Instant Re-boot

Reboot and RefocusDo you regularly find yourself running from meeting to meeting? Do you feel like you lurch from task to task, request to request, as you toil through yet another manic day?

This simple technique can be used anywhere, anytime to re-boot, reset and refocus.

It takes just a few seconds. Literally.

INHALE – straighten your spine (whether sitting or standing)

EXHALE – drop your chin to your chest

INHALE – lift your chin AND the corners of your mouth (yes, smile!)

EXHALE – pause and observe the shift in your energy.

– Amy Weintraub devised this practice. Thank you Amy –

Research shows that smiling or laughing increases dopamine, seratonin and other feel good chemicals in the brain. It doesn’t matter whether the smile is real or contrived. Either way it will shift your mood and help you re-set ready to handle the next meeting, request or task on your to-do list with renewed energy, focus and positivity.

Katherine Mair

M.A.D. Creator

Do It Once and Well

businessman stressed by too many tasks

The Perils of Multi-Tasking.

A colleague of mine recently shared a link to a thought-provoking article by Travis Bradberry looking at How Successful People Work Less and Get More Done.

Chock full of useful insights, the one that resonated with me most profoundly was the research he referenced about the “dangers of multi-tasking”. Aside from lowering productivity, trying to juggle multiple tasks at the same time can also have a material impact on the brain.

Bradberry’s advice here – around focussing on one thing at a time – is spot on.

Working on a single task with focussed intent and energy is mindfulness in action. It can even be akin to a moving meditation.

Interestingly, research on mindfulness and meditation also shows the exact opposite effects to multi-tasking when it comes to grey matter in the brain.

Sara W. Lazar and her colleagues at Harvard Medical School have produced numerous studies that show people who practice mediation and mindfulness have more grey matter. They also have more of it in areas of the brain associated with working memory, decision making,  lateral thinking, and presence.

Perhaps it’s worth considering doing just one thing at a time.

And just do that really well.

Katherine Mair

M.A.D. Creator

Phone Free Day

Phones

Can you switch it off for an hour today?

What? A day without the phone! Impossible.

This absurd idea occurred to me as I caught myself compulsively checking my phone – as though something new had arrived since the last time I’d checked, oh just a few seconds earlier.

It took a week before I could even attempt this daring feat and I’m proud to say I got through the better part of Sunday without my phone.

And it was easier than I thought. I found a refreshing sense of intellectual peace. To be perfectly honest, I also felt liberated from that compulsive checking for emails and Facebook likes or LinkedIn.

And guess what. Turns out I didn’t miss anything. At all.

I’m going to try doing it every Sunday.

May be you can find an opportunity to turn off the chatter. It could be as simple as switching off for an hour somewhere in your day to tap into what really counts and make space for what matters most.

Happy Phone Free Day.

Katherine Mair

M.A.D. Creator

Motivate with Mind-Body Connect

Take 5 minutes at the beginning or end of your day to complete this simple practice. Click this link to Motivate with this simple Mind-Body Connect Sequence.Practice Anywhere. Anytime.

 

 

The Power of Intention

The act of articulation is where your idea takes on substance and form

The act of articulation is where your idea takes on substance and form

Sex and the City writer Julie Rottenberg recently published an article on LinkedIn about the road she took to her dream job – an interesting story about going from ‘wanting’ to ‘becoming’ what she wanted.

What struck me most in her story was her description of a pivotal moment of articulation – stating out loud exactly what she wanted.

I have had similar moments through my life where a vague idea moved beyond mere desire to take real shape at the point of saying it out loud. This is pivotal to the process of ‘becoming’ – taking something from concept to reality – because it is in the act of articulation where your idea takes on substance and form. Stating something out loud gives birth to your intention and releases it into the world. It brings with it resolve and enables you to more clearly see and feel what you want be.

In yoga setting an intention is pivotal to the practice. It takes the experience beyond simply moving though various exercises into a powerful practice where we anchor the energy we generate to something more substantial and more concrete.

It’s just one of the elements of a yoga practice that makes a difference in people’s lives and it does so because it harnesses the power of the mind and energy of the body to articulate and bring to fruition a single focused idea.

It is the power of positive thinking in action. What’s your intention today?

Go in, be M.A.D. Say it out loud. Make it real.

Katherine Mair

M.A.D. Creator

What’s in a thought?

Some playful yoga

Yoga Outdoors

Sleep has never been easy for my daughter. Now that she can communicate, she ardently asserts “I don’t like sleeping mummy. I don’t want to go to sleep. Ever”. She is afraid of sleep. And always has been. Dutifully, I’ve tried to explain the benefits of sleep and the fact that if we don’t sleep we can’t grow, function or even survive.

She has also always snored. Like a trooper. At times as loud as a full grown man. I’m not exaggerating. Even as a baby she snored. We’d raised it many times with the doctor and finally she got referred to a Specialist.

His diagnosis was instantaneous. Chronic tonsillitis accompanied by episodes of sleep apnoea. In an adult, this is manageable. In a child, it is destructive – for growth, mental acuteness and fundamental wellbeing. The verdict. Remove her tonsils within the next 6 months.

While aware of the possibility, we are uncomfortable with the idea of her having an operation. Not because of the surgery. But because of the anaesthetic. It means putting her ‘under’. Some people don’t survive that experience.

