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  • Neil Pillai

June 2018

I hope you all got the opportunity to enjoy the sunshine at some stage over the Bank Holiday, whatever you were doing. It’s so important to spend time looking after ourselves, however that may be. But there is also stuff that needs doing, and how we approach this can make a real difference to our well-being.

This issue was brought into sharp focus as I needed to spend the first part of this bank holiday Saturday morning working on a new Data Protection and privacy policy for TMG. Not necessarily my first choice for a sunny Saturday morning but it is important and needed doing. I know there has been a great deal of stress up and down the country as organisations grapple with what is a very complex subject ( and much delight as we have finally managed to get off some of those mailing lists we have been on for years!) And this elicits all sorts of emotions and thoughts…and if we spend a little time stepping back and looking at these thoughts, some my stories anyway go a bit like “I’ve got so much else to do” “I’ve got no time” “ I should be out enjoying the sun” “It’s not fair” “No-one understands how much I do" etc. The question is do those thoughts help? Yet we tend to believe them, and as we may remember Thoughts are not Facts! As we touched on last month, that proliferation of thoughts can amplify those feelings and a difficult mood can really take hold. I mentioned a 4 stage approach that may help. Mindfulness practice can really help in allowing us to step back and pay more attention to the reality of what’s here. You may wish to try this when looking at the mood of any moment-

  • Firstly a simple knowing…pausing and sensing what’s here…analogous to the 1st step of the 3 step breathing space

  • Asking the question—Is this leading to more or less distress?—and by distress I mean anything that leads us away from that sense of ease and wellbeing

  • What’s fuelling this? …and often, if you look there is a proliferation of thoughts and stories we tell ourselves

  • What might help? It might be to choose not to follow all those thoughts and to “Jump off the thought Bus” and to come to the sensations in the body, grounding yourself with the sensations in your feet or your seat, or it may be simply to take yourself out for some fresh air!

Try it for yourself ! So coming back to GDPR! Over the past week there have been periods when all those thoughts were swimming around and leading to a feeling of more and more tension. This morning I made a choice to just be with it all. We often assume that Stress is a bad thing, but studies show that it is not necessarily the stress itself but how we relate to it that seems important. A study by Kelly McGonigal of Stanford University Psychologist looked at 30,000 people over an 8 year who were asked…

  • How much stress did you have last year?

  • Do you believe stress is harmful to your health?

There was a 43% increased risk of dying for those participants who had a lot of stress in the last year—but only for those who believed it was bad for them. The LOWEST risk was for those who had high Stress levels but didn’t believe it was bad for them. And there was a strong relationship between stress and meaning—people who experienced most life events were most likely to consider their lives meaningful. Rather than being a sign that something is wrong with your life, feeling stressed can be a barometer for how engaged you are in activities and relationships that are personally meaningful. SO WE ALL EXPERIENCE STRESS BUT IT SEEMS HOW WE RELATE TO IT IS IMPORTANT So 3 things we could all try when faced with something like writing up a GDPR policy would be…

  1. See if its possible to view stress as helpful, maybe as an energy you can use e.g feeling your heart pounding during anxiety as the energy you need to rise to the challenge

  2. See if its possible to view yourself as able to handle , and to learn and grow from stress

  3. See if it’s possible to View stress as something everyone experiences, which it is, and not something unique to you which demonstrates yet another deficiency in you

Mindfulness is all about learning to pay attention and to see for ourselves how we relate to our experience, but as we know this takes practice. PRACTICE GROUP We will be meeting to practice as a group again on Wednesday 6th June at 6.30pm - 8.30pm at West View as usual. All are welcome and a suggested minimum donation of £5 to cover costs would be appreciated. Just turn up if you are able (with drinks available from 6.15). I am pleased to say that another accredited local Mindfulness Teacher Julia Lofts will be coming over from Wadhurst to lead a practice for us. Although practicing together is the main event, so to say, I will also be showing a video by a world renowned Mindfulness teacher Elisha Goldstein who talks about the obstacles to practice, and the factors (including the X-Factor!) to maintaining a sustainable practice. As we all know, the hardest step is actually making that 1st move to sit and practice, no matter how much we wish to. The feedback was very positive last time we showed a video so I thought we’d try it again. I think it can be really helpful helpful to hear different perspectives on the many facets of Mindfulness ,especially how to support our own practice, and so I hope to see some of you then.

Till then have a lovely week, Neil


Always We Hope Always we hope someone else has the answer, some other place will be better, some other time, it will turn out. This is it. No one else has the answer, no other place will be better, and it has already turned out. At the centre of your being, you have the answer: you know who you are and you know what you want. There is no need to run outside for better seeing, nor to peer from a window. Rather abide at the centre of your being: for the more you leave it, the less you learn. Search your heart and see the way to do is to be. Abide at the centre of your being. Lao Tzu

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