Today’s world is often referred to as fast paced, busy and chaotic. We are overfed stress and worry and we are undernourished in areas that truly matter. This concept of being ‘overfed and undernourished’ goes far beyond any food we put on our plate. 

 

I would go as far as saying, that our country is becoming a nation of human beings that are over worked, tired and are operating continuously at maximum capacity. What happens our minds, our bodies and our souls when we get tired, bombarded or run down? We become sick. We become fatigued. We become anxious. We become ill. 

Having worked as a Pharmacist for almost a decade – I could see first hand the frantic, stress ridden, pill popping nation that we have become. I witnessed the rising scale in antidepressants being prescribed. I saw the rise in sleeping tablets, anti-anxiety medication and stress related diseases, ranging from auto immune diseases, inflammatory disorders, skin problems, stomach disease and cancer to name a few. From behind the dispensary – I could see with my own two eyes our society crumbling into sickness and disease. 

Dis – ease, the very word meaning “a lack of ease”. 

I could see both young and old becoming a nation where the concept of “ease” in our lives was merely non existent. A nation where our norm was to be “busy” and “stressed” and if you weren’t busy or stressed, then you weren’t successful. 

But this doesn’t have to be the way. We, as human beings have an infinite inner well of consciousness that wants to be healthy. We inherently want to be happy. We want to have inner peace. We crave to live a life that is healthy, and prosperous and rich in creativity and exhilaration. 

But we tend to get caught up in the rat race, we can often get stuck in a job that doesn’t fulfil us, or a relationship that doesn’t ignite us. We somehow can find ourselves living a life that is not full of “ease”. We can find ourselves feeling “stuck” or stale, and our life can lack meaning or inspiration. When this happens we can turn to food, or alcohol or some external source to try and bring some light or life back into our lives, only to find that, this too falls short and leaves us feeling worse off than ever before. 

So what’s the solution? How can we go about finding some “ease” in our lives? How can we begin to find some meaning in our world? How can we reduce the anxiety, the stress, the overwhelming emotions that surge us on a day to day basis? One way that helped me immensely was Yoga. 

If you read my earlier article on ‘Why yoga really can be for everyone’ and the benefits behind yoga, you will know that Yoga goes far beyond just the physical. One of the main benefits that I find, and that many of my clients experience, is the escaping healing feeling that yoga brings to ones life.

 

Yoga – meaning union, unites mind with the body, and body with the soul. 

In today’s world – this connection is vital. We don’t need more noise, or more busyness, or more loud music, or more adrenaline. What the world needs is more stillness. More silence. More space. More time out. More recovery. More rest. More breathing. More connection. Yoga delivers all of the above and more. 

When you get on the mat, you centre yourself. You ground yourself. You connect. To find more ease in our lives and in our world, it’s important that we first find some balance and stability within ourselves. 

Yoga empowers connection back to our inner world. It enables you to actually stop for a second and scan your body. Scan your emotions. Scan your thoughts. Check in with yourself and listen to your intuition. One of the best ways to reduce stress in your life, is to give yourself a break. In order to find some ease and relaxation in our lives we need to first stop, listen and feel. To take some time out from the busyness and connect to a space of stillness. 

Yoga Breathing or Pranayama: 

When you get on your yoga mat – you connect your mind and body through the breath. The breath – which is our life force energy – our Prana. Once we engage with deep mindful breathing we reduce the anxiety by activating our para sympathetic nervous system. This is our rest and recovery system – the opposite to our fight or flight system where we operate most of our lives from.

When we engage in yogic breathing (see the simple excerise below) we reduce anxiety and nervous tension in our central nervous system. When we are anxious – our nerve endings can become irritated and excited. They become heightened and activated, and we thus, become “on edge” and anxious and develop nervous tension and irritability. 

Doing this breathing along with certain yoga poses (asanas) we can calm down our entire nervous system. We activate this para sympathetic nervous system and as a result reduces our stress hormone cortisol. This reduces heart rate, blood pressure and anxiety. 

