Instructions for "Intentional Use":
As often as you can this week (you may want to stick a note on your device cover to remind you)-
Device use, or over use, is getting the credit for having a multitude of negative effects on our lives including: social disconnection, anxiety, sleep deprivation, depression, decline in attention span, not to mention all the time lost that you could be using for other things.
We are seeing a rise in 'device detoxes', and reports highlighting concerns for the next generation who are being brought up on screens, and whose parents are distracted by screens.
Only now are we becoming aware of the impact of all this screen time on our mental and physical health, and the term 'addiction' is being used in relation to our devices and everything they provide, from social media to games to netflix, and even fitness trackers.
We know that many tech giants including Steve Jobs only allow their kids limited screen time, if any at all, so is it time we started to pay attention to our own device use?
“Without open spaces and downtime, the nervous system never shuts down — it’s in constant fight-or-flight mode,” Ms. Colier said in an interview. “We’re wired and tired all the time. Even computers reboot, but we’re not doing it.”
Instructions for "Simple Sensation":
This exercise is a real return to the basics, and when it comes to mindfulness, the basics are often the most powerful. Without the basic practises we can get caught up in 'doing' meditation to reach a goal, to be a better person, to have better relationships, etc. There is nothing wrong with these goals, but without a solid basic practice to support them, then we can miss out on the core message of mindfulness—this moment, right here, right now is perfect, and nothing needs to change. When we really get this, then everything else is play.
Aim to do this exercise either several times a day for one minute each, or for a block of at least ten minutes a day. The morning is a great time to practice.
"When you own your breath, nobody can steal your peace."
Instructions for "Meaningful Action":
In order to live a meaningful life, you have to make a decision about what you want your life to mean. Previously, we may have looked to our church, or our family for meaning and guidance on how to life the best life, but for many of us, this has changed, and it falls to us to make our own meaning. A common therapeutic intervention for making meaning is to think of what you would like to be remembered for.
However, once the meaning is decided upon, it only exists as words in my mind until I take action. When I take action, and feel the impact of this action, I know my life has real meaning. Having meaning gives us motivation to overcome obstacles, and life fulfilling lives.
"Life is without meaning. You bring the meaning to it. The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be. Being alive is the meaning."
Instructions for "Getting YOUR Priorities Right":
It will be helpful to set a reminder on your phone to go off once or twice a day, at different times of the day. You want the reminders to be random, and to cover many different areas of your life over the course of the week.
This is a wonderful practice to help us see what is good in our lives. For instance, you might be so used to waking up with your partner that you forget to notice what a lovely thing it is to share your life with this person. You might be so frazzled having the kids off school that you don't notice the joy that they are. Notice what's good in your life and be grateful for it.
This exercise also serves to highlight where change might be needed. Sometimes it can feel like life is happening to us. We may make choices based on what is expected from us, or from what everyone else is doing. We might chose to do something because it is the 'safe' option, or because it is familiar. Or, we simply may not believe in ourselves and our power to make our own choices.
Your life is yours. For the most part, you can do with it what you wish, and if you don't stop and pay attention, you may find it's too late to take that journey you dreamed of, try that career you thought you might be good at, be with the person you love, or appreciate the wonderful things that you have.
If you were to look back at your life in 30 years, what would you want to remember?
"I am larger, better than I thought; I did not know I held so much goodness."
The Weekly Minute is a blog I write each week with the aim of providing proven tools to help promote positive mental health.
The collection of short, practical mindfulness and therapy tools for self-reflection and self-improvement, can equip people to take their mental well-being into their own hands, and improve their quality of life.
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