Month: June 2022

Practicing Mindfulness for Beginners – Ultimate Guide!

Practicing Mindfulness for Beginners – Ultimate Guide!

Today I will be sharing with you my guide to practicing mindfulness for beginners. Mindfulness is the act of living in the moment and being aware of your surroundings and behaviour while focusing on the now and the present. It is a philosophy as well…

100 Crown Chakra Affirmations – Ultimate Guide!

100 Crown Chakra Affirmations – Ultimate Guide!

Today I will be sharing with you 100 crown chakra affirmations. Many of us are struggling with stress and our mental health right now. While healing your chakras is not the quick fix to depression and anxiety, it is a great tool to use when…

How To Balance the Crown Chakra – Ultimate Guide!

How To Balance the Crown Chakra – Ultimate Guide!

Today I will be sharing with you an easy to follow guide on how to balance the crown chakra.

Sahasrara, the crown chakra, the seventh chakra in the seven chakras energy system. Chakra is Sanskrit and translates as “wheel” or “circle”. This translation can begin to explain the way the chakra system works as a continuous stream of energy circulating throughout the body. Sometimes when we become stagnant in life or it is time to change the way we have previously been living, our chakras can become blocked with this stagnation.

 

 

How To Balance the Crown Chakra – Ultimate Guide!

 

WHAT ARE THE CHAKRAS?

Yogic thought envisions human life as including various planes of existence; while the physical body is the most obvious one, the subtle body is equally important. Unlike the physical body, which contains everything from organs to muscles to arteries, the subtle body relates to the flow of life force energy.

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The centres of that energy are the chakras, with the seven main ones located along the spinal column. As mentioned earlier, the word “chakra” is Sanskrit for “wheel” or “circle,” the chakras are usually thought of as spinning circles or balls of energy. Each chakra corresponds to a colour of the rainbow, starting with red at the base of the spine and ending with violet at the crown of the head.

Each of the seven chakras has a unique influence on the body and on human wellness. The chakras govern the part of the physical body where they are located, as well as other characteristics and traits that affect our well-being. Ideally, every chakra is balanced, resulting in good overall holistic health. But for most people, some or all of the chakras are either overactive or underactive, bringing about suffering that may be physical, mental, or emotional.

 

 

What Is the Crown Chakra?

Crown chakra, also known as the “thousand-petaled lotus”, is the 7th energy centre from the bottom, located at the top of your head. Healthy crown chakra vibrates to the colour of violet or white, with thought as its dominant element.

The Sanskrit name for a crown chakra is ‘Sahasrara’, which means “thousandfold” and refers to infinite petals of its lotus representing the highest spiritual fulfilment.

Crown chakra is associated with the pituitary gland in your head, also known as the master gland. Pituitary gland controls and regulates the rest of the endocrine glands in your body (just like the crown chakra oversees the rest of your chakras).

 

Crown Chakra Summary

Physical Location:  At the top or crown of the head or slightly above the head like a crown

Colour:  Violet or white

Seed mantra:  Ah/Om (ॐ)

Element:  None, ether, or thought

Mudra:  Mahamayuri Mudra

Sense:  Cosmic consciousness

Action:  Awakening or enlightenment

Organs:  Hypothalamus, pituitary, pineal gland, nervous system, skull, and brain

Symbol:   A lotus flower with 1,000 petals

Stone:   Clear Quartz, Diamond, Selenite, Howlite, Amethyst, Lepidolite, Fluorite, and many more, as listed in the crystals section of this post.

 

What Is the Function of Crown Chakra? 

The main function of the crown chakra is to connect you with the Divine force and infinite source of healing energy through spirituality, self-realisation, knowing, and enlightenment. When you begin to open to the beautiful energy of the Divine, your crown chakra acts as a direct, energetic channel to your Higher Self.

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You can think of your highest chakra as a receiver of consciousness from the Source, which keeps you connected with the Divine and your Higher Self. This chakra offers you a sense of awareness that there is a deeper significance and order in life, regulating all of creation.

 

Location and Connection to the Physical Body

The Sahasrara chakra is located at the crown of the head. It governs the brain, hypothalamus, and pituitary glands.

 

Energy Connection to the Emotional/Mental Body

Sahasrara is the entry point for the life force, which pours endlessly into our energy system from the greater universe, nourishing our body, mind and spirit. It flows through the physical body and the lower six chakras, connecting the entire physical body to the seventh chakra.