Yoga breathing (pranayama) is the foundation of your yoga practice. It begins with deepening your breathing and engaging is a 3-part breath technique.

Try this simple breathing technique at least once a day for a week and observe how it affects your body, breath, and mind. This mindful excercise can be done at just about any time of day, though preferably not immediately following a large meal.

How to:

  1. Lie comfortably on your back (with your knees slightly bent and your feet flat on the floor) about hip-distance apart or lie in savasana (corpse pose), whichever is most comfortable for you.

  2. Place one palm on your abdomen and just breathe comfortably for a few moments. Notice the quality of your breath. Does the breath feel tense? shallow? rapid? strained? Simply observe the breath without trying to adjust it or change it, or without any judgment.

  3. Then gradually begin to relax your breathing. Slow your breath down, deepen the inhalation and try make the breath as smooth as possible.

  4. Begin to draw the breathe in for a count of 4.

  5. Slowly introduce a slight PAUSE after each inbreath.

  6. Then gracefully release your breath through a nice slow relaxed exhalation to the count of 8.

  7. So the breathing goes something like this;  inhale – count 1,2,3,4… Pause and hold for 1,2,3,4…. Exhale count 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8… Pause and hold 1,2,3,4 and repeat.

  8. Once the breath feels comfortable, relaxed, smooth and rhythmical, notice the movement of the body. As you inhale, the abdomen naturally expands; as you exhale, feel the slight contraction of the abdomen. To experience the pleasure of giving yourself a full, relaxed breath, gently try to actively expand the abdomen on the inhale and contract the abdomen on the exhale to support the natural movement of the diaphragm.

  9. Continue this breathing practice for 6 to 12 breaths.

  10. Check in with your body, mind, thoughts and emotions afterwards. (Have a pen and paper near by as you may get some moments of insights or clarity afterwards).

 

Benefits: 

  • Quietens the mind
  • Calms the entire nervous system
  • Reduces stress and anxiety 
  • Promotes restful sleep
  • Improves self-awareness
  • Promotes focus and clarity 
  • Develops inner peace 
  • Reduces blood pressure and can ease bodily aches and pains 
  • Promotes overall EASE in the mind, body and soul 
  • Promotes a sense of wellbeing and relaxation 

Examples of some Yoga poses (asanas) that can really help with reducing anxiety and stress are the following:

  • Cat/Cow pose (Marjaryasana/Bitikasana) 
  • Child’s pose (balasana)
  • Trees pose (Vrikasana)
  • Headstand or supported headstand (sirsasana)
  • Corpse Pose (savasana) 
  • Abdominal twists 
  • Legs up the Wall pose (Viparita Karani)

The trinity of Yoga, meditation and mindful breathing, is just one way that can help alleviate stress and anxiety in our modern world. It has helped me and so many of my clients. I really hope it can also help you. 

 

So your stressful life has contributed to sleeping issues? You have been diagnosed with adrenal fatigue or all at the very least the symptoms seem to fit. Your energy levels have dropped off significantly over the years and it’s especially problematic during afternoons.

 

Fatigued Coffee

The best remedy combines B-vitamins, magnesium, adaptogenic herbs and critical amino acids like GABA. However, there is no such thing as adrenal fatigue. Unless you have Addison’s disease, your adrenal glands are working as intended. It’s the signaling upstream that is the problem.

Adrenal glands don’t excessively secrete cortisol to the point where they can’t produce unless damaged. This is the finding by the vast majority of scientific research. So why do adrenal fatigue support formulations work? It’s because the effective formulas are resetting the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis (HPA axis) just as the vitamins, minerals and herbs previously mentioned.

Why is this distinction important? If only your cortisol levels are tested a patient can get a false negative for “adrenal fatigue” or worse. Then the patient is given cortisol that might exacerbate the situation. This is one more reason to always choose well-formulated herbal based supplements rather than synthetic stimulating or suppressing cortisol drugs.

