Living Mindfully

Living Mindfully

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This pictures asks two simple questions:

Is your mind full of thoughts of the past and future?

or...

Is your mind capturing the present moment? 

Are you sitting in a beautiful place worried about the cupcakes for your daughter’s birthday party, getting the house payment paid, how you chose the wrong pants to wear today, the haircut you need to schedule, the presentation for work that you have yet to start, the gift you need to buy for your son to take to a birthday party, the pantry that needs to be organized before people come over, the ten pounds you keep intending to lose and how tomorrow is the day you will start the diet, the permission slip for the field trip, that thing a friend said to you that hurt and you can’t let go of it, how you should spend more time with relatives but you just can’t figure out where it fits with the kids’ activity schedule, how you aren’t saving enough for the kids to go to college but you really want a new couch and you saw a facebook ad for a furniture sale but the kids are almost in high school and you really need to save money but you have sacrificed everything you want for these