Wellbeing Wednesdays week six – 12 days of mindfulness
December 16, 2020 | by Lynette Mayo
With December being a time most people rush around and never take a breath until the New Year, for the next 12 days, why not make time to take a moment out?
We are not talking a full meditation each day, just simply giving yourself a few moments to recharge to face anything the day may throw at you.
We would love to see your photos and videos of you taking a bit of time for yourself.
Day one – Time for tea (or whatever hot drink you enjoy)
Put the kettle on, warm some milk and really enjoy a nice hot drink. Open the cupboard, choose your favourite mug. Why is it special to you? Why did you choose this one? Prepare your drink like you are making it for the person you are craving to have a brew with. Choose your moment and sit in your favourite spot. Why have you sat here?
Are you sitting comfortably? Take a sip, savour the drink and let it warm you like a hug folding it’s arms around you. Feel the warmth, be present in this moment, take a breath and enjoy.
Day two – A moment of joy
The moment when national treasure Captain Sir Tom Moore completed his world record-breaking charity walk has been officially hailed as the UK’s ‘Moment of Joy’ for 2020. Imagine how Captain Sir Tom felt in that moment himself.
Life is full of moments—some happy and others sad. The holidays certainly provide their fair share of ups and downs, as did this unprecedented year. However bumpy as the roads on the path of life may get, it’s important to slow down and take a breath once in a while.
One way to do that is to focus on one single, simple moment of joy. It has been said, “If happy Buddha sits inside, there will be no seats for sadness.” So, start small. Look back on each decade of your life. Let the memories flood in and allow yourself to feel. Sift through each snapshot in time until you reach one moment of pure joy.
Allow yourself to truly experience that moment. Put yourself back in the shoes of that 10, 30 or 80 year-old person. How does the joy of that moment change the shape of your smile and the softness of your face? How does it impact your heart and the hearts of others around you?
Day three – A minute of silence
A minute of silence… when do we get to have this? Noise is all around us and we grow used to it. We need moments of silence, something needs to wait. Find a moment when you can just be in total silence; no phone, no TV and no distractions.
Close your eyes, breath deeply in and out, slow your heart rate and clear your head. Take this minute of silence like it is a medicine, it will lower your blood pressure, heart and breathing rate. The sound of silence is golden, enjoy it when you can.
Day four – Dance like no one is watching
Move your body to your favourite tunes – it’s the ultimate feel-good exercise and has some surprising effects on both the body and mind.
Moving your body has obvious effects on your physical health, but it has some positives effects on your mental wellbeing too. Research dating back to 1980s has shown dancing regularly can help reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. Dancing is an instant mood booster, so put on those tunes and move like no one is watching.
Day five – What’s that smell?
Today, take a deep breath and take in the aromas around us. Aromas can affect your health and wellbeing. Each person has different combinations of odour-detecting cells in the nose, and different sensitivities to smells. Certain smells can soothe people’s emotions.
Here is a list of smells that trigger certain emotions to give you some inspiration:
- Promote confidence – Frankincense, Patchouli, Jasmine and Sandalwood.
- Relieve depression – Sage, Grapefruit, Jasmine, Lavender, Lemon, Orange, Rose Geranium and Sandalwood.
- Ease anger – Chamomile, Jasmine, Patchouli and Rose.
- Reduce anxiety – Cedarwood, Cypress, Frankincense, Lavender, Orange, Peach, Rose and Violet Leaf.
- Increase memory – Jasmine, Lavender, Lemon and Rosemary.
- Alleviate stress – Chamomile, Cinnamon, Cloves, Frankincense, Lavender, Lemon, Orange, Rose, Sandalwood and Violet.
Day six – Create something
Everyday creativity is proven to increase feelings of wellbeing and personal satisfaction. Spend some time creating something… a picture, bake a cake or do a festive craft.
Whilst you are busy, you will lose yourself, you may forget any worries and you will boost your self esteem.
Day seven – Dream a little dream
Picture something that you want, something physical. This is difficult for most people as generally people want things for others like health, wealth and love.
However, sometimes it is good to dream about something we want. Do you want a new car, a holiday or a new pair of boxing gloves? Don’t feel guilty, just enjoy the dream. Maybe it will come true?
Day eight – It’s the little things
When you notice the little things, not only are you benefiting your life, but you can make the lives of those around you better as well. It’s not easy, and in some cases can take a lot of effort, but it is absolutely worth it, and even essential in many cases if you want a successful and happy life.
It’s a fast-paced world we live in, with many people seemingly going through the same routine over and over again such that all the days begin to blend together.
When this happens, not only do the days blend together (big picture), but you begin to lose sight of the smaller things that happen each day too. These little things that happen are important. They are the things that make each day special and different from the last.
When you strive to notice the little things, you’ll be surprised at how much of a difference that makes not only in all aspects of your life, but the world around you.
Day nine – Pick a memory
Reflecting on happy things make you happier in your day-to-day life. We can all agree that 2020 has not been the year we expected, however, for most of us we have spent time making the most of our time in lockdown.
Today, pick a memory from this year and think about how it made you feel, create a mental picture and cherish that moment. Make this memory your happy place.
Day 10 – Enjoy doing something together
The simple act of spending time together has not been what anyone expected in 2020. Today, arrange to spend time with someone; either go for a walk (socially distanced, of course), a Zoom call or a telephone call.
Social support and social interaction have a positive influence on human beings’ physical and mental health. It lowers occurrence of stress, depression, anxiety and also highly affects our endocrine-immune system. People need People.
Day 11 – The wonders of fresh air
Today, step outside and take a deep breath. Get some fresh air; clearing your lungs, gives you more energy and mental focus, it lowers your blood pressure, helps you heal faster and is good for your digestion. So wrap up, go for a walk and take a dose of fresh air.
Day 12 – Gratitude
Being grateful for what we have is a great mood booster. Today, on the last day of the 12 days of mindfulness, we are going to do the 10 fingers of gratitude exercise. Bring to mind 10 things which you are grateful for by counting them on your fingers. You may have to think about it, but it doesn’t have to be the big things.
Watch Bevis Allen and Matthew Williams do their own versions below.
Remember: Stay safe, be kind and take a moment for yourself.