1. Know that you are not your thoughts, your mind has a mind of its own, your thoughts are not who you are, they are separate. You don’t have to take them so personally, you can watch the different states of mind as they arise, stay a while and then gradually dissolve.
2. Sit with the tips of your fingers together, feel the connection of them, move them, still feeling into the connection, become curious about that feeling, then shift awareness to your whole body, feel your connection to the seat you are sitting on, feel your feet on the floor, be curious about the parts of you that are touching each other, the fabric of your clothes, or some other thing. Enjoy the curiosity and attention you are giving your physical self for the next minute or two. You may notice the mind wandering, gently escort it back to what you are doing.
3. Spend 2 minutes gazing at something in nature, a tree, a patch of grass, a flower, really see it all. See the outline of it, the light and shade of it, the different colours it has upon it. Let your eyes drink in all it is, wonder in appreciation of it. You may notice the mind wandering, gently escort it back to what you are doing.
4. The next time you take some steps somewhere take your mind into your feet. How are they stepping? Do you put your heel down first? Do you step more on the outside or the inside of your foot? What does it feel like? Feel the socks and shoes you have on against your skin or how do your bare feet feel on the floor you are on? Do your toes crack as you move? Do you step onto all of your toes? Or just some. Get curious. Do this for 3 minutes. You may notice the mind wandering, gently escort it back to what you are doing.
5. Allow a big grin to spread across your face, tell yourself ‘I love you unconditionally’, you might not believe this at first, go to a mirror, look yourself in the eye, get serious, and tell yourself again that you love you unconditionally. It may sound alien to do this, but the reasons that we might not find it easy are all mind based and not relevant to this exercise, here, in this very moment, right now. If we start to tell ourselves this statement we will slowly start to become the person who can believe it.
6. Take a habit you have and mix it up. Many judgements and critical thoughts arise out of habitual ways of thinking and acting. Sit in a different chair for dinner/TV time, go a different way to work or to a place you go to often, turn the TV off for a while when you would normally be watching it. Enjoy the holiday you have within the new action.
7. Stand with your feet on the ground, your arms hanging loosely by your sides, knees not locked. Feel an elongation through the spine and into the neck lifting the crown of the head and slightly tucking the chin in. Take a breath in to your belly, and then breathe out, on the next in breath, imagine you are breathing up through the soles of your feet to your heart, when you breathe out, imagine the breath is leaving through the crown of your head, then breathe in from the crown, taking it to the heart and when you breath out take it from the heart out of the soles of your feet. Breathe like this for a few minutes. Expanding your awareness deep into planet earth below and far out into the universe above. In and up, out and up – in and down, out and down.
8. Give heartfelt thanks right now for your health, money, career, relationships, self-development, community involvement and personal care. No matter what state they are in. Rarely do we give gratitude to these things as they are. Only usually when these things are failing do we plea for something different. Pleas for help however when times get tough can keep things in a state of never quite getting better; giving thanks allows space to have other things enter our lives to give even more thanks for.
9. Write 3 statements about yourself that you would like to be true. You may not believe them at this point, but remember the limiting beliefs we hold are just thoughts we have told ourselves over and over, they aren’t true either! Tell yourself what you would like to be true, put these statements where you can see them every day and say them to yourself every day. We are an accumulation of the thoughts we think, see the negative self talk for what it is and start to notice when you find yourself doing it. I’m not a fan of telling yourself you are happy if you are not, but things like ‘I am an organised person and I use my time productively’ are brilliant sentences to start undoing the years of limiting beliefs we have been believing about ourselves.
10. See how many times a day you laugh. The average grown-up laughs around 4 times a day – if that’s you, get your joke book out over dinner tonight or watch a hilarious comedy and try and get a belly laugh or two on the go.