 

Benefits of Balancing the Crown Chakra

When the crown chakra is open and balanced, we experience ourselves as spiritual beings. Our intuition is sharp, and we can tap into the wisdom of the Divine. We understand our purpose and do not fear death. However, when the crown chakra is out of balance – either underactive or overactive – we are not able to operate at this higher energy level.

When crown chakra energy is low, we may feel empty and wonder about the purpose and meaning of life. We might question the existence of God or a higher power and feel that we are not loved. Mental and emotional illnesses and fear of death can also be symptoms of energy blocks in the seventh chakra.

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On the other hand, when there is too much crown chakra energy, we can be disconnected from the reality of human life. If we are too connected to the spirit world, others may see us as “out there,” and we may even begin to think of ourselves as “not of this world.”

Balancing the seventh chakra is key to a healthy experience as a spiritual being living a human life. After all, we are here for a time, and it’s likely there’s a reason for that.

Balanced Sahasrara chakra manifests self-realisation, bright, radiate, rebirth, total selflessness, divine love, charming, and charismatic. One’s sense of love is magnifying to the degree everyone feels it, and sees everything as one.

 

How Do You Know If Your Crown Chakra Is Imbalanced?

A big sign that your crown chakra is imbalanced is that you feel disconnected from spirituality. Perhaps you used to be spiritual but lost your way. Or, maybe it just feels hard to trust in a higher power. Whatever it is, something has caused you to become cynical about spirituality.

You might be apathetic, finding it hard to engage. Or, on the other hand, you might be participating in self-destructive behaviours.

Physical symptoms of crown chakra imbalance may include headaches, especially migraines, as well as nervous system disorders. In severe cases, dementia and mental illness may point to blocks in crown chakra energy.

 

How to balance the crown chakra

It’s important to know that in order to have a balanced crown chakra all the other chakras have to be balanced too. Work from the root chakra up to the throat chakra balancing them all in order before starting work on balancing the crown chakra.

 

Meditation

Mediation is the most important practice for unlocking the power of your crown chakra. It is a necessary habit to cultivate if you want to clear the mind, expand your awareness, and develop the ability to listen to your inner voice. I am sure that you are most likely familiar with the benefits of meditation, as many people talk about them quite a lot these days.

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However, your crown chakra is directly correlated with your brain, and any meditative practice, which brings stillness to your mind will be very beneficial to your crown chakra. When your mind is still and calm, your brain waves begin to shift to the alpha state, and you begin to connect to the infinite source of information.

There are many different forms of meditation, such as:

  • Guided meditation
  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Concentration meditation
  • Active movement meditation (such as Tai Chi or Yoga)
  • Mantra meditation
  • Transcendental meditation

 

 

Silence Exercise

Whether you’re into meditation or not, spending some time in silence (alone or with your friend) is also a great way to cultivate deeper awareness and practice being present.

Intentional silence is actually an ancient, sacred practice, also known as “Mauna”. Practitioners of Mauna normally start by simply limiting their speech to an absolute minimum. Eventually, you can refrain from reading, writing, and minimize contact with others.

Before you start, make sure you eliminate all of the distractions from your environment and open yourself up to the power of Mauna. This is also a great exercise to do when you feel overwhelmed or stuck in life. Silence exercise will allow you to open up your mind to new ideas and inspiration.

 

 

Visualisation

Because your crown chakra is located right at the top of your head, it is not difficult to rest your awareness on that area and visualize it. The best way to do it is to envision a violet-coloured lotus right above your head and imagine it opening and expanding in all directions.

You can also imagine a ball of violet light spinning in a clockwise direction. At the same time, picture a bright, golden-white light coming through the opening funnel and filling up your entire body.

This simple visualisation method is very effective because when you think about your crown chakra and visualise it opening, it will begin to open. 

 

Deepen Your Connection with Humanity and Surrender

The ultimate intention of the crown chakra is to unite the individual soul with the supreme soul. In this unification process comes the realisation that we are all intimately connected with each other and with everything around us. Along this journey, we can continue to deepen our connection with others by recognising our shared humanity and connecting with the earth herself.

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A fantastic way to deepen this practice is through volunteer work or selfless service, also known as seva. As you deepen your connection with your inner self, remember to balance this by connecting with others and realising how they are just like you, we all have the same struggles and dreams at the end of the day. And through all of this inner work, the most significant component is to connect with something greater than all of us and surrender to that higher power.

