Tag: Meditation

A Beginner’s Guide to the 7 Chakras – All You Need to Know!

A Beginner’s Guide to the 7 Chakras – All You Need to Know!

Today I will sharing with you a beginner’s guide to the 7 Chakras. Chakra points are energy spots in the Human body. In Sanskrit, ‘chakra’ means ‘wheel’, and the exact definition of chakra is “wheel of spinning energy”, a whirling vortex like the powerhouse of energy.…

18 Ways to Practice Self-Love – Ultimate Guide!

18 Ways to Practice Self-Love – Ultimate Guide!

Today I will diving into ways to practice self-love. Practising self-love can be a challenge, especially at a time when you may feel low due to circumstances surrounding you. There is never a better time than right now to start putting yourself first and taking…

Self-Care Morning Routine Ideas – Ultimate Guide!

Self-Care Morning Routine Ideas – Ultimate Guide!

Today I will be talking you through some self-care morning routine ideas.

Just imagine, the sun is rising, the curtains add an orange beam to the day, and here you are, presented with a brand-new day, a new beginning, and a fresh start.

The times we are living at the moment are tough enough for everyone, but we always find a way to pull through, and this is how we recommend you do it.

Creating an ideal and sufficient routine for your morning puts you on the right track for the rest of your day.

Every morning, I get up way earlier than I need to and practice a self-care routine.

I developed my routine gradually, one piece at a time, over past few years.

You probably shouldn’t try to jump into such a rigorous and lengthy morning routine right away. Grow into it.

So, we gathered up some simple morning self-care rituals that will boost your mood, set the right tone to your day, and help you relax.

I hope this guide helps you develop your own routine and gives you some ideas to create your own habits.

 

 

Why is a self-care morning routine so important?

Having a self-care morning routine will set you up perfectly for the day ahead. Starting the day with the intention to take care of yourself will go a long way.

Often at times it may be hard to find the time for yourself during the work week, or even the weekend, but the impact it has on your mindset is definitely worth the effort.

In either case, you need to establish a new routine with fresh, healthy habits.

Following these morning self-care routine tips might be the change that you need.

Try these out, and see if they make a difference in how you start your day. Who knows – it might completely get rid of the crankyness first thing.

 

Self-Care Morning Routine Ideas – Ultimate Guide!

 

Wake up early

For you stubborn night owls out there, I know this sounds bad already, but it actually is possible to get out of bed early in the morning.

Let me tell you why I love waking up early.

wake-up

I wake up ideally at 5am or when the sun rises and daylight starts. I know 5am is too early for most, so try 6am or 7am.

As I’ve gotten used to waking up with natural daylight, I have now inhabited a natural inner clock, which means I naturally wake up at the same time every morning – without using an alarm.

And it’s really fulfilling to not have to stress about time and rushing in the morning, because everything can be taken nice and slow.

 

Don’t start your day with electronics

Your first impulse in the morning is probably to check your phone.

While you can do that briefly, I recommend that you stay off your electronics and away from the media for the beginning portion of your day.

This will help you start your day off on the right foot and keep your spirits positive for a little bit longer.

 

Meditation

Meditation is a direct action (by actively doing nothing) to increase the amount of clarity you mind has, decompress your stress levels, and give you perspective on the day-to-day.

In my experience, I tend to give myself a 15-20 meditation period first thing in the morning.

Meditation is also a great way to combat social media addiction by lowering the amount of stimulation you have.

It’s also a great way to slow down life when you feel that life is moving a bit too fast for your liking.

It can be hard in the beginning to get into it, but I assure you that meditation is something no one regrets doing.

If you’re someone whose mind is racing from the moment you wake up, meditation can be a powerful way to connect with yourself on a deeper level.

While practicing meditation isn’t a cure-all for anxiety or nervous thoughts, it’s still an excellent opportunity to destress, centre your thoughts, and bring awareness to the present moment.

 

 

Practice gratitude

Feeling grateful for a new day goes a long way.

This pure selfless act goes both ways on you and the people around you.

It doesn’t always have to be a “thank you” note – it can be a positive emotion that benefits your body.

