All posts tagged: awareness

How the Body Scan Gives us the Power of Choice

Technotox was asked to write an article for Everyday Mindfulness about the power of the body scan… I used to suffer from severe pain in my left shoulder. I would walk for 50 minutes into work each morning with a strappy bag casually hooked over my left arm. It was a beautiful vintage mulberry, so what did it matter that it was causing shooting pains deep into my muscle tissue? For weeks and weeks I ignored it, mindlessly going about my business, caught up in the busy cycle of day-to-day life, oblivious to the long term damage this pain might be causing. Three months later, I joined a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course with the aim to make mindfulness a part of my daily routine. I had heard a lot about its benefits and read plenty of books on the subject, but now it was time to put it into action and to be held accountable for my daily practice. During the first week we carried out a 20-minute body scan. Something I had grappled …

Poetry Friday

The Summer Day by Mary Oliver Who made the world? Who made the swan, and the black bear? Who made the grasshopper? This grasshopper, I mean— the one who has flung herself out of the grass, the one who is eating sugar out of my hand, who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down— who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes. Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face. Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away. I don’t know exactly what a prayer is. I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass, how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields, which is what I have been doing all day. Tell me, what else should I have done? Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon? Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

10 Keys to Happier Living

To celebrate World Mental Health Day earlier this month, Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) collaborated with Action for Happiness to produce a “10 Keys to Happier Living” poster. Listing everyday actions to boost wellbeing and improve your mental health. It’s a wonderful tool to print out and refer to when you’re feeling a bit low or out of kilter. You could even check it every day and take positive action to protect your mental health. Download a printable pdf here –  10-keys-to-happier-living  

Who’s been to the School of Love?

From a young age we’re inundated with ideas about love. From the perfection of Hollywood movies to the romance of classic novels, like sponges we absorb ideals of what the perfect relationship should look like. It is rich with red-hot desire and passion, holds the patience of a saint and the utmost respect. But best of all no matter who or what we are, we all deserve it. In fact, isn’t it our basic human right to experience the ultimate romantic love? True love doesn’t require effort or patience, or a compromise of ourselves. True love just happens, regardless of our own imperfections and selfishness. If it takes work, surely it’s not real? Then at some point along the path to adulthood, a sharp prick bursts our bubble and reality is revealed. Love isn’t easy. It does require effort. A great deal of effort at times. In fact it’s an ongoing balancing act that requires active participation and very clear and concise levels of communication. Like a garden requires nurturing, a loving relationship needs feeding, pruning and …

Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust – Why Every Adult Needs to see the New Pixar Animation

Pixar’s new animation Inside Out is about an 11 year old girl named Riley and five of her emotions – Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust. These emotions live in headquarters in her mind influencing her actions, guarding her personality and storing memories. The story sees Riley’s family relocating from Minnesota to San Francisco after her father gets a new job, and the trials and tribulations her emotions go through as she settles into a new home and school life. From Director Peter Docter (Monsters Inc, Up) , “the idea was to portray what happens in the human mind as emotions set in, and depict it through animation.” The subtext is rich with wisdom and repeatedly expresses the rich repercussions determination and positive thinking produce. Yet it also explores the power of sadness and inevitability of growing up. Leaving your childhood self behind and embracing change to allow personal growth and renewal to happen. Inside Out is a poignant, smart and uplifting emotional roller coaster that will make you laugh and cry. An exhilarating battle between Joy and …

Rediscover the Power of Mother Nature

This weekend for two days only, the London Parks & Gardens Trust (in association with the National Trust) are offering a fabulous incentive to promote London’s green spaces – the Open Garden Square’s Weekend. In honour of this Historical event, run solely by volunteers, today’s post is about reconnecting with Mother Nature. When we were young, most of us couldn’t get enough of the Great outdoors. Charging outside at any given moment to make perfume from flower concoctions, jump in muddy puddles or follow adventure trails through the woods. But why do we so quickly lose that desire as we grow older? Our lives become so busy, it’s easy to forget how magical and nurturing nature can be. Living in London we become blinded by the miles of concrete and rows of skyscrapers that dominate our physical environment. Yet underneath it all lies a peaceful, natural landscape. The foundation of our planet and all that lives and thrives on it. Our core. The provider. Mother Nature is a beautiful, life-giving power that we must endeavour to keep in touch …

10 Benefits of Meditation

Evidence suggests meditation has been around since 1500 BCE, making it over 3500 years old. Yet the art of meditation only spread to Western society thousands of years later, and has only really gained household popularity in the last decade. What is about this ancient art form that’s survived the test of time and why do so many religions and gurus swear by its healing properties? We’ve chosen our top 10 benefits – It boosts Positive Emotions
 Powerful contemplative meditations like loving-kindness act as triggers for positive emotions. When we recall and allow ourselves to cultivate loving feelings, not only does it boost our mood, but we can more easily access those feelings after the mood has passed. Positive effect on our Physical Health Meditating encourages us to relax and therefore helps to reduce our stress level and boosts our immunity. It has also been proven to boost our immunity. Helps fight Depression Results now show that MBCT (Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy) is just as effective as anti-depressants in fighting mental illness. This is revolutionary for those who are …

The Mindfulness Revolution

No doubt you’ve heard the word Mindfulness being thrown around a lot recently, it’s the Number One wellbeing buzzword and everyone from Ruby Wax to Goldie Hawn is singing its praises. But what is Mindfulness and why is it so beneficial? In essence, Mindfulness is purposefully paying attention and being aware in the present moment. Intentionally observing (but not clinging onto) your thoughts and feelings without judgement. This can be experienced at any moment, in any situation, but is best practised in a quiet room without distractions. Meditation is a great way to begin learning the Art of Mindfulness, just 10 minutes every day (preferably at the same time each morning) can make a big difference. What does Mindfulness actually do? Mindfulness improves focus and levels of concentration. Two incredibly important skills in this information age when we’re continually bombarded with enormous amounts of information and endless digital distractions. Mindfulness provides clarity of thought. In essence, once you slow down your mind and begin to understand the landscape of your thoughts and feelings in more …