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A Quick Roundup

Welcome to my Spring blog!

This blog is slightly different as it contains a selection of some short quotes and mindfulness tips previously posted on Facebook for you to dip into, so if you missed them the first time round, here they are again:

"Winning doesn't always mean coming first. Winning means you're doing better than you've done before." Bonnie Blair - one of the most decorated athletes of all time. What does 'winning' mean to you? Do you think it's easier to have this attitude when you are recognised by the world as a top performer? How much do we rely on the admiration or recognition of others over our own sense of achievement and satisfaction with our efforts? A few questions to start the week off!

“Life is your teacher and you are in a constant state of learning.” - Bruce Lee

Carol Dweck and colleagues from Stanford University coined the phrase 'growth mindset' to describe how we can grow and develop over time. A growth mindset is the opposite of a fixed mindset in that it encourages us to make mistakes, to try new things and not be afraid of so called 'failure'. The good news is that mindfulness helps us develop a growth mindset and you can find out about how this works by reading Dr. Rick Hanson and Dr. Laurie Santos among others. This concept is also at the heart of ACT based mindfulness and Dr. Russ Harris offers lots of helpful guidance in his books and videos. The article below explains the difference between growth and fixed mindsets - if you find your inner critic is holding you back you might want to explore this further. Have a great day growing (and remember we really are growing new neurones when we are learning)

“Happiness is where we find it but very rarely where we seek it” – J Petit Senn

Our brains are constantly trying to persuade us that certain things will make us happy, but what if they are wrong? This question is explored by Dr. Laurie Santos in The Happiness Lab Podcast which is a free podcast based on her research into what makes us happy. Each episode explores a different aspect of happiness with scientific explanations and interviews with the researchers. Have a listen and have a happy weekend

We can stand on top of a mountain if we want to, but we can also quietly go about our daily business and still inspire those we meet, especially if we are kind. Let your true nature shine through in all the small actions you take by simply allowing yourself to be you. None of us is perfect, but we can all be kind, and in that way we can be inspirational.

“When asked if my cup is half full or half empty, my only response is that I am thankful I have a cup” – Sam Lefkowitz

Practicing gratitude, thankfulness or appreciation is shown to boost our mood which in turn produces all sorts of physical benefits from improving the immune system to facilitating digestion and good sleep. You might like to try listing 6 things at the end of each day that you can be thankful for, the smaller the better. This encourages the brain to start noticing the thousands of small things we take for granted each day which could really bring us pleasure if we notice them. Have a great weekend

“Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out.” - Robert Collier

In mindfulness and Shibashi we are encouraged to remember that not everything needs to be a huge experience or a life changing event. Often the successful things are those we have worked at in small ways over long periods of time, and successful people have had many so called 'failures' as they experiment and learn what works best. Even our mindfulness only benefits us through regular repetition of seemingly simple practices. Take small steps in the direction which is most helpful for you today

“Why worry? If you’ve done the very best you can, worrying won’t make it any better “– Walt Disney

You may have heard of negativity bias, it's the way the human brain has developed to keep checking that we aren't making mistakes that could cause us danger. Unfortunately, although this has made us really successful as a species, it also causes us to ruminate and catastrophise if left unchecked. So you may like to try a simple checklist: Did I do the best I could? Can I learn from the experience? We have usually done the best we can in any situation based on how we are at the time, what we know and which skills are available to us. So identify any learning / growth areas, take action if needed, and then let it go. You are doing the best you can

A champion is defined not by their wins but by how they can recover when they fall” – Serena Williams

Dan Goleman, author of 'Emotional Intelligence', cites evidence that mindfulness cultivates a form of resilience that makes us stronger through greater flexibility. We can't avoid difficulty, it is part of human experience, but we can recover more quickly.

Mae Jemison – Astronaut: “Never limit yourself because of others’ limited imagination; never limit others because of your own limited imagination.”

One of the myths about mindfulness & meditation is that we want to stop ourselves imagining and being creative; that daydreaming is 'bad' for us and only serious controlled attention, or an empty mind, are 'good' for us. In fact, all these practices improve our ability to be creative and imaginative so that we can free ourselves from the limits which restrict us, most of which we have internalised from others' opinions of ourselves or the world.

It’s not how much we have but how much we enjoy that makes us happy.” – Charles Spurgeon

One mindfulness habit that has been shown to increase our happiness levels is appreciation. If we can re-wire our brains to attend to the many small things each day which could bring us joy if we notice them, we can help balance the negativity bias which keeps telling us that what we have is never enough. Try and find between 5 and 10 things today to appreciate.

Have a great day!

Natalie x

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