Cortisol plays a critical role in sleep, stress and inflammation. Our cortisol levels should be highest when we first awake so we are alert and then it tapers off quickly. When perceived stress or chronic inflammation occurs, cortisol secretion is initiated. During times of stress it boosts our system in a threatening situation. Where there is chronic inflammation, cortisol reduces the inflammatory response to protect us from the aging process. Unfortunately sleep is interrupted when cortisol is secreted anytime other than early in the day.

There are four triggers causing HPA axis imbalance between these three glands mistakenly referred to as, “adrenal fatigue,” according to Dr. Thomas Guilliams, an expert the field of Molecular Immunology.

  1. Perceived stress.
  2. Inflammation primarily in the gut caused by small bacteria or candida overgrowth.
  3. Sugar dysregulation.
  4. Circadian dysregulation.

While this topic deserves a deeper dive, the important takeaway is that the HPA axis includes a set of neurotransmitters with self-regulating feedback loops. When the body isn’t in balanced, the pathways either no longer result in cortisol secretion or the cells become cortisol insensitive like a diabetic in the presence of too much insulin. This is the body’s system of checks and balances.

To address the four triggers, incorporate stress-reducing behaviors like meditation, yoga, essential oils and supplements. Begin by reducing inflammation in the gut by eating a healthy diet reducing sugar and eliminating rancid vegetable oils. Try to get outside and take in natural light and stay away from your computer screen late at night.

Are you feeling overwhelmed, over stressed and over Summer (and it hasn’t even started yet!)?? Could mindfulness help?

Well author of the Irish Better Birth Book and Founder of the award winning GentleBirth antenatal program Tracy Donegan, shares a great technique for coping with stress this summer.

sumer is coming, summer holidays, mindfulness, tracy donegan, gentlebirth, summer stress, summer camps

Summer is coming and like many parents around the world you’re scouring the pages of the local summer camp brochures trying to figure out how to keep the family sane. If you have younger children then summer camp might not be an option. Being pregnant and entertaining a 5 year old for the summer can be stressful.

As a Gentlebirth mum you know how important your daily practice is but between practice times you have a multitude of opportunities to use the tools every day.

Forget the meditation cushions and incense – and even the headphones (hardly practical when you have twin toddlers racing about the house).

DAILY PRACTISE

Your daily practice isn’t always about lying on the couch with your headphones on (wasn’t it so much easier on your first pregnancy)? The reality is those moments of madness are often the best ways to bring your focus training out of the GentleBirth App and right into your kitchen.

Author and meditation expert Jon Kabat-Zinn says children are like “live in Zen masters” and it’s so true. I guarantee you’ll have at least 10 opportunities to practice your Heart Breathing every day this Summer (particularly each time you hear the words “I’m bored”).   Try out the practice below and before you know it you’ll be paying more attention to how you’re reacting to the daily stresses of life, you’ll start to differentiate between what you can and can’t control and by doing this you’re activating brain circuitry which is protective of your mental health. Does that sound like something you don’t have time for? Focus training doesn’t mean adding anything else to your day – you’re just being more present in what you’re already doing (loading laundry, preparing dinner, changing diapers).

When you find yourself feeling stressed – what can you do in that moment to respond differently (in a way that is good for you and your family)?

TRY THIS

BreatheTake 3 deep breaths right down to your belly.

Find your feet – look at them if you can and wiggle your toes if you’re barefoot. Are your feet warm or cold? What else do you notice? (Pay no attention to the remnants of the pedicure you got for that wedding 6 months ago or that’ll just invite judgy mind to join in). If you’re wearing shoes do they feel comfortable or tight? Stay with this exercise for a few moments more – as you can probably tell this exercise has really nothing to do with your feet but it’s reducing activity in one part of your brain and activating another healthier brain circuitry.

sumer is coming, summer holidays, mindfulness, tracy donegan, gentlebirth, summer stress, summer camps

So let’s say F- THAT to Summer stress (or any kind of stress you’re experiencing at work or home) with this mindfulness technique.

