Welcome to day 22 of How To De-Stress With Mindfulness.
Here’s where to listen to the audio recording of today’s message.
To download it to listen offline, right click and choose ‘save as’ for this link: Day 22 MP3
How are you getting on so far? Any insights? Any questions?
How did you get on with the ideas and exercises from last time? Fancy sharing?
Week Four: How are you getting on?:
How are you getting on?
And here are all of your week four resources:
Week Four Resources
In today’s message we’re talking about:
- the power of our stories
- the dangers of limiting beliefs
- the number one mistake that most of us make in life
- a sixty second exercise to release stressful thoughts and emotions
- and a simple way of deepening your experience of mindful walking.
What’s The Number One Mistake That Most Of Us Are Making In Life?
I’m not sure that whoever or whatever created us human beings intended us to use our mind – our consciousness – for so much worrying and stressed-out thinking. I’m pretty sure that the intention was to allow us to experience whatever we choose, but that those experiences should be balanced with happiness, light-hearted fun and a good dollop of love.
Where did it all go so wrong?
Perhaps with this number one mistake that most of us are making in life: taking life too seriously.
Don’t take life too seriously
Life isn’t meant to be taken as seriously as our thinking minds would have us believe.
In the Western culture, most of us have trained our minds to analyse, critique, evaluate, recount stories, worry, remember facts and spot problems. There’s no problem with all of this, unless it squeezes out our natural ability to have fun, laugh, look for the positives and have a light heart.
Taking life too seriously is a Western addiction.
To turn things around, it’s time to lovingly retrain your mind to enjoy life, instead of continuing to train it to spot all of the reasons why you “should” feel stressed.
You might need to practise giving yourself permission first, if you’re not used to allowing yourself to have fun.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to spend ten minutes a day doing something that you really love – something that lifts your heart and brings a grin to your face. Doing it mindfully – with full, present-moment awareness – allows you to go even more deeply into the experience.
Allow sunshine to wash through your day-to-day thoughts. Nurture thoughts that help you to feel good. It doesn’t take long to shift that old pattern. Play with smiling more than you frown.
Thinking Sunshine Thoughts
Want to be guided through a gentle visualisation, to help you wash a wave of sunshine through those stressful thoughts?
What did you discover? Any insights? Any questions?
How could you adapt this technique, to let it really work for you?
Thinking Sunshine Thoughts
Remember back on Day 15 when we were talking about how we believe the stories we tell ourselves?
Well, unsurprisingly, things go a level deeper than that.
What we believe and the stories we tell ourselves form a cycle that helps to keep us stressed:
We believe the stories we tell ourselves about stress…
And the stories we tell ourselves reinforce our beliefs.
Change the story & you can change the belief.
Listen to the story – as a detached, non-emotional listener – and you’ll hear the beliefs shining through.
The first step towards changing beliefs that are limiting your happiness – that are keeping you stressed – is becoming aware of them.
What do you believe about ‘stress’?
Exercise to uncover beliefs about stress
Beliefs aren’t set in stone. They change, over time (is the world still flat?). At some level, we choose them. But then we treat them as the ultimate Truth.
Out-of-date beliefs keep us stuck in the past, in old ways of thinking and behaving.
Our beliefs come from the stories we tell ourselves. If we tell ourselves we are a victim, then that’s what we’ll believe. If we tell ourselves that we are strong and confident, then that’s what we’ll believe. If we tell ourselves we’re feeling stressed, then that’s what we’ll believe.
Our unconscious mind sets its filters to collect evidence, from our day-to-day experience of life, to support those beliefs – to keep re-proving them. We’ll filter out the evidence that contradicts them.
What can you do about all this?
You can choose whether or not you want to keep telling that old story, or whether you it’s time for a new one. How about asking yourself:
“What might I have to believe, to tell myself this story? Is it really true? Is it a belief and story I want to keep telling, or is it time to let it go?”
IMAGE: Today’s stories create our future.
Most common story a stressed person tells themselves: too much to do, too little time, feeling out of control.
Forum: Which stress stories do you tell yourself? Are these really the ones you want to feed?
I hope you’ve been enjoying your mindful walking so far.
How are you getting on with the stage 1 meditation?
Any questions? Any insights? Please feel free to share at the stage 1 meditation discussion thread:
Today I’m inviting you to take your mindful walking to the next stage.
By now, you’re probably getting used to the experience of feeling your feet connecting with the Earth. And you may also be getting familiar with being able to say ‘thank you’, with some of your steps.
If you’d like to take things to the next level, here’s something you can add in – it takes about 30 seconds and can be done anywhere!
1. Do your mindful walking, as usual.
2. When you’re in the rhythm of it, choose to spend 30 seconds or a minute, becoming aware of the physical sensations in your body.
• Notice your balance – just feel those amazing muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, joints and nerves doing such an incredible job of keeping you safe and upright.
• Notice your arms moving – you don’t have to change anything; just become fully aware of the physcial movement.
• Notice your posture. Feel the physical sensations, if you tweak the way you are holding your body.
• Really feel the soles of your feet with each step, as they take your weight as you walk.
• Then, when you’re ready, return to simply being aware of each step, connecting with the Earth.
Remember to take your ‘before and after snapshot’.
What did you notice? How did you find this? Got questions? Anything unclear? Any lightbulbs