Self-Care-Morning-Routine

It enhances your overall health and sense of well-being. Additionally, deepens your relations, improves optimism, and increases the feeling of self-control.

I’ve been trying to get into journaling because sometimes I feel like I have so many thoughts in my head and nowhere to put them.

My journal is almost like a brain dump on paper, but it really helps to spend a few minutes a day writing down my thoughts and what I’m grateful for.

 

 

Move your body

We all know how important exercise can be in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. However, exercising in the morning has its own benefits.

Taking just 10 minutes for some stretches will definitely make you feel more energised for the day.

Morning exercise will give you an extra glow, a better night’s sleep, burn extra fat and boost your metabolism.

You don’t necessarily have to do a full workout, but just spending time doing some stretches or yoga will make you feel so much more energetic and ready for the day.

When we exercise our brain produces those feel-good hormones which make us feel happier and lift our mood.

Exercise also improves blood flow around the body providing our cells and organs with more oxygen, thus giving us more energy.

Who wouldn’t want to start the day in a great mood and lots of energy? Why not give it a try and see how it goes for you?

Whatever type of exercise suits you, is great. Any exercise is good exercise.

 

Hydrate

Getting enough water is extremely important for our health.

Water helps maintain internal body temperature, lubricates joints, protects your spinal cord and other sensitive tissues and is beneficial to a healthy digestive system.

By drinking enough water, we are also keeping our body hydrated and refreshed.

Staying hydrated is also important for our brain and cognitive ability.

If you want to keep the mind focused then hydration is the key.

When we sleep our bodies are slowly becoming dehydrated, the reason why we usually wake up feeling lethargic.

By drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning we are replacing those lost fluids, hydrating the body ready for the day ahead.

If you are not a great fan of drinking water, why not fill up a bottle the night before, add some sliced fruit and pop in the fridge, for a refreshing fruit infusion come morning.

 

Eat a healthy breakfast

Breakfast is well known to be the most important meal of the day. However, I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve skipped this and had breakfast on the go instead.

Having a nutritious breakfast in the morning tells our body that there are plenty of calories to be had throughout the day.

However, by skipping breakfast and having a quick snack you are telling your body that it needs to conserve not burn those calories.

You are literally putting your body into starvation mode.

Missing breakfast also makes us more likely to consume unhealthy snacks, in turn contributing to feeling bloated, sluggish and possible future ill health.

Take time in the morning to eat and have a healthy nutritious breakfast.

If you do need to have a quick breakfast on the go try choosing healthy options such as:

  • A protein bar and yogurt or a glass of milk.
  • High-fibre toast or bagel with tablespoon of peanut butter.
  • Low-fat protein shake with fresh/frozen fruit.

 

Affirmations

Daily affirmations are to the mind what exercise is to the body.

Repeating affirmations helps to reprogram the unconscious mind for success by eliminating negative and limiting beliefs.

At first, I was a little sceptical about using affirmations, however over time they have helped me have a more positive mindset and believe in myself more.

Examples of positive affirmations:

  • I will be kind to myself today
  • Today I will be present in every moment
  • I will be true to myself and my Today
  • Today is full of endless opportunities
  • I will celebrate my small wins
  • I choose to be happy

There are several ways to use affirmations. You can say them out loud in front of a mirror, write them down in a journal or repeat them in your head like a mantra during meditation.

What’s important is that you find affirmations that resonate with you.

 

 

Visualise your entire day

They say, “you can’t do anything until you see yourself do it.

Visualisation is daydreaming with a purpose, that’s why it’s better to sit back for a moment or two once you wake up and unravel how you want your day to be like or take you to.

Set your mentality and take a deep breath before you demonstrate anything physically.

 

Plan your to-do-list

Creating a simple list of what chores and tasks you want to complete throughout the day keeps you organised and grounded.

It enables you to stay focused and lessens the hassle of multiple processing.

Besides, what is more, relaxing than to do simple writing along with your morning cup of coffee.

I usually plan out my days before I start my work.

to-do-list

Most days I feel like I have a million things to do and no time to do it all, but I’ve found a lot of success in writing down a daily to-do list.

It’s really encouraging because I get to check things off the list as the day goes on which allows me to see what I was able to get done that day.

