In search of the Brightside of Brexit

In search of the Brightside of Brexit

Why Brexit is causing me so much pain and why might it be a good thing (on some levels)?

So my first BIG caveat is, I know it’s not fair to blame all the (my) worlds ills on one event (Eventism?) or group of people (Etonianism/Idiotism?). And I consider myself a compassionate and broad thinking woman of the world but I have literally had to stop reading the papers/online news (again) for fear I flood my floor with tears. Why is it causing so much pain? What’s it all for? Is there any silver lining?

Here is my attempt to explain how I feel about the whole thing in an attempt to aid any of you out there that might be in a similar (independent) state and to try and draw some useful conclusions from this whole sorry mess.

  1. Shock – My jaw literally dropped to the floor the moment I heard the UK had voted out of Europe. I totally assumed that only a small group of grumpy old folk who miss how things used to be (change is painful I get it) / angry Britain First extremists who just want everything to be white (we’ll come to you later) / confused folk who weren’t sure what would be best so just guessed (and honestly seeing the state of the leave and remain campaigns I don’t blame you either) thought Leave would be a wise choice. But apparently the groundswell of anti-europe (or anti immigration, or anti regulation sized bananas or anti bureaucracy for the sake of it) sentiment was swellier than I gave it credit. So, initially my tears come from sheer shock and a reaction to having my world view massively challenged. As the shock subsides (and no I’m definitely not in ‘get on with it’ mode yet) it is leaving me feeling more than a little empty, which hurts. I thought we were all on the same team 🙁
  2. Grief – right now a large volume of my tears are at the loss of what I held dear to my heart about Britishness. That it’s a strange island onto whose shores a myriad of cultures have swept, a fleeting glance back at my family tree shows I am descendent from German, Flemish, Welsh and probably a bit of mediterranean at the very least. I know I am not alone, all you Britain Firsters could take a little look into your DNA before your profess you are pure breed and not a mongrel mix. In my heart, I believed that British people are warm hearted (despite our embarrassingly empirical history), overly apologetic, eccentric and sometimes odd (too much interbreeding back in the day), and in equal measure open minded and forward thinking. You have to love a country and peoples that are literally fortifiable with cups of tea (or so I thought).  I am proud that places like London (in particular) lead the way in evolving tolerant, open minded, multi-cultural societies where stuff works and people get on and oh yes, amazing things happen as a result. The fields of Glastonbury festival (where I found myself when the news broke) seem equally compassionate and celebratory about all that makes humans amazing: co-operation; collaboration; music; art; play; caring for nature; having caring natures and giving warm hugs amongst a thousand other good things. But it seems over those cups of tea, misinformation, narrow-mindedness and anti-progressive thoughts are shared and nurtured until they make a movement. I moved from soft floaty happiness to deep cutting grief as I deeply feel the loss of something important (real or imagined). Grief takes many forms so I think I’m in the processing part, able to articulate but still deeply deeply sad and a little bereft.
  3. Sadness (here comes the empathy bit) – I feel a compassionate sadness for the souls of the people that voted to leave if (as we are lead to believe) they did so because they felt so disaffected by European politics today, so angry that (in their eyes) global (or at least european) politics is detracting from local politics, from the purpose of their parish or the protection that they feel their neighbourhood offers. Too focused on their back yard that they can’t see the sea of need beyond. So affected by the impact they think immigration has on them that they voted “leave” in a muted shout to the immigrants (that simultaneously steal all their jobs whilst claiming all their benefits) to also “leave please”. So disturbed by the way the world is changing so rapidly that they can’t keep up. So angry that they are not being served by how things are. So convinced that Farage and co (or any politician) will make it all better for them. Kiss their wounds and turn the world to suit their view. Their frustration makes me feel sad. Surely this isn’t how it’s supposed to be for them or us? Politics is supposed to serve our basic needs, what do the leavers feel they aren’t getting? why are they so unhappy with the current set up that they essentially just volunteered to fling us all out of a plane in the vain hope that their parachute had been packed properly? Did anyone tell them that in life you have to make some compromises, that you get some good shit along with some shit shit. That any relationship (with your mum, your dog, your crazy second cousin, that Polish lass down the chip shop, the immigrant who runs the cab firm, that nice lady doctor that looks after your gran requires some give and some take.  That selfishness (and the greed that stems from it) will not ultimately serve you or those you love. That micro relationships are the same as macro ones. That the relationship between the UK and Europe has pros and cons and that it’s no different to the relationship with that old school mate who is a great laugh and there for you in a crisis but never pays for a round.

