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Play as a mindfulness toolThere’s a huge amount of psychology research material around the importance of play for both children and adults, but much of it focuses on the benefits and positive outcomes relating to stress, relationships and wellbeing etc. What hasn’t been well documented is how play relates as a mindfulness tool. When I play candy crush in the mornings I just love it. It’s a quiet part of my day where I’m just me, not a wife / mother / grandmother / CEO and business owner – just me and the game. Each level of the game has a purpose, and for each game I set an intention and I celebrate the outcome. As I play I observe myself – why am I choosing to make that move? What is motivating me? Am I playing for more of the positives or fighting the negatives? What elements in this game can I see reflected in my day – ie is this game about precision and alignment or is it more about expansion and conversion? And as I play I am stimulated by these questions as well as by the colours, the spatial reasoning and the wisdom that comes with my observations. Every next step I take in that game clearly adds up to a result and each one is completed with utter joy. I learn from the losses and I know when I’m stuck on a level for a spell that it will be reflected somewhere else in my life – somewhere I feel ‘stuck’ but with that awareness can now ‘unstick’. Play reveals thought and can be incredibly illuminating in a way that thinking something through often can’t reach or quite connect to. At the end of my play I’m ready to be a part of the world and later when I meditate, I already have insight into the intention I will set for the day that is mine to create. So you see, I don’t switch off when I play, I switch on… What do you play? Please write in and share what starts your day and why it’s so great? Neroli Jones Personal Life Coach; Founder and CEO Paradigm Switch
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Do you really need any more stuff?Christmas is not far away and so, if you're like us, you're starting to get sucked into the marketing hype that accompanies this season for giving. The new luxury however is, believe it or not – time. More time, having time and giving time. This could include time to yourself, time to share or time to learn. In this age of material excess, where specialist businesses have grown up with the sole purpose of de-cluttering, we’re starting to realise that people don’t necessarily need any more ‘things’. What does tend to make our hearts sing, is a chance to make memories, expand our learning, and enjoy just being. It’s no surprise that companies such as Etzy or hardtofind.com, specialise in gifts with a personal message, where bespoke treats have become the latest buzzword. Attributes such as authenticity, sustainability and tradition are strong contenders in the search for contentment or even happiness. Here are some suggestions that hopefully will inspire you to treat the ones you love with something they might value and that won’t end up in the cupboard, the Vinnies collection or even the bin.
Get CreativeTake the time to make gifts. Homemade candles, a card, a renovated piece of old furniture, or a pot of brandy butter all make beautiful, personalised treats. They never fail to delight, with the ultimate compliment combining time and thought that went into their creation.
Enjoy the RideExperiences are always well received. They need not be expensive either. A simple cooking class or a specially planned picnic can surprise someone, especially if they get to do it with you!
A Helping HandServices that make life easier often make the perfect gift. A cleaner for a month or maybe someone to come and sort out the garden. Imagine how nice it would be to have a credit on the services of a handyman?
Stay WellThe gift of health is a nurturing way of showing someone you really care. Send them an hour’s massage, or perhaps a mindfulness course? Maybe you have a friend who might appreciate a life coach session or even the expertise of a naturopath?
The Gift that GivesYou can never go wrong with a charitable contribution. Try giving the gift of saving a life or helping our planet. For animal lovers, there are countless organisations that allow you to support endangered species or contribute to animal welfare. These gift ideas all share something in common, "it's the thought that counts" - the old saying has never been more pertinent than right now. Just decide on your budget, the time you are prepared to spend and those you love will be delighted with something that reflects personal thought and consideration. Santa finally got it right!
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Conscious BreathingThere are several ways to consciously breathe, such as the Kapalabhati (breath of fire) and pranayama yogic breathing. They all share one thing in common, they induce rest in the body, by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system.
The Alpha StateWhen we ground ourselves through the breath, we move into a lower vibrational state, close to the alpha state. In this highly focused but calm state, we turn on our creative brain, become more aware of our surroundings and can observe life from a different perspective. Doctors Brown and Gerbarg’s Sudarshan Kriya Yogic Breathing Study in the Treatment of Stress, Anxiety, and Depression found that yogic breathing balances the autonomic nervous system, which influences stress-related disorders.
Breathe to Release Stress and AnxietyBecoming more aware helps us to differentiate between experiences that induce fear or stress and the physiological changes that arise from them. By noticing our perception and physical reaction to them, we are able to enhance and safeguard our health in a more conscious and responsible manner.
Better Mind, Body and Spirit.We are each born with billions of brain cells, and when we deprive them of oxygen, our performance will suffer. For example when we hyperventilate, we expel too much CO2, meaning less oxygen can be absorbed by the body, which leads us into a cycle of breathing even faster. By practicing balanced breathing we allow oxygen to circulate evenly, to saturate the blood - feeding every cell in the body, muscles, brain, organs, and skin, while allowing the metabolism to burn fat and work more efficiently.
