Practicing mindful moments – 10 ways to keep you in the now!

Stay in the present moment………. be mindful not mind full!

What will lockdown mean this time round? Possibly juggling working at home? Homeschooling? Front line support work? It will be something different for each of us and I’m sure we’ll take a bit of time to juggle things around to find a new ‘normal’ routine. One thing that can help us during turbulent times such as these is to use mind tools like mindfulness to help us find a sense of inner balance, calm and to build.

This is where using mindfulness can come in helpful!

So with this in mind I’ve drawn up a list of 10 simple mindfulness exercise and prompts to help you stay present. Just in case you have missed the ‘mindfulness movement’ a quick revision.

Mindfulness is the practice of staying in the present moment. Being fully in the now and not living in the past ( history) or projecting into the future (fantasy). Mindfulness practices bring the mind to a focus something to concentrate on to avoid ‘thought tornadoes’ or focusing on things we have little control over. The simplest practices can have us using our breathe and sensory experience as they are with us always. I’ve given you a few more examples below.

Try these 10 mindfulness practices;

  1. Get up 15 minutes earlier in the morning. Make yourself a warm drink and savour the sensations – the heat, the aroma, the taste. Sit and enjoy it.
  2. Take your walk in a nearby park or green space. Keep your eyes wide open to what you can see around you.
  3. Listen to the birds singing. Can you distinguish between the different birdsong?
  4. Observe nature changing right in front of your eyes. Buds are appearing already.
  5. Feel your feet on the floor, carpet, earth notice how they adapt to the surfaces. Go barefoot if you can. How does it feel? Which do you prefer?
  6. Tune in to your body. Listen to the rhythm of your heartbeat. Feel your your breath and how your body breathes itself.
  7. Take a bath, light some candles and just enjoy the experience. The scents and how your body moves in the water. ( Take an Epsom salt bath to ease any tight muscles or overactive minds it will help you unwind)
  8. Immerse yourself in a book or a jigsaw. Just one activity. How does the time pass?
  9. Self massage your feet and hands. How do they feel? Are they sensitive? Dry? Just notice.
  10. Listen to a piece of classical music. Here’s one of the artists I like playing in one of my favourite places. How does it make you feel?

New to mindfulness? If you are a beginner to get the most of these mindful moments just focus on the one activity you’ve chosen and immerse yourself fully in it. Strictly no multi tasking or screens, leave the technology turned off or at least muted until you’ve completed your mindfulness practice.

If you are experienced in these ideas then flow between different sensations and observations.

These acts performed regularly will help you to stay present with what is. Just avoid the temptation to overstimulate your eyes with multiple screens. Do one thing at a time.

Choose whatever works for you and commit to them to help you through your days. See how time feels when you give yourself space to just do one thing at a time.

I hope it will bring you some focus and enjoy being curious to the world around you.

Keep well & stay calm

Joe

🙂

Let walking be your medicine!

Movement is really helpful for our state of mind and also our bodies natural immune cleansing system aka the lymphatic system which unlike the circulatory system doesn’t have a pump like the heart and so relies on movement to keep it going. The easiest exercise is to walk – it’s free and it can bring you many health benefits!

Energy boost by walking!

Here’s my 5 top benefits to get you out walking!

1. It may help lift depression

Exercise improves self-esteem, mood and sleep quality and reduces stress, anxiety and fatigue. Physically active people have up to a 30% reduced risk of becoming depressed and staying active helps those who are depressed recover.

2. It’s brilliant for your brain

A King’s College London study suggested fitter legs are linked to a fitter brain, as we get older. The study of twins found that simply walking more can improve brain function in later years.

3. You’ll live longer

A Cambridge University study suggested a daily 20 minute walk could reduce the risk of early death. It found twice as many deaths may be due to lack of exercise than obesity.

4. It’s as good as running

In fact, it might be better. US researchers found that running reduced the risk of heart disease by 4.5% while walking reduced it by 9.3%. High blood pressure and high cholesterol risks were also lowered by more than running and diabetes risk was reduced equally by running and walking.

