Category Archive: Womens Wellbeing and Health

  1. So what is it all about this Mindfulness

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    Reaching Out
     
    Most of us have heard of Mindfulness although we may not have a good understanding of what it is about.

    Here we will dispel some myths and set out the benefits and uses of mindfulness –some of which may surprise you.

    Firstly, let’s start with some of the things that mindfulness is not.

    Mindfulness is not ‘therapy’

    There is no religious affiliation, mindfulness is totally non-sectarian

    Mindfulness does not mean emptying the mind of all thoughts

    Mindfulness does not need a special place to be practised, it can be practiced anywhere

    So, why should you consider mindfulness in your life?

    Well, mindfulness is about consciously directing our attention to the present moment.

    It is about awareness and one of its first objectives is self-discovery without judgment.
     
    Lets’ go back a step.

     

    In our normal daily lives, we generally function on autopilot.

    Have you ever driven to the shops and not remembered a single detail about getting there before parking? Sat down for a much-needed cup of tea and suddenly realized you are holding an empty cup?

    Many of us are thinking about what we need to do next, what food we will eat this evening, when we can leave work, what the children are doing –a hundred zillion thoughts whirl around our heads at once

    All these meansour lives can be stressful, and relaxation is rare.

    We watch TV but are also thinking about the next day, or something that is worrying us.

    Our lives are crowded and we cope with this in part by carrying out many tasks without thinking. We are unaware of any associated thoughts or actions.

    As a result,many people find they have a short attention span and we are flicking through thought channels, reading Facebook, whilst walking to work, thinking about the tasks of the day and unaware of our surroundings.

    We go about our chores without any awareness.

    We also tend to worry or fret about several things at once and we accept that life is full of stress.

    But you do not have to escape to a wild and lonely place to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is about bringing awareness to the present moment.

    Research consistently shows that mindfulness is an important predictor of wellbeing.

    Those who practice it experience higher levels of life satisfaction, greater life autonomy and competence, have more positive mindsets and are more resilient.

    In other words, their coping skills are improved.

    There is also a growing body of research noting that mindfulness is associated with lower levels of anxiety and depression and increased self-esteem and energy.

    By contrast to a full-on stressful life on autopilot, mindfulness lets us develop conscious awareness of our thoughts, feelings, and surroundings without ever judging the experience.

     

     

    By doing this we learn more about the thoughts and feelings that trigger enjoyment and those thoughts which trigger negative reactions and stress.

    Mindfulness helps to enhance our perceptions, thinking, and awareness.

    A key benefit, therefore, is resilience. It helps to calm our minds and our nerves and enables us to examine our inner world.

    In this way it is about knowing your own mind or ‘what makes you tick’ –something so many of us lack or which lies deeply buried.

    Briefly, mindfulness shows us many benefits and in later posts, we will delve further into this topic.

    There is much to discover and I will help you understand why this journey could be one of the most positive steps to take back your life and free yourself from negative opinions, thoughts and behaviors.

     
    With love,

    Ellie

    © Ellie Appleton www.elliescommunity.com

  2. Living with Gratitude

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    For many of us, worry can be ever present. Yet, living with worry and living with gratitude are opposites.

    If we can learn to live with gratitude, then we are choosing to reduce worry and stop making space for it in our lives.

    In essence gratitude is simple. It is setting aside a few minutes each day, often first thing in the morning, to think about who and what we are grateful for in our lives.

    This habit, along with morning affirmations, is a simple practice that will become easier over time and with practice.

    So what does living with gratitude do?

    It can remind you of what is important in life. That might be that your family orfriends are healthy and well; it might be that your own physical health is good.

    It could be that you are grateful for the home you have, for the roof over your head and your favourite places within your home. It could also be the outside world. That you can hear the birds sing, or feel the wind in your hair.

    On a practical basis, you might have been worrying about a bad day at work –but you could also be grateful that you have work.

    Living with gratitude also means finding joy in the smallest things in life. Whether that is watching the birds in the garden, seeing children at play, or enjoying quiet time yourself with a latte and music you enjoy.

