Having the confidence to see yourself through this Winter without negative feelings or thoughts is all about preparation.
So here is Tip 2.
Firstly, what is Mindfulness?
I cannot cover the whole topic here in a single tip but I can give you some guidance to help you begin to engage in feeling far better about yourself through the darker days.
Mindfulness simply means paying attention directly to what is going on inside and outside ourselves, the expression you would have heard is being ‘more in the moment’.
It’s easy to stop noticing the world around us as we are more often than not lost in thought and repeated behaviours. It’s also easy to lose touch with the way our bodies are feeling and end up living in our head or within the thoughts going on in our mind – being caught up in our thoughts drive our everyday emotions and actions.
By waking up the mind to the moment we take notice to the sights, sounds, smells and tastes within the present moment. This might be something as simple as the feel of the light switch as we turn on the lights earlier during the winter months or being aware of the colder air that we are breathing in, and the sensations related to it.
As we distract our mind away from repeated patterns we bring ourselves into the moment, the more we do this, the more opportunity we have to stop the negative depressive thoughts that hold us back.
An important part of mindfulness is to have awareness of your thoughts and feelings as they happen moment to moment; don’t try to fight them or run away from them (fight or flight) just notice them as the observer. As we do this it gives us the opportunity to change our thoughts in that moment.
When we do this, it can positively change the way we see ourselves.
How Mindfulness can help you through the winter months.
Being more present in the moment can help you to enjoy the world as it is and to understand yourself better.
When we become more aware of the present moment, we begin to appreciate and experience the actual world, and not the unreal world created within our Winter thoughts.
This will then allow you to ‘step back’ from your thoughts and begin to see their patterns. Gradually you will begin to train yourself and observe when your thoughts are taking over; you will recognise that thoughts are simply ‘mental events’ that do not have to control you, unless you allow them to.
Being more present in the moment will help you to notice the signs of Winter depressive thoughts earlier and help you deal with them better.
How to be more Mindful?
Simply remind yourself to take notice of your thoughts, feelings, body sensations and the world around you is the first step. It’s not easy at first, it will take some practice, but the rewards will be worth your persistence.
Notice as much of your everyday as possible.
Even as you go about your daily life, you will begin to notice the sensations of everyday moments, the food you eat, the air moving past the body as we walk, the feel of the chair you are sitting on, etc.
This may all sound rather obvious and you may think you do this anyway, but try it now. Notice the feeling of your clothes, the air you breath and the sensation of the chest and tummy rising and falling. Can you recognise any feelings or thoughts within the feelings that you are thinking? Did you find the outward breath was able to release any tensions?
It’s time to interrupt the ‘autopilot’ which is our usual ‘go to’; interrupt it and engage more within each and every day and give yourself new perspectives of your life in the moment.
All this may sound obvious but try it; you will soon notice that your mind will try and slip back into ‘autopilot’. So trigger your mind to engage in the moment and notice your thoughts, what are you thinking now? How are you feeling? Maybe you’ve noticed that you’ve been distracted reading this article, not a bad thing!
If you get stuck, help is on hand to see you through the Winter months and beyond.
Mindfulness Meditation can help you feel calmer in the moment; practice this once a day, each and everyday. You may find it easier to be guided so I have some recordings that will help you http://www.strongminds.co.uk/audio/
I hope today’s tip will help you prepare to feel more confident about feeling better through the Winter ahead.
Come back again tomorrow for Tip 3.