OK so now it’s time to own my shit.

  1. I am frustrated, I am frustrated I didn’t get my liberal, universal, peace and love and yes I know, middle class way. I claim sadness for the leave voters frustration but I feel it too. Do any of us know what modern day politics is supposed to achieve? Is there any clarity in politics any more? Is everyone just making shit up in a lazily convincing way and then blaming others when it doesn’t work out the way they guessed it might when they were blagging their way through PMQs? I am massively disappointed in politics, which I thought for many years could be the answer to many of the worlds ills (and in my ideal mind I guess I believe it could still play an important role but not with the way it’s currently run) but it’s just full of people with the same fucked up mentalities that the rest of us have, trying to figure shit out as they go along and not be too much of a selfish cunt. Unfortunately some of the very people attracted to politics appear to be attracted to it for self-serving narcissistic purposes. Oops maybe it’s not the right solution after all.  Maybe the whole system is broken (and this is evidence of that) and a more cyclic, yin, feminine, grey as opposed to black and white approach is needed. More discussion and debate rather than “I know it all, I am an expert, i will lead you to…. oh…. oops, I quit” I’m frustrated I don’t have the answers and that hurts.
  2. I’m scared (the honest bit), truth be told, and a lot of my tears come from the massive fear of what will happen next. Will all of Europe hate the UK? Will this lead to more division in the world? more hatred? I am scared that we will go through some terrible tidal wave of “us vs them” with arbitrary lines drawn around who’s in and who’s out. I know it’s just latent tribalism at work but I’m scared of whoever is holding the BIG spiky weapons.
  3. I’m angry at myself (here comes the big spiritual/philosophical bit)- that in some way I am those people, I am connected to the David Camerons, the Boris Johnsons, the Britain First guy that killed Jo Cox, the great grandma who is scared to go out of her front door anymore, the naive Niall Bevan supporter who believes that £100m/£350m will be ploughed back into our ailing NHS, the vote leave campaigner who wholeheartedly believes “local” is key, the confused one who wasn’t sure what it would all mean but took a punt on Boris n Nigel (sorry they bailed out on you when it got a bit tricky love). I am all those people with all their fears and anxieties in smaller and sometimes more manageable measure and I am responsible in some small way for their choices and I am definitely responsible for my reaction to their choices and that makes me angry (which obvs makes me cry some more)
  4. I am just (having poured everything into this article) beginning to feel a small glimmer of hope. I believe (eternal fucking optimist that I am) that sometimes painful things happen to clear some sticky stuff out of the collective psyche, that the universe ebbs and flows and that good shit and bad shit happens, and that this will all make sense sometime in the the future. I feel hopeful that perhaps now we feel a greater understanding of the connection between the decisions of government and the real lives of people. A greater responsibility to be informed, to challenge when we don’t and to be honest about what drives our choices. And in turn I feel that this could encourage politicians to begin facing up to the real responsibility of their career choices.
  5. I hope the discussions and online open public debates emerging these days will lead to a greater understanding of one anothers needs, fears, feelings and thoughts… I feel that we might learn how we are all responsible for one another and that we have to work together to find a way out of the mess for which we are collectively responsible.

With love

Cat

PS – I have stopped crying but unless you want a second flood, please god don’t let Gove or May get in.