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The passing of Louise Hay was indeed a sad day for us all at PS. Even though she died of natural causes and had reached a ripe age of 90, she represents a great loss and will be missed by millions, all over world.Louise has been proclaimed to be founder of the self-help movement as a pioneer in initiating the connection between mind and body as well as bringing spirituality into the mainstream. In 1976, she published Heal Your Body, at a time when self-help was almost unknown. It was an instant success and steered Louise who was 50 at the time, into a thriving, lifelong career. Along came the phenomenal bestseller You Can Heal Your Life, which sold more than 50 million copies and reached the New York Times bestseller list for 13 consecutive weeks. By that time, her affirmations and intuitive self-healing had been proven to be successful. Louise herself had been diagnosed with cancer and by using herself as a guinea pig she replaced traditional drugs and medicine with her affirmations, visualisation, nutritional cleansing, and psychotherapy. Louise healed herself within six months. By revealing how mental patterns can cause physical illness Louise taught us to use visualisation, affirmations, and positive thoughts to help reverse ailments and illness. Through Louise’s healing techniques millions have learned how to create healthier, more positive, pain-free and fulfilled lives. As well as not-for-profit - The Hay Foundation, Louise created Hay House, a publishing company that will continue her legacy of self-discovery, spirituality, and healing. Louise will be remembered for her wealth of illuminating quotes and sound teachings that are more relevant than ever, in today’s world of spiritual chaos, and growing mental and physical disease. She has been pivotal in growing the spiritual groundswell, gaining momentum around the world.
RIP Louise Hay.
We thank you for shining your light.
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When faced with corporate burnout and her own threatened state of wellbeing, Neroli Jones, founder of PS embarked on a journey of personal discovery. She identified four key quadrants that underpin our wellbeing – and realised that it is not until these are in balance, that we can expect to feel a complete sense of health. These pillars, she names - the Physical, Mental, Purposeful and Emotional.
When our Wellbeing Compass is in balance, we can navigate successfully through the pathway of life's highs and lows with ease, effortlessly. On the other hand, when it is not balanced, that is when the problems start. Until now emotional wellbeing has been quite overlooked, with much of what we see in the news focused on mental health. The emotional impact on our lives has traditionally been sidelined or neglected altogether. If mental health is that of the mind, emotional health is that of our feelings and the related aspects of that – our relationships with others and with ourselves. A few years ago, when Neroli was caught in an unexpected downward spiral, her health alerted her to a crisis point before she had worked out that apart from addressing the obvious physical imbalance, it was the emotional side of things that really needed attention. Being a high achiever, placing unrealistic demands on her body, she'd turned to pushing herself harder in an attempt to improve her fitness and physical health. This, in fact proved not to be the answer and had she listened to her body in the first instance, the crisis might have been easily avoided. It was not until Neroli acknowledged her body's cry for attention that she could flip the paradigm and start to give it the love it so desperately yearned for. So, baby steps of self-kindness were taken to get her health back on track; wellbeing became her utmost priority. We are not programmed to be kind to ourselves and it is often seen to be a form of self indulgence, but this illuminating journey helped to navigate her pathway to wellbeing, big breakthroughs and quantum leaps. Learning to love ourselves where we are right now, not where we could be / should be / are expected to be – but right here.
"I call this our Wellbeing Compass"
Emotions are simply feelings with a judgement attached. Once we understand this, the rest falls into place.Emotional wellbeing is about truth – the truth of now. It’s about self-acceptance without judgement and it’s about love. More often than not, we feed ourselves a diet of toxic lies. Our relationship with ourselves is the most profoundly complex relationship we will ever navigate and yet we spend most of our time developing or managing relationships with others, outside ourselves. Emotional wellbeing focuses on your relationship with you…. ask yourself regularly – how does this (person, event, conversation, activity – whatever) make me feel? Do I want more of that or less of that? How you feel tells you everything. You actually do know what you need, you do know what makes you happy, but you do need to invest the time to listen. That's called emotional wellbeing. To understand your personal wellbeing and discover how balanced you are, go to the Paradigm Switch compass tool and spend a few minutes to reveal where you need to focus on improvement. You might be quite surprised at the results. The PS Compass will point to the quadrant that needs most work, so you then can be directed to the best suited therapies.
