Below are a few new habits I’m trialling & how I’m finding them so far!
This app is epic - engaging & easy to follow content mixed with an equally great user experience! Developed by psychologists, and based on mindfulness meditation techniques, there are programs for adults, children, teens, as well as specific programs for sport, work and school. With stacks of sessions and modules on offer, the aim of Smiling Mind is to build, support and develop healthy minds at all stages of life. I’ve started working my way through the adult program, which includes ten modules (42 sessions) of pre-emptive mental health tools and guided meditations. I’m about 12 sessions in and so far the short meditations, bite-size lessons and activities have focussed on using senses and visualisations to stay in the present moment. I’m trying to get into the pattern of doing a sesh once a day, either in the morning or night and then quickly jotting down a few sentences about my experience after. More on that in point 2 below! I would consider myself a bit of a meditation novice, having only really dabbled in meditation at yoga retreats or one off sessions, and i think this app is the perfect fit for my experience level. I’ve also started using it in some of the Lovesweats yoga sessions I run with vulnerable communities around Syd at places like Wayside Vinnies and Rough Threads. It means I can still incorporate a mindfulness exercise into the sesh, while learning it at the same time! The app is also totally free to download and use which makes it easily accessible too.
2. Reflecting on it
As mentioned above, I have tried to undertake a mini reflection post Smiling Mind sesh! Checking in with how I feel, any challenges and the types of thoughts that started to arise (if any). This is an interesting exercise to uncover patterns that might not be that obvious without writing them down. So far, I have noticed that when my mind tends to wander during a sesh it is usually to relatively insignificant tasks or conversations (like sending emails, asking someone a question, or paying a bill), but despite knowing these are relatively insignificant they still cause a spike in my anxiety levels..that is, until I am guided by the instructor to view these thoughts as clouds passing by or leaves floating in the river, and I am able to refocus. Seems simplistic but it really helps! The second type of thought-train I’ve noticed I default to is self-doubt. Self-doubt about a whole mix of random things that weren't consciously on my mind before I started the meditation but as soon as I’m sitting in silence and stillness they seem to rear their head. This is until, the friendly, calm voice in the mediation reassures you that having your mind wander is totally normal and guides you back to the breath. I’m finding it really interesting tracking these thought patterns and am keen to see where it leads the further I get into the modules.
3. Social Media ban first up in morn
This isn’t necessarily a morning electronics ban but instead getting into the habit of scrolling news or something with a bit more substance the first time I su my phone. In a very non-scientific and unquantified way, I would probably rate the frequency of my social media use as averageish however I feel like since starting the Lovesweats insta, I find myself spending more time than I used to contemplating post content, filters and level of engagement. This time is scattered throughout the day and I definitely notice a shift in my mood when I disengage from real life and focus on the digital world instead. I totally understand that a considerable level of time and effort is involved when growing a brand and have no qualms about that, however, for me I think being more controlled with when I spend this time would be beneficial, not to mention way more productive. Hence why I’m starting with the social media ban first up in the morning. I have tried this on and off a number of times and definitely notice a positive difference. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes this round!