Coming to my Senses – with Mindfulness Meditation

Coming to my Senses – with Mindfulness Meditation

In the quest to continue bringing Butterfly Therapies and Pause // Play // Escapes clients fresh and effective tips for recharging one’s batteries, I’ve been sniffing my way to peace.

The object of my nasal fascination has been the humble and often unremarkeable raisin.  Actually as a youngster I wouldn’t be seen with a 100 metres of one, so deep was my dislike of all things dried and fruity. But at the first session of my 7 week mindfulness meditation course by the very excellent Mindfulness Malta, I find myself getting up close ‘n’ personal with my small black wrinkly (former) nemesis.

It’s a strange image I know so let me explain. We were being gently coached into focusing each of our senses, one by one, on the humble raisin in our hands. The sight of the raisin, the texture under our fingers, the aroma (yes really), the sound (surprisingly quiet! at least  until you roll it around a little between your fingers) and finally the sweet, sticky taste of the raisin were all given our full attention for around 5 minutes. And so began our lesson in mindfulness: Focusing, gently, the attention on the senses, the breath and the things that are happening only in the moment.

7 weeks later and I have finished my mindfulness course and here are the 7 surprising things that happened to me:

1)  It’s not just about sitting in silence

There’s a skill to meditating that requires effort and attention. It’s not just about waiting for the thoughts to stop.

2) It taught me to be kinder to myself

A key element of mindfulness meditation is self compassion, not judging yourself when your mind wanders to your laundry pile or shopping list. The practice of self compassion within the meditation sessions continued ‘off the meditation mat’ in my daily life

3) It helped me with a few unhealthy habits

One part of the practice is not ‘jumping on a thought’ as soon as you notice it but maintaining a certain distance from it to observe what happens to it. As I noticed thoughts come and go, I applied this practice to certain cravings, hey presto these came and went too.

4) It helped me with a few highly stressful situations

I am convinced that my regular morning meditation practices kept me calm during a series of stressful meeting recently. I even employed Mindfulness Malta’s 4 minute breathing meditation immediately prior to and after the meetings for a boost of calm

5) It made me more sensitive to chaotic vibes

My morning routine used to include a dose of breakfast radio which I loved for its energy and noise and laughter. Since diving deeper into the meditation I prefer more calming sounds in my ears in the morning. I’m leave the more hectic sounds for nights on the dancefloor 😉

6) I’ve become a regular meditator.

Although I always meditated after my frequent yoga practice it always took second place to the movement. Now, having had to complete daily meditation as part of my homework, I am a daily meditator. I’ve become hungry for the stillness and (occasional) silence.

7)  I learned to love that little raisin 😉

Somehow I have found the meditation has created more space in my mind for different things and thoughts to happen. Letting go of my habitual thoughts and learning to love the raisin being one of them

Interested in finding out more? If you are based in Malta, check out Anne (Mindfulness Malta’s) website here or check out when the next course is happening here?

Not in Malta but want to visit? Check out the next Pause // Play // Escape and we’ll share our meditation practice with you each morning, along with yoga, massage, healthy breakfasts and more 🙂

Read about the benefits of meditation in my blog post about it here.

Never too late: Why now is the time to make your New Year’s resolutions

Never too late: Why now is the time to make your New Year’s resolutions
Be – Late

I may have become a little tardy since moving to Malta (never with my appointments of course, only with my own plans) but can I really justify being a month behind in setting my ‘New Year’s Resolutions’? Why yes… and so can you… and here’s why…

Be – Low

The 1st of January, the morning of the new year, often finds us in sorry shape. A little overtired, a little overfed from December’s indulgences, and perhaps a little overtoxic from the previous night’s ‘just one more’ mantra.  It’s a time when we are at a low. The nights are loooonngggg, the pocket is empty, the ‘fun’ that we crammed into December is over and maybe the things we were running from are looming large again.  In short, it’s not a time when our energy for sustained change is high.  It might be a good time for rest and recovery, not for ‘never tried before’, 20 mile runs, if you really want your changes to stick.