 

Focus – stop whatever you’re doing

Feel your breath – breathe in and out deeply

Find your feet – notice how they feel, wiggle your toes and respond with Fierce kindness towards yourself.

 

The school holidays won’t magically become a fairytale when you become more present with mindfulness but you’ll have some tools to make it a little less stressful for everyone.

#SelfcareSunday #mindfulness

I like to refer to it as ‘the practice of being present’ as it truly is a practice and something we have to work on every day. Being present to me means being aware and feeling fully alive. Do you feel present in your life or does life generally feel chaotic?

What I have learned is that it’s not about ticking off a to do list but rather being more present with the things I am doing each day like reading a story to my child or working on one project at a time and not juggling six different things at once. Multitasking might work for some but over time I have found that it’s distracting and leads to many jobs being nearly finished instead of properly finished and done well.

Becoming a mum was the first time I was forced to be present because that’s what children do – they live in the present. They anchor you in the here and now. As James grew I learnt to really live in the here and now whereas before I ran from problems and the thought of being alone with myself was quite terrifying.

presence, mindfulmonday, in the moment, present moment, live, mindfulness

I saw the true beauty of the world through a child’s eyes after James was born and realised just how much we take for granted or miss when we become adults. The first time he saw a bird in the sky and a plane flying it was sheer amazement and I remember when he was a toddler he kept saying mum – wow!! One day as I walked over to him he was looking at ants on the ground and he was simply stunned watching them. His little face looked up at me and I felt really emotional at how powerful the moment was.

However practicing being present caused me to feel very emotional in the beginning as it was so awkward for me to really feel my emotions? When you are present you feel and see things more clearly and when you have been suppressing that aspect of yourself for so long it can almost be like freeing all these emotions that are hyperactive after having been locked away for too long. They can be unruly and unnerving and you need to figure out how to deal with them.

Having struggled with mental health and addiction problems for so long, working on being more present in my life allowed me the space to finally heal. It’s an awareness that I have built up and something I work on daily. Some days I’m better than others but that’s life and I try to take the rough with the smooth, have fun with it and ease off beating myself up for not doing everything right.

For years I strived for perfection (whatever that is) and it’s exhausting and unrealistic. There is no such thing as perfection as we are all so different and our standards and views of the world differ so greatly that its ridiculous to do anything other than work on our own internal happiness and contentment.

Through my daily meditations, gratitude journals, food, fun, fitness and therapy being present has become the single greatest gift I have ever given myself. It’s like slowly discovering life’s elixir. Over the years the more I got the more I wanted and the better my life became.

journal

What I realized is that I had become an obsessive list ticker desperately trying to get through different tasks in an effort to be supermum but in reality I was missing out on actually being a mum or really living. During my recovery from postnatal depression I became emotional because I had finally allowed myself the time and space to simply just be with my son. You almost feel guilty initially as if allowing yourself to do this means you are lazy.

I now realize that we attract what we are into our life. I now look back and realize my run of incredibly bad luck with work, boyfriends and life events was actually caused by me and how I was living. Our life changes when we choose to live differently. Our life changes when we choose to be present.

[bctt tweet=[bctt tweet=”Life gives you plenty of time to do whatever you want to do if you stay in the present moment. Deepak Chopra” username=”alicanavan”] username=”alicanavan”]

Here are some simple ideas to help you become more present:

  • Focus on your senses – how does your food taste?  What can you see when out in nature? Tune in to smells and colours!
  • Savour your shower and start the day mindfully. Tune into how the water feels on your body and in turn you will tune into how you feel.
  • Notice the miracles in each day by practising gratitude. Gratitude helps to ground us and bring us into the present. Start to notice the small things like someones smile or a refreshing glass of water.
  • Stop, breathe and become fully aware of the moment.
  • Take a short meditation break.
  • Write in a journal.
  • When in conversation give the person your full attention.
  • Have digital free time with loved ones and for yourself.

How do you practise being present? I would love to hear from you – Share in the comment box below

Shine Bright

Ali xxxx

#mindfulmonday

 

Mindfulness really is a hot topic of conversation at the moment which is why I have teamed up with Sports Philosophy for #mindfulmarch.