     

     
    Living with gratitude is the ability to recognise those good things in your life.

    If you live with gratitude the time and space for worrying and fretting is reduced, and you learn to understand and become aware that when things come to you they are what you need at that time. These couldbe people, challenges or circumstances.

    Whatever they are accepting that even in those things which seem negative we look at them with acceptance and with the recognition that there is some good, now or in the future, in just about everything that seems stressful or difficult.

    How to live with gratitude.

    The joy of living with gratitude is in its simplicity. And yet it can make a huge impact on our lives.

    Starting each day with a short morning gratitude. Take two or three minutes, to focus and be thankful for whoever and whatever you are grateful for. This could be anything and it doesn’t matter how small or large.

    Simply close your eyes, and spend the next two minutes to silently give thanks. Then you are ready to start the day.

    If someone does something for you, say thank you. It doesn’t matter if it’s a small act from a stranger or something more significant saying thank you helps them and you. Of course you have to mean it, so be sure that you accept the favour or act and are grateful.

    Give thanks for the problems that offer you opportunities to grow and to learn. For seeing the positives in everything every day. Accepting and not judging but knowing and recognizing the good in all things.

    Develop the habit of making thanks you calls, or sending a thank you email whenever there is something to thank someone for; in other words, don’t take good deeds for granted but acknowledge your thanks for them.

    Find a gratitude prayer that speaks to you.

    This doesn’t need to be religious and many are not. And you can always write your own simple few words. Below is one that I use, and it helps me then focus on those things for which I am grateful.
     

    “Each grateful thought I have helps to heal, and reminds me there will always more to be thankful for than I can imagine.”

     
    Just remember that living with gratitude is about finding joy in everything, whether the company you keep, the natural world around you, the song of a bird, the chatter of children. Joy is there and focussing on it drives the space for worry away,
     
    With love,

    Ellie

    © Ellie Appleton www.elliescommunity.com

  3. Why Finding Joy is so Important

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    Whatever our situation or circumstance, appreciating what is around us and taking joy from the smallest things feeds our spirit and our soul.

    We all need to find some joy in our lives.

    What our mind believes is what shapes our reality. And what we can achieve is shaped by what we believe.

     

     

    This is a very well known sentiment, but one that is worth repeating.  It is also worth thinking about the words and what they mean.

     

    So however tough things are, finding something that can make you smile or laugh; something that touches your heart in a joyful way is how we light up every day and learn to dance like no one is watching.

    Many years ago I heard Bette Midler sing

    It’s the heart afraid of breaking, that never learns to dance
    It’s the dream afraid of waking, that never takes the chance
    It’s the one who won’t be taking, who cannot seem to give
    And the soul afraid of dying, that never learns to live

    Those words have stayed with me, even though the film and song, The Rose, is now forgotten by many. It’s a sad story, very loosely based on the life of Janis Joplin. And it tells of a rock star manipulated by her manager.

    Rose of the story struggled but could not find joy, nor could she break free from her situation. It kept pulling her back.

    If you can find joy in the smallest of things around you then it helps us see our own situation and perspective more clearly.

    And then you will know when it is time to reach out and seek help.

    Enjoy a moment, in the moment. It could be catching sight of a gorgeous sunset. It could be the sound of birdsong as you walk in the early morning.

    Seeing young kids playing in the carefree way that only they can.  A sound of laughter shared.

    I love the smell of fresh mown lawn and the scents that shops selling candles and incense provide – free as we browse.

    How about buying yourself a treat. A small bunch of flowers, some chocolates. Some body lotion that smells divine.

    Don’t be too busy ‘doing’ to stop and catch a moment whether it is nature and the outside world or the simple peace of giving yourself a quiet moment with a cappuccino, cake or chocolate and music you enjoy.

    Be Kind to yourself and look for the joy in a moment all around us.

    With love,

    Ellie

    © Ellie Appleton www.elliescommunity.com