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Learning to be kinder

Dearest ones, I was reflecting on this newsletter intensively earlier in the week. What else I can talk about that I haven't said already? Well, the answer came straight away: kindness. We live in a world that can feel hostile, cold and oppressing, but that equally provides endless opportunities for reinvention, recalibration and second chances. Both ugly and beautiful are accessible to us. What do we choose to see and tap into? They are both parts of life - and we won't be able to change it - however, we can always choose how we are responding and acting on it. In a world that feels divided, let's bring the kindness power into play. Let's remind ourselves we are all battling our own internal demons, wars and tribulations, trying our best with what we have accessible. Earlier in the week I shared in a social media post about my "sudden" change of response when presented with a choice (ps: nothing sudden at all, it's been a process in the making for years!) - after a very stressful morning of medical appointments and tests, I came back home, feeling exhausted and unable to carry on with the day I had planned. What do I do? I have to make a choice. Do I give myself the time to decompress and come back to my ‘balanced’ self or do I push through the scheduled day to meet the arrangements I had in place? Well, to my surprise, I went straight away to option 1, which is never my go-to natural way to operate. I felt so proud that slowly, things in me are shifting so I finally recognise with all my being that if I am not well, nothing else matters. And it shouldn't come as a surprise that one of the big long-life learnings that this year has brought - as a blessing in disguise - is that health is not replaceable, it cannot wait and it won’t wait for our impossible mental plans and expectations. We can all learn to be kinder to ourselves. The moment we give ourselves that possibility, we can then start being kinder to others, sharing from our own experience.

A few kindness boosts I have developed over the years: 1. Turn down the volume of the external noise Sometimes when we are so immersed in what's happening around us, we have completely lost our sense of self. What can you to do take a step back and go back to yourself? A walk, putting aside the task you are doing, take a breath. Come back to yourself. Investigate what's happening. What do you need - see further resources on this using my senior teacher's RAIN method 2. Empower yourself to flip the situation We have two choices: either we allow "life" to happen to us or we step in and decide how we want to respond to whatever comes our way. The moment you give yourself the chance, the possibilities start coming your way, bringing freedom and clarity 3. Become your own private investigator Introduce practices to reflect, slow down and listen to what's happening inside - get to know yourself - the good, the ugly and the bad - so you get a chance to rewrite the narrative on your own terms. Without knowing what's going on, how are you going to create sustainable change? 4. Create spaces for joy and fun These are moments through your day and week where you put your performance like and expectations aside. This is for the sake of having fun and bringing joy to yourself. Dance, sing, paint, run, shout, play with a dog, roll in the grass, whatever brings that giggle out. You'll be amazed how after these pockets of joy, you feel creative, productive and much more clearer. 5. Discover what makes you feel good Beyond copying mechanisms. Sometimes we go there, that's the best we can do. But this doesn't mean we use it as a substitute to do the work: to numb, to escape, to feel better because we want a instant fix. It's important that we don't go to extremes: escape or hold for too long. However, what if you brought a little reward to your day, something that feels good? What does make you feel good - not to bypass but to improve your health and your wellbeing? And celebrate yourself, your wins and your learnings! 6. Focus on one thing at a time (aka bring mindfulness to what you do) Aiming to multitask all the time is not humanly possible. Our brains aren't designed for this - see this insightful exploration to neuroscience - and because we are aiming for the impossible, that generates stress, frustration and anxiety. Take one thing at a time (your productive levels will increase a 40%). Prioritise and focus on what's important. How do we build that muscle? You've guessed it....meditation! 7. Practice compassion & gratitude Finally, a VERY important reminder. We are doing our best. We need rest (not only because we are tired or because we have worked hard) we need it to function properly, and we deserve to be at our best. Do not compromise for anything less. You deserve it. You can say no, you can change your mind. Your health is your most important asset. What are your favourite ways to practice kindness? Share with us, we would love to know! As always, continue reading for the activities coming to you this month. Have a beautiful celebratory season & may the new year bring bountiful of blessings, love and laughter to you and your loved ones. With love and gratitude, Monica x

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