5. It helps heart disease and osteoporosis

Not taking your daily walk? Feel like you’ve not seen sunlight for days? Vitamin D levels can really be effected if you are choosing to stay indoors. So instead get out and soak up the sunshine vitamin whenever possible. It will not only boost your energy, it’s also essential for maintaining a healthy heart and strong bones.

Here’s a short and fun video explaining more about why 10,000 steps is the optimal distance to walk!

Despite the continuing lock down period it is essential to make the most of your exercise time and being in nature to get your free daily healthy dose of mental and physical wellbeing. And if you are under an extended lock down period you could sit in your garden or near an open window listening to the sounds of nature or listen to nature sounds or guided relaxations with nature sounds as this will also bring you some benefits.

Keep well & stay calm

Joe

🙂

Being present – the greatest gift of all

At the moment we are all living in a different world one that we could never have imagined at the beginning of the year. For some work continues though the office commute has now gone and been replaced by a walk downstairs or to the home office, some juggle their work day alongside home schooling and others head out to work as ‘normal’ to supermarkets, hospitals and in the various other front line support roles.

One thing’s for sure there is nothing ‘normal’ at the moment. It’s a different ‘normal’ and one that brings with it highs and lows, times of sheer joy and happiness ( like playing online bingo with the family) and moments of sadness and longing ( for the hugs you so miss from family and friends).

During this ‘home stay’ period my daily meditation practice has been a real life line helping to keep me balanced and my resilience levels topped up. A few minutes every day to just sit and be with myself and to allow my thoughts to settle and sometimes feel like they fly away.

It’s also the reason I decided – well it felt like I was being given a divine message during one of my meditation sits – to just go and share this with everyone! So I came up with a plan a free 6 week meditation campaign called ‘Rewire for health’ made up of twice weekly live guided meditation sessions and some teaching nuggets from me so you could learn along with me picking the recordings you felt more helpful or just trying your own.

Despite technical challenges like wifi issues, broken routers and all that jazz I can hardly believe that it’s now in it’s fifth week!

There are now over 16 different recorded guided meditations of different lengths to pick and choose from plus teachings to give you a bit of the science etc.

It’s going to be available on my Youtube channel (until the end of the Summer). It’s FREE for you to use as I wanted to make sure that money would not exclude anyone – meditation is a life skill I wish I’d learnt at school! Luckily nowadays it is happening for kids (along with mindfulness lessons) these are vital life skills for mental clarity, physical ease and emotional resilience something that we need heaps of right now and in our modern day, fast paced world where we’ve forgotten the importance of going slow.

It’s never too late though.

You just need to make a start.

No BS about there isn’t enough time in the day – you need maybe 3 minutes to begin. That’s it. 3 minutes every morning ( ideal time before the brain gets’ all busy) for a week and then stick with that or slowly increase – at your own pace – just make sure you commit and within 4 – 6 weeks your brain will have already begun to rewire itself into a more calmer you (watch the videos to find out more about that!)

As my favourite green guru Yoda says

‘Try not. Do or do not. There is no try!’

So be like Yoda.

Trust me you will not regret it.

As the gift of being in the present moment is the greatest gift you could possible give yourself.

Please share this information on with your family, friends or even work colleagues as this meditation stuff has a wonderful way of rippling out into our families, communities and work. Let’s help as many people around us whatever their age to tap into this ‘inner’ resource and connect to a place of inner calm and transformation that lies within us all.

If you’d prefer more help and support feel free to get in touch here I’m happy to create a bespoke training package for you including personalised recorded guided meditations.

Stay well and keep calm

Joe

🙂

20 ways to kick start & transform your day ( Part 1)

In these times when most of us are at home we might need a little support to get the day started. Try playing around with some of these ideas. Having healthy habits ( especially in the morning) is one of the key things successful people say makes the biggest difference to their success! It’s certainly worked for me so see how you get on?

A while back, I came across a series of articles about how influential people began their day. It turns out they all had a routine which became their foundations for success.

From jumping into a private plunge pool to committing to a daily run, they all adopted various activities to set them up for the day – and it inspired me to gather my own selection of morning rituals.

