Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Setting Daily Intentions

Setting Daily Intentions is one of my favourite strategies for encouraging a more positive, optimistic approach to life.
A daily intention is a way to take stock through the day and refocus on what is most important.
The intentions we use are themes that are congruent with our values and ethos, and not only help us to stay on track, but also define aspects of the person we are, and the highest self we seek to become.

The best time to set a daily intention is first thing upon waking, or immediately after any morning practices such as yoga, breath-work, balancing or meditation.

Simply sit in stillness (perhaps after a short mindfulness of breath meditation) and let a few choice words, or a phrase come into your mind.
I have found in my own work, and in using intentions over many years with clients, that if we simply allow something to come up, what comes up is really what we need at that time in our lives.

You will often see that what comes up mirrors a real need in your life situation.

Remember that intentions, like belief statements and affirmations should always be:
1. Present Tense
2. Personal
3. Powerful
4. Emotionally Compelling

By framing what we say to ourselves in the present tense we start to enable what we want to be true and bring it into the present. This is a more effective way to encourage sub-conscious change (as the sub-conscious is a linear, present tense processor) than saying that we 'want' something to be true, or that something 'will' be true.
Instead we can say that it is true! For example if I had been feeling weak (physically, emotionally, mentally) then rather than saying "I am going to be strong" I would say "I AM strong!"

Of course our intentions should also always be positive and powerful - there is no point reinforcing negative behaviours!
And remember that to say we 'don't' want something doesn't really work because we end up thinking about the thing we are not wanting and potentially reinforcing neural circuits associated with it! (Think of the analogy of saying to yourself: "I will NOT think of a pink elephant..."
What happens? You think of a pink elephant!

During your day if you feel under stress or pressure, or simply feel that you are losing mindfulness or focus, simply breathe, relax and repeat your daily intention to yourself a few times. It is amazing how freeing doing this can be.

[I will be posting examples of Daily Intentions that I and my clients have used, so stay tuned!]