my kids, lunch dates and long curious conversations with my husband

      Reply
    • Beth

      I also enjoy long conversations with my husband, we are both venturing into mindfulness meditations, so it is very meaningful to be on this journey together.

      I am going through a difficult time with my daughter and so, I do practice meditation to be grounded and centered in kindness and in seeking wisdom.

      Going for walks, taking photos of flowers, talking to close friends who are spiritual and practice meditation really help me.

      Reply
      • TMP Admin

        That's so nice that you can share your experience with your husband Beth. It always helps to have a meditation buddy or two!

    • Hayley

      This was a really nice article to read, very uplifting.
      I always say to others, that I don't have time to do something nice/fun when I'm on my own. I always have too much to do and go to bed when I'm too shattered to do more.
      But actually, I always make the effort to cook myself a good meal, so that is my way of being productive (as I have to eat), yet having nice time to myself :) Thanks :)

      Reply
      • TMP Admin

        Thank you for your feedback Hayley! Cooking is such a great way to practice mindfulness when you really focus your attention on what you're doing rather than it being another 'chore'.

    • Hi, thanks for the post.

      I like the way you describe the intention of doing something for yourself as being the key. Like watching a film and eating fast food isn't bad or good on its own, but its the context within which it occurs that is key. I know I like chocolate, but I can eat too much when it's about zoning out.

      Self-care is a compassionate act and you need to practice mindful awareness in order for you to do this well. It helps me do self-care mindfully, which is different to satisfying a craving or an urge.

      Many thanks,
      Jim

      Reply
      • TMP Admin

        We're glad you like the post Jim. Thank you for your helpful insights - that's so all so important. Warm Wishes!

  • How to Mindfully Tackle a Big Project

    mountain

    Perhaps you’re planning to start your own business, refurbish a house, train in a new career, etc., and you’re wondering to yourself ‘how on earth am I going to do this?’ The scale of the project may seem overwhelming. There’s just so much to do, and because our minds want to keep jumping ahead to what the end result will look like, we can find ourselves experiencing a range of unpleasant feelings, such as anxiety, despair or intense self-doubt. Our fixation on the end goal can make the process of getting there really quite miserable.

    Yet mindfulness can offer some relief. The problem isn’t that we have a lot to do on our project; after all, our entire lives tend to be full of things that need to be done. Rather, our stress and doubt come from our disconnection from the present moment. Our desire to race to the end of the project means that we’re not fully engaged with what we’re doing right now, and therefore we have little chance of actually enjoying it or finding fulfilment in it.

    A good way to approach a big project is to first make a plan, although it’s helpful to give ourselves permission to veer from it if we need to. This way we have a guide to follow, yet our project stays fresh and organic at the same time. Being mindful means we are regularly checking in with what’s happening and re-adjusting to meet new challenges and experiences.

    Then, once we have a list of tasks, we can take each one and give it our full attention, rather than feeling we have to somehow do everything all at once. So for example, if we’re studying in order to start a career, we can relax a little and enjoy the process of learning; if we’re starting a business we can view each step as a new challenge to meet with curiosity, rather than seeing them as blocks in the road to our goal; or if we’re tackling a big creative project we can use mindfulness to put our heart into each small detail.

    By breaking our big tasks into smaller ones we can give each one the attention and presence they need, and perhaps even find some joy in doing them!

    "Things take the time they take. Don't worry." – Mary Oliver

     

    Find out more about our mindfulness courses and workshops. Or contact us to ask about Corporate Mindfulness.

    VIEW CALENDAR

    • Marina

      Meditation, Tea, scrapbooking, time with friends, board games and yoga with my kids, lunch dates and long curious conversations with my husband

      Reply
    • Beth

      I also enjoy long conversations with my husband, we are both venturing into mindfulness meditations, so it is very meaningful to be on this journey together.

      I am going through a difficult time with my daughter and so, I do practice meditation to be grounded and centered in kindness and in seeking wisdom.

      Going for walks, taking photos of flowers, talking to close friends who are spiritual and practice meditation really help me.

      Reply
      • TMP Admin

        That's so nice that you can share your experience with your husband Beth. It always helps to have a meditation buddy or two!

