Dealing with Tiredness

I  keep seeing an advert on the London Underground stating: ‘Tired of feeling tired?’ followed by a picture of some drug or vitamin they are selling. I always smile and think about creating a counter advert saying ‘Tired of feeling tired? Then go to bed!’ But why is tiredness such an issue nowadays?

cat-3396820_1280.jpg

Tiredness is at chronic levels in our society. People are working harder and sleeping less. You know the reason - technology is gets faster and more accessible. Rather than getting their work done quicker, people are just doing more work. And with phones, every spare few seconds is filled with doing something on their device. And it’s not always just work - it’s a state of constantly doing something because doing can become so addictive.

What’s the Link to Mindfulness?

In mindfulness, we often talk about ‘doing mind’ and ‘being mind’. If you spend too much time trying to achieve goals, thinking, planning, you are using your doing mind a lot. But each day you only have some much mental energy. If you’re doing too much, that mental energy gets depleted - especially if you’re thinking a lot. Your brain burns energy very fast.

Eventually that mental energy can run out completely. With that low level of energy, your mindfulness levels go down in equal measure. You feel very tired. How do you replace that energy? Simple. By stopping doing. If you stop judging, planning, criticising and thinking so much, and start just observing your body and mind, without trying to do anything, energy start to pour into your ‘being mind’. Your mind gets sharper and more mindful. You notice more and get irritated less. Things look more beautiful. You smile more. You feel more energised. Mindfulness is naturally going up again.

Energising Meditation

How do you replace your mental energy? If you often find yourself feeling tired, here’s a simple meditation you could try everyday called a ‘Letting Be’ meditation. This works especially well when I’m too tired to even sleep:

  • Ask your body what’s the right posture for you right now. Seated? Lying down? Or maybe some other posture.

  • Take a few deep breaths and ensure each outbreath is nice and slow. You may feel more tired but you’re actually recharging yourself.

  • Rest your awareness on the feeling of tiredness. Start getting to know the feeling rather than pushing away the feeling. Try accepting the feeling of tiredness rather than fighting the feeling. Find out where the tiredness is in your body and let it be.

  • Make friends with tiredness. Try thinking ‘welcome tiredness, how are you doing buddy? Let’s hang out….I’m so glad you’ve come along to remind me to recharge. I’m going to stop running away from you now, and be with you instead’.

  • Be a passive observer. When your mind wanders off with a string of thoughts, let that be too. Don’t fight your thoughts! That’ll make you more tired. Just notice as passively as you can. Be a passive observer of your experience. If the feelings in your body, or your breathing or sounds come to mind, observe that, with the minimal amount of effort.

  • Whatever happens is fine. Have the attitude of ‘whatever happens in your meditation is fine’. If you think a lot, fine. If you fall asleep, fine. If you feel more tired at the end, fine. In this way, you’re being non-judgmental and accepting. Try the ‘it’s fine’ attitude no matter what happens.

  • Try using a mantra. You could repeat the word ‘peace’ or ‘calm’ or ‘relax’ or a neutral word like ‘one’ in your mind, each time you breathe out. Doing this for a few minutes can help you find some rest from your busy mind.

  • End the meditation whenever you wish. You can practice this exercises for a few minutes up to however much time you have.

 

Thanks for reading! Did you find this helpful? What do you do to deal with tiredness? Let me know in the comments below - sharing your thoughts can help deepen your reflection and firm up your commitments.


Enjoyed this? Try our Free Kindfulness Course today for 7 days, or book our full HD 8 week program with:

20 guided Kindful Meditations,
50 High- Definition Videos
200 students have completed the program
5 stars is the average rating!

Start Kindfulness today


Using Mindfulness for Pain Relief

Last week I interviewed Danny Penman for our forthcoming summit.

Danny knows serious pain. He was paragliding, as he’d done many times before, when his glider failed mid-air. He managed to recover it as he plummeted to the ground, but then, with 40 feet to landing, the glider failed again. As he fell to the ground he thought ‘this is probably not going to kill me, but it’s going to hurt.’

Dani-penman.jpg

He was right. He fell feet first, but unfortunately his knee got driven up into his thigh. As you can imagine, it was severely painful.

Danny hadn’t done any meditation for years. In fact, the first time he learnt meditation was once, back at school. But for some reason, he knew it would help in that moment. He managed to stay conscious and focused by doing some mindfulness meditation.

