29 Nov November 2021 Newsletter
Hello from Unravel! November is gently transitioning into December and Christmas is fast-approaching. In this newsletter we would like to share with you some insights and practices of how to keep your interest and curiosity of the present moment strong and flowing. Engagement (paying attention with interest and curiosity) is the second variable in the formula for RESILIENT HAPPINESS we shared with you in September, you can check it out here as a reminder.
Paying attention with interest and curiosity to whatever you interact with can be quite a challenging task especially when we find ourselves often tired, preoccupied or easily distracted due to all the things that we have to juggle in our busy lives. It means that we are not fully benefiting from those things which we filled our days with and perhaps some reorganising and re-prioritising could help?!?! Also, whilst it can be challenging, training your attention to stay in the moment doesn’t really mean that all the other important things would get neglected, it only means that your presence will be fully given in the now and thus the pleasure of the experience would be all yours (depends on what you are doing though, as much as I like dishwashing I often let my mind wander and reflect on something more important whilst trusting my hands do the job…). This kind of quality of your attention and engagement with curiosity and interest is extremely important in the interactions with your loved ones, any important and/or pleasurable activities you do.
There are many effective ways of practicing and strengthening your curiosity and interest in the moment. Here’s some of those HOWs we find very useful and effective:
- Throughout the day, pay attention to everyday activities, with a sense of curiosity and interest – beginner’s mind, as if this was the first time you do it. Imagine a face and mind of a baby when they see a new toy or able to do something new, that sense of novelty – model that kind of attitude! (there’s so much we can learn from babies believe it or not)
- Raise and broaden your gaze to see more of the world, perhaps noticing things you might not normally see. Let yourself notice something new in a situation which seems to be the same every day, whether it is a colour, shape or volume… paying attention to some qualities or characteristic which you haven’t noticed or engaged with before.
- As you become more familiar with this, see if you can stay aware during more charged moments, to see how your mind and body register these moments. What kind of internal sensation you can become aware of? How does this situation or interaction triggers you to feel? There’s no need to even think or label it, awareness expands starting from connecting with the signals of your body. Curiosity is a non-judgemental, focused and explorative attitude towards your experience whether it is internal or external.
- Imagine being a scientist, a scientist of your own inner multiverse! Whatever you notice is there for a reason and there’s no good or bad reason, every reason is meaningful and you are there to discover and grow from it! Every behaviour has an emotional charge behind it whether we like/want it or not, that’s why learning and exploring your inner worlds and sensations is a fundamental step into a happier you. It is going to not only equip you with understanding of why you feel what you feel but also help you to stay in charge of your urges and reactions, which often lead us to many regrets when acted upon without filtering.
- Use your senses. Every time you notice your mind wanders, gently shift your focus onto either your touch, smell, gaze or taste, whichever is more relevant for the situation you are in. Keep practicing it as often as needs to be as your mind can be very persistent and distracting.
Training our attention is a key foundational skill of a healthy wellbeing. When we step out, we see how much our mind wanders. We learn about how we relate to pleasant and unpleasant experiences. We start to have a sense of being able to choose what we attend to and how we attend to it. Realizing we have this choice can create a sense of great freedom – we don’t have to be held captive by external pulls and pushes on our attention. We can start paying attention in ways that serve us best.
Also, high engagement activities flood the body with positive hormones that elevate our sense of wellbeing – this is called being in a state of ‘flow.’ When we are in flow we perform at our best and experience less anxiety, fear and worry (just as much as is healthy and necessary).
Have fun practicing!