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Joyous August, 2018

 

The past few months have been rather quiet in the Let’s Laugh world.  It’s not that we haven’t been busy, quite the contrary, we’ve been as busy as ever, it’s just that we’ve also been, quite literally, really quiet.  While we’re traditionally known for our high energy laughter filled adventures into resilience, stress management, connection and positive psychology, this year there’s been an increase in clients inviting us in to share ideas of mindfulness.

2018 marks 41 years since I first trained as a meditation and mindfulness instructor, or as the qualification was known all those years back, a conscious awareness guide.  Over the decades I’ve learned hundreds of different techniques and strategies for both practices, but one technique has maintained its place as my all-time favourite, and it’s one I learned in my very first class all those decades back.  I know it as the ‘power of JOY’, with JOY the acronym for Just One, You. 

When I first learned the concept, the teacher told us to think about something so beautiful it took our breath away, something that we can feel in our heart.  She talked about views of the Himalaya’s in Nepal and buildings in Morocco and the moment when it was as if the only things that existed were the beautiful something and you, the moment of JOY, Just One which is the something, and You.  I was young and from the country and I’d never travelled further than Sydney.  I couldn’t even imagine the things she was talking about, so I had to improvise.  I decided that moments of JOY can be anything, and more often than not they’re in the everyday.  I remembered the feeling of walking into the conscious awareness training room for the first time.  It was beautiful, filled with exotic cushions and rugs, with candles burning and music playing.  My moment of JOY would be the feeling of walking into that training room.  Over the years many of my clients have shared that for them it’s that moment at the beach when the water first laps their feet, for others it’s when the warmth of the sun touches their skin, and one friend tells me it’s the feeling of wrapping himself in the handmade rug his now departed grandmother sent him from London many years ago.

The concept of the power of JOY is simple:   Close your eyes and imagine the something that gave you that feeling of JOY.  For just a few moments allow your mind to take you back to that moment, take long slow breaths and imagine the scene, the sounds, the smells, and most importantly the feel.  Give that something your full attention, feel it in your heart, mind and body, see it in your mind’s eye, allow everything else to drift away – for just a few moments be in your space of JOY – Just One, You. 

Before I leave you to practice your ‘power of JOY’ mindfulness moment I want to send out a public congratulations to all the members of my Saturday community laughter club.  This month we celebrate our 14th year – yes 14 years of consecutive Saturday meetings, 52 weeks of the year!  And just this week the group was awarded a Deakin Community Award for services to the local community.  Thanks to mindfulness the Let’s Laugh world might be quieter than usual but on Saturdays we still get pretty loud! 

 

Happy February,

When was the last time you took time to focus solely on nothing but your breathing?  You might like to try it now.  I found this visual breathing meditation on youtube that I think is great for helping us to focus and for regulating the timing of our breaths.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PUYNVSNdW4   - credit to the creator -  Murali Sundaram.

Remember, the idea is to focus only your breathing and the movement of the dot on the video and to allow other thoughts to simply fade away.  If the length of each breath to long for you change your breathing at the midpoint in each line.   I’ll pause while you practice…

So, how did you go?  Were you able to keep your focus on your breathing? Keep all those other thoughts at bay?  If you’re answer is no you’re not alone. 

Over the past 10 months I’ve been renewing my mindfulness training qualifications and running introduction to mindfulness classes for several community groups.  I’ve discovered that it’s more common than not for participants to admit that they struggle to focus solely on their breathing during our first 90 second break.  My passion is making mindfulness not only accessible to everyone but so easy that it becomes a part of your everyday.

If you struggled with the 90 seconds here are 2 tips that you might like to try. 

1 -           the 20 second mindfulness break.  For most people 20 seconds is about the time it takes to take just 3 long, deep, slow breaths.  If you’re somewhere where you can, focus on your breath, 3 long, slow, deep breaths, in… out… in… out… in… out…, and then go back to your day.  If you can, add a 4th, a 5th, before you know it 90 seconds will be a breeze. 

2 -           the mindful sigh, just one long, slow deep breath.  Did you know that research shows that a sigh is a subconscious physical reaction that has 3 functions.  It regulates your breathing to lower the stress response, acts as a mental re-set and signals to those around you that you are anxious. We might not want to send that final signal but if our subconscious is primed to get us to sigh when we’re getting stressed or anxious why not take advantage of the idea.  Try it now, one long, deep, slow mindful breath… breathe in… breathe out.    

Last time I wrote about simple mindfulness techniques I received several messages reminding me that it really isn’t that simple, that what I’m talking about isn’t really mindfulness.  Technically anything we put our mind to, anything we do that places us intently in the moment, in what many people call 'the zone' is mindfulness.  If you’re someone who has developed a regular and more advanced practice I congratulate you, but for those of you who are thinking ‘tried it and didn’t like / understand / enjoy it’ or who simply hasn’t tried mindfulness, I recommend you start out with the basics, a mindful sigh, 3 breaths, 90 seconds.  There is loads of research out there to prove that a little mindfulness each day really is good for your mental and your physical health and well-being.

How ever you practice your mindfulness the idea is to practice it, to make it a part of your day.  I will admit I can’t pick up a coffee or tea cup without a mindful sigh, before I enter or leave the office or the house I take 3 mindful breaths and whenever I can I purposefully take several mindful breaths. 

If you’d like to know more about these simple mindful breathing techniques, the above is really only the very basics, or would like to discuss bringing an introduction to mindfulness program to your community group or workplace please get in touch.

I wish you a wonderful rest of February and fabulous start of March.

 

 

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About Let’s Laugh

Tailoring inspirational workshops and presentations that increase passion, purpose and profit by building health, well-being, resilience and team cohesion through laughter, humour, Laughter Yoga and Power Break Meditation.

 

 

 

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PO Box 1012
Blackburn North
Vic 3130

Email us at bronwyn@letslaugh.com.au
Phone us on 0421 335 197