Completing daily task will put you on the path to reach your goals.

 

Set aside time to read

If the last time you picked up a book was for a school assignment, you’re not giving reading enough credit.

One University of Sussex study found that reading for just six minutes reduced stress levels by 68 percent. (Odds are you’re probably spending that long scrolling through social media before getting out of bed.)

Plus, if you create a designated reading time, you might actually get through all the books in your to-be-read pile.

Top tip:

The following books I cannot recommend enough:

 

 

Try podcasting

Another strategy for motivating yourself to get out of bed is saving something special, like a favourite podcast, for the mornings.

If you know you’ll only listen to it before your workday starts, you might be a bit more excited to start your day.

Grab a pair of headphones, press play on the latest episode, and walk to a local park or public garden to listen.

Watching the world pass by while you listen is almost meditative.

 

Make your bed

Don’t look at this like a chore, look at it as a way to enhance your space and become more organised.

Not only does making your bed improve your sleep at night, but it also gives you a sense of accomplishment.

This pride and accomplishment in the morning will allow you to set a positive and determined pace for the rest of the day, and who wouldn’t want that?

 

Self-care morning routine Ideas – Final thoughts

Starting a day with a good morning routine is crucial for how the rest of the day goes.

Practicing self-care habits in the morning is really effective for setting a good tone for the day.

That being said, I hope this morning routine and these self-care habits can inspire you to find or start your own morning routine with self-care rituals!

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-CARE BOARD OR SOMETHING SIMILAR FOR LATER – THANK YOU!

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Practicing Mindfulness at Work – Ultimate Guide!

Practicing Mindfulness at Work – Ultimate Guide!

Today I will be sharing tips and techniques for practicing mindfulness at work. Mindfulness is an oasis of calm in our busy lives, a time to check in with ourselves and simply be instead of do. And the wonderful thing is, this dedicated daily session…

How to Sleep Better Naturally – Ultimate Guide!

How to Sleep Better Naturally – Ultimate Guide!

Today I will be sharing some tips on how to sleep better naturally. Do you ever wake up in the mornings and wish you were able to get better sleep? Maybe you feel like you toss and turn all night or your brain just doesn’t…

10 Natural Grounding Techniques for Anxiety – Ultimate Guide!

10 Natural Grounding Techniques for Anxiety – Ultimate Guide!

Today I will be sharing 10 natural grounding exercises for anxiety.

Grounding exercises are a way to stabilise strong emotions during stress, anxiety or trauma.

Grounding is achieved by redirecting your attention away from what is causing your stress back to something more pleasurable and relaxing.

There are infinite ways to practice grounding, but the general idea is to connect with the present moment by settling into your body through the five senses.

Throw yourself into one of these grounding exercises to manage stress and improve focus.

When your mind wanders back to worries or things that are outside of your control, gently ground yourself back in the present moment – even if you have to bring your attention back over and over again.

With high stress, try one exercise after another until you find the one or a combination that makes you feel calm, safe, and relaxed.

Today I will be talking you through 10 of my favourite grounding exercises.

Disclaimer: I am not in any way a certified therapist/councillor, therefore all the advice given is from my own experience and should not be taken as medical advice. 

 

 

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is one of the most common mental health problems in the United Kingdom.

Even if you don’t meet the clinical criteria for an anxiety disorder, I’m sure you’ve experienced some of the hallmark symptoms from time to time:

  • uncontrollable worry
  • trouble concentrating
  • insomnia
  • rumination or obsessive thoughts
  • muscle tension
  • stomach aches, headaches, back aches, gastrointestinal problems
  • blushing, sweating, trembling
  • feeling on edge

Anxiety can also include panic attacks, specific fears, flashbacks, compulsions, or social anxiety.

 

Health benefits of grounding

Though grounding techniques for anxiety is an under-researched topic, there are emerging results that show positive effect.

Some of these health benefits include reduction of pain, depression, stress, and fatigue.

In my experiences with grounding, I’ve also found some added benefits.

For example, when I’m stressed while working, it’s not uncommon for me to utilise various grounding techniques to enhance my concentration.

 

How can grounding reduce anxiety at home?

