If you worry or suffer with anxiety or get nervous (don’t we all from time to time?) then this post is for you.
I’m going to share today a really simple technique for calming and quietening your mind.
I used it a lot when I was first starting to recover from ME/CFS and was starting to push my activity boundaries by going out more. I needed a way to silence the noise in my head, the automated subconscious, but very loud voices, telling me ‘you’ll do exhausted in bed for the next week by going out’, ‘you’re going to do a migraine whilst you’re out’, ‘you can’t cope with this’….
By using this technique I was able to shut out all the negative, stress inducing mind noise.
But this technique has a much broader application than just in a chronic illness scenario. If you’re nervous or distracted, or worried about something or just want a few mindful minutes then try this colour spotting technique.
I like to do this as I’m walking up the street but it could be done anywhere. If you’re at work, sat at your desk, anxious before a big meeting, you could take a few minutes out, it really can take just a few moments, and do this.
So what do you need to do?
Firstly choose a colour. Any colour. The first one that pops into your head or one that resonates with you. I like to use yellow as it’s bright and positive.
Then look around you and notice everything that is your chosen colour. Focus purely on that one colour and mentally note as many things as you can see.
So as I walk down the street, I see yellow daffodils, the yellow light on top of a taxi, the yellow shop sign, the yellow amber traffic light, the poster with yellow lettering at the bus stop, the little girl’s yellow wellington boots, the young boy’s yellow hat, the cyclist’s high-vis yellow vest….and so on. And before I know it, my mind is quieter and clearer, the stress or fear has fallen away, the negative voices subsided, having been crowded out and replaced by a much more positive and calmer frame of mind. I’m more mindful and present in the moment, focused purely on walking up the street and what I can see around me.
So easy, so simple and yet incredibly effective. If you find your mind has wandered off, then just bring yourself back to your colour and what you can see around you. You can repeat this technique as many times and as often as you need. The more you do it, the more positive synapses in your brain you build and the weaker the negative ones become.
Incidentally, after you have done this exercise, without actually looking again, try and recall what you can remember of a different colour. So if I’ve chosen yellow, I can reel off a whole host of yellow objects that I’ve noticed in the street. But what about red? Pause and try and name a red object. Don’t think about it too hard. Don’t look around you again. What can you remember? You’ll most likely not remember any colour other than the one you originally chose. Try it and see. This is a good lesson in you only see what you look for. As in, if you look for the negative in the world, then you will miss the positive. A good little life lesson I think.
So go forth, choose a colour and look around you. Take a few mindful moments out to calm yourself. And then get on with your day in a more positive state of mind