Be – Slow

It’s often, though, a time when we are seeking some balance, to counter the indulgent behaviours of the last month of the year and that’s no bad thing. However, there is innate wisdom in giving the pendulum time to swing gently back to the neutral before a health kick begins and January is perfect for this. Perfect for slowly dropping unhealthy behaviours that no longer serve you, make you happy, or make you strong. January is perfect for being gentle and patient with yourself, it’s energy is quiet and slow, animals are hibernating, nothing much is growing and the dark nights invite in that yin feeling.

Think – Snow

OK, so here in the Mediterranean, there’s no hunkering down against the blizzards or hiding out until the frost has thawed, but the temperatures are cooler, so our bodies are working harder to keep warm, to keep blood flowing and to keep all our internal organs happily working away.  So why would we pick the coldest month to suddenly introduce a juice only cleanse, a cold raw food diet or an extreme exercise routine…

Let’s – Go

Latest ‘detox’ thinking advises doing all you can to help your body do the job it was designed to, by not exposing it to extreme highs and lows, by not making it work harder than it needs to, by not calling on it to deal with strange new substances, toxic nonsense or dramatic dietary changes.  Keep your January changes simple, so the body can do what it’s good at…cleaning itself and maintaining balance.  Most good detox bibles advocate a period of preparation so the body isn’t suddenly required to deal with dramatic change, so now you know that January is perfect to prepare a bit.

And now, let’s harness the power of nature to help us really get into the resolutions.  The 2nd February represents Imbolc, the Pagan festival of fertility, new life and the young. The Pagans (and Egyptians, Celts and Babylonians who all had their own similar celebration around this time) observe the ending of winter and beginning of Spring at Imbolc and consider it to be, energetically, environmentally and spiritually a great time for new ideas and projects.

So there you go. February is, in fact, the perfect time to start anew, and not to worry about the resolutions you tried to make in January but didn’t quite sustain…

That’s why I’m approaching my new years resolutions in earnest from today 🙂

Cat Moyle
Holistic Body Worker and Wellbeing Adviser on the Island of Malta


Juicy Discount for Butterfly Therapies customers with fitness concept freemyme in Malta

Juicy Discount for Butterfly Therapies customers with fitness concept freemyme in Malta

Regular readers of my blog (and anyone with even the tiniest connection to their body) will know the importance of regular movement.

So important is it to shake your thang on a regular basis that I have teamed up with the brilliant new fitness concept in Malta freemyme to offer you an exclusive discount on their membership packages.

Butterfly Therapies clients are currently entitled to a HUGE 20% discount on all Unlimited Membership Packages

Read on for the important details…

What on earth is freemyme?

Based in the heart of Sliema, freemyme is a new and unique concept created by a pool of experts in fitness, nutrition and yoga with the aim to bring training, well being and the classic concept of Gym, Classes and Personal Training to a completely new level.   Offering a huge variety of guided cardio (entry level to hard core!); yoga; pilates; trampoline; and for the more adventurous, pole and dance, there’s no better way to balance your lifestyle!  All sessions are designed along personal training concepts – these are not your typical “classes”. Enjoying a fitter lifestyle and creating headspace, has never been this easy, this precise or this much fun!

What’s the special offer all about?

A free class…

For a limited time, freemyme are offering YOU a COMPLIMENTARY taster class 🙂

And, if you love it, then you can take advantage of one of their two special offers

A juicy 20% off

If it’s just you, have 20% off, on any new:

UNLIMITED Membership: Any class, any time, as many as you want.

  • 3 Months Package: Normally €129 per month – €103.20
  • 6 Months Package: Normally  € 119 per month – €95.20
  • 12 Months Package: Normally €99 per month – €79.20

Got a friend that’s interested?

Then you can each take advantage of the 50% “Let’s Go 2” Buddy package when you sign up together (you don’t both need to be Butterfly Therapies customers!)

