All perfectionism is, is the 20-ton shield that we carry around hoping that it will keep us from being hurt.” Brene Brown
In this week’s More Mindfulness session, we examine the subject of mindfulness and perfectionism. We explore whether mindfulness can help us to recognise the moment perfectionism hits and why that’s a good thing. We look at whether our practice might have a role to play as it helps us to grow our self awareness and learn more about the ways of the mind.
Shame researcher and bestselling author Brene Brown describes perfectionism as the 20-ton shield we carry around hoping it will keep us from being hurt.” Brown breaks down what perfectionism really is. She explains that “It’s a way of thinking that says this: “If I look perfect, live perfect, work perfect, I can avoid or minimise criticism, blame and ridicule.” In truth however, she explains that the 20-ton shield keeps us from being...
In Week 2 of the More Mindfulness series we examine the role mindfulness can play in helping to tame our fears.
Fear is often caused by our thoughts - the ‘what if’s’. Whether rational or irrational, our bodies respond to these thoughts with physical sensations: our pulse quickens, perhaps our face flushes and we can feel it in our stomachs. These sensations in turn feed our anxious thoughts, and we get caught up in a cycle of negativity. Our brain’s primary responses to fear are short-term: fight, flight or freeze.
In his article “A Primer on Living in a Time of Fear”, Christopher Willard explains that “When the threat detection system in our brain is activated, and fear takes over, other areas of the brain aren’t as active, making it difficult for us to do our best thinking. Things like being able to see the big picture clearly, discern danger from reality, see nuance and complexity, plan long-term solutions, and problem...
Thank you for tuning in to the new series of More Mindfulness. Week 1 gives us the opportunity to revisit our practice and take stock of what mindfulness is all about and how it can help us in our daily lives.
This week, I shared with you a quote which reminds us that "Part of the beauty of mindfulness meditation is that it puts you in touch with what's going on in your mind and that starts to help you be yourself. Starting to discover that it's OK to be who you are, and actually finding a little bit of relief from the harsh critic in your head is usually what keeps us going in the beginning."
The application of mindfulness is potentially far reaching. The practice reminds us when we need to take time out. It teaches us that the negative thoughts we may have about ourselves are not necessarily true and encourages us to treat ourselves with more care and compassion - without feeling guilty.
We also looked at the science of gratitude and how scientists...
The new Daisy Garland series of More Mindfulness sessions launches later this month. In this series, we will be looking at the practice of mindfulness and its impact on our daily lives, tackling subjects such as fear, stress, perfectionism, and bad habits - to name just a few. Our weekly poetry inspiration this season comes from New York Bestselling author Yung Pueblo and Sunday Times Bestseller, Rupi Kaur.
I look forward to sharing these sessions with you all at Daisy Garland and exploring how mindfulness can help calm our nerves and steady our path. x
Mindfulness is a form of attention training. It encourages us to pay attention in a particular way - on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally and with kindness to ourselves.
In this new 6-week course, you will learn how to practise mindfulness and experience some of its many benefits. Learn more about how mindfulness can impact your ability to pay attention, improve the quality of your sleep, reduce worry and anxiety and calm an inner critical voice.
Taught by Gillian Higgins, international barrister and mindfulness teacher, this Zoom-led course provides interactive opportunities, live practices and tailored course materials to suit your particular workplace environment.
Intended for beginners. Weekly handouts provided.
Session times: Mondays or Tuesday 8-8.50am, starting Monday 10th January 2022.
Duration: 50 minutes weekly.
Group Size: 10-25.
Email: Email Gill at everydaymindfulness@
Week 6: The Self-Critical Voice and Scaffolding Your Practice
In the last week of this course, we examine the impact of mindfulness on the self-critical voice and consider how to keep motivated to practice in the weeks and months ahead.
In a recent article, "Living With, and Loving, Your Imperfect Life", Mark Bertin explains that "The Inner Critic is a particularly draining mental pattern. Like a playground tyrant, it’s an unrelenting heckler. It insults and judges mostly without reason—You’re not good enough. You should have done X or Y but definitely not Z again. Why do you bother? You’ll never get it right.”
“That voice is not about improvement, making amends, or fixing what needs fixing—ideas we want to build upon. The Inner Critic embodies mindless self-judgment that undermines our confidence, and, ultimately, our well-being, and affects all of our interactions with the world.”
“When we recognize the...
Week 5: Mindfulness and Sleep
This week’s theme was mindfulness and how it can help us to sleep better for longer. After exploring some of the common obstacles to getting a good night’s sleep, we looked at several mindfulness practices that can help to calm the body and soothe the mind. I have included a few links to similar practices for you to try this week below.
In essence, the practice of mindfulness helps us to activate our ‘rest and digest’ nervous system and encourages us to let go of worries, thoughts and rumination that often take hold when we want to sleep. As Dr Shelby Harris explains, “Mindfulness can quiet the brain and allow for deeper sleep…It can set the stage for sleep by allowing you to be more aware of your thoughts and to be able to let go of those anxieties instead of getting stuck on them.” She explains that “Strengthening your ‘mind muscle’ through daily practice helps you better recognise the...
Week 4: Mindfulness, Anxiety and Worry
This week, we looked at how the practice of mindfulness can help to calm anxious feelings. We explored how mindfulness helps you learn to stay with difficult feelings without analyzing, suppressing, or encouraging them. And how the practice allows you to safely explore the underlying causes of your stress and worry. We also looked at how it can help to create space around your worries so they don’t consume you.
We touched upon the recurrent theme of how our thoughts are not facts. As Mark Williams explains, "When we meditate, we learn to become more discerning about the thoughts that arise and how we are going to react to them. We become more aware that while some thoughts are useful, others can be deceptive and unhelpful. By becoming more aware of the nature of our thoughts and their transience, we can start to protect ourselves from being highjacked, or negatively defined."
Week 3: Challenges To Our Mindfulness Practice
This week we began the session with a reminder of the essence of mindfulness. Mark Williams tells us that "Mindfulness is a very simple form of meditation that was little known in the West until recently. A typical meditation consists of focusing your full attention on your breath as it flows in and out of your body. Focusing on each breath in this way allows you to observe your thoughts as they arise in your mind and, little by little, to let go of struggling with them. You come to realise that thoughts come and go of their own accord; that you are not your thoughts. You can watch as they appear in your mind, seemingly from thin air, and watch again as they disappear, like a soap bubble bursting. You come to the profound understanding that thoughts and feelings (including negative ones) are transient. They come and they go, and ultimately, you have a choice about whether to act on them or not."
When we start to practise...