 

Affirmations

Crown chakra affirmations can be useful when working with your Sahasrara as they can help you to connect with your Higher Self and completely clear all of your ego identifications.

Try some of these powerful crown chakra affirmations. They can be used throughout the day or during your meditation to strengthen your 7th chakra:

  • I am divine light.
  • I am at peace.
  • I am one with all that is.
  • I am infinite and boundless.
  • I see the divine light in everyone.
  • I listen to the wisdom of the universe.
  • I seek to understand and learn from my life experiences.
  • I seek experiences that nourish my spirit.
  • I am connected with the wisdom of the Universe.
  • I am raising my level of consciousness every day
  • I receive help as soon as I ask for it.
  • Everything is unfolding exactly as it should in my life.
  • Everything is working out for my highest good.
  • My thoughts and feelings have the power to manifest.

 

 

Crystals

Crystals have the power to absorb negative energies that cause chakras to be unbalanced.

Place the crystal over the crown chakra for between 5-20 minutes. The longer you can do this for the more effective it will be. You can also carry, wear or meditate with them.

The following crystals are perfect to use for balancing the crown chakra. Generally speaking, use white stones.

  • Apophyllite
  • Celestite
  • Citrine
  • Clear Tourmaline
  • Golden Beryl
  • Kunzite
  • Lepidolite
  • Moldavite
  • Muscovite
  • Purple Jasper
  • Purple Sapphire
  • Quartz
  • Red Serpentine
  • Selenite
  • Clear Quartz,
  • Diamond
  • Howlite
  • Amethyst
  • Lepidolite
  • Fluorite
  • Moonstone

 

Binaural Beats

Listening to the frequencies in binaural beats can stimulate the brainwaves to balance the crown chakra. Binaural Beats are best listened to through headphones. Listening to the sounds while you fall asleep can encourage deep sleep and heal at the same time.

Binaural Beats can be listened to as often as you want. It could be daily during meditation practice when your crown chakra feels out of balance.

NOTE: Do not listen to Binaural Beats whilst operating heavy machinery or driving.

 

 

Yoga

Some of the most effective yoga poses for crown chakra are postures that stimulate the energy and blood flow to your head. Supported Headstand is one of my personal favourite yoga poses for the crown chakra, and I have been practicing it for many years.

However, if you suffer from a back or neck injury, I wouldn’t recommend it. You can substitute it for the Viparita Karani pose, which is probably the second-best pose for your crown chakra.

Let’s have a look at the complete list of the most effective yoga poses for your crown chakra:

  • Supported Headstand (Salamba Sirasana)
  • Legs Up The Wall pose (Viparita Karani)
  • Lotus pose (Padmasana)
  • Tree pose (Vrksasana)
  • Standing Prayer Backbend (Ardha Anuvittasana)
  • Rabbit Pose (Sasangasana)

 

Aromatherapy Oils

  • Rosewood —Promotes faith and opens you up to spirituality.
  • Sacred Frankincense — Helps you know your purpose in life. Promotes feelings of acceptance and love.
  • Sandalwood—Quiets the mental chatter of the mind. Aids in meditation and spiritual contemplation.
  • Lemon —Uplifts your mood and increases your energy.

 

Massage

Massage can relieve stress in the mind and body. A Head massage stimulates the crown energy flow and can help open the crown chakra.

 

Aromatherapy

Scents such as jasmine, lavender, myrrh, frankincense, sandalwood, and rose help cleanse the crown chakra. We recommend this crown chakra essential oil. Use oil in a diffuser, a spritzer or in an inhaler.

 

Colour

Wear violet clothing and surround yourself with violet colours and objects.

 

Food & Drink

Foods such as white mushrooms, white radish, beetroot, eggplant (aubergine) and artichoke are good for balancing the crown chakra. Herbal tea containing herbs to stimulate the crown chakra is also beneficial.

 

Activities

Light is associated with the crown chakra so getting out in the sunlight is a great activity for balancing the crown chakra. Clear your surroundings and reduce the clutter in your life. A clear external environment frees your mind and helps with the healing of the crown chakra. Pray/meditate to whoever you believe in. This does not have to be religious but it could be to a spirit guide, your ancestors, the Universe or your soul. Listen to messages from your spirit guides/higher self.

 

Overall Health

Caring for the body is vitally important. The mind does not function to its full capability if the health of the body is ignored. Eating correctly, exercise, being in nature, and stimulating the mind are all critical.