    • Hayley

      This was a really nice article to read, very uplifting.
      I always say to others, that I don't have time to do something nice/fun when I'm on my own. I always have too much to do and go to bed when I'm too shattered to do more.
      But actually, I always make the effort to cook myself a good meal, so that is my way of being productive (as I have to eat), yet having nice time to myself :) Thanks :)

      Reply
      • TMP Admin

        Thank you for your feedback Hayley! Cooking is such a great way to practice mindfulness when you really focus your attention on what you're doing rather than it being another 'chore'.

    • Hi, thanks for the post.

      I like the way you describe the intention of doing something for yourself as being the key. Like watching a film and eating fast food isn't bad or good on its own, but its the context within which it occurs that is key. I know I like chocolate, but I can eat too much when it's about zoning out.

      Self-care is a compassionate act and you need to practice mindful awareness in order for you to do this well. It helps me do self-care mindfully, which is different to satisfying a craving or an urge.

      Many thanks,
      Jim

      Reply
      • TMP Admin

        We're glad you like the post Jim. Thank you for your helpful insights - that's so all so important. Warm Wishes!

  • Can Observing Our Dark Side Make Us More Compassionate?

    dark

    A key element of living a mindful life is being able to observe feelings (how they arise and fall away) and learning to be objective enough to allow that process to happen naturally. However, when it comes to extreme emotional experiences, such as hatred or intense anger, should we still be so accommodating? Can we really cultivate compassion if we make space for these destructive emotions?

    Mindfulness encourages us to become less judgemental, and so we are faced with a dilemma. If we don’t negatively judge feelings of hate, might it not just start to fester within us and start affecting our behaviour?

    It’s important to find some balance between knowing and living from our core values (i.e. being a compassionate person) and acknowledging that despite our best efforts we are not immune from experiencing the darker side of our humanity. People, events and tragedies are bound to sometimes trigger dark emotions within us; emotions that we would likely not want to admit to others for fear of judgement or misunderstanding. And this is where we might start to see the importance of allowing space for such experiences.

    Judgement leads to a denial of our internal world, and of the experiences of other people. This way of being is not in line with living a compassionate life. As dark as these feeling may be, it’s useful to look at them with the same openness and curiosity as other feelings.  Doing so creates a strange paradox; by looking at our very darkest emotions, we get to know them better, we get to see that they are fleeting experiences that we don’t need to hold onto or act upon, and also that we are not alone in experiencing them.  Therefore we are more able to become genuinely compassionate to the full spectrum of human experience, rather than simply the nice or comfortable parts.

    Being unafraid of our dark side, and honest about its existence, can help us live with greater presence and authenticity. And by shining the light of kind awareness on our darkness we reduce the risk of developing the types of cruel beliefs and ideologies that can grow from that darkness if left unchecked and ignored.

     

    Find out more about our mindfulness courses and workshops.

    VIEW CALENDAR

    • Marina

      Meditation, Tea, scrapbooking, time with friends, board games and yoga with my kids, lunch dates and long curious conversations with my husband

      Reply
    • Beth

      I also enjoy long conversations with my husband, we are both venturing into mindfulness meditations, so it is very meaningful to be on this journey together.

      I am going through a difficult time with my daughter and so, I do practice meditation to be grounded and centered in kindness and in seeking wisdom.

      Going for walks, taking photos of flowers, talking to close friends who are spiritual and practice meditation really help me.

      Reply
      • TMP Admin

        That's so nice that you can share your experience with your husband Beth. It always helps to have a meditation buddy or two!

    • Hayley

      This was a really nice article to read, very uplifting.
      I always say to others, that I don't have time to do something nice/fun when I'm on my own. I always have too much to do and go to bed when I'm too shattered to do more.
      But actually, I always make the effort to cook myself a good meal, so that is my way of being productive (as I have to eat), yet having nice time to myself :) Thanks :)

      Reply
      • TMP Admin

        Thank you for your feedback Hayley! Cooking is such a great way to practice mindfulness when you really focus your attention on what you're doing rather than it being another 'chore'.

    • Hi, thanks for the post.