A lot of people might think that mindfulness is just another buzzword that will pass, however, mindfulness is actually a very important movement for our current age of distraction and disconnection.

Where we are in society is very noisy and busy. People are sick and stressed and there is a real need for people to have some quiet time in order to live a more balanced and integrative lifestyle.

Giving yourself that essential space even for just a few minutes each day allows you see the world through a different lens. The benefits range from lower stress, increased empathy, emotional maturity, better digestion, better relationships with yourself and others, increased confidence, concentration, productivity and the list goes on!

 

MINDFULMARCH, MINDFULNESS, PRESENCE, CONNECTION, SELFCARE, MEDITATION, SPORTS PHILOSOPY, ETHICAL SPORTSWEAR, MINDFUL TIPS

Magenta Prism Laser Sports Bra £52.00 Magenta Prism Leggings £85.00

 

Sports Philosophy is an ethical luxury active wear brand offering beautiful performance clothing for the stylishly fit men and women. Every piece is made with carefully sourced Italian fabrics and designed to enhance your workout, all whilst making you look good.

 

The label is also deeply passionate about doing good too and the creator of the brand, Stella, sees the world through a similar lens to me. They help to fight child labour, through their own charity, the Freedom for Children Foundation, which you can read more about here

 

MINDFULMARCH, MINDFULNESS, PRESENCE, CONNECTION, SELFCARE, MEDITATION, SPORTS PHILOSOPY, ETHICAL SPORTSWEAR, MINDFUL TIPS

Black Prism Laser Sports Bra £52.00 and leggings £85

 

Each week in March we will be bringing you a simple but effective tip on how to include mindfulness into your every day life. The theme is reconnection so we will be looking at reconnecting with our food, our breath, and the world around you and of courses ourselves.

 

You will have seen week one above so here’s week 2 where I encourage you to reconnect with what we put into our body and why mindful eating is so important.

 

 

In week 3 we will look at reconnecting to nature and in week 4 we will look at reconnecting with you through the act of appreciation and gratitude. Keep an eye on my social media for updates

Till then

Shine Bright

Ali xxx

INSTAGRAM

FACEBOOK

 

BREATHING, MEDITATION, MINDFULNESS, CONNECTION, BREATHWORK, PEACE, INNERWORLD,

BREATHING MEDITATION:

For this meditation we are going to use the breath as a support.

I find it helpful to take 3-5 really deep breaths as I start to help calm my system down (as most of us are always rushing around)

So

 

  • Chose a quiet place and sit in a comfortable position either on a chair or on the floor
  • Keep your back straight
  • Close your eyes gently and relax the face, jaw and shoulders
  • Place your palms face up or down on your lap, whichever is more comfortable
  • Take 3 deep inhalations and exhalations through your nostrils
  • Then settle and start to notice the natural flow of your breath. You don’t have to breathe in any particular way here just breathe as you always do
  • As you breathe in and out it can be helpful to focus on one point like the tip of your nose where the breath enters and leaves again
  • It’s completely natural for your mind to wander so don’t get frustrated when this happens just gently say to yourself “whoops there I go again wandering off” and come back to the breath again.
  • Continue with this breathing meditation for 5-10 minutes each day and build from there

MY TOP 3 TIPS:

START YOUR DAY THE RIGHT WAY

I meditate in the morning as I find it helps start my day in a positive and intentional way. It’s a great way to settle yourself before the madness begins and I find if you give yourself 5-10 minutes in the morning your ability to cope with stress and any obstacles you encounter during the day is much better. Focusing on our breathing is a very powerful tool to help with anxiety and depression.

 

SMALL STEPS EACH DAY

Real change happens when we are consistent with our habits. 5-10 minutes each day is far better and more beneficial than 2 hours once a week. Even though small changes might not feel like a lot, trust me they make a big difference and the kind of difference you are really looking for = REAL CHANGE.

