Saturday, 31 December 2011

Things I have learned during 2011

There’s a number of things I’ve learned about this year that have changed my life and the way I live it. I wanted to share them to see if they touch someone else too…

1. A simple hint on how to love yourself [no sniggering at the back!]

David at Raptitude is an ordinary guy taking an extraordinary look at life. There’s a few articles on his site that have really struck a chord with me this year but the one above is the one that’s made the most impact.

TL; DR - Love is what you do to yourself, not how you feel about yourself. Specific, tangible action is much easier than coming to some abstract acceptance of yourself. Do a little something that treats you right.

2. The Thoughts Room

This is a neat little site. When I’m feeling overwrought, I have a tendency to want to write things down but afterwards I can feel a bit overwhelmed by the jumble of things I’ve expelled from my brain.

This website has a box in which you can write everything that comes into your head and as you do so, it turns your words into a shower of stars that explode and disappear before your eyes. Therapeutic AND pretty!

3. Mindfulness meditation

This year I have really gotten to grips with making meditation a part of my life. The thing about mindfulness is that it’s an areligious practice that takes some of the good things about what folks might associate with, for example, Buddhist meditation, but does not have a specifically spiritual end in mind. Instead it’s about learning to accept your thoughts as things that ebb and flow rather than something that must be overcome in order to be happy.

The link above takes you to a downloadable MP3 of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s three minute guided breathing space meditation. I’ve used this often through the course of the year, particularly when things have seemed a bit much to deal with. If you find that useful I can strongly recommend the book he co-authored, The Mindful Way Through Depression, which comes with a CD of all his guided meditations including a full ‘body scan’, listening, breathing and even an eating meditation.

So there you have it. A few bits of food for thought. If any of this helps anyone, my work here will be done.

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