Here are the Ts and Cs
quote Promo code: MB1015 on booking

  • freemyme reserve the right to cancel the promo at any time
  • the person you bring with you in the Let’s Go 2 can be an existing Freemyme member but he/she must have never bought an unlimited package before
  • offer not combinable with any other promotional offer.
  • offer not transferable

Happy moving 🙂

freemymebigteal

Top 12 Tips for a Healthier Life: Part 9 – Be Selfish, Be Selfless

Top 12 Tips for a Healthier Life: Part 9 – Be Selfish, Be Selfless

For the last 20 odd years I have been interested in the psychology of human happiness. From my choice of degree (Health and Community Studies), to my choice of holiday reading over the years (scientific studies interspersed with novels), from conversations with friends, loved ones and the odd occasional stranger about the best way to be happy, to doing research for my bodywork clients, I regularly stumble across a common theme in the search for happiness…

“Do good for others and you will feel good yourself”

Selflessness, it seems, can be a selfish act, as illustrated articulately in the brilliant work on Happiness by Gretchen Ruben.

And the first time I read of the science behind this ancient wisdom, I remember beaming from ear to ear. The Happiness Hypothesis was lent to me by a beautiful and very dear friend who is, in equal measure, scientist and artist. One with whom long hours were wiled away on a balcony in North London, chain-smoking roll ups (me at the time) and chain-drinking passable bottles of red wine (both of us), thinking we knew everything there was to know about happiness but happier still when science backed up our whims.

It seems “Doing good for others” not only makes the recipient of the good deed feel better, but also you, the good deed doer. It helps build community, opens you up to connect with others and taps into our primal urges to love and support one another. Moreover a good deed creates waves that ripple out beyond your initial act to encourage others to join in with their own happy making good deeds.

Not to be confused with forcing your unwanted advice on someone, disempowering someone by taking over something they were doing (cos you think you can do it better/faster etc) or assuming you know what help someone needs and doing that instead of what they actually need, doing good for others is, ultimately, a very simple and achievable thing.

Even today’s absolutely brilliant UK based project Action for Happiness touts Doing Good for Others amongst its 10 keys to a Happier Life.

So there you have it. Scientifically proven, anecdotally proven and altogether a nicer way to behave.

And you know the best way to see if it works? Try it out. Not sure where to start? Check out The UK and US based Acts of Kindness initiatives for ideas and share your experience below…

Love and hugs, until the next post.

Cat Moyle
Holistic Body Worker and Wellbeing Adviser on the Island of Malta


Thanks to Mick Maguire and Picography.com for the image 🙂

Tips for a Healthier Life: Part 8 – Express Yourself

Tips for a Healthier Life: Part 8 – Express Yourself

And so from the breath, we move to the words it fuels. From the messages the body tells us to the things we need to say. This post is all about expression (in all it’s forms) and your body.

Picture this, a relative has asked you to attend a family engagement but it clashes with something you already decided you prefer to do. How do you handle it? Make an excuse? Say you’ll go, then cry off last minute? Ignore the request and hope it will go away? Go along and feel peeved that you missed the other thing? Or… Sensitively explain that you can’t make it, proudly stand your ground and feel no need to justify your choices for your life?

I would love to say I achieve the latter every time, but really 9 times out of 10 I find thinking about expressing myself in a difficult situation, a terrifying prospect. First of all I have to be sure of my position, ready to state it, fearless and ready to face the fallout but confident that what I have chosen to say is ok. Instead I feel scared that I wont be heard, will be misunderstood, judged or rejected so often I clam up, mumble or don’t express myself clearly at all, or worse…start to express my point… then backtrack to timidity.

But I know which feels better and there is good evidence to back up the importance of expressing yourself clearly. This awesome article talks about how lack of expression affects our bodies

So lets work on expression.