 

Looking Inward

Balance in this area requires solitude which is very difficult for some people. Many people who regularly practice solitude find the longer they are alone, the more creative they become.

 

Drumming & Rhythm

Drumming is helpful. Find a rhythmic cadence and drum away. Drumming has been used for thousands of years to bring us into balance.

 

Food

Fasting or juicing is often suggested for balancing the crown chakra. Drinking plenty of fluids aiding to detoxify the body

 

How To Balance the Crown Chakra – final thoughts

A healthy, open crown chakra allows you to directly connect with Source, the Divine and Spiritual Realms. But as is the case with all your chakras, it’s not just about bringing one or a couple of your chakras into balance…

To really progress on your spiritual or ascension path it’s essential to unite your chakras in Divine light and balance your entire energy body.

I would love to hear your thoughts on what you are doing to change your life in the coming days and years.

If you have any questions please reach out to me via adam@adam-lawrence.org. I would love to hear from you!

I really hope you found inspiration in this post.

 

 

IF YOU FOUND THIS POST USEFUL, THEN PLEASE SAVE THIS PIN BELOW TO YOUR PINTEREST CHAKRA BOARD OR SOMETHING SIMILAR FOR LATER – THANK YOU!

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14 Motivational Uplifting Quotes – W/C 20th June 2022

14 Motivational Uplifting Quotes – W/C 20th June 2022

The right quote at the right time can transform your life. Not all quotes are powerful, but every once in a while, you come across a quote that stands out from the rest. These powerful quotes inspire you to take a step back and to…

40 Self-Care Ideas for Mind, Body & Life Balance!

40 Self-Care Ideas for Mind, Body & Life Balance!

Today I will be sharing with you 40 self-care ideas for mind, body and lifestyle. Self-care is about having the courage, tenacity, and resilience to take responsibility for your health and well-being. It’s a lifestyle where we recognise and honour our self-worth by engaging regularly…

12 Ways to Calm Your Mind – Ultimate Guide!

12 Ways to Calm Your Mind – Ultimate Guide!

Today I will be sharing with you 12 ways to calm your mind.

It’s important to look after our mental wellbeing, particularly whilst we find ourselves spending more and more time at home. There are plenty of things that we can do to help us cope with how we may be feeling. Even if it’s just to give ourselves some much-needed relaxation and refocusing time.

There are various ways to calm the mind and the endless quantities of thoughts that keep passing through the mind. Why do you need to calm your mind at all? Most people appreciate a calm mind only when under pressure, when they are worried, or when they need to focus.

By being mindful of our triggers, we can adopt practices which bring us into a calm state of mind – resulting in you becoming a more peaceful person, not only for ourselves, but those around us.

 

 

A calm mind is helpful in many situations

  • Do you get easily nervous and irritated?
  • Do you have fears and doubts that cause you to suffer?
  • Do you have difficulties falling asleep at night?
  • Do certain thoughts keep obsessing your mind, giving you no rest?
  • Do you get agitated in every situation?
  • Do you have difficulties focusing your mind?

If you experience any of the above situations, then you certainly need to learn how to calm your mind. Overthinking, restless thoughts, impatience, fears and worries cause lack of inner peace, lack of concentration and the inability to think clearly. This leads to making errors, confusion, the inability to make decisions and to failure.

If you want to achieve more in life, you must know how to calm your mind, so that you stay focused and think clearly.

 

12 Ways to Calm Your Mind – Ultimate Guide!

You have the power to intervene and bring our brain back to default processing. It just requires a little focus and work on our part.

Here are 12 few ways to calm your mind when life deals you a bad hand:

 

4×4 or Box Breathing

Ever been stressed and someone told you to take some deep breaths? It’s not bad advice, but it’s also a little vague. What constitutes a deep breath? How many is ‘some’? Why don’t I feel better yet?

A more prescriptive technique is 4×4 breathing – also known as box or square breathing.

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Researchers have shown this technique not only reduces cortisol levels, but also improves sustained attention.

How to do it:

  • Find a comfortable place to sit with your feet on the floor.
  • Close your eyes and breathe in through your nose while slowly counting to four.
  • Hold that breath for four seconds.
  • Finally, let the breath out and exhale for four seconds. Repeat steps an additional three times.

