Anyone who spends time with me knows that I have trouble sitting still. I will be the first to admit that I find it difficult to focus on one thing at a time! Generally I can handle the frantic pace I have set for myself, however sometimes stress and anxiety rear their ugly heads and I feel overwhelmed. I know that I’m not the only one in this situation.
The practice of being more “present” or mindful has been dear to my heart ever since I came across Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth – Awakening to your life’s purpose. This is where the “presence” in Gorgeous Presence” came from. If you have not read this book, I would encourage you to do so, as it really made me aware of the power of the mind and how to control our internal “ego”, which has a tendency to bring out the crazy, anxious and destructive side in us all.
I have been following the blogs of a number of amazing, strong and inspirational ladies who have written about beating anxiety and achieving mindfulness. My absolute favourites at the moment are Hayley Richardson, Lady Frankie, Sarah Wilson and Melissa Ambrosini. Each share their own personal story about suffering from self doubt, anxiety and illness, and provide tips on how to truly live in the present.
Below I would like to share with you the five tips I have learnt from experience and following these gorgeous ladies, in the hope that they may help you through any challenges you may face in your day to day life. I truly believe in these tips and I personally remind myself of them every time I am feeling overwhelmed.
1. Being mindful simply means to be completely focussed in everything you do.
Anxiety occurs when we forget what we are doing in the moment and get lost in the future of possibly. Pay attention to the task at hand, whether it be small or large. Focus on the immediate sights, smells, sounds and feelings. When your mind is focussed on the present, you won’t have the time to create any crazy scenarios and possibilities in your mind that have no resemblance to reality. Slow your breathing down and actively participate in your reality. In times like these it may not be wise to multi-task! Your mantra is “I am here. I am now”.
2. Don’t listen to your inner ego.
The inner ego can be critical, mean and self righteous. It is never satisfied with the outcome, and it will leave you feeling resentful of yourself and the people around you. The ego is a creation of your mind and deserves no attention or credit.
Imagine taking a physical step away from your ego. Laugh at it, put it into its place, and realise that it is not your true self.
Be proud of your achievements. Celebrate the successes of others without feeling jealous. Learn to accept compliments with graciousness. Treat yourself with kindness and respect. The ego has no strength to overwhelm your mind when you come from a place of love.
3. Don’t worry about what other people think about you.
With the rise of social media, we have to remind ourselves that life is not about being popular or having the most “likes”. Our most important fan is ourself! We tend to worry that others may have negative perceptions about us, however people aren’t nearly as negative as we believe them to be. Most of the time they are simply trying to get through life themselves and are indifferent to the situation of others!
So get on with doing your thing no matter how many people may be paying attention! And when it comes to exercise or trying new things, don’t use the excuse of being afraid to go to yoga or the gym because other people might stare – they are probably too busy worrying about themselves to even notice you!
4. Breathe deeply
“Just breathe” is one of my yoga teacher’s favourite sayings. Before I had even heard of Bikram yoga, I bought a singlet from Bali which displays these two words. It is my all time favourite singlet. I actually wore it while setting up for our engagement party and it was a great reminder amidst the chaos!
Diaphragmatic breathing is honestly the greatest way we can bring our mind and body back to the present. Whether it be through meditation, yoga, or simply taking a moment to focus on our breathing technique while sitting or walking, the practice of diaphragmatic breathing is so powerful. And it is easy.
Breathe in and out through your nose, consciously making the out-breath longer than the in-breath. You will be surprised at how quickly your mind becomes more relaxed and the body follows. This technique also assists to reduce adrenal stress and cortisol production, which I will be writing about in future posts.
5. YOU. ARE. ENOUGH.
We tend to repeat phrases starting in “if only I had…” or “if only I was more…”.
What I have learnt from my personal journey is that we are all truly unique beings and have something wonderful to share in this world.
We simply have to keep reminding ourselves that we are in the exact place we are supposed to be, right here and now. Don’t be hard on yourself if you haven’t achieved that goal as early as you had planned. Have faith in yourself and trust that you can achieve anything if you set your mind to it. We have to practice gratitude, patience, persistence, faith and above all, love for ourselves. We are all in the perfect place right now.
I really hope these tips are useful and I would love to hear your own stories and techniques on how to deal with stress and anxiety. For further inspiration, I would also encourage you to check out the wonderful websites by Hayley, Lady Frankie, Sarah and Melissa!