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BE A WARRIOR NOT A WORRIERAs I walked into the yoga class and planted myself firmly cross-legged on my mat, I was given my mantra of the day
“ Set your intention for today as Acceptance”
Of yourself Of others Of your bodyPeople annoy us and challenge us daily, we frustrate ourselves, we criticise what’s wrong with us - and the world, we self-judge and judge others, often without any background knowledge. We moan, we stress, we worry and we ruminate over things out of our control. All this can be eliminated with one clear mantra – Acceptance. If we smile and accept what is, we cannot be ruffled, we can protect ourselves from the outside stressors and build a sturdy Zen fence all around our happy inner beings. Paradigm Switch yoga teacher, Jo Kirkpatrick shares similar guidance: “The 8 limbs of yoga are over 2000 years old and guide us on how to live a meaningful and purposeful life without suffering. According to Patangali, when you master being content with what you have, supreme happiness results. Two key elements in the philosophy of yoga include consistent practice and non-attachment. Those who practice the 8 limbs of Yoga, reap the rewards of life, free from misery. It is important to note that as with anything in life, good things only manifest as the result of hard work and discipline.”
Yoga is a life-long practice with new possibilities available, every time we enter a class.The oldest yoga teacher turned 98 this year, and looks like the happiest person alive. Tao is said to be full of joy and light, "Yoga is the essence of the dawn of life and it sparkles inwardly she says, “The greatest pleasure is to see someone suddenly realize there was nothing they could not do.” Yoga can be for everyone with the latest research from Roy Morgan showing one in 10 Australians (14+) now do Yoga. The number of women practicing yoga has doubled in the past 8 years, making yoga the fastest-growing sport or activity in the country. Despite being one of the lowest paid jobs, the yoga teacher ranked 10 in America in the most-sought-after careers list.
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By Barbara Callan, International Intuitive Consultant for Paradigm Switch. Our guest blogger for the month. Have you ever felt totally exhausted after what should have been a perfectly pleasant coffee morning with a friend? Or perhaps you dropped into your neighbour’s for the mail and rushed home feeling flat? Energy levels fluctuate for each person, every day. We all pick up on the energy around us, so if you spend time with someone positive or excited your energy levels will automatically lift, while someone with a bout of the blues might deplete you. The trick is to learn and to manage your own energy to keep yourself balanced and effective all day. We are all energetic creatures Anyone who does martial arts will tell you that you will feel the energy of your opponent’s move before the move arrives. This of course requires discipline and training and we are not all at this level of awareness. So what can we do at the level that we operate, in our own lives? Firstly we must become familiar with our own energy so that we know what it feels like to be us. If we know what our energy feels like then we know what works for us; it becomes an 'energetic match'. The opposite also, is true. Note, the match can sometimes be subtle or sometimes be loud. Finding the match is the clue. We all know people who drain our energy but with our compassionate hearts it often becomes easy to say “yes of course I’ll have a coffee with you,” only to find that our listening and counselling muscle is overstretched! We can often be caught unawares of an energy mismatch only too late - when we are left exhausted and relieved to say goodbye. How can we manage our energy? Firstly we must be aware of any feeling of exhaustion or energy drop when we leave someone’s company. This indicates a deficit; We have been giving out our energy, but receiving less in return. Once we identify where our energy is draining, we will gain an idea of who to hang out with less! Try saying this to yourself “How does this feel for me?” and put yourself first. By being consciously aware of staying in the observer space, we protect ourselves from their energy, thus preserving ours. In this manner, we can leave our friend with a feeling that our energy remains balanced. Being energy aware when we are with loved ones and family can be especially challenging as we often have emotional charges both positive and negative, triggered by those that we have an attachment to. Notice these are often our greatest opportunities for learning and practicing the observer skill. Choose your space. Places can drain us of energy as the land also emits an energy. Do you recall an experience of visiting an area and feeling uncomfortable, for no obvious explanation.? You intuitively know areas where you can quite categorically say “I could never live there”. The reason being, there is too much of an energy mismatch between the energy of the land in that area, and your own personal energy. A sense of relief is often experienced as we leave that area, and return to a familiar place, that ‘feels more like us’. Being by the sea can be balancing while topping up our energy. The presence of negative ions by the ocean or running water (even the shower) has the power to enhance our mood, putting us in a good space. The head feels clearer and we feel more optimistic. We can also find negative ions around trees. That is why being out in nature - the sea or the forest, is a great way to increase our energy bringing ourselves back into balance. Conversely, living in the city can be exhausting, as we are surrounded by so many people pumping out their differing energies. Try to be aware of when your energy experiences possible ‘overload’ in crowded, shared spaces. Shopping malls can turn into a dazed experience. You’ve been overloaded, your brain has a tough time focusing - is it a wonder you return to your car often, without the items you set out to buy? Food has the power to drop energy levels. Some foods take more energy to digest and leave us with feeling sleepy, while eating easily digestible food makes us feel light and energised. Think a plate of sushi versus a Sunday roast! Notice how your body reacts and understand how it affects your energy levels. Say Grace! Believe it or not, saying a prayer or showing gratitude for your food before eating, energises your meal positively. Pausing and thinking about what we are grateful for will change the energy of the food. The work of Masaru Emoto proves this where he showed images showing the effect words have on water. Thoughts influence energy levels which is why mindfulness has gained popularity in recent years. By focusing on gratitude, love and the positives, we lift our energy. Awareness is key - do more of what uplifts you and keeps you in that good space.
