Men’s Health Week
Bring mindfulness into your every day life with our 14 day challenge
Open your curtains and look outside before checking your phone in the morning
Hit your alarm and head straight over to the window to open the curtains. Take a few moments to bathe in the natural light, before carrying on with your normal morning routine.
When we wake up in the morning and our first action is to look at our phone and scroll through a list of notifications, this frames the start of the day and the experience of waking up in the morning with a new to-do list and a reminder of all of the things you’ve missed since yesterday. This can lead to increased levels of anxiety and lower levels of clarity.
Turn your phone on aeroplane mode before you go to sleep
Numerous studies have shown how our phone signals affect our sleeping patterns and can prevent us from entering a deep slumber.
Studies show that during a deep sleep (REM sleep), our body does a lot of its healing and our brain a lot of its problem solving.
It is hard to leave a phone in the room next door especially if you use it as an alarm clock, so try switching it onto aeroplane mode for a better night’s sleep.
Stop checking your phone in queues
There’s a theme here, you may have noticed! When you are in a queue today, try not to impulsively check your phone. If you feel the urge to reach for it, pause and ask yourself whether you really need to.
If you don’t, take a deep breath and consciously sit with your thoughts in that moment; the messages, emails and social media can wait.
You may notice that the days start to feel longer the less ‘moments’ you lose to your phone. Technology may feel like it’s the devil, but actually the issue lies in our reliance on it.
Do something for someone else
Think about what skills you have - could you use these outside the work environment to help a neighbour, a friend or a charity for nothing in return?
Studies have shown that helping others often leads to positive psychological effects, such as reinforcing our feeling of self-worth.
If you consider yourself to be a ‘busy’ person, start off by committing just a small amount of time each week to helping others and you may find a bit of spare capacity before long.
Say hi to a stranger
Start a conversation with a stranger with the intent to brighten their day, you may also brighten yours.
Try not to say a negative word about yourself all day
What we choose to say about ourselves shapes our thoughts, which inform our actions, which shapes how how we define ourselves in relation to others.
Don’t be tempted to put a label on yourself. Your identity is fluid and you get to decide who you are!
Wake up and look in the mirror
Tell the mirror three things you love about yourself!
Positive affirmations can help you to feel motivated and reshape your limiting beliefs. Success is an inner mind gаmе; if уоu саn ѕее yourself аѕ someone who асhіеvеѕ anything they ѕеt their mind tо, сhаnсеѕ are уоu will bесоmе that person.
Try not to multitask for the whole day. Impossible I hear you say.
We have been socialised to believe that multitasking is a good thing, but ask yourself this… would you want to land a plane whilst looking after a baby? The answer is no, because in order to do something properly it is important to give it your full attention.
Us chronic multitaskers are more likely to achieve less each day than our focussed counterparts. Read more about the myths of multitasking and how to be successful in Gary Keller’s Number 1 bestseller: ”The one thing”.
Light a candle
Let it burn, while you relax in the bath or on the sofa.
Don’t be afraid to use your nice candles that are usually reserved for when important guests come over. A bit of self love goes a long way. The subtle messages we send ourselves about our self worth, in turn shapes how others see and value us.
Cook dinner from scratch for a friend or loved one
Cooking forces you to be mindful and present, especially if you are beginner! Then there is the added bonus of doing something for someone else.
Let go of something
We can get easily attached to material items and we use them to define who we are, but with this attachment comes a hidden cost: responsibility. Take something to the charity shop, or give it to a friend/family member.
The more you accumulate, the more you feel you have to protect. This can lead to feeling overwhelmed and anxious. Letting go of ‘things’ can be life changing.
If you have a tendency to attach sentimental value to material items and struggle with the idea of letting go, watch Mari Kondo’s Netflix documentary… it could change your life!
Slow down. Go for a walk at some point today and move slowly.
Notice everything, the sound of the wind, the litter, the building works, how you feel and everything else. See if you can find a sense of inner calm amongst the hustle and bustle of London’s busy streets.
Go to an event and meet some new people
Think about a topic that interests you e.g. mental health or photography or cookery and then go on an event platform such as Eventbrite’s and search for a free (or paid) event near you. Maybe even invite a friend.
Meeting like-minded people and stepping outside of your comfort zone can leave you feeling motivated, inspired and full of ideas for the future.
You have made it this far…take five minutes (or more) to meditate
If you have a regular meditation practice; do your thing. If you don’t, don’t freak out, you can’t be good or bad at it. Download an app like Calm or Simple Habit (or Headspace if you are happy to pay), and they will take care of the rest. Commit five minutes in the morning to listen to their introduction to meditation.
Why? In 2011, Sara Lazar and her team at Harvard found that mindfulness meditation can change the structure of the brain and after eight weeks it was found to increase cortical thickness in the hippocampus, which governs learning and memory, and in certain areas of the brain that play roles in emotion regulation.
Sharing is caring
If you’ve started to notice a difference in how you feel, consider talking and sharing your tips with your friends, family, colleagues and people in the street. We are all in this together and you never know who may be in need of some kind advice.