Thankfully it doesn’t have to involve us jumping up on a stage and professing our wisdom, position, innermost thoughts to an audience of thousands (although total props to those who can and do, do exactly that) like this lady…

7 Ways of expressing yourself
(easy to hard) and help with the hardest

  1.  Journal: write write write, think it ink it (there is a whole bunch of evidence to show that journaling makes you healthy http://mic.com/articles/110662/science-shows-something-surprising-about-people-who-still-journal
  2. Draw: not into words? Try drawing instead, painting, sculpting and creating. http://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/12/how-i-freed-myself-through-vulnerability-sami-jankins/
  3. Make noise: Any noise, sing, shout, growl just practice getting sound out of your body
  4. Be quiet: …shhhh, don’t speak, don’t listen to music, don’t watch a video, just be quiet to help you listen to what you need
  5. Listen: to others, it’s the highest form of communication. Listen, really listen to what others are saying as it might surprise you
  6. Don’t ghost: (i.e. don’t end something like a relationship by not communicating at all, please)
  7. Direct conversation with the person you need to talk to

Want some help with the hardest?

How to have that hard, direct conversation….

– Take a breath.
– Gently massage your neck, then gently place your hand on your throat (communication centre)
– Take a breath into the heart
– And as you breathe out picture the breath travelling up and out carrying your words with it.
– Breathe to get some flow behind the words and to ease them out.
– Breathe to be gentle with your words

Or book in for a reiki or amanae session to help ease through the communication blocks.

I promise if you speak from the heart you will be heard and if you are not, then maybe it’s time to walk away from those who don’t want to hear the real you.

Have some Madonna to get you inspired

Hope this helps,

See you soon

Cat Moyle
Holistic Body Worker and Wellbeing Adviser on the Island of Malta

Tips for a Healthier Life: Part 7 – Be Alone with your Body

Tips for a Healthier Life: Part 7 – Be Alone with your Body

So now you have switched off your wifi, TV, computer and phone you are ready to search for some really interesting updates.

Ever found yourself thinking over and over on something that recently (or even not so recently) happened? Your brain get busy processing and reprocessing an argument you had or mulling over why, in the last meeting you went to, you didn’t get your point across?

Here is a perfect time to be alone with your body and listen to what it has to say.

According to Lee Harris the busy brain is your bodies way of calling your attention to an unresolved issue and, as the bodywork I do on a daily basis shows me, the best way to resolve that is to dive into the body rather than hanging out in mind.

A good friend has a great expression ‘Body is Boss’… she’s right, the body will always know what’s good for the rest of the company, so book yourself a regular meeting with the boss and listen to what she has to say to you.

And the best part is, it’s really easy. But first, here are 5 times you might want to book an emergency meeting with the boss.

When to meet the boss?

1) When you find yourself thinking too much or over analysing

2) When you are experiencing bodily reactions (excessive gas, tiredness, hiccups, a cough, cold or bigger illness)

3) When your relationships with friends, lovers, family or going through a tricky phase

4) When you have a major life change happening (pregnancy, house move, bereavement, new job, separation etc etc)

5) When you are faced with a big decision

How to be alone with your body.

Sit comfortably or lay down

Close your eyes

Rest (not press) one hand on your belly

And the other one over your heart area

Breathe in for five counts and out for seven, as slowly as you can about three times.

Find your quietest self and ask in a whisper “What does my body need?”

Keep gently asking the same question and listening to the answers, even if it seems absurd.

Listen as carefully as you can to what your body needs… It might be a walk, more vigorous exercise, a rest, a massage, a facial, a long bath, an early night, a good cry, a laugh, a scream, a conversation with a loved one…. let whatever arises move through you, try not to hold anything in.


Ask again “What does my body need?”

Keep asking and listening to the answers that arise.

Until you feel you are done.


Then take a deep breath in and a slow breath out.

Thank your body for everything it does.


Then, with a quieter mind and clearer steer from the boss, you can choose if you need to continue acting on any important things that came up, or if it makes sense to contact a good therapist if you feel like you need some external help, or simply to just check back in with the boss again tomorrow.