This came at a time when I was actively looking at ways of putting metta loving kindness into practice. If you haven’t come across the concept, it involves directing loving kindness towards ourselves first, which will then ripple out to others.

As a result, my morning rituals focus on this idea – that unselfish self-care will have the happy by-product of benefiting the world around me.

As with all my practices, I do like a bit of variety, because I’m easily bored! Instead of a set routine, I choose from the following ideas and I’ve found each and every one to be genuinely beneficial.

  1. Waking wiggle

On waking, I have a wriggle and stretch, noticing how my body is feeling. Any areas feeling a little bit out of whack? Anything needing a bit more TLC? How can I ease into those areas today.

2. Steady breaths

I always take a few deep breaths in and out through the nose, with a sigh on the out breath, always noticing how my body responds. It’s important not to rush this –  just take it steady.

3. Start smiling

A great start to the day is to smile and say something I’m thankful for in my life. Not sure where to start? I have pictures of family and friends around my home and crystals hanging in my window, which bounce spheres of rainbows around the room as the sun rises. It’s a magical thing to see and always raises a smile.

4. Air is energy

Opening the windows to get some fresh air circulating around your home is a simple but effective way of bringing fresh air and new energy into your home.

5. Morning mantras

Mantras – yogic words or sounds repeated to aid concentration in meditation – can help greatly and if you are you feeling stuck in any area of your life, feel stressed or find yourself in a negative mindset here are a couple of examples for you.

This one helps to remove obstacles, while this has a beautifully calming effect.

Want to find love? Improve your financial position? Can’t sing? Try listening to these sounds with awareness while sitting in meditation –  or have them playing in the background while you’re working.

Set a regular daily practice and notice any changes to how you feel about the situation. You might get some insights, or maybe just feel clearer.

6. Altar area

In traditional Thai homes, a small altar area is commonplace – and it’s a beautiful way of making a dedicated space in which to sit and meditate. Try making an offering with words of dedication, perhaps lighting a candle or incense.

Need help to set up a meditation practice? Join my FREE 6 week ‘Rewire for health’ meditation campaign. Subscribe HERE

7. Stick your tongue out

It may be prosaic but the Ayurvedic practice of tongue scraping is simple and effective. Find out more here.

8. Morning zing

All the teen magazines used to say models did this – but it turns out it really is a healthy way to start the day. Try freshly-squeezed lemon juice in hot water to cleanse and refresh.

9. Vinegar vigour

As an alternative, take apple cider vinegar with hot water and sometimes honey. Read more here.

10. Fun up your exercise

Fitness doesn’t have to be a routine. If it makes you smile, you might even do it more often! My favourites are hoola hooping, rebounding (mini trampoline), vibration plate or yoga. I just mix it up, depending on my mood. Need reasons to start? Check out this inspiration.

As I said, I don’t do ALL of these every morning (I’d have to get up very early!) but I do select from them and have found them all to be beneficial to my wellbeing.

  • What about your list?
  • Which things can you include?
  • When will you start?
  • How will you track your progress?

In the past, I’ve used a weekly dry wipe board to make a note of what I get up to, so I can see when I’m getting distracted and not keeping to my regime.

Sometimes I take a day off but some things – taking cold showers, for example – have stayed. It took a while to get my body acclimatised but now I love them. They also mean I plunge straight into the sea when I’m on holiday.

It takes over 40 days to create a habit so choose which one(s) you’d like to play with and gradually see how you feel. Some you might do daily, others every now and again.

I’d love to hear how you get on – and if you need support, just get in touch – it’s what I do! hello@joannebull.com

Wishing you a blooming marvellous Spring!

Joe

P.S. The next top 10 will follow in the next post!)

Party time at The Loft!

Next month it will be 5 years since myself and Sally Duffin from Nutrition in York moved into Oxford Street!

I’m celebrating this milestone on Friday 19th July with a Rise & Shine yoga session 8 -9.30am. There will be some nibbles and brews for anyone joining us – BOOK your place to avoid disappointment!


There may be the odd party tune! This will be a jolly nice way to start the weekend the more the merrier 🙂

P.S. This photo is from the 2nd year birthday party and our special workshop!