Grounding is simple and free strategy to reduce anxiety that you can use anywhere.

Grounding distracts you from your worry and anxiety. It uses mindfulness principles to refocus your attention on concrete, observable things in the present.

10-Natural-Grounding-Techniques-for-Anxiety

As the name says, it grounds you in reality so that your mind isn’t stuck in the past or future.

There are very few “rules” to grounding. You can change the questions as they suit you and your environment.

The key is to just get you to tune into observing and using your senses.

Now let’s look at some different grounding techniques.

 

10 Natural Grounding Techniques for Anxiety – Ultimate Guide!

 

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 in the present moment.

 

 

While walking/on route to a destination

You can also use the five senses method to further ground yourself and practice embodied living while walking or driving to your next destination.

This meditation in motion allows you to become more aware of nature and the overall environment that surrounds you.

Furthermore, it can help you recognise yourself as a unique part of that natural world.

Grounding-exercise

If you would like to have some guidance during your mediation, try using Headspace’s walking meditation feature.

Whether you are walking in nature, at home, or in the city, guided meditations are also available to you on many other platforms such as YouTube and Spotify.

With or without guided meditations, here are a few things to keep in mind when entering into your meditative space:

Consider setting an intention for the walk or drive

You can ask yourself what it is you wish to gain or experience from this walk.

Or you can simply approach this walk with the intention of leaving more grounded and focused.

Be aware of how your body feels when you are walking

Does it feel light or heavy? Does each step feel automatic or require a lot of effort?

Bring attention to your posture and how your body glides or trots during your walk.

If you are sitting, be aware of your feet planted on the ground and the position of your body.

Are you standing tall? Are you slouching? Notice if your muscles feel tightened or loosened.

Where are you feeling tension?

This bodily awareness allows you to connect with your physical nature more mindfully.

What is in your line of sight?

Acknowledge any tall trees, bright flowers, or birds flying by. If you are driving, it could instead be the passing of cars or multi-sized buildings on your left and right.

Notice any sounds that are surrounding you

Perhaps you hear the rustling of leaves, birds chirping, or your feet lightly tossing dirt as you walk.

While in the car, maybe you notice the sound of your blinker on, a car speeding up, or music flooding out from your radio.

Allow these sounds to be present with you in the moment until the moment passes.

Remember, these sounds and other sensory perceptions are not the main focus of your awareness and should instead be used as guideposts.

Next, make note of any physical sensations you are feeling

Maybe you feel your feet pressing against the earth or your hands tucked in the cosy pockets of your jacket?

It could be the feeling of the steering wheel in between your palms or the air-conditioning blowing in your direction.

For the last step, embrace your body’s natural rhythm

What movements are you making? Are your arms swinging back and forth or your feet moving at a certain pace?

Allow yourself to continually notice the moment you are experiencing and allow it to pass into a new one.

Focus on your rhythm and on your natural movement as you continue on your path.

This rhythm is what will guide you.

Finally, if you feel yourself losing focus, bring your attention back to your steps or the movement of your feet once more.

 

The distress tolerance skill of STOP

S – Stop!

When intense feeling of anxiety arises and you begin to feel overwhelmed, just STOP!

Do not react. Stop in your tracks.

Don’t do anything at all with your body or say anything with your speech.

T – Take a step back

Remove yourself from the situation you are in.

Walk away from the person, the event or the situation that you find yourself in.

Step away and take five deep and long belly breaths.

O – Observe

Observe, notice, pay attention and grow curious as to what is going on around you both on the outside and inside.

Notice with your five senses all the things that you can see, hear, smell, touch and taste.

And notice what thoughts are showing up in this moment and what is showing up in your physical body.

Perhaps you might notice shallow breathing, a tight chest, knots in your stomach, hands and jaw clenched.

P – Proceed Mindfully

After you have stopped, taken a step back and observed both inside and outside of your body, then you can proceed mindfully.

Act with awareness. Ask yourself “Even in this moment of anxiety, which action can I take that will help me move in the direction of ease and peace of mind”?

 

A practice of self-compassion

Within your own heart is a source of healing energy – if we can allow ourselves to open to it by practicing self-compassion.

