In a life where everything passes by so quickly it can feel like we lurch from one activity to another. It’s important to create mindful moments to ground us and to help us find calm amongst the chaos.
During a typical day we can carry out hundreds of small bite size tasks whether that’s at work or at home and it can range from complex problem solving at work to what to have for tea that evening. Regardless of the task it requires us to focus our attention and concentrate on the task in hand and this can be tiresome on both our mind and body. In addition to this research shows we have between 60,000 and 80,000 thoughts per day and its interesting to know that over 95% of these thoughts are repetitive. This just evidences how we much we overthink, overanaylse and worry endlessly about the things we have going on in our lives. We can often overthink and the only way to change our thoughts is to change the way we think.(Sasson, 2019)(Verma, 2017)
In mindfulness practices we learn about our 3 emotional regulation systems; the Drive system, the Soothing system, and the Threat system. We switch between these 3 systems in order to manage our emotions. Each system is associated to a different regions of our brain and different parts of brain chemistry. Resultantly, each of these systems serve different purposes and contribute towards different feelings we experience. The Drive system’s purpose is to motivate us, leaving us wanting, pursuing and achieving. The Soothing system allows us to manage distress and promote bonding resulting in us feeling content, safe and protected. Finally, the Threat System which has the purpose of detecting threats and protecting us. This system gives us the feelings of anxiety, anger and disgust, uses a ‘better safe than sorry’ principle in order to keep us safe. The two most powerful systems here are the Threat and Drive systems and research suggests that mental health problems are typically related to the overuse of these two systems. Therefore, it’s important to understand how to use these systems consciously in order to gain better mental health. This can be achieved by using mindful moments at the right times. (Mi-Psych | Mindfulness & Clinical Psychology Solutions)
I encourage you to read further into this subject using the resources I have linked at the bottom of the page.
It’s important to be aware of all of this as these regulation systems show us the importance of taking some time out to breathe, be still and/or relax. Life is a series of moments and it’s important at times to take some time out to reflect, recharge and rejuvenate. This doesn’t always have to be long periods of time sometimes it can be timea during the day where you can just pause for a few moments and practice mindfulness at it’s best. Here are my top 4 ways you can practice mindfulness in your daily life;
1. Nature ~ Whenever you have the opportunity to go outdoors take it. Whether it’s a walk during lunchtime hours, sitting outdoors after work, walking, anything! Seize the opportunity.
2. Grounding ~ Focus your attention to your immediate surroundings. There are so many different ways to do this, from taking slow deep breaths to taking the time to remind yourself of who you are now.
3. Meditating ~ Taking time out to meditate is one of the best things you can. It provides you with an opportunity to recharge and relax and helps you connect mind & body.
4. Exercising ~ Taking time to activate your mind and muscles.
Useful Resources on Regulation Systems :-
Mi-Psych | Mindfulness & Clinical Psychology Solutions. (n.d.). Your Brain’s 3 Emotion Regulation Systems | Learn to soothe to youreslf. [online] Available at: https://mi-psych.com.au/your-brains-3-emotion-regulation-systems/.
Sasson, R. (2019). How Many Thoughts Does Your Mind Think in One Hour?. [online] Successconsciousness.com. Available at: https://www.successconsciousness.com/blog/inner-peace/how-many-thoughts-does-your-mind-think-in-one-hour/.
Verma, P. (2017). Destroy Negativity From Your Mind With This Simple Exercise. [online] Mission.org. Available at: https://medium.com/the-mission/a-practical-hack-to-combat-negative-thoughts-in-2-minutes-or-less-cc3d1bddb3af.