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You Are What You Think - tips for your mental hygiene

Now, more than ever do we need to cleanse our minds like we do our physical bodies. It’s time to open up our toolkits and utilise our inner-resources that promote calm and optimistic thinking by giving our minds a good shower.


We’ve entered full-on survival mode by eliminating “non-essential” services and limiting our social and physical contact with others. Read through these top toolkit tips and practice whichever resonate with you. Leave a comment with any other tools you’re currently using!




MEDITATE


Needless to say amongst this time of worrisome chaos, my meditation practice has increased and become an anchor to my days and nights. I integrate daily meditations by creating a S.M.A.R.T. goal, and I K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Smarty!) my woes goodbye. My goal:


"I will look after my mental hygiene by meditating 10 minutes each day for one week.”


Specific - sit down in front of my candle and crystals

Measurable - 1-2 times per day for 10 minutes

Achievable - can I slot this into my current schedule?

Realistic - yes!

Time oriented - after 1 week, I can consider meditating for 15 minutes each session


 

BREATHING


Another tool is breathing! How simple, right?

There are an abundant amount of breathing techniques to try - have a look at my previous blog post for the Box Breath and Inhale x1 - Exhale x2 breath work breakdowns.


 

VISUAL MEDITATION


You can also try a visual meditation technique during your seated meditation. When the monkey mind becomes overwhelmed, visuals help to focus the mind in stillness.

Example

Imagine your thoughts are like leaves on a tree. With every thought, that leaf starts to drop from the tree. Like autumn leaves drifting towards the ground, your thoughts too lighten and float away in the wind. The mind will always think, so begin to notice the thought as it appears, place it on a leaf, and watch it fall away with ease.


 

COLD SHOWERS


Keeping a daily routine is also proven to be effective in lifting any spouts of feeling stuck. Take your daily showers and for the last 5 to 60 seconds blast that baby on cold! Feel the water wash away your pensiveness. Of course, remember your S.M.A.R.T. goal when integrating this into your routine.


 

MEDIA TIME-OUT


Lastly, consider monitoring your media intake to destress the overstimulated mind. Allocate certain times of the day that you check your social media, global and local news, and check in with friends/family. A timer is handy when scrolling your media feeds too because we all know what it feels like to fall down that rabbit hole… Too much media intake induces fear and stimulates our sympathetic nervous system which activates our flight, fight, or freeze mode. We’ve already had to limit our social and physical exposure, we don’t need to exacerbate our survival mode instinct and be living in a constant state of hyper-awareness aka stress.





Free the shackles of your overfed mind with your favourite tool for mental hygiene. It’s not that we are trying to avoid our worries or woes, but rather we allow these to come to the surface, so we can track our fear, create coping mechanisms, and mitigate the ruminating chatter. We transform feelings of despair into optimistic and calm thinking with productive stillness and silence full of breath and sensations of being alive. Why? Because your thoughts become your words, and your words become your actions.


*Follow Habitual Yoga Space on Facebook and Instagram for weekly meditations, breath work tutorials, and live yoga.


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rod.williams13
rod.williams13
Jun 09, 2020

Beautiful Ariane, your words inspire me each time I read them.

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Anthony Duckworth
Anthony Duckworth
Apr 10, 2020

I do a visual meditation for the monkey mind. I begin by taking three deep breaths then allow my body to go back to regular breaths, just how my body does. Then I visualize putting the monkey on a comfy couch to sleep while I meditate. If the 'monkey' is particularly restless then I will see myself holding him and soothing him until he calms then lay him down. After practicing this for about a week it seems to take me to a deeper place within myself. The visualization disappears and its just my breath and awareness.

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