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Daily 5 Minute Relaxed Awareness Exercise on Self-Acceptance for better Mental and Emotional Health

I thought one or two of you may be interested in this little exercise which takes just 5 minutes a day as spending just 5 minutes a day in relaxed awareness as opposed to constant distraction or on concentrated doing, is actually essential to our mental and emotional wellbeing as well as it helping to up our energy levels too. At the very least, this exercise will give you a little relaxation ... which is always good!

If we were asked if there are any aspects of ourselves that we don’t truly love or if maybe we have been feeling slightly worthless in some way recently, many of us could answer yes. This 'yes' answer indicates that we probably have a little bit of work to do on self-acceptance. It's been said that self-acceptance and self-approval are the main keys for positive change in all aspects of your life.

The practice of relaxed awareness is absolutely essential when you are learning to self-accept. This process enables you to just be present in the moment so it gives you a feeling of a nice zen like state.

Just put aside about 5 minutes each day initially to do relaxed awareness, sit and just close your eyes and concentrate on your breath. Observe any sounds that you can hear around you both close up and far away, any thoughts or feelings that come to you, any pain, any self-judgement or anything similar that comes in – just simply observe them and see if you can locate them within your body.

These thoughts and feelings might be either positive or negative but don’t push any of them away, just accept them and observe them. By observing them it will help you to understand the stories that you are telling yourself on a day to day basis and the more aware you are of these, the easier it is to move forward and let them go.

Try to also incorporate the following 5 steps:

  1. Separate your emotions – so when practising relaxed awareness when you observe a negative emotion just see it as something separate or external to you – like a passing object in time, almost like a leaf floating down the river, it’s just there for a very short time, so just see it and let it go. It then loses its power or control over you.

  2. Welcome what you notice – so when you have your eyes closed try and just be mindful and in the present and when you notice any negative thoughts coming in just give them a big hug – for example, you might be judging yourself about how well you are doing at work, maybe thinking that you’re not as good as everyone else, that everyone else is doing better than you and basically beating yourself up. Don’t run away from these thoughts, or push them away, just observe them and these may seem a little strange but in your mind's eye picture going up to them and putting your arms around them, and say “it’s alright”. It’s okay to have these thoughts, the benefit of having thoughts and feelings is to put you back on track, so just by welcoming them you are able to do something about them or simply let them go and move forward.

  3. Release judging yourself – when you practice mindfulness you will find it is really easy to go into forms of self-righting or judging yourself in comparison with other people. This isn’t a helpful activity so when you observe these thoughts just notice them and then try and learn from this practice of observing them - almost like an outsider and then letting them go. Once you realise these kind of thoughts are not really beneficial to you in the long run you can consciously decide not have them as part of your life.

  4. Learn from all aspects of yourself both good and bad – we unfortunately tend to look at all our successes as being good and our failures as being bad, instead we should see each thing that happens to us as an opportunity to learn and to grow so that way we’re not rating on judging ourselves. Just think “okay, this happened, it might not be great but what can I learn from it?”

  5. Communicate – find someone you trust, may be a friend, a partner and just start talking to them about how you are feeling and what you are thinking. Maybe you can do a swop – you talk to them and they talk to you … By having someone external to you observe what you are saying they can maybe bring to your awareness when you might be repeating cycles, or telling yourself something that is actually inaccurate. This raises your awareness so you can learn to self-accept and treat yourself like a friend – we would never think about or say to our friends some of the things we think and say to and about ourselves!!

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