Learning how to pay attention to your thoughts, feelings and experiences in a mindful non judgemental way, may be the key to all the changes you wish to make.
How do you move from overwhelm to calm?
It can feel so daunting.
All the steps, the time and energy involved. It's all just too much.
Yes, there are many steps.
Yes, any change requires time and energy, discipline and commitment.
And yes, the thought of all these things is often enough to stop you from doing anything.
what if you were to focus on mastering just one skill?
Whether you want to reduce overwhelm, increase your health, increase calm, improve your confidence, deepen connections, or create more sustainable work habits, it all starts with this one thing.
The power of paying attention.
If paying attention is so powerful, why don't we do it?
If you're like me, (and everyone else!), you probably do things that take you away from paying attention.
Things like binge watching, gaming, reading, gambling, drinking, scrolling, eating.
You engage in avoidance behaviour because it's safe, it offers comfort, it's easy. Binge watching or playing Candy Crush feel great. That chocolate, mmmmm; the thrill of winning; the pleasure of escaping into fantasy.
These activities give you short hits of dopamine, they balance your central nervous system.
And this can be extremely useful. Especially in the short term.
Because life is stressful. Feelings are hard. People are tricky. Managing competing demands is demanding.
There's reasons why you are drawn to fun, simple, easy.
And any behaviour that takes you away from what you are feeling, thinking, experiencing can be helpful. After dipping into the soothing and relaxing you can return to the demanding feeling refreshed. Well that's the plan.
But what happens when you spend too much time in the safe bubble?
What happens when you spend too much time in the safe bubble?
Too much time in the safe bubble also means - forgetting to do things, not remembering where you've put something, or how you got somewhere. It means not hearing your children, stressing about last minute deadlines, losing track of the day and turning down opportunites.,
For most people, learning to pay attention, to reconnect is worth it, because among the downsides to NOT paying attention are numbness, disconnection, denial, and a small life.
Increasing awareness helps you reconnect with your inner wisdom, your values, create a more meaningful life, improve your memory, sleep better, improve communication and relationships, appreciate the beauty in the ordinary.
It's a powerful key.
There are two points that need to be balanced in opening up to awareness
Here's a small, gentle, enjoyable mindful task to start with.
This means to suck all the goodness you can from a micro experience (not the official definition by the way).
To live the moment.
Choose something you love and practice giving it your full attention.
Have yourself a tiny little experience.
The first bite of something.
Your morning coffee.
A piece of music.
1. Do just this one thing.
2. Use your senses to fully experience this moment.
You can record it in a journal or keep it as a visual memory.
Introducing a new habit is tricky. One reminder to engage in savouring, is if you feel the urge to take a photo of something, put down your phone (or camera), savour it first.
I'd love to know what you choose to savour.
For over 17 years, I have combined research and the experience of working with 1000s of children, adolescents and parents to help other women like you to integrate mindfulness and confidently prioritise self-care in their busy lives. You are invited to book an appointment to discuss your concerns so that I can support you to make the changes that matter to you.
PPS the link below is the YouTube Video where I talk about a little about awareness. You can also access this as a podcast - https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/kim-ross-psychologist/episodes/Paying-attention-is-the-key-to-the-change-you-want-to-happen-e20jal1.
PPS. If you enjoyed this blog, then come over and join the Sprinkles of Wisdom for Wonderful Women Newsletter Club. You'll receive regular letters from me where I share insights, inspiration, reflections, support and do-able strategies on how you can create and integrate more calm, connection and confidence into your life without running away to Bali.
A reminder this blog is for general information and advice only. It is not designed to replace therapy in any way. If you are experiencing any mental health concern please see your GP, or your mental health therapist, or see if you think I may be a good fit for you.
* These articles are provided by Kim Ross, Psychologist for general information and education . They are not designed to be used for therapy.. If you are experiencing stress please contact your GP or mental health professional.
Kim Ross is an Online Psychologist and Founder of Positive Young Minds and Private Practice Sustainability.