 

BE EASY WITH YOURSELF

As you begin your journey into meditation be kind and compassionate with yourself. It’s too easy to beat yourself up for wandering thoughts or unwanted emotions arising but this is not the time for that, we do that too much anyway. Instead, this is your time to focus on the present in a non-judgmental way to increase awareness, which in turn helps to calm the body and mind.

Join me on Facebook in my Minding Mum Group for live weekly meditations

Shine Bright

Ali xxx

As everyone who reads my blog knows I’m a huge fan of mindfulness. My first brush with meditation was in my late teens and I never looked back. I am been very lucky to have had some incredible teachers from all over the world since then including Kadam Morten In New York and Sogyal Rinpoche who wrote the beautiful book The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

As a daily practitioner for many years now I couldn’t imagine a life without meditation. It has given me the ability to really connect with myself daily, get sober, cope with stress and become more creative and focused. In my book “Minding Mum” I place a special emphasis on both meditation and simple mindful ideas for new mums. You can listen to the meditations here.

Mindful Life - Join 700 + Save $300In April I will travel to Washington to The Mindful Life Conference to speak alongside an extraordinary group of 25+ presenters including Sharon Salzberg, Fleet Maull, Wendy Palmer, Frank Ostaseski and Diana Winston.

The schedule of speakers is here. 

I will be speaking on the following topics:

– Minding mum – Why selfcare and presence is the key to real balance as a mum 
– Sitting with emotions good and bad and how understanding that part of myself finally helped me to heal

 The conference takes place on April 21-22, 2017 at Gaylord National Resort, DC Metro Area

Don’t miss out on this annual gathering for the Mindfulness Movement. Mindful Life explores mindfulness and compassion in many different areas including work life, family life, civic life, education, health & wellness, social activism and culture. There will be talks, roundtables, workshops, yoga and mindful movement, contemplative practice, social events, and optional day long intensives.

Some Topics to be explored include:

·  How to bring mindfulness and compassion into organizations and schools

·  The state of the mindfulness movement and where things are heading

·  The core skills needed for conscious living and loving

·  What’s new in mindfulness technology

·  The latest science on mindfulness – and what the research says about how we can improve our well-being and performance

So why not be part of the excitement as hundreds of people from around the U.S gather in the nation’s capital area to explore big-picture topics, learn practical tools and best practices, share success stories, make one-on-one connections, and build community.

Visit AllThingsMindful.org for more information.

In my opinion meditation is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself and a very powerful tool to have in your wellness toolbox. I have been meditating for many years and have a daily practice, which enables me to reconnect with myself each day. Most of us are distracted and live too much in our heads. Very rarely do we check in and come into our bodies and notice how we are feeling. For years I focused on external things like money, career and boyfriends to bring me happiness but I’ve learnt that true happiness and contentment actually comes from creating peace from the inside out.

MEDITATION, growth, space, inner being, spiritual growth, alison canavan, mindfulness, be completeIt’s almost like reversing everything we have been told in our western culture and truly understanding that we actually have everything we need to be happy within us already, we just need to tap into it and work with it. This takes time, patience and practice but with some consistency and work its one of the most worthwhile and rewarding practices to include in your daily life.

It has been said if you want more wellbeing, inner peace, happiness and less stress in your life then learn how to meditate. Researchers at Harvard University even found that during the practice of meditation the body has what they call ‘the relaxation response’ that gives the body deep rest, which is actually deeper than the rest we get from sleep.

[bctt tweet=” Meditation is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself” username=”alicanavan”]

Now I know that beginning a meditation practice can seem intimidating and often confusing because there are so many different types and trends out there today. Trying to quiet your mind can also seem like an impossible task or if you are anything like me when I first began I thought I had to stop my own thoughts! The good news is that not only do you not have to stop your thoughts but you can let them come and go with ease during your practice after all its impossible to stop your thoughts unless your are enlightened or indeed dead.