 

 

5-4-3-2-1 GROUNDING TECHNIQUE

One of the most studied and preferred methods of distraction is known as the 5-4-3-2-1 grounding technique. This method is simple and effective for helping you to regain control of your mind by grounding you into the present moment. It works by incorporating all five of your senses to keep you in your present surroundings, which is incredibly effective for fighting anxiety.  The best part? It only takes one minute of your time!

Here’s how it works:

5 – SIGHT:

Take a deep breath and look around you to recognise five different things. Say each thing out loud, such as, “I see a clock,” or “I see the leaves on the tree.”

4 – FEEL:

Recognise four things you can feel the texture of. Say each thing out loud, such as, “I feel the carpet beneath my feet,” or “I feel the fabric of my shirt.” Take a few seconds to actually touch each of these textures.

3 – HEAR:

Listen for three separate and distinctive sounds around you. Say each sound out loud, such as, “I hear the birds chirping,” or “I hear the clock ticking.” Take a few seconds to really listen to each sound.

2 – SMELL:

Breathe in and out a few times and name two distinct smells you encounter. Say each smell out loud, such as, “I smell the scent of my perfume,” or “I smell the flowers blooming nearby. “If you can’t smell anything, remember the smell of your favourite scents and recall them out loud.

1 – TASTE:

If you have food in front of you, take a bite and name the taste out loud. If not, see if you can pick up on an aftertaste in your mouth. Alternatively, you can recall the taste of a favourite food.  Say it out loud. Once you’re done with the last exercise here, breathe in deeply for five seconds, hold it for five seconds, and then breathe out for five seconds.

At the end of this exercise, you should be grounded in the present moment.

 

 

Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)

Back in the 1930s, a smart guy named Edmund Jacobson posed that mental calmness is directly tied to physical relaxation. His hypothesis was that if we could make our bodies relax on command, then that process may have a similar effect on our minds, too.

Turns out he was spot-on: Many studies have shown that the progressive muscle relaxation technique, which involves gradually tightening and releasing your muscles from head to toe, reduces symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression.

How to do it: 

  • Find a comfortable spot where you can sit or lie down.
  • Inhale and tense the muscles in your feet and legs.
  • Exhale and release your muscle tension and feel your feet and legs relax.
  • Repeat this process as you work up your body, eventually reaching your neck and head.
  • Imagine the stress leaving your body as you release the tension in each muscle group. Repeat as necessary.

 

1:1 time with nature

If you’re sitting at your desk or on your couch when an acutely stressful event occurs, it could help to head outside. Scientists have found that our environment influences our mental health, and that spending time outdoors – especially in green spaces.

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It can reduce the experience of stress. Honestly, researchers aren’t even sure why this ‘ecotherapy’ happens; they just know that it does.Spending time with nature can even stop a loop of negative thoughts – sign us up.

Head outside for some fresh air. Just remember to dress appropriately for the weather, and seek out green spaces if you can.

 

Low – or moderate-intensity exercise

While it seems to be general knowledge that exercise improves our mental well-being, it’s often not second nature to immediately start exercising when you need to calm your mind. And we don’t mean heading out for a quick sprint or taking out your aggression in the weight room. Those high-intensity exercises can increase cortisol. The effect is temporary, but may not be a good idea when you’re already experiencing high levels.

What is beneficial during these times is a 15-20 minute walk, or similar light aerobic exercise, to clear your mind.  Researchers have found that walking can quickly reduce acute stress and blood pressure. Lace up your shoes and go for a walk. Ideally outside for the added benefits of vitamin D from the sun, but inside works, too. Don’t set a timer, but just walk at a pace that is comfortable for you and keep going until you’re feeling a bit better and your head is clearer. Try to bring your focus back to your breath when your mind wanders, or take in the scenes around you as you stroll.

 

MEDITATION & MINDFULNESS

One of the best ways to remain present and calm the mind is by practicing Mindfulness. This teaching is all about taking in the moment fully and being truly aware of yourself. This includes your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and what’s happening around you.

Meditation and mindfulness tend to go hand in hand. However, mindfulness is more like a subsection of meditation. With mindfulness, the purpose is to stay fully engaged with what you’re doing (even if you’re simply folding laundry!).

Meditation, on the other hand, is a formal practice where you’re in a seated position and focusing on your internal world. Both practices are crucial to know when it comes to remaining present.

 

 

MEDITATION BODY SCAN

We will try another breathing exercise. Again, if you’re driving, skip this one. You’re going to need a few minutes. Close your eyes and take a deep breath in through the nose and out through the mouth.