The following is a loving kindness meditation that can help us tune into and cultivate our natural sense of caring love.

Begin by choosing a spot to sit in that is both comfortable yet dignified, either in a chair or on the ground.

Allow your eyes to gently close, or softly focus your gaze on an object in front of you.

Place your palms either face up or face down on your lap and gently roll your shoulders back so that your back is straight up.

Feel strong and relaxed with the ground or cushion beneath you. Hold your head upright, as if there is an invisible string gently pulling at the top of your head.

Then, when you’re ready, breathe from your belly, in through your nose and out through your mouth.

After five rounds of deep belly breaths, begin to introduce the following statements to yourself, silently or out loud, whichever feels best.

“May I be safe”, “May I be happy”, “May I be healthy”, “May I live with ease”.

You can say one at a time over and over again, or you can say all four in a row, as many times as you wish.

As you repeat the phrases, just relax and allow yourself to feel what you feel. If you don’t feel of a direct result in the moment, it’s ok, and just let yourself to connect whatever is there.

In that way, you are cultivating loving kindness towards your experience, just as it is.

 

 

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.

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.

 

 

Practice deep breathing

When you feel anxiety approaching, sit or lay in a comfortable position.

Breathe in for four long counts. Breathe out for six 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.

Grounding-exercise

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.

 

 

4-7-8 breathing

Breathing techniques are a common strategy for fighting anxiety. 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.

 

 

Place your hands under running water

We’ve heard so much about the importance of hand washing lately. Hand washing not only helps protect us in terms of hygiene.

Take a moment while allowing the water to run over your hands before or after lathering with soap to acknowledge how the water feels on your skin. Is it warm or cold?

Adjust the temperature of the water.

Do your hands feel better under warm or cold water?

Acknowledge what your hands look like under the water.

Take a moment to really feel your palm touching the other (this is also a great technique to help children slow down and become mindful).

Paying attention to our tactile sense is a great way to remain grounded.

 

Grounding object

A grounding object is a comfort item you can keep or easily take with you on the go.

The item should be meaningful and remind you of happy things and memories.

Good examples are small objects like marbles, a healing crystal, a scarf, or a necklace from your loved one.

When you’re feeling anxious, hold the item in your hands and notice its texture. Then, start asking yourself a few questions.

What does it feel like? Who gave you the item? Why is it important to you?

Keeping a sentimental item brings you comfort and also helps you feel better through moments of anxiety.

 

Meditation & Mindfulness

Finally, one of the best ways to remain present 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.

 

 

10 Natural Grounding Techniques for Anxiety – Final thought

These 10 practices are each quite simple, and easy to apply. It can be helpful to write them down or put them in your phone, so that when anxiety arises, you’ll have them at the ready.

It’s also helpful to work with them one at a time, using the same one several times to get somewhat familiar with it, before trying the next one.

Then once you are confident in all three, you’ll know which one to try in a given situation.

Have you ever heard of grounding techniques before? Also, what helps you stay calm during stressful moments?

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 MENTAL HEALTH BOARD OR SOMETHING SIMILAR FOR LATER – THANK YOU!

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Overcoming Sleep Anxiety – 16 Natural Tips to Help! 

Overcoming Sleep Anxiety – 16 Natural Tips to Help! 

Today I will be talking about overcoming sleep anxiety. For some people, it happens like clockwork: Their anxiety is manageable during the day, but as soon as their head hits the pillow, every possible bad scenario plays out in their mind. Falling asleep is hard…

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…

What is Shadow Work? – Ultimate Guide!

What is Shadow Work? – Ultimate Guide!

Today I will be breaking down what is shadow work and the benefits this practice can have.

Carl Jung was the first psychologist to propose the idea of a ‘shadow self’- those parts of us such as personality traits and core wounds that we deny and hide from.

Everyone has a shadow self, and the more you deny it the stronger it becomes, and the more likely it is you will project it onto others.

Jung believed that we do not see others for who they are, but instead through the lens of our own shadow.

For example, the core wound of abandonment, if suppressed and unaddressed, can be projected onto others – you might assume every person who gets close to you will abandon you, and see all of their actions from this perspective, regardless of that person’s real intent.