My reaction to the doctors recommendation was entirely emotional. I felt fragile and teary. But having my daughter with me meant trying to maintain an outward sense of composure. I concealed the fear for 48 hours until I had some time to sit with it. Alone. On the balcony.

I talk to myself when I have ‘me’ time. Out loud. Yes. Out loud. Call me mad, but I find it helpful to verbalise things as a way of getting them out and off my chest. So I said it. Out loud. “I’m afraid. I’m frightened of losing my daughter”. Then I cried for a while.

What an earth shattering, overwhelming and acutely painful thought.

Then I realised it was just that. Merely a thought. My reaction to a possibility. It had not come to pass. And it need not come to pass. Should I really be spending my time and energy thinking about losing my daughter? Or could I spend it cultivating a more positive outlook?

So I said to myself “She’s going to be ok. She’s going to be ok. She’s going to be ok”. It was a simple affirmation that I repeated several times and it helped take me from a place of fear to a place where I could conceive a different reality. I felt better. I found some calm and some peace.

Distress and angst is so often tied up with the story we create around something, and typically something that happened in the past or something that might happen in the future. It can be so consuming that we miss the potential for positivity in the now.

I will continue to be afraid for my daughter and what might happen as a result of the surgery. But I can choose to work on building a more positive mindset. After all, why would we agree to surgery in the first place if it didn’t offer a sound promise of helping her to sleep, to feel better, to grow and to thrive?

Happy today, to you from me.

Katherine Mair

M.A.D. Creator

Extend the Exhale

One of the simplest techniques to induce a state of calm quietude is to extend the exhalation. This is a great way to wind down at the end of a busy day or prepare for sleep. Enjoy this audio relaxation written and recorded by Katherine Mair, M.A.D. Creator.

The Infinite Beauty of Om, Painting by Katherine Mair

The Infinite Beauty of Om, Painting by Katherine Mair

Embracing the Banal

"When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." Wayne Dyer

The Potential of Mindfulness

You’ve never seen anything like it. It really was awful. I’d been putting off dealing with it but there’s only so long you can let your four year old get around with an enormous clump of knotty hair engulfing her head.

I had no idea where to start. So I simply sat and started. Fortunately I’ve recently devised a pain free approach to getting the knots out. It involves painstakingly and gently teasing the hair apart quite literally a strand at a time.

It took almost an hour. Surprisingly, instead of it being a dreadful ordeal, I found myself completely present and entirely focused on this single banal task. Working through one strand at a time, each strand in turn took my full attention.

This is what people call Mindfulness. To be fully present with whatever you are doing and experiencing it in a state of non-judgement. Strangely enough it is the banal tasks that can lead us to this state.

Try it. Pay close and purposeful attention to what you’re doing, one step at a time, and each step in turn – whether you’re stepping into the shower, brushing your teeth, washing the dishes, hanging the washing, putting the rubbish out, or walking to the bus stop.

It might seem a bit mad to honour the banalities of life, but you might just find a little more balance if you do.

Enjoy.

Katherine Mair

M.A.D. Creator

Let Me Finish.

Presence and Listening

Presence and Listening

We had a get together with the neighbours over the weekend. The kids ate pizza and watched Toy Story while the grown ups sat out back drinking red wine and enjoying a blather. A few wines in, conversation turned to the Body Corporate and management of our building. Most of us there were, or had been, involved in the committee in some way and were all rather passionate about some aspect or other of the way our home was managed.

I found myself exuberantly bursting in about some thing or other when my neighbour Sara exclaimed, “Let me Finish”.

For a moment I was a little taken aback. Then I realised she was trying to say something, trying to be heard, and I was – whether intentional or not – talking over the top of her. I wasn’t listening.

It’s one of my worst traits. I’m one of six kids. I grew up in a chaotic household where dinnertime debates were loud, exuberant and typically he who shouted loudest got heard. While it armed me with the confidence to speak up and speak out, it left my listening skills lying largely dormant.

My colleague Tom, on the other hand, is much younger than me and far less inclined to jump in and over people in conversation. Instead he sits back. He listens quietly and with focus. Then he speaks up.

It has always floored me, just how insightful and on the mark his comments are. He doesn’t usually say that much. He doesn’t typically say it vey loudly. But what he does say always gets everyone’s attention.

Tom is my example and reminder about how important and powerful true listening can be. And while I have consciously chosen to take a leaf out of his book, the situation with my neighbour is a gentle reminder that it takes constant practice to be truly present with the person with whom you are conversing.

After all, we all want to feel heard.

Katherine Mair

M.A.D. Creator

5 Breaths

Meditating Madly. Painting by Katherine Mair

Meditating Madly. Painting by Katherine Mair

Recently I decided to experiment with one of the simplest techniques there is to help us create space, cultivate clarity and foster a sense of calm.

I stopped and took 5 slow breaths 5 times a day for 5 days.

I put a reminder in my diary. Each time it went off, wherever I was, whatever I was doing, I stopped and took 5 slow breaths.

Sometimes this meant I was sitting at my desk working and I sat up, closed my eyes and did the exercise. Other times I was with my daughter, so simply stayed attentive to her and our interaction while breathing slowly and purposely for 5 breaths.

I have found it makes me feel more present. On those busy days where I had so much to do, I felt less frantic and more purposefully focussed.

Perhaps you’d like to give this a try. If you do, I’d love to hear what the effects were for you.

Breathe In. Breathe Out.

Katherine Mair

M.A.D. Creator