When he eventually arrived in hospital, he had to have lots of bolts put into his leg. His surgeon said a few years earlier, they would have had to amputate. The surgeon said Danny has experienced one of the top 5 most severe injuries he’d seen in all his years of service. The surgeon predicted the recovery would take 2 years.

Every evening, Danny meditated. Before going to sleep, he meditated on his breath. Feeling each in and out breath. And it seemed to help. Despite the huge pains he was suffering, he could find calm and a greater sense of control.

Amazingly, Danny recovered in 3 months rather than 2 years! His surgeon couldn’t believe his eyes. Danny is convinced the meditation made a big difference. Even his surgeon seemed to think so.

Danny was a journalist, so once he was out of hospital, he started to research mindfulness and meditation more and more, and published articles about the practice. He discovered the research suggested mindfulness can reduce pain by 90%. Fast forward a few more years, and he ended up writing a book on mindfulness for the general public together with Professor Mark Williams which has sold a million copies! I’ve read it - it’s absolutely brilliant.

So how does mindfulness reduce pain? There’s lots of theories out there - here’s what I think based on the science I’ve studied, the monks I’ve listened to and my personal experience:

  • Understand there's two layers to pain - There’s the physical sensation itself, and there’s the emotional reaction you have to the pain. What Danny found was that when he gently moved his attention towards the pain, it wasn’t as bad as he thought. The pain was still severe of course, but not quite as bad as he’d imagined. So mindfulness helps you separate the physical pain from the emotional pain.

  • Mindfulness strengthens your immune system - It’s well-accepted in science - you have two systems within you: your stress system and your relaxation system. Your relaxation system is linked to your immune system - the more relaxed you are, the more powerfully you’re able to recover. Through mindfulness practice, as you access moments of relaxation, you are able to recover faster and more effectively from any ill health you may have. In this way, pain can ease.

  • Mindfulness reduces tension around the pain - Let’s say you’re suffering from back pain. The pain naturally makes you tense up around your back. That tension makes the pain worse. That makes you tense up more. You get into a negative pain cycle. Mindfulness can help you break that pain cycle. Your pain stops spiralling upwards, but instead, you begin to find moments of relief every now and then.

  • Mindfulness helps you separate thoughts from sensations - There’s a difference between thinking ‘I’m in pain’ and actually feeling the sensation of pain itself. Through mindfulness you become aware of the difference. This greater clarity helps make the sensation of pain more manageable. You learn to let go of self-critical thoughts, or at least don’t take them to be facts.

  • Impermanence of pain - Danny told me once he became aware of the pain, he realised that is was never exactly the same - the pain fluctuated. Sometimes it increased and sometimes it went away altogether. This gives some relief. If you’re not being aware of your pain, you may just think ‘I’m in severe pain all the time’, whereas in reality, it may change more than you think. This can be a huge relief to realise. Ultimately all things pass - including pain. Nothing lasts forever. For example, each time you fall asleep, the pain disappears.

  • The power of disidentification - You may have heard the idea ‘you are not your thoughts’. In the same way, consider the idea ‘you are not your pain’. Much easier said than done, I know... Mindfulness helps you to see that you are the observer of the pain rather than the pain itself. The more you create a space between you and your pain, the more you’re able to get a sense of control. Every tiny step makes a difference.

  • Redirecting your attention - As you practice mindfulness, you become better at choosing where to focus your attention. You may not think you’re good at it, as your mind wanders so much! But in reality, you do subtly get better and better at moving your attention. So if you’re in pain and you move your attention to the calming feeling of your breathing, your attention is no longer directly on the pain, and so your experience of the pain is reduced.

  • Acceptance - One powerful aspect of mindfulness is acceptance. If you’re in pain right now and you deny it, you’re fighting with reality. That fight increases a sense of frustration within you. As you move towards acceptance, you begin to get a little less tense about the pain. Your emotional pain also reduces as you begin to accept your present moment experience. You begin to feel more empowered.

  • Kindfulness - As you begin to be mindful, you are also more likely to notice how hard you’re being on yourself. When in pain, it’s so easy to be self-critical, ashamed or feel unworthy. As you practice being kind to yourself, you learn to treat yourself as if you’re treating your best friend. You forgive rather than blame yourself. With this friendly attitude, your emotional pain begins to ease.

 

Conclusion

There’s a lot of different ways in which mindfulness may help to give you some relief of your pain. Being with a short, manageable guided mindful meditation and take it from there.

Here’s a 10 minute Mindfulness and Kindfulness of Breath for Pain Relief Guided Meditation I’ve recorded for you - I hope it helps - let me know if it does.