MEDITATION, growth, space, inner being, spiritual growth, alison canavan, mindfulness, be completeI have been trained in many different types of meditation and it’s important to find what works for you because we are all so different. There is plenty of support out there today in the form of apps, websites, online courses, books and more. I personally don’t believe that one type is more superior to another and in my own practice I use different supports like mantras, visualization and breathing techniques when I feel I need them. It’s important to note that you learn to meditate by meditating and you will grow with your practice.

[bctt tweet=”Meditation allows us the opportunity to work with our mind and understand that we are not our thoughts” username=”alicanavan”]

Meditation allows us the opportunity to work with our mind and understand that we are not our thoughts and that we can change them and in time even catch them before they catch us. In a study by The University of Wisconsin-Madison they found the first evidence of specific molecular changes in the body following a period of mindfulness meditation. This is truly amazing because it shows us that your genes do not automatically determine your future. This is called epigenetics and it is actually mainstream science and not on the fringe as you might think.

Basically how you live can have an effect on your genes almost like a volume control button. Based on your day-to-day experience the dial either gets turned up or down. By including meditation in your daily life it has been shown to have a positive effect on your gene expression and this expression can be passed down through generations if you have children, which means changing your lifestyle habits today can help the next generation become healthier too.

So not only can meditation change our brain activity and structure it can also have an effect on our genes too. But wait there’s more: because we know each aspect of us is interconnected recent research is also looking at the connection between meditation and our gut health too. Because meditation elicits a relaxation response it has been shown to have a significant impact on clinical symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). 

I didn’t fully appreciate all the research until I started to experience the real benefits for myself. My life has been transformed through meditation and yours can too.

MEDITATION, growth, space, inner being, spiritual growth, alison canavan, mindfulness, be completeHere are some of my top tips and a over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing some meditations so sign up to my newsletter below if you’re interested.

TOP TIPS:

NO EXCUSES: The biggest obstacle to starting is YOU. The most frequent thing I hear is the excuse that we have no time. This is also the excuse I used for many years although I found time to do plenty of other wasteful things for hours on end! If you can scroll through Facebook for 10 minutes you can gift yourself the essential 10 minutes to meditate and practice self-care.

JUST DO IT: Don’t overthink it too much just begin. We all have to start somewhere so choose an app or a class or a guided online meditation or simply follow my easy guide below.

GOOD WEBSITES: www.10percenthappier.com www.zen12.com www.omharmonincs.com www.freemindfulness.org, www.chopra.com, www.fragrantheart.com, www.tarabrach.com

GREAT APPS: Sattva, Buddhify, Calm, Headspace, Take A Break, Mindbody Connect, Omvana, Relax Melodies, Smiling Mind

I also have weekly live meditations for mums on facebook (join here) every week and there are 3 meditations available free to download from my website in the resources section for my book.

START YOUR DAY THE RIGHT WAY: I meditate in the morning as I find it helps start my day in a positive and intentional way. It’s a great way to settle yourself before the madness begins and I find if you give yourself 5-10 minutes in the morning your ability to cope with stress and any obstacles you encounter during the day is much better.

SMALL STEPS EACH DAY: Real change happens when we are consistent with our habits. 5-10 minutes each day is far better and more beneficial than 2 hours once a week. Even though small changes might not feel like a lot, trust me they make a big difference and the kind of difference you are really looking for = REAL CHANGE.

BE EASY WITH YOURSELF: As you begin your journey into meditation be kind and compassionate with yourself. It’s too easy to beat yourself up for wandering thoughts or unwanted emotions arising but this is not the time for that, we do that too much anyway. Instead, this is your time to focus on the present in a non-judgmental way to increase awareness, which in turn helps to calm the body and mind.

MEDITATION, growth, space, inner being, spiritual growth, alison canavan, mindfulness, be complete

Please feel free to comment below with any meditation questions you have…

Shine Bright,

Ali xxx

When we talk about mindfulness people can get stressed thinking they have to allocate large amounts of time and energy to it. The trick is to simplify it and bring it naturally into your day. For me being more mindful is learning to pay attention more to what is happening in the moment. We can do this while driving, cleaning, and exercising or indeed during conversations with friends but one of the most important times to really try and become more mindful is at meal times.

