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AC_days_MindfulMonday1

It’s Mindful Monday again and today I wanted to talk about mindfulness and meditation becoming trendy and cool.

I thought this was great in the beginning but now the inevitable has happened and on a daily basis I now get people sending me links to articles questioning does it work or is it just ridiculous. Where’s the real proof etc…

I’ve been meditating for over 15 years now. I was first introduced to it at the end of my yoga classes in London but then it developed into something much more. I have explored many different types of meditations in my time and I currently practice primordial sound meditation and I also have my own visualization techniques and affirmations that work for me. I have never needed science to back up how it made me feel.

Over the past few years I have deepened my practice further and again I have not needed studies that cost millions to verify the benefits that I am living, feeling and noticing in my day to day life from my practice.

I do however respect and understand people that are interested in the scientific proof and thankfully we have that now. This area is called neuroplasticity, which is a term that is used to describe the brain changes that occur in response to experience.
There is an abundance of studies on how meditation affects the brain now and they are amazing to read with more and more benefits being proven everyday.

FURTHER READING:

Scholar works
http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2011/01/eight-weeks-to-a-better-brain/

I have always been drawn to the more spiritual side of life and this is something I have shared with very few people for obvious reasons down through the years. I used to get slagged off for going to my weird classes and retreats but in recent years it has become cool to pay for expensive retreats where people are hoping to get all the answers to their problems and that is where the problem lies. We live in a quick fix world of instant gratification. People expect to practice meditation and miracles to happen.

We are all looking for something to help us navigate this complex and somewhat difficult journey called life. The fact that mindfulness and meditation has become such a cult trend is a huge warning sign in my opinion that there are an awful lot of people desperate for answers and some peace in their lives.

We all have different tastes in music, clothes, food, exercise, people and so on which means one type of relaxation technique will not work for everyone. The Telegraph newspaper has even called mindfulness the saddest trend for 2015, but too be honest what I find sad is that we are living in an age where chronic diseases are at an all time high, stress is our biggest killer, our food is packaged and processed beyond recognition and depression and anxiety issues are crippling society.

I know that I would personally rather been meditated than medicated.

For years I was both and it has not been easy to trust myself, but the only person you can really trust on this journey is yourself as you are the only one who can decide what is right for you.

I will admit you need to very discerning in this field because just like any other trend it has started to attract a lot of opportunists trying to exploit people’s vulnerability. I was extremely vulnerable when I was looking for answers years ago. I was always looking to outside sources for answers but as corny as it sounds all the answers lie within you. By all means study, practice and try new things but at the end of the day you are the only person who can truly know when you feel at peace.

If meditation and mindfulness give you peace in your life it really shouldn’t matter what anyone else says. Some people never feel peace their entire life don’t be one of them.

AC_MindfulMonday_Final1

As children growing up we can become what we hear and quite often we hear negative things about ourselves that we own and then they become a part of us.

As a young model I got a lot of positive comments but if one photographer or casting director said something negative that is what I would hold onto. I remember a very well known photographer telling me I had man hands that were unnatural and then a designer who told me was body was completely out of proportion and my legs were actually quite short for my height and I seemed to have an abnormally long torso! Of course every time I went to a casting I would try to hide my hands and if tops were too short on my upper body I would think to myself “well Alison that’s because your body is disproportionate”

At 37 this evokes so many emotions for my younger self but primarily sadness that I carried around such nonsense for so long but what it also shows is how people can be very irresponsible with their words and as the saying goes “be sure to taste your words before you spit them out”.

Words can stay with you forever and anyone who has been in a relationship of any kind and experienced emotional abuse will know exactly what I mean by this.

So for this, my first ‘MINDFUL MONDAY’ lets all try and be kinder and nicer with our words about each other and ourselves. Our words have both meaning and strength.

This week write a list of 10 things you like about yourself. They can be big things or small and they don’t necessarily have to be about your looks so for example:

  • I love my smile
  • I love my legs
  • I like my hair
  • I love my sense of humor
  • I like my musical talents
  • I’m a great dancer
  • I’m artistic
  • I can say NO when I need too
  • I’m honest
  • I’m a great mum!! (yes say it loud and proud)

Have fun with your list and have on your journey of becoming the most complete and best version of YOU!

Ali xxxx