Now, imagine that the sun is shining, as you’re laying at a place where you feel safe: the beach, your favourite spot at the park, or simply looking through the window curled up in your favourite blanket.

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Notice the warm sunlight going through your body, starting at the top of your head. Then, moving down to your neck, your chest, your hands, your belly area, your legs, up until it reaches your feet.

Breathe slowly and deeply. Now, you can go back to your normal pace of breathing. Open your eyes when you’re ready and move your hands and legs gently.

 

 

4-7-8 BREATHING

Breathing techniques are a common strategy for fighting anxiety and calming the mind. In fact, one of the first techniques my counsellor taught me during therapy was a breathing exercise. When your breath is shallow and you’re not breathing properly, this often times makes anxiety worse.

The goal here is to really slow your breathing down so that your physical symptoms start to go away. For the 4-7-8 method, first sit in a comfy position and relax your muscles. Take a big deep breath in through your nose for four seconds.

Hold it for seven seconds. Next take an even bigger breath out for eight seconds. As you’re breathing out, part your lips and make a “woosh sound.” If you want a visual guide for the technique, I recommend watching this video! I love that the background sound is waves crashing against the shore.

 

 

PRACTICE DEEP BREATHING

When you feel your mind racing, sit or lay in a comfortable position. Breathe in for four long counts. Breathe out for 5 long counts. Continue this deep breathing for a few rounds.

If you would like to take this exercise further, you can close your eyes and visualise roots growing from the bottom of your feet or tailbone and going deep into the earth. If you struggle with quieting your mind during deep breathing, try adding a mantra to the practice like “I am safe. I am grounded. I am loved.” Otherwise, simply acknowledge the thoughts that come to mind and release them as you exhale.

Breathing is really one of the best ways to slow our nervous system down. This technique will help you face the day with a clear mind and also help you fall asleep at night.

 

 

Practice gratitude

Shifting your energies in a positive direction starts with gratitude. A great way to calm your mind and feel as though you have a better sense of control over your brain is to focus on gratitude. Make a list of five good things that happened to you at the end of every day or before going to bed. Reflect on that and enjoy the feeling you experience.

Smile in front of the mirror after waking up and going to bed too. The act of smiling reinforces how you feel about yourself and the days. Chances are, if you take the time to really stop and think about all that you have to be grateful in your life, it will help calm your mind.

You will start to see things in perspective and put those things that are causing your mind to race to stop seeming all that bad.

 

 

Begin journaling

Journal your thoughts and emotions on paper. Even if you’ve had a boring day and nothing interesting, write it down. If you feel as though your mind is constantly racing and all over the place, then it can really help to get those chaotic thoughts out of your mind and to put them somewhere else completely.

The simple act of writing down will have a therapeutic effect on your mind, triggering the relaxation response in your body and calm you. The best way to do this? Keep a journal. When you journal, don’t worry about grammar, tone or style – just get those confusing and overwhelming thoughts out of your mind and on to paper. It can really help bring about clarity.

 

 

Listen to calm music

Studies have shown that listening to calming music can lead to decreased heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure. It can even help reduce momentary anxiety or stress.

So, tune that Pandora station to ‘relaxation radio’ to activate your parasympathetic nervous system and calm your body.

 

12 Ways to Calm your Mind – Final thoughts

If you are looking for a way to finally bring some ease to your mind, then give these options a try. They can help you get the peace of mind that you have been searching for and help you find that balance that you seek in your everyday life.

I would love to hear your thoughts on what you are doing to change your life in the coming days and years! If you have any questions please reach out to me via adam@adam-lawrence.org. I would love to hear from you!

 

 

IF YOU FOUND THIS POST USEFUL, THEN PLEASE SAVE THIS PIN BELOW TO YOUR PINTEREST MENTAL HEALTH BOARD OR SOMETHING SIMILAR FOR LATER – THANK YOU!

12-Ways-to-Calm-Your-Mind

14 Motivational Uplifting Quotes – W/C 13th June 2022

14 Motivational Uplifting Quotes – W/C 13th June 2022

The right quote at the right time can transform your life. Not all quotes are powerful, but every once in a while, you come across a quote that stands out from the rest. These powerful quotes inspire you to take a step back and to…

Meditation Benefits for Mental Health – Ultimate Guide!

Meditation Benefits for Mental Health – Ultimate Guide!