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Sleep is a hot topic these days with constant new research studies being released, the opening of specialist clinics and a multitude of apps you can buy, promising to monitor your sleep pattern in an attempt to keep pace with the rising incidence of insomnia.
Google sleep and nearly 800 million results come up!So what’s the bottom line – what do we need to know now? We have summarised the hard facts and sorted through the blurb, so you can understand the importance of getting a good night’s sleep, for a healthier life.
Why sleep?Believe it or not-
“You could survive for three times as long without food as you could without sleep” says Professor Colin Espie, of sleepio.com who has been researching sleep for over 30 years.Sleep is essential to help maintain mood, memory and cognitive performance. You only need to watch an overtired mum dragging a difficult toddler about, to understand that. Or check out the barrage of warnings to STOP REVIVE SURVIVE to realise how dangerous deprived drivers can be. Sleep also plays a role in the normal function of the endocrine and immune systems, key to cellular and tissue growth repair. During deep sleep, hormones are released such as growth hormone, which stimulates cell regeneration and is essential for growth and muscle development. It is no coincidence that after a good night’s sleep we wake up looking fresher and younger. Other hormones called ghrelin and leptin are regulated during sleep, which not only help to keep our immune systems in check, but also play a huge role in our feelings of hunger and fullness.
This is why sleep-deprived people often feel the need to eat more and, as a result, gain weight.
How to sleep betterHere are our top tips to get you started on sleeping sounder. While these might seem quite obvious, have a think about which ones you actually follow.
- Turn off phones and electronics in the bedroom. The blue light tricks us into thinking it’s daylight and often prevents a deep sleep, while constant buzzing keeps you alert.
- Do not use the bedroom as an office. Keep it well ventilated (core body temperature needs to stay cool for a deep sleep) and eliminate any bright lights beaming in.
- Try going to bed earlier. The old adage about an hour before midnight is worth two afterwards, holds true. A sleep app can be handy as it proves this point, thus encouraging us to retire early. Try Sleep Cycle app that monitors your sleep all night and wakes you gently when you’re in your lightest sleep, with your chosen sounds or music.
- Using a lavender or magnesium spray can work wonders to induce relaxation. A familiar smell is especially helpful when traveling and sleeping in a strange environment.
- A magnesium supplement is renowned to relax the muscles; in addition it enhances mood, while zinc also has a calming and anti-depressant effect.
- Herbal teas such as chamomile will quieten the mind, while by lighting a candle, you can gently calm the eyes and soften the energy in a room. Remember to blow it out before you drift off though!
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Nearly ten million working days were lost due to stress in 2014/15, according to the public body Health and Safety Executive. The online stress tracker Twitter Stress-O-Sphere says that people tweet about stress every two seconds, with 17% of these tweets relating to employment. Career anxieties consist of seven per cent, with stress making up six per cent. Adrenalin is only meant to be released into the body as a short term response to a stress situation, however the lifestyles that we currently lead, especially at work, mean that we are producing constant adrenalin into our systems which can lead to adrenal system overload and adrenal fatigue.
So what can we do to alleviate stress in our daily routine?Joanna Kilpatrick PS yoga, pilates and meditation guru recommends we control our parasympathetic nervous system that supports us to stay calm and relaxed, while taking the pressure off our adrenals. You can do this with meditation, conscious breathing and yoga which all cause a physiological response, resulting in calming down the sympathetic nervous system. Some simple stretches or 5 minutes of mindfulness or meditation will not only make you feel better but will also help you perform more effectively at work. Emotional Freedom Technique commonly known as Tapping is another way we can reduce our stress levels. Tapping works on our energy flow and the clever technique that can be done anywhere, at anytime, will effectively clear blockages, allowing us to think clearer and release any tension build-up. “EFT is a wonderful way of using your own body’s energy and healing power to produce immediate results.” confirms Margaret Munoz author of several books and a teacher of the technique to hundreds of converts for over 18 years. Remember stress breeds stress. One of the most effective ways you can manage it is by working through it. That could well mean confronting your boss or colleague, talking about an issue at work. Often a surprisingly quick fix can restore energy levels and a calmer workplace. Solutions to problems will almost always calm stress levels.
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