Enjoyed this? Try our Free Kindfulness Course today for 7 days, or book our full HD 8 week program with:

20 guided Kindful Meditations,
50 High- Definition Videos
200 students have completed the program
5 stars is the average rating!

Start Kindfulness today


Mindful Art for Relaxation

day out.jpg

There’s quite a few changes happening in my life at the moment, and lots of work to do, so I felt a need to take a day off and rest. Initially I was yearning to leave the hustle and bustle of London and head for the countryside, but even that seemed like too much effort!

So I found myself spending the day in my local park (Friary Park) and took a handful of felt-tip pens and a blank notebook.

After doing some mindful walking and sipping a nice cup of English Breakfast tea (but no cucumber sandwiches unfortunately), I sat myself down under a tree in the shade of the high noon sunshine.

I opened up my notebook and literally began to scribble. Like this:
 

IMG_9315.JPG

When I was at school, my art teacher wasn’t very nice. He doubled up as the games teacher too, and he was too strict for my liking. He used to give us grades for our artwork and apparently my art wasn’t up to standard!

Fortunately, I’ve left those silly ideas of not being good enough at artwork behind me. ‘Modern’ art gives me the confidence that any old rubbish scribble I do could be worth millions of pounds! Thank you Damien Hirst. And so I scribble away, just for fun, relaxation and to tap into any creativity lurking within.

Interestingly, what happened was fascinating. I’d do a doodle on one page, and then have an urge to draw out some of my current challenges and work out some solutions. Then I’d do another drawing, which often ended up being very much on a mindful theme, and then the next page I’d give myself a question and come up with more creative solutions. By the end of an hour or two (cleverly, I have no watch so no idea how long I was there for), my artist’s notebook was filled with ideas, solutions and drawings!

I thought I’d share the discoveries from my little day of scribbling with you all. I’d LOVE it if you tried this out and shared your drawings or findings with me, in the comments.

Here’s 5 simple tips to get you off your meditation cushion and out in a park, drawing.

  1. Leave behind digital distractions - Phones are boring. And so are watches. Leave them all at home and go out for a walk. Just don’t make the mistake I did and leave your keys behind! Walk as mindfully as you can to your local park or green space, if you have one. No need to rush. Forget exercise - this is a day to chill out. Just stroll, enjoy the weather and remember your notepad and colourful pens.

  2. Just pick a colour and scribble on the first page...literally. Once you’ve picked your spot to relax, open up your notepad and literally start scribbling. Why? Because that way you can set aside all your perfectionist tendencies and just start. Enjoy the feeling of freedom about not having to get it right. Make your scribble as rubbish as you can. Let go and have some fun being messy!

  3. Feel, don’t just look. When I was doing my scribbles, drawings and other inspiring stuff, I enjoyed physically feeling the pen on the paper. Especially when I was drawing imperfect circles. I also enjoyed listening to the sound the pen made on the paper. Beyond all this, I welcome in my emotions. If sadness came, I let her in. I also made an effort to connect to nature. I could have almost spoken to the trees and asked them for advice - in fact, I’ll do that next time!

  4. Take naps. I think I fell asleep at one point. Or semi-dozed off anyway. All this relaxation can take its toll, you know?! After a few drawing and problem solving sessions on paper, I felt exhausted and enjoyed napping on the grass.

  5. If you decide to explore your challenges...This is the optional bit for sure. I wasn’t planning on doing this, but it just happened. I asked myself questions like ‘What would I do next year if I had a budget of £1000 for the whole year?’ or ‘If I woke up and everything was perfectly how I wanted it, what would be happening?’ or ‘If things went ideally for me, what would be happening in 3 years time’. And I did brainstorms and mindmaps - I had a lot of fun exploring all sorts of new ideas.

  6. Don’t follow these rules. Everyone’s different, so do what feels right for you. You may prefer to scribble indoors, in your garden or whilst having a bath (warning: it’s wet in there). Whatever you choose to do and wherever you go, I hope you find some peace of mind - or if not, enjoy a piece of cake instead.

 

Here’s some of my other drawings. I hope you enjoy looking at them. If you really like them and want to share them on social media or on your website, you can, but link back to shamashalidina.com and tag me on social @shamashalidina - thanks!


Enjoyed this? Try our Free Kindfulness Course today for 7 days, or book our full HD 8 week program with:

20 guided Kindful Meditations,
50 High- Definition Videos
200 students have completed the program
5 stars is the average rating!

Start Kindfulness today