Today I will be discussing meditation benefits for mental health. Most people are aware of the need to do physical exercises to stay healthy and fit, but many fitness freaks are not too clued up when it comes to exercising their mind. Like any muscle…

Practicing Self-Compassion – Ultimate Guide!

Practicing Self-Compassion – Ultimate Guide!

Today I will be sharing with you advice on practicing self-compassion and the benefits of doing so.

Self-compassion is an incredible tool for resilience – and all the more important as we begin to emerge, tentatively, from the coronavirus pandemic. I will be sharing why, and offer some of my favourite hacks and tips for building self-compassion.

This time last year many of us were feeling in limbo due to the pandemic, wondering when it would all be over. Now we are beginning to see the light, and life is finally heading towards normality (as normal as it can be in this world anyway!)

Yet some of us are still grieving losses, negotiating transitions or relocations, or facing other post-pandemic challenges. You may even find yourself feeling unsettled about returning to normal (and wondering what ‘normal’ means).

Now, more than ever, is the time for compassion, both for yourself and for others. Self-compassion means relating to yourself with kindness. Having self-compassion involves treating yourself with care and understanding when you’re having a hard time – just as you would with a good friend. This habit can be especially helpful as we adapt to a new way of living since the COVID pandemic.

Below, I will be sharing simple and practical exercises to help you soothe and comfort yourself when the going gets tough.

“Self-compassion entails being warm and understanding toward ourselves when we suffer, fail, or feel inadequate, rather than ignoring our pain or flagellating ourselves with self-criticism.” – Dr. Kristin Neff

 

 

What is Self-Compassion

Dr. Kristin Neff, a lead researcher in self-compassion, states:

“Self-compassion entails treating oneself with kindness, recognizing one’s shared humanity, and being mindful when considering negative aspects of oneself.”

Dr. Kristin Neff also states…

“Self-compassion does not entail self-evaluation or comparisons with others. Rather, it is a kind, connected, and clear-sighted way of relating to ourselves even in instances of failure, perceived inadequacy, and imperfection.”

According to Dr. Kristin Neff, there are three components to self-compassion:

  • Self-kindness vs. Self-judgment
  • Common humanity vs. Isolation
  • Mindfulness vs. Over-identification

 

Benefits of self-compassion

In general, people who are self-compassionate can relate to their negative emotions with mindfulness. They don’t deny negative feelings like fear, shame, and inadequacy. Instead, they acknowledge them and keep them in perspective.

Compassionate people can soothe themselves when they feel bad, deactivating their body’s threat signals with warmth and safety. As a result, self-compassionate people experience lower rates of depression and anxiety. In sum, self-compassion alleviates suffering and helps people rebound from setbacks.

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Below I have divided down the benefits into headings mental health, emotions and relationships:

Mental health

  • Have less anxiety, depression, and negative emotions
  • Experience more happiness, optimism, and positive emotions
  • Have fewer ruminating thoughts
  • Are more authentic and autonomous (comfortable in their own skin)

Emotions

  • Are less likely to suppress unwanted thoughts and emotions
  • Score higher on emotional intelligence
  • Have higher self-esteem
  • Are less likely to get flustered or humiliated by something embarrassing or negative feedback

Relationships

  • Create close, authentic, mutually supportive friendships
  • Feel others’ pain without becoming overwhelmed by it
  • Have happier, more satisfying romantic relationships

 

Practicing Self-Compassion – Ultimate Guide!

We are living in stressful times. Our brains go into threat mode very quickly, and it’s right that we take what is happening very seriously without panicking. By practising these exercises, you can keep yourself calm and effective in times of crisis in order that you can look after yourselves, your family and your community.

Think of this as physio for the mind. Frequent practice will bring results.

 

Soothing rhythm breathing

I usually start with this when I am doing compassion work with myself. It really helps people to sit with their breathing.

This exercise can be as short or as long as you want to make it but I recommend you do it for at least a couple of minutes. It’s something you can do anywhere. Try and example of this exercise here.

 

Compassionate meditation 

Practicing loving-kindness meditation has been shown to result in several benefits to our well-being – try the below or other self-compassion meditations to build these skills.

A collection of guided self-compassion meditation by Kristin Neff. Start listening. The RAIN of self-compassion meditation (Recognition, Allow, Investigate, Nourish) by Tara Brach. Watch it here.

