Our priorities are ever shifting with the pressures of social media, burn out and maintaining our true selves. Now more than ever, the power of the mind is a tool we must exercise daily. Fashion model and founder of the popular Instagram page ‘Modern Mind’ with over 130k followers, Amber Lyon shares the importance of mindfulness; mantras big and small that can shift our thinking immediately and positively change the course of our day.
Amber reflects on a busy day in NYC and how she started Modern Mind despite doubts and her top 3 mindful tips.
On the subway from Manhattan to Brooklyn, desperately lost on my way to a casting I stopped to have an emotional support coffee at a nearby cafe. January in New York is no joke. Since I’m originally from Queenstown I thought that I would have been anatomically better prepared than most to handle the cold but my frozen white hands said otherwise.
Warming up and accepting that I’d missed the casting for the day and awaiting a berating call from my agent I open the notes app on my phone. Something that’s become a daily ritual of mine since moving from NZ to NY. My notes serves as a digital catalogue of thoughts, perceptions and mindful reframes (alongside random restaurant names, phone numbers and to do lists). The act of zoning in and being able to translate my thoughts into text has always been deeply cathartic for me — even if typing through thawing fingers.
I remember sitting at that cafe and deciding to start a page where I could start to share some of the mindful tools that I had been using. My inner critic reared its head to vocalise a general distaste for putting myself out there. There are few ickier feelings then sharing intimate thoughts on a public platform, particularly when the first and only people to get on board are family and friends (Hi mum).
In saying that though, Modern Mind was really born from a place of anonymity. Not because I hid it from those closest to me, but because I was so far from home, it allowed me let go of a lot of the fears I had around what people would think. I don’t want to blame tall poppy syndrome, but I do think there’s a lot of pressure in Kiwi culture to do well, or don’t do it at all. Except it’s impossible to establish something without first starting out and making mistakes along the way. It’s part of the reason it’s so important to me to share what I do.
It may just be words, but I believe that words plant seeds that the mind continues to water. If someone opens themselves to the idea that it's natural to make mistakes when starting something new, or feel embarrassed about what they are sharing, maybe they’ll spend a little more time doing something they love. Thats the intent of what I share, to open up possibilities that we may have forgotten along the way.
My favourite mindful tips:
- Breathing (as ridiculous as it sounds most of us chest breathe, which is when we breathe from our upper diaphragm rather than down to our stomachs. Breathing deeply a few times a day will reset your nervous system).
- Meditation in the morning (Preferably first thing, it can just be five minutes if you are tight on time. Tying it to a habit you already perform naturally each day will help it to stick).
- Setting an intention (Visualising how you’d like the day to unfold before it takes place. This one really helps to set a direction for the day — its impossible to arrive at a destination if we don’t know where it is.)