I hope this helps.

See you next time for some tips on the importance of expression.


Cat
Holistic Body Worker and Wellbeing Adviser on the Island of Malta

Tips for a Healthier Life: Part 6 – Disconnect

Tips for a Healthier Life: Part 6 – Disconnect

Ok so this post is inspired by a few good friends who have found themselves without phones recently and have reflected on how that made them feel… backed up by some juicy science obviously 🙂

The wonderful Happiness Hypothesis draws from a myriad scientific studies to tell us how ultra-social we are as a species, meaning we can feel an indirect connection (and even sense of responsibility) to someone we have never met just by knowing someone who knows them. Just think for a moment about how you feel when a friend tells you how they were mistreated by so and so and you form an opinion about that person even without having been personally affected by them.

The power of social media (the facebook-iverse, twittersphere and google, linked in and even tinder networks of the world) draw on that inherent human desire to connect. And it’s wonderful. And amazing things can happen when we connect BUT, there is a physical risk to being constantly plugged in and I recently came across (and shared on my facebook page) an amazing article about that which I encourage you to read…

CLICK HER FOR THE AMAZING ARTICLE 

Once you have got your head out of that piece here are…

Some simple suggestions for disconnecting

– Try NOT replying to a text message or email as soon as you receive it and see how that feels. Are you able to forget about it or does it occupy your mind? Consider how you feed the connection and what energy that takes. (Obviously if it’s an emergency, answer it!!)

– When you are asked a question you don’t know the answer to…. DON’T google it? Think of other ways to find out? What creative solutions can you come up with like, ring your Mum (and have a chat in the meantime), or delve into your vast memory and see if you can remember the answer (you might surprise yourself what you find in there), or try to work it out using your brain and see what hilarious answers you conjour up. You don’t always need to be right, right?

– Leave your mobile phone at home sometimes.  Try to go out without it, tell your friends that you will be phoneless in case they are arranging to meet you and can’t make it, but see how spontaneity feels. Who do you meet? What conversations do you have? How do you decide whether to leave or stay? How do you feel without your phone?

– Eat without the TV, radio, computer or mobile phone sharing the dining table. See how it feels to really connect with your food and out my recent post about eating better…

– Switch all electronic devices (phone, laptop, ipad, ipod etc) OFF at least an hour before bed and see how it affects your sleep (read more about that here), Do you feel More rested? More calm? More worried? Lost? Happy?

– Switch off your WiFi at the weekend (and if that thought fills you with dread, really thing about how far your addiction to being ‘on’ goes) and as my favourite childhood TV programme used to say… do something less boring instead, what do you do when there’s no online? Get outside? Play a board game? Talk? Walk? Tell me…

Be free and see if you feel happier and healthier as a result

See you soon for the next instalment.

Cat

Holistic Body Worker and Wellbeing Adviser on the Island of Malta

Top 12 Tips for a Healthier Life: Part 5 – Don’t forget to Breathe

Top 12 Tips for a Healthier Life: Part 5 – Don’t forget to Breathe

Dive right into Part 5 of the Tips for a Healthier Life series… and don’t forget to Breathe Deep 🙂

While we are up the top end of the body, I thought it timely to talk about breathing. That all important automatic life giving reflex for which we should thank our bodies hourly.

I recently learned (during an awesome freediving lesson) that on average we inhale/exhale about 20% of our lungs full capacity. 20%, just one fifth. But did you notice as soon as you read that and focused on your breathing, how much more space you have to work with?

Breathing is key

Breathing is the cornerstone of many healthy practices… For example yoga followers advocate the importance of the breath over the ability to get twisty. If you can’t breathe well in the posture, you’re working too hard and that’s not yoga.

And in T’ai chi, deep breathing in sync with the movements holds equal 1st place (along with the movement and meditation) in the rankings of importance.