Shadow work, then, is taking an honest look at ourselves – at our weaknesses, our faults, our core wounds and toxic behaviours.

It is facing them, learning from and integrating them into our personality so we can be more whole and authentic in our actions.

It also helps us to have more empathy for others – by looking at our own shadow we realise that often the people who hurt us simply cannot or will not integrate their own.

Disclaimer: I am not in any way a certified councillor/therapist, therefore all the advice given is from my own experience and should not be taken as medical advice. 

 

 

What is Shadow Work? – Ultimate Guide!

We all have our own demons that we fight in an effort to live out the best version of ourselves.

Through our upbringing, life experiences and the healing work our soul needs from past lives, we have shadows, demons, skeletons in the closet, whatever you want to call them.

This may be parts of ourselves we try to repress because they make us feel sad or wounded.

They can also reflect how we internally perceive ourselves and ways in which we try to play small in society.

In my opinion, these demons are here are teachers to help elevate our consciousness, help us strengthen our relationship with ourselves, build compassion and help us evolve into the highest and best versions of ourselves.

As we heal and evolve, our ‘dark side’ and shadows become more apparent.

If we suppress these demons or let our dark side run without being attended to effectively, our lives will turn into chaos and we’ll remain stuck in our spiritual evolution and physical health journey, keeping our wellbeing stagnant and ridden with toxicity.

what-is-shadow-work

Not attending to the healing of our shadows can manifest in mental health issues, diseases, feelings of low self-worth, addictions, scarcity mindset, and other mind/body health issues that affect our quality of life.

Our shadow self often harms our life, in ways that are unconscious to us at the time, as a habitual reaction to particular places, people or things.

Our shadow self-blocks us from acting for our own greatest good and can prevent us from reaching our true potential in life.

Through integration of our shadows, fully acknowledging our full self, we can live harmoniously and abundantly in our lives.

Society, especially in the age of social media’s highlight reels and filters, has told us to hide our shadows and show up ‘perfectly’.

And often in the programming we received in our upbringing, we have been taught to suppress our pain and darkness.

We began to believe on a subliminal level, that if we experience struggles or pain, we aren’t being ‘good’. Expressing negative emotions isn’t ‘right’.

However, in reality, through acknowledging our darkness and working through the pain, we are able to enhance our sense of self, leading to greater success and living a more radiant and self-actualised life rooted in our truth.

Top tip:

This is an excellent book on the shadow-self – Owning Your Own Shadow: Understanding the Dark Side of the Psyche

 

 

Working with your shadows

Facing our shadows and doing cleaning up the debris is necessary to live a fully integrated life that helps you to continue to evolve and elevate your wellbeing.

Facing your pain takes courage and an open heart. It’s easier to numb the pain, ignore it or suppress it.

Facing it head on and showing up to do the work, allows you to better understand yourself and create more ease in your life.

 

Is shadow work dangerous?

Shadow work is not dangerous, in fact it will actually improve your mental health and the way you interact with the world. I will  talk about the benefits of shadow work soon.

Becoming aware of our ‘dark’ side allows us to heal old wounds and to integrate those unconscious parts into our conscious selves in healthy ways.

You can’t fix or heal something if you don’t know it’s broken, right? So, shining a light on your shadow self lets you change or heal it.

It allows you to talk to that hurt part of yourself and tell them they are loved and safe.

 

Benefits of shadow work

  • Spiritual awakening
  • Greater authenticity
  • Enhanced creativity
  • Emotional freedom
  • Improved relationships through understanding yourself & others
  • Increased energy and improved immune system
  • Overall enhanced state of wellbeing and mood
  • Better communication with others
  • Ability to set boundaries in your life
  • Cease the cycle of self-destruction

 

Before you begin shadow work

Prior to beginning your dive into the shadow – please consider a few things.

Have you developed a solid self-care practice?

Shadow work can be emotionally overwhelming, stressful, and flat out challenging.

It’s good to have a handful of healthy self-care habits and routines that you can utilise to help yourself decompress after getting into shadow work.

 

 

How to do shadow work

So we talked about what shadow work is, how to identify our shadow, things we should be aware of before and during shadow work.

