When did you stop dancing?
Week Seven explores the close connection between our daily routines, activities, behaviour and moods. When we are stressed and exhausted, we often give up the things that 'nourish' us to make the time for the more 'pressing' and 'important' things such as work, caring for young children or elderly parents. As we become more stressed and slide further down in the “exhaustion funnel”, we give up even more of the things that nurture us such as hobbies and social life giving more time to what ultimately are depleting activities and sap our energy.
Week Seven focuses on using mindfulness to help you make increasingly skilful choices, so that you do more of the things that nourish you, and limit the downsides of those things that drain and deplete your inner resources. This will help you to enter a virtuous circle that leads to greater life satisfaction, resilience and the ability to enjoy life as it is, rather than how you wish it to be. Anxieties, stresses and worries will still come, but they are more likely to melt away as you learn to meet them with kindness.
When people experience 'burn out', it can be very hard to see the way out of the situation. When you feel tired, unhappy, stressed or anxious, waiting until you feel motivated may not be the wisest course of action. You have to put the action first. For example -" I'm too tired to exercise, I just want to sit on that sofa and watch TV for the night." The tiredness will be still there when you wake up and added is the dissatisfaction that you have just wasted 3 hours of our precious life.
When mood is low, motivation follows action,
rather than the other way around. When you put the action
first, motivation follows.
Please read about the Exhaustion funnel to understand the theme of the week in its fullness.
Practices for week 7:
1. Pick a meditation practice from previous weeks you found difficult and pick another one you liked. Do whatever feels right, you can even try to experiment with just sitting without guidance. Read the articles and watch the videos from this week but also catch up from the last 7 weeks.
2. Ten-finger gratitude exercise – once a day you bring to mind 10 things which you are grateful for, counting them on your fingers. It is important to get to 10, even if it becomes increasingly harder after three or four! They can be things what happened during the day but also some general things relevant to your life.
3. 3 min Breathing space followed by a concrete action to make an immediate and meaningful difference to how you feel and to help to take a skilful action. So after you have used the Breathing Space at times of stress this week, pause for a moment and ask yourself: what do I need to do for myself right now? How can I best take care of myself right now?
You have 3 options for skilful action:
-You can do something pleasurable
-You can do something that will give you a sense of satisfaction or mastery over your life
-Or you can continue acting mindfully
A good read read for literature lovers Brain pickings
If you are always looking for something better, read this by Jon Kabat-Zinn
TED talk by Trinity's Ian Robertson
Reminding myself that self-rightenousness is not helpful by Jon Kabat-Zinn
Practice as if your life depended on it,
as in many ways, it surely does. For then you
will be able to live the life you have – and
live it as if it truly mattered.