A silent Vipassana retreat involves watching your breath with awareness for 10 days straight, in silence and is touted as a way of seeing things as they really are.

So it seems the breath can tell us many things such as

– when to try harder/ease off
– how to work in sync with our bodies
– what is really going on
– that nothing is permanent and that each breathe in is a new start and each breath out is the end of something.

Not only that but good breathing can

– Reduce acidity in the blood (breathing out CO2)
– Help us focus (such as in a meditation)
– Calm our nervous system by activating the hypothalamus (in the brain)
– Get lots of lovely oxygen in our systems so our cells can make energy
– Turn you into a superstar freediver (thanks to Jesper for the amazing lessons)

Here is a great breathing exercise to try.

1. Sit up straight
2. Exhale completely
3. Pause for a moment
4. Inhale through the nose directing the breath into the belly first and then allowing the air into the chest and upper back
5. Pause for a moment
6. Exhale slowly through the mouth allowing the chest to deflate and then the belly (but stay sitting up straight)
7. Pause for a moment
8. Repeat from step 4

Keep your attention and focus on the breath and each time you notice it wander, come back to the feeling of the breath moving in and out of your body.

Stick with it for 5 – 10 minutes or longer if you can.

Observe how your body feels after.

Hope this helps.

Love and lite

Cat Moyle

Holistic Body Worker and Wellbeing Adviser on the Island of Malta

With thanks to New Old Stock for the awesome image

Top 12 Tips for a Healthier Life: Part 4 – Make Brain Space

Top 12 Tips for a Healthier Life: Part 4 – Make Brain Space

The Brain and Beyond

I recently posted the first 3 articles of the 12 Tips for a Healthier Life in response to an oft asked question.

“So what is the best thing I can do for my health/wellbeing?”

Part 1 concerned itself with moving our corporeal being, Part 2 invited you to drink up and Part 3 skimmed the surface of the huge subject of food/fuel.

For Part 4 we move up to the brain… And for those of us with increasingly short attention spans I have opted to make this one short and sweet.

Make Brain Space and Feel Better:

There has been a heap of research recently into the positive effects of meditation on our brains, bodies and happiness levels.  Everything from:

  • reducing anxiety
  • combatting depression
  • lowering blood pressure
  • making us calmer
  • helping us become more focused
  • reducing the effects of stress
  • increasing our creativity and improving our relationships.

Meditation based practices can also be helpful for managing chronic pain, fibromyalgia, coronary artery disease and cancer.

But fear not, you do not need to sit completely still for 3 hours at a time in an incensed filled room, nor do you need to shave your head. A short (ideally regular) burst of meditation is all you need (at least to get started).

Broadly falling into 2 types, meditation either asks you

  1. to focus on one thing (e.g. your breathing) and bringing your attention back to that each time the mind wanders. This type is called, among other things, concentrative meditation.
  2. The second type is more freeform e.g. allowing your mind to wander wherever it likes, observing what comes up, just not attaching yourself to any particular thought. This is called nondirective and includes the newly popular mindfulness meditation.

An extension of this is when the nondirective meditation is accompanied with a mantra, chant or sound, Transcendental meditation falls into this category. The best intro to meditation for complete beginners that I have come across is headspace.com . The brainchild of Andrew Puddicombe (a former Buddhist Monk) it’s a mindfulness meditation based app with a 10 day free trial and hundreds of original meditation materials. Andrew even shares some of the science behind meditation and it’s benefits.

To dive in more deeply I would recommend a course, the excellently talented Anne Hamarsnes of Mindfulness Malta can tend to your mindfulness needs with her workshops and sessions.

As with all things… the best way to find out how meditation can help you, is to try it 🙂

I am about to begin a 30 day meditation and intention exercise, I will let you know how I get on soon but I’d love to hear how you use meditation in your life in the comments below…

With love Cat Moyle

Holistic Body Worker and Wellbeing Adviser on the Island of Malta

PS – With huge thanks again to Gratisography.com for their awesome images 🙂

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