Now lets go over a few things we can use to help guide us through our journey of working with our shadow self.

 

Begin with Inner work

When we identify the aspects of our shadow that need attention, we can begin true healing and growth.

Allow this work to encourage you and present opportunities to expand to your next personal level.

We all have parts of ourselves that we tend to hide or even ignore.

Limiting beliefs or negative self-talk, grief or feelings of isolation- it varies from individual to individual.

Unpacking the aspects of our shadow self and discovering the root of its effects is part of the journey when healing or spiritually awakening.

shadow-work

Start by identifying the following:

Are there any ancestral or familial behaviours or beliefs that you’ve absorbed into your being? (Examples: racism, poverty, abuse, helplessness)

Oftentimes we inherit traits or mentalities from our family and it can develop into negativity within ourselves.

When repressed or unaddressed- this becomes a part of our shadow self.

This doesn’t mean they are bad or did anything wrong (usually), but when we become aware of the patterns or beliefs we may have been programmed with – powerful healing and growth can occur.

Identify any beliefs or behaviours that you currently notice within yourself that may have been absorbed from negative family experiences or tea

 

Examine limiting beliefs

Do you currently operate with limiting beliefs?

Do you often think thoughts like “that could never happen for me” or “I could never achieve that” or “I grew up this way so I’ll always live this way?” If so, you may be operating from limiting beliefs.

Shadow work involves examining beliefs about ourselves and about life. When we identify areas, we may be blocking or restricting ourselves- we can begin the process of healing the shadow.

 

Addressing and caring for the inner child

Inner child work is one of the most powerful things I’ve discovered on my shadow work and healing journey.

It’s as simple as “talking” to your inner child. Envision yourself as a kid again, and tune into what you needed to hear or needed overall as a child. Tell yourself what you needed to hear.

Maybe it was “I love you” or “I support you” or “I’m proud of you.

Look at pictures of yourself as a child and remember what it felt like to be little. Acknowledge the innocence of your inner child and visualise connecting with yourself at that age.

It might seem weird but just envisioning your current self-talking to or hugging yourself as a kid can be so healing.

 

Ego work

Shadow work often involves us identifying and learning from our ego.

When we identify the difference between our ego (false self) and our soul/higher self (true self) it becomes much easier to grow and heal.

The ego does the following:

  • Blame
  • Views everything as separate
  • Acts from jealousy or anger
  • Focuses on power and materialism
  • Complains
  • Blocks us with Pride
  • Denies our own need to heal or improve

The higher self does the following:

  • Accepts easily
  • Views everything as one and connected
  • Acts from a place of love
  • Is grateful, friendly and open
  • Humble
  • Appreciates simplicity
  • Tolerant
  • Acknowledges their part in things
  • Focuses on the present moment

 

Triggers

This is one of the hardest parts learning how to view our triggers as teachers.

Every time someone triggers us- they are simply pointing to something within ourselves that we need to heal.

This may be a hard one to accept, but it’s true.

If we are not triggered by something, that means we are coming from a place of understanding and are grounded and connected to our higher self.

But when someone triggers us, that means we are being shown an area within our own self that needs to be addressed.

 

Negative patterns and habits

Shadow work is about looking into the darker parts of ourselves. This means our negative qualities or bad habits. These things often reveal to us what needs healing.

Being able to admit and acknowledge our negative patterns and habits is a huge healing step in itself.

 

Watch your emotional reactions to other people

Chances are that you are triggered by some things other people do because they are unexpressed parts of yourself.

You feel anger or shame at these qualities and feelings when you see them mirrored in other people.

Make a list of qualities in a person who really annoys you.

Then look at that list and see if there is anything that you relate to. If your first reaction is denial take a second look.

When you notice you feel angry at a particular behaviour ask yourself some questions about it.

  • What am I really feeling?
  • Are there other emotions tied to this feeling?
  • Does it make me think of a person or event from my past?
  • Can I identify the true root of this feeling?

You may not be able to answer these questions right away but over time they will come to you.

This can also manifest through jealously. When you see someone, who is happy and seems to have what you want and you just can’t help but hate them, you need to figure out why you are triggered by someone being happy.

