Despite advances in technology, life is busier than ever and we have little time for the things we love, the people we love and ourselves creating unwanted stress and anxiety. However just like we know we have to go to the gym and eat well to be healthy, scheduling a little ‘me’ time – or Mind Fitness as Steve Richard Braithwaite calls it – is just as necessary.
Canadian born Steve was introduced to Eastern philosophies by his grandparents at an early age and it was from this that he became curious about how these could be used in the busy western world.
“By my early twenties I was strengthening my powers of reasoning and understanding,” he said. “I was well on my way to identifying where happiness lived.”
With a background in psychology, philosophy and religion as well as Tai Chi, Pilates and Yoga, Steve now helps hundreds of people achieve healthier and happier minds through awareness, mindfulness and consciousness.
Here he helps busy Belles to find that bit of inner peace.
“As the world speeds up around us and the expectations keep piling on, we seem to have less time to achieve our responsibilities or enjoy life’s pleasures. We are often “too busy” to take just a few minutes out of our time to slow things down, get a little perspective and enjoy our surroundings.
“Life was always to enjoy, whether its work, out socially or with the family. It’s not fair on you or anyone around you to carry stress or difficulties from one area to the other.
“To learn great focus and to engage with where we are at in any moment in time allows us to deal with what we need to do. We can’t be where we’re not, so let’s be where we are. This is one very good way to claw back some quality time and leave the stresses in your life in the situation they were created.
“Creating that time can be tricky though. So what if we tried to incorporate it into our lives rather than making room for it? There are little things we can do whilst out shopping, catching up with friends, eating food or being at work. In most situations there are ways to focus on being there, with our mind, at that time.
“As we learn this simple skill we will also no longer take stress to bed with us at night and that’s a really good thing. Who needs a mind that’s over active and can’t sleep? And we’ve probably all experienced lack of sleep and a mind that is going to struggle to get anything done.
“Here are a few quick tips to get yourself back into this good place. You can do these whilst you’re busy or you can take 5 minutes out, whatever your schedule will allow.”
Stop when you shop
“Next time you’re out shopping really bring all your senses into the environment you’re in. This could be doing your everyday food shop or grabbing a new outfit. You are there anyway so take a look around. Feel the texture of the items your touching, look with eyes wide open at the shapes and colours. Take in the sounds that are coming from all around you. Leave everything else behind and enjoy this limited time you have with yourself, friends or family.”
Eat like it’s a treat
“Sharing food is such a wonderful experience for so many reasons and one that most of us take for granted. Sharing in conversation with people that we can’t always get time with and the combination of smells and flavours that the body is about to be sensationalised by. Get together with an old friend and catch up over some of your favourite food and enjoy it! These magic moments are so special and never deserved to be missed by our mind being somewhere else. So indulge in the experience while you have it. If you find you haven’t got time to spare and eating is usually spent at your desk or running to your next destination, have your mind on the look, smell and taste of your food just for a moment. It’s about learning to be in that moment at that exact time.”
Walk but don’t talk
“If you have time in your lunch break or busy day, take a walk down your favourite street or through your favourite park and just let all your thoughts go like the clouds over head. This is your own special time with yourself to refresh. As your mind frees up some space it will then be much more equipped and productive to deal with any situations or concerns you may have. If you can, leave your mobile phone at home or the office. Enjoy that uninterrupted quiet YOU time even more. Can’t spare 5 minutes today? That’s ok. When you’re next travelling somewhere, whether that is by foot, car, bus or tube, just take stock. Rather than looking down at your phone, look up and try to spot something you have never seen before. It’s amazing the things you can notice when you are really looking.
“Appreciation for ourselves is so very important. It’s not only you who benefits from your happiness but everyone around you.
“Now that’s a good reason to take some time out and just enjoy. Even if just for 5 minutes.”