We are always being told about what we should eat but what about HOW we should eat? How many of us eat on the run or at our desks or in front of the TV. This mindless form of eating is actually wreaking havoc on our health. We have lost our connection to food and food is our life source so it’s important that we understand the value of not just eating right but also eating mindfully.

A lot of people view food as the problem in life and are constantly on diets and restricting the very thing that nourishes us physically, socially, emotionally and spiritually. When we switch this up and see food as a solution it can help us to reconnect to ourselves our emotions and our habits around eating. Health is all about balance and the winter months are the perfect time to reconnect with food in a deeply nourishing way. Christmas time is also about food and connecting with those we love. It shouldn’t be about feeling bad or even guilty afterwards.

[bctt tweet=”How we eat is how we live and how we live is how we eat.” username=””]

How we eat is how we live and how we live is how we eat. In other words our relationship to food and eating represents our relationship to our lives. Think about how you eat, keep a food diary for a week and start to notice how you are treating yourself through food. If we eat artificial, processed and fast food than we become that. Do you eat for emotional reasons, which is basically eating instead of feeling, this is something most of us do on a day-to-day basis so don’t worry you are not alone. The trick is to tune in, slow down and pay attention.

[bctt tweet=”The benefits of mindful eating are plentiful but most importantly your digestion is improved.” username=””]

The benefits of mindful eating are plentiful but most importantly your digestion is improved. When you are stressed and busy you are in what’s called fight or flight mode or “stressed mode”. This is when the sympathetic nervous system is stimulated leading to all sorts of digestive problems starting with your digestive system being shut down and fewer digestive enzymes being released. There is also less hydrochloric acid in your stomach released which is not good as you need HCL to break down carbohydrates, fats and proteins into the vitamins and minerals that are needed for optimal health. If you are stressed, your hormones and mood will also be deranged and your immunity compromised.

MINDFUL EATING, MINDFULNESS, EATING WELL, HOW YOU EATSo here’s some of my TOP TIPS:

  • EAT SLOWER AND BREATHE– Most of us eat too fast so even slowing down a bit will help enormously. Take three deep breaths before each meal too as this will help encourage your body in a para-sympathetic mode AKA the one you want! When you slow down you are more likely to notice when you are full too.
  • CHEW, CHEW, CHEW– Most of us barely chew these day but chewing allows your food to be mixed with digestive enzymes in the mouth which helps to begin the digestive process. It will also help you to eat less too.
  • NO DISTRACTIONS – Turn off the TV, phone and step away from the computer. All of these distractions encourage mindless eating so instead of tuning into your devices tune into to the taste, smell and colour of your food, which helps to stimulate senses and connect your body and mind with your food.

Does starting your day the right way make any difference?

I decided to do a couple of short videos about starting your day the right way. As our brains are primed for survival and not happiness we need to make a conscious effort each day to help put us on the right track! Consistency is key and small happiness habits each day can make a big difference.

SO WHY DOES IT MATTER?

Well even simple things like saying thank you as soon as you wake up (practising gratitude), taking a few deep breaths and even some gentle stretches can get your day off to a great start.

For years I used to roll out of bed and hope my day would go well. What I have realised through the years is that when we consciously start our day on a positive note it gives us a pep in our step and helps get our day off to a great start.

Starting your day the right way also helps you to feel more centered and calm which gives me you the ability to cope with stress better.

So why not try and implement some simple tips! Try simply sitting on the side of your bed as soon as you wake and take a couple of moments for yourself before your day begins. It’s these small changes that start to add up and make a big difference in our lives.

These are some simple ways to get your day off to a great start – but figuring out what works for you is the key. Have fun with it and switch it up.

When you are done with part one check out starting your day the right way part 2 below. Let me know how you start your day. I would love to hear from you. Please comment below

Shine Bright

Ali xx

 

 

https://alisoncanavan.com/starting-your-day-the-right-way-part-2/