 

Be honest

Once you start the process of shadow work you have to be honest about what you find, no matter how hard it is to admit you may be in the wrong about something.

Identifying those biases could be uncomfortable, but you will be a better and more compassionate person if you’re honest with yourself.

If you find something you don’t like in your shadow self and push it further into the dark instead of dealing with it, you are only hurting yourself.

 

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is not necessarily for the person who wronged you, it can be just for you.

You may have deep hurts living in your shadow self that you are carrying around like a weight on your chest. They lead you to unconsciously act in negative ways.

Forgiveness is a shadow work tool that lets you shed that weight. It allows you to feel better and excise some of that pain.

It’s not about changing the outside situation; it’s about changing on the inside.

shadow-work

A forgiveness method you can do to with shadow work is the Ho’oponopono method.

Ho’oponopono is an ancient Hawaiian prayer that helps you repair a situation or relationship.

The mantra is “I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.”

I’m sorry for holding onto the situation for so long.
Please forgive me for any part I played.
Thank you for the lessons you’ve taught me.
I love you

When you practice think of the person (it might be yourself) or situation you need to forgive, let those feelings come to the surface, and repeat the mantra until you feel calm and peaceful.

Shadow work can be uncomfortable. Accept the discomfort and work through it. If you hide from it

will just come back another day.

 

Practice mindfulness/meditation

Being mindful of your thoughts is an important part of shadow work because it helps you notice your inner dialog from an outsider’s perspective instead of being caught up in it.

Mindfulness lets you step outside the river of your thought so you can look at them impassively.

You can watch them float by, and when your thoughts are on the negative side you can just observe them without letting them take control and create negative feelings.

We can do a lot of powerful shadow work while in meditation. Some of my favourite shadow work to do in meditation is connecting with my inner child and identifying what she needs/needed.

Meditation is an amazing tool for learning to be mindful. I highly suggest trying the free versions of apps such as Calm and Headspace, they have beginner’s courses that will get you started.

Below is an excellent guided mediation by Aaron Abke for shadow work.

 

 

Shadow dialogue journaling

Journaling can  help you learn what’s at the heart of your issue, what it is that wants to be released or accepted.

Begin with any issue you’d like to resolve, though I’ve found that annoyances and insecurities as mentioned above are particularly fruitful.

You’re going to be taking on two voices in this exercise.

You’re asking the questions and giving the answers in order to learn some deep truths about what’s in your shadow.

Start by briefly describing the situation and how you feel about it.

You can ask questions such as the following:

  • Why do I feel this way?
  • What am I trying to protect?
  • What am I afraid might happen?
  • (to your shadow) What are you trying to show me?
  • What is there to heal here?

Keep in mind that your whole being wants to heal, that is its natural trajectory. No need to force anything here.

Just relax and answer as best you can from the place of knowing within you. Do not judge what comes up. Journal away.

Related post:

Top tip:

This is an excellent journal to log your progress – Into The Wild Shadow Work Journal: Reclaim Your Wholeness

 

 

Therapy

I mentioned this above but sometimes we need help when diving into our wounds and our shadow self.

There are plenty of incredible and qualified therapists out there.

If you feel you need that type of support in this journey (many do) then begin your search for a therapist that fits well with you.

Don’t be afraid to talk with several and ‘interview’ them until you find the right one.

 

Coaching

A spiritual coach or life coach can help guide us through our shadow work and give us tools to use to empower ourselves through this process of shadow work.

I’ve had the opportunity of working with a wonderful coach who helped me to identify the parts of my shadow self that were seeking to be healed.

It’s a huge benefit to get an outsider’s perspective and advice on how to use this work to help ourselves grow and become freer to walk into our best self.

 

What is Shadow Work? – Final thoughts

Shadow work is finding those scared parts of yourself in the dark and loving them back out into the light. It is gentle and patient work.

It is not digging up past wrongdoings in order to further victimize or blame, but to free your heart from the bondage that has felt safe for so long.

It requires a level of bravery and willingness to look into the dark aspects of one’s self in order to come out on the other side more enlightened, authentic and connected to self.

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.

 

 

 

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What-is-Shadow-Work?

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