Welcome to this weekly online resource. Wellness professional Jo Foster, offers self care tips through her insights on mindfulness and positive psychology, her weekly online yoga classes and nutritious recipe recommendations. 

This week we are getting curious about the practicalities of mindfulness in daily life.

Psychosynthesis is a term created by the Italian psychiatrist Roberto Assagioli who was a prominent psychiatrist working alongside Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. Assagioli's theories around psychology were largely influenced by the psychologies of yoga, the essence being that all things are connected. His theories explored techniques for unlocking human growth and potential, through developing awareness of the personal and transpersonal self identity. Assagioli explored the positive affects of physical behaviours on psychological outlook and his first paper was focussed on the affects of laughter and smiling, which today we know to be a hugely powerful intervention. 

Practices such as mindfulness are essentially a psychosynthesis tool for developing awareness. By learning to listen to what we feel, how our emotions are experienced in the body, how we are affected by our surroundings and how we can influence what we feel, we develop greater understanding and clarity of our "self". Knowing yourself is the key to unlocking potential and fulfilment and it starts with the most basic skills of stepping out of autopilot and paying attention. 

Try a bit of mindful walking to start refining those "attention skills". Try some laughter and smiling too!

Mindful walking

1. Go for a walk: You can take a walk anywhere you fancy, whether it's indoors, outdoors urban or rural it doesn't matter. Try and aim for a walk that is 10mins+ and resist listening to music or podcasts etc. 

2. Notice what you see: Paying attention to light and shadows. Notice colours and forms. notice movement of objects, perhaps the movement of the grass, trees, clouds. Try not to judge what you see, just notice it. 

3. Notice what you feel: Observe different temperatures, maybe the feel warmth of the sun or the coolness of the breeze on your skin. Perhaps notice how clothing feels on the skin. What each footsteps feels like? Wow does pressure move through the body as you walk, which muscles engage. Is the ground, hard, soft even or uneven? Notice how breathing feels. Are you carrying any tension you can consciously let go of?

4. Notice what stimulates your senses: Identify all the subtle sounds, smells and even taste. Pay attention to anything else that stimulates your senses and notice any reactions that you have to these observations. 

5. Keep coming back to observing the moment: As you wander, the mind might wander too! Emotions and thoughts might come to your attention, if they do, try not to get drawn into analysing them. Instead notice your physical and mental reactions. Allow your emotions to be present, accept them and then bring your attention back to noticing your surroundings and senses repeating steps 2-4. 

6. Enjoy: Enjoy creating a little space for yourself and enjoy being focussed in the moment.

Image by Arek Adeoye

Jersey Royals with asparagus, rhubarb and buttermilk by Ollie Templeton

This combination was one that sounded so bizarre to me that I had to try this recipe - It is DELICIOUS! 

The wholesomeness that comes with this recipe is more to do with supporting British and buying local. I was lucky enough to to get the Rhubarb from a neighbour and the Asparagus came from the local farmers market. Sometimes the enjoyment of food can come from growing your own or sourcing in a fun and sociable way. Make the trip to the market a special occasion with a friend, have fun, laugh and smile with strangers!