I’ve been MEDITATING guys.
I started this week. And it’s been FANTASTIC.
For ten minutes a day, I lie down on the ground in the quiet,
Take a few deep breaths,
and then gently sweat over the enormous mountains of shit I have to do that day.
It’s great. Ten whole minutes to just lie there and mull over my anxieties, make mental to-do lists, decide everyone hates me, follow my mind into a rabbit holes like ‘what if I faked my own death, could I get away with it in this age of social media possibly not weeeeeeeeee!
The best part is when the kindly man says to me passively “let your mind run free” and my goodness, does it ever. It runs like a cheetah on a cocktail of speed and opiods. Like a baby monkey going backwards on a pig:
BUT, the other thing that happened this week, was I made a chocolate cake.
And this is a picture of my mind when that happened:
Baking has long been my happy place. I feel so good when I do it. I focus carefully on the ingredients. I take in the smells. I measure carefully and I engage wholly in the process, and at the end there is a gorgeous thing that I can put my whole face into if I want. What JOY.
I’m no expert. Clearly I’m no yogi. But when I postulated that perhaps, PERHAPS baking could be my meditation in the office this week, it was like a collective fart of relief from everyone.
I’m not alone. Because from gardening to shopping, walking to knitting, from puzzles to brush-stroke lettering (it’s the new colouring-in), a lot of people are finding their happy place through things other than listening to ten minutes of white noise.
This week for Mental Health Week, Mia Freedman, Kate de Brito and I all opened up about how we deal with a busy mind on the Mamamia Out Loud podcast, and the proven ways that happy people can get happier.
For Mia, it’s shopping at Westfield (no judgement) and exercise.
“I have to exercise every day. When I went through that shocking bout of an eleven day panic attack, the only time I got any relief was when I was doing something physical,” she said.
And for KdB it’s all about taking yourself out of the equation and thinking of others.
So in the meantime, if you’re after some quick fixes for those days that you’re feeling a bit glummo, here’s some other proven things that happy people do in their quest to shake it off.
It’s really hard to feel shit when you’re dancing like a funky chicken. Need inspiration? There’s a Spotify playlist called Mood Booster that has 1.5 million followers. They can’t be wrong.
Write a love note to someone else.
Putting love out there towards other people is a gentle reminder that there are awesome people everywhere, and the centre of the universe doesn't revolve around you. Leave a sweet note for a co-worker or friend. Or your mum. Or your nanna. Even the neighbour. Maybe your barista. Love begets more love.
Rent a Tearjerker.
It seems counter intuitive, but watching a movie with a sad ending, like Atonement or Titanic, can apparently increases our happiness. Researchers say that when we see a tragedy unfold, we’re motivated to think about our own close relationships, which spurs happy thoughts. Sometimes I also watch a space movie and think about how frickin tiny we are in relation to the universe. That sometimes puts our daily trouble into perspective.
Water your plants.
There’s just something satisfying about watering a plant. You’re nurturing it, feeding it, and caring for it. It's like NATURE. And you're the God of it. Feel the power for a second.
Brush-stroke lettering is the new colouring-in:
Obsessed. With watching. With learning. With the whole thing:
Ahhhh, so meditative!
Look at nature. And not even in real life.
This sounds like such bullshit but apparently just LOOKING at images of nature - trees, mountains, sky, can have an instant effect on your mood. Apparently it's because our tiny minds have this trigger called state-dependent memory, where basically we can remember something when we enter into the state we were in when we created the memory. So look at some pictures of your holidays or camping. Maybe not the camping trip you got bitten by a thousands mozzies. The other one.
Think about the person in your life that brings you down the most.
And then realise you are not with them right now. Good for you.
Say thank you.
Yes, the old #gratitude trick. This is a mind ninja move, because the part of your brain that is in charge of gratitude is different to the part that controls worry. and one can't be activated when the other one is. Like that Disney movie Inside Out where only one emotion is in charge at time. Sweet. So active the gratitude and de-activate the worry.
But the best way of all to be happy? Listen to the podcast. It's available weekly in iTunes, or in the Mamamia podcast app.
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