This case study is part of the Daily renewal of the mind series and the result of an interview with someone who combines all of the elements of daily renewal of the mind across their personal and work life.
The questions posed for this case study are:
Daily renewal of the mind is when you consciously and intentionally do daily practices and routines that are nurturing and uplifting for your mind – this enhances your mood, helps you to be present in the moment, keeps you buoyant, contributes to your overall wellness and resilience in the present moment each day and influences you to think positively about your future.
"..renewing activities are ‘organic’ and happen naturally – they are not part of a rigid plan and I decide and choose what I do each day to refresh my mind and intentions.
Our Case study - the context
Patrick is a leader and a manager, a coach, a husband and a father – he has many different interests in life and is very actively engaged and involved in a wide range of activities. For the last eighteen months Patrick has been working from home. He is now, like many people, starting to attend some meetings in person and is starting to do a ‘mixed-model’ of some working from home and sometimes working in varied locations.
I noticed that Patrick is a person who engages in activities to revitalise and refresh his mind - undertaking conscious and intentional activities to keep himself alert, active, engaged and purposeful.
So, I decided to interview him about his daily renewal of the mind to find out what kind of activities he engages in to refresh his mind on a daily basis.
Our case Study - the questions
Patrick was interviewed by Shared Inspiration's Joan Haines, and these are the questions and responses that reveal the nature of how he lives and works supported by his daily renewal of the mind.
Patrick was enthusiastic to explain his activities that he undertakes regularly – activities that he knows help him to renew and refresh his mind on a regular basis, that contribute to his overall wellness and resilience. He is keen to point out that the activities he undertakes regularly are not a hardship for him – ‘not a penance’ – they are a ‘luxury’. He actively enjoys life more when he engages in daily renewal activities.
1. What motivates you to consciously and intentionally engage in daily renewal of the mind?
"...reflecting on challenges and saying 'what can I do about that?'..."
Patrick explained that a ‘perfect day’ for him starts early in the morning. He describes himself as a ‘morning person’. He gets up early and does his practice of meditation for about 30 minutes. He has been practising meditation for some time now – and is motivated to continue with this regular practice because he says, it gives him a feeling of ‘balancing his internal senses’. During these meditations he aligns himself positively with himself, his family and others, including the wider world. Meditation causes him to ‘look with kind eyes’ on others and this is a compassionate motivation – always wishing to be compassionate to himself and to others.
About three days a week, Patrick keeps a journal. In this he records thoughts about life, his family and his work. Through this journaling he engages in regular reflections and notices the ‘ups and downs’ of life. He notices in particular what went well the day before, what he learned and what else he can do to continue learning, developing and making a positive contribution to others. Patrick shows in this practice that he is the epitome of a ‘life-long learner’, through consciously and intentionally reflecting and recording his thoughts and feelings daily – and making adjustments to his life to keep things fresh and alive for him. An important motivation for this journaling is to keep buoyant and resilient – reflecting on challenges in his life and deciding ‘what can I do about that?’ In this way Patrick ensures that he is mindful and reflective and does not stay with a problem for too long, but rather, he starts to solve things on a regular basis.
Patrick also takes part in regular physical activities – and he is particularly enjoying continuing to walk every day … and now – getting back to the gym once again on some mornings. He is very ‘time aware’ and he fits a lot into his daily habits and routines. Patrick is motivated to go to the gym since he feels this physical work-out is ‘value-adding’ to him. He feels more alive, alert and well and says he is most resilient after a gym session. He walks to the gym, with headphones on, listening to podcasts that uplift him. Patrick arrives at the gym, completes his work-out involving weight training and leaves feeling refreshed once more.
2. What is your desired outcome?
" ...a more enjoyable life..."
The outcomes Patrick desires from the daily renewal activities of meditation, journaling and regular physical activity including walking and gym sessions are many and varied.
He says that through these activities he experiences a ‘more enjoyable life’. He is more resilient – he notices life’s ups and downs and is able to moderate his responses well. He does not get stuck in problems for long, but actively reflects and makes adjustments constantly to improve things for himself, his family and others.
Like all busy people, Patrick finds that there isn’t much time during the working day to be ‘mindful’ and aware of the present moment – so this intentional setting aside of time to renew his mind has the outcome of setting him up positively for the rest of the day. He sets his intentions for the day and lives them out during his day. This tends to make things go better for him than if he did not engage in such daily renewal activities. He notices that sometimes he doesn’t feel like doing his journal – and that’s ok … its not a rigid discipline, he says, but rather an enjoyable luxury activity that refreshes him, whenever he wants and has time to do it.
3. What emotions do you experience when you do activities relating to daily renewal of the mind?
"I feel more connected to my core purpose"
The emotions that Patrick notices through meditation, journaling and physical activity are many – he notices that he feels like he is ‘treating himself’. He feels content that he has ‘started the day as he means to go on’. He feels happy that he is continuously learning, growing and developing as a person.
At the end of the day he says he feels pleased if he has completed his routines and activities and he experiences a feeling of closeness to his family. In some ways he feels more connected to himself and to his core purpose to be generous in heart and mind - a ‘servant’ to his family. He feels pleased that each day he is ‘designing the intention and standard for being me’ through these daily or regular renewal of the mind activities.
Patrick feels pleased when he can look back at the end of the day and notice that he met his intentions for that day. He emphasises that these renewing activities are ‘organic’ and happen naturally – they are not part of a rigid plan and he is the person who decides and chooses what he does each day to refresh his mind and intentions.
4. What do you know and believe about the benefits of activities that promote daily renewal of the mind?
"I can exercise mind over matter"
Patrick says he believes that these daily, regular, renewal activities give him some structure to his day. Other significant benefits that he notices from doing daily renewing of his mind activities are:
I show myself I can be self-disciplined if I want to
I notice I am resilient and can exercise ‘mind over matter’
I can change and adapt to meet challenges
I notice I have got some useful will-power
I can acknowledge the ‘noise’ of life and see my way forward
"I get to turn over a fresh page every day"
The benefits of daily renewal of the mind activities contribute to Patrick’s overall positive experience of life. He feels more connected to himself, to his family and to others. He benefits from feeling ‘more balanced’. Through these daily renewal activities Patrick says, ‘I get to turn over a fresh page every day’ and this benefits him by giving him an important sense of ‘permission to start again’.
Although Patrick is a morning person and he likes to do daily renewal of the mind involving meditations, journaling and physical activity in the early hours of the morning, he knows that not everybody likes the mornings as much as he does. Daily renewal of the mind does not have to take place in the morning. Patrick believes these activities can be effective at any time of your day - at any time that suits you and your mood.
He also believes there are many varied activities that could refresh your mind regularly - what suits him may be different for other people – for example some people might like to enjoy a bath with candles, or lie down with cucumber on their eyes – the point is engaging in anything that allows your mind to relax and replenish itself.
Patrick concludes that through his chosen daily renewal activities that work for him - meditation, journaling and physical activity he gets to reflect on what’s going on, as if looking down from a balcony’ - this helps him to keep a good perspective on life and that is very useful to him. He gets to ‘stop, pause, work out what is happening and turn over a new page’ every day. He knows that ‘life is a journey’ and these activities help him to make the most of it rather than ‘drifting along’ and finally, he says, ‘It works for me, that’s all’.
What will be your first step?
What’s the smallest viable experiment you could do to renew, refresh and replenish your mind every day?
Recommended further learning:
Mind Your Life: How mindfulness can build resilience and reveal your extraordinary - Meg Salter, 2017
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