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Self-love and self-compassion guided meditation by Craig Wenaweser. Watch it now. A compilation of mindful meditations by U.C.L.A. Check it out.

 

 

Self-compassion letter

For this 10-15 minute letter-writing exercise, begin with thinking of something upsetting that happened to you today. Then, write a letter to yourself (in the first person) about the upsetting event.

To do so, get in touch with that part of you that is kind and understanding. It may help to imagine what you might tell a friend in your situation. In writing the letter, try to express understanding toward your anguish (e.g. “I am sad you feel distressed”).

Make certain that your letter communicates to you those feelings and thoughts that often help you feel soothed and nurtured. Do this for a week and see if it works for you.

 

Compassionate body scan

Bring awareness to the top of your head, now move your awareness down along your head to your shoulders, down your chest and tummy and back, arms and hands, your hips, your thighs, knees, calves and feet. As you do this, try to generate a sense of compassion towards your body.

If you encounter tension or pain in your body or if you encounter parts of your body that you are not happy with, do so with compassion. Approach them, at least during the body scan, with a sense of kindness towards yourself and towards each part of your body.

If you find it difficult to generate a feeling of kindness, do the body scan with the intention of being kind to your body. A body scan is a good way of helping you get out of your head. Find an example of one here.

 

The smiling breath of compassion

Although it is not mandatory, before you do this practice you may want to do the above body scan first. Then, take a few deep breaths in order to release all tension, and to begin to feel calm.

Notice where you can most easily feel your breath (e.g., abdomen, nostrils). Now try to adopt a ‘half smile’, a state between not smiling and giving a full smile.

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Pay attention to how you feel. Next, breathe in self-kindness. Let your breath soothe your suffering, and comfort you.

Breathe out kindness and comfort toward others who are suffering too, just as you are. Again, try to do this exercise regularly.

 

​Compassionate image and compassionate community

This is a beautiful exercise. It helps you develop a compassionate image you can imagine comforting and soothing you. By practising imagining giving and receiving compassion you will strengthen your brain pathways geared to compassion.

The second part of this exercise is especially relevant now – it focuses on connecting compassionately with others to address suffering. Doesn’t get more relevant than that right now.

Find an example of this exercise here.

 

Let go of negative thoughts

When you’re having negative thoughts, try to imagine a blue sky with white clouds. Put each of those thoughts on a cloud and watch them float away.

This exercise can help you see that negativity doesn’t have to be a part of your thinking anymore.

 

 

Confront your inner critic

When you make a mistake and find yourself being self-judgmental, take a moment to pause and confront your inner critic. Ask yourself, what self-critical things are you saying to yourself?

What are some counter-arguments for these thoughts? Why might your thoughts be untrue or mean and how can you make them kinder?

 

 

Use positive affirmations

Positive affirmations are kind words we say to ourselves. When we use positive affirmations, we remind and begin to convince ourselves that these positive thoughts about us are true.

That’s why using positive affirmations can help boost our self-compassion.

 

 

Try to eliminate the word ‘should’ from your vocabulary

When we tell ourselves that we ‘should’ do something, be something, or feel something, we are just judging ourselves. There is no right way to do something or right way to be.

Loosening our standards or rules for ourselves can help us be more self-compassionate.

 

Forgive yourself

One of the ways we are hard on ourselves is that we don’t forgive ourselves for doing bad things. Now, it’s not a bad thing to recognise the things you’ve done wrong or that hurt people.

But it’s also important to remember that you are human and to give yourself a break. We all make mistakes and holding those mistakes against ourselves forever is going to make it tough to live happily.

 

 

Give yourself permission to feel

Sometimes when we’re being self-critical, we don’t allow ourselves to be or feel what we want. This suppression of emotions can actually be bad for our mental health.

So, give yourself permission to feel whatever is true for you.

 

Practicing self-compassion –  Final thoughts

Other people deserve your compassion, but so do you. Get started practicing self-compassion with the exercises explained above.

I would love to hear your thoughts on what you are doing to change your life in the coming days and years!

If you have any questions please reach out to me via adam@adam-lawrence.org. I would love to hear from you!

I really hope you found inspiration in this article.

 

 

 

IF YOU FOUND THIS POST USEFUL, THEN PLEASE SAVE THIS PIN BELOW TO YOUR PINTEREST SELF-COMPASSION BOARD OR SOMETHING SIMILAR FOR LATER – THANK YOU!

Practicing-Self-Compassion

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