      I like the way you describe the intention of doing something for yourself as being the key. Like watching a film and eating fast food isn't bad or good on its own, but its the context within which it occurs that is key. I know I like chocolate, but I can eat too much when it's about zoning out.

      Self-care is a compassionate act and you need to practice mindful awareness in order for you to do this well. It helps me do self-care mindfully, which is different to satisfying a craving or an urge.

      Many thanks,
      Jim

      Reply
      • TMP Admin

        We're glad you like the post Jim. Thank you for your helpful insights - that's so all so important. Warm Wishes!

  • Finding Your Inner Balance in an Unpredictable World

    centre

    In this uncertain world, we try our best to find routine and predictability, hoping that these things will make life easier. However, life isn’t so great at cooperating with our plans! Life is messy, so what can we do?

    Using mindfulness to find some inner balance can help us cope with the ups and downs life throws at us. Finding our centre can help us navigate this ever-changing world with more ease.

    The first step is to recognise the beliefs and ideas we have about how our experience ought to be. For example, when something painful happens and we react with thoughts of ‘this isn’t fair’ or ‘this isn’t right’, we can use these as prompts to check in with our beliefs. What we may find is that our beliefs stem from simply wanting to avoid pain or discomfort.

    The next step is to understand that this is completely natural. No one wants to suffer. In this way, we are the same as every living being, and we can use this understanding to give ourselves, and others, some compassion. Seeing these reactions as universal, and not due to some personal failing, we can then loosen a little around these beliefs. We can’t shake them off entirely of course, but they may become a bit less heavy.

    Once we recognise and understand what’s going on in our minds, we can then take some practical steps to find our centre. By ‘centre’ we mean that deeper part of you; the part that is more spacious and therefore more accommodating to what is currently happening. You could try thinking of it as stepping out of the beliefs and ideas that make life painful (i.e. this is wrong, this is bad, this shouldn’t be), and into a wider space, the space that exists between those thoughts. Here in this space there is room for what actually ‘is’, and it is always there for us to take refuge in.

    How we connect with that centre may vary depending on what works best for us personally. We may find that simply focussing on the breath is enough to get us there. Or we may need to take some time away from everyone else to meditate for a while. Perhaps we might find our centre through mindful movement practices, or by going for a walk outside and getting some fresh air. Maybe it’s by placing our hand on our heart. Whatever it is, it will be something that reconnects you with this moment right here. This is where you’ll find your balance again.

    Find out more about our mindfulness courses and workshops.

    VIEW CALENDAR

    • Marina

      Meditation, Tea, scrapbooking, time with friends, board games and yoga with my kids, lunch dates and long curious conversations with my husband

      Reply
    • Beth

      I also enjoy long conversations with my husband, we are both venturing into mindfulness meditations, so it is very meaningful to be on this journey together.

      I am going through a difficult time with my daughter and so, I do practice meditation to be grounded and centered in kindness and in seeking wisdom.

      Going for walks, taking photos of flowers, talking to close friends who are spiritual and practice meditation really help me.

      Reply
      • TMP Admin

        That's so nice that you can share your experience with your husband Beth. It always helps to have a meditation buddy or two!

    • Hayley

      This was a really nice article to read, very uplifting.
      I always say to others, that I don't have time to do something nice/fun when I'm on my own. I always have too much to do and go to bed when I'm too shattered to do more.
      But actually, I always make the effort to cook myself a good meal, so that is my way of being productive (as I have to eat), yet having nice time to myself :) Thanks :)

      Reply
      • TMP Admin

        Thank you for your feedback Hayley! Cooking is such a great way to practice mindfulness when you really focus your attention on what you're doing rather than it being another 'chore'.

    • Hi, thanks for the post.

      I like the way you describe the intention of doing something for yourself as being the key. Like watching a film and eating fast food isn't bad or good on its own, but its the context within which it occurs that is key. I know I like chocolate, but I can eat too much when it's about zoning out.

      Self-care is a compassionate act and you need to practice mindful awareness in order for you to do this well. It helps me do self-care mindfully, which is different to satisfying a craving or an urge.

      Many thanks,
      Jim

      Reply
      • TMP Admin

        We're glad you like the post Jim. Thank you for your helpful insights - that's so all so important. Warm Wishes!

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