Practising mindfulness is like doing Pilates, you’re not going to get a toned body after one class, nor will you have a completely calm mind after one workshop, meditation or conscious action.
To give yourself the best shot at relieving stress in your day-to-day, set yourself the goal to practise mindfulness every day.
You may like to do this when you notice yourself becoming stressed by feeling your feet on the ground or hands on the steering wheel as you drive. By taking a few big, conscious breaths or by meditating.
We suggest starting with a meditation app or video, Kerryn’s pick is the Calm App, available to download from the App Store or Google PlayStore. It has free short guided and unguided meditations that you can use as well as a subscription option that gives you access to an entire library $79.99 billed annually.
Another one we suggest is by Tara Brach that you can listen to here. It’s a meditation created to help de-condition the stress reaction by guiding us to relax our thoughts, physical tension, and calm the mind.
If you like her video, you may be interested in her Beginner Meditation Kit that you can download for free here to help you establish a daily practice that Tara describes as, ‘rich and transformative.’
In our recent workshop at Rejuvenate Pilates Cotton Tree, we invited Hannah Hempenstall to teach us practical tools to calm the mind without sitting still. A key takeaway from the workshop was to learn your “triggers”.
What times of day do you typically feel stressed?
What people or things tend to cause you to stress?
What physically happens to your body when you start to stress? A dry mouth? Tight shoulders? The onset of a tension headache?
We all have different triggers and symptoms of stress but when it comes to creating calm, the first step is always the same: to notice. It seems simple, but it’s truly transformative because once you notice where the stress is coming from, you can prepare for it.
While stress is inevitable, becoming aware of where it’s coming from will eliminate excess stress – like the stress about being stressed. It will also allow you to put up boundaries to stop unnecessary hassles that are within your control.
In summary, next time you are feeling calm make a note of when you tend to feel the most pressure and think about how you can prepare yourself for it or put boundaries in place to diminish it. When you notice your stress levels start to rise, bring your mind back to your body by feeling your feet on the ground or hands on a surface. Finally, take three big inhales and exhales, focusing on your breath and nothing else.
For more information about what was covered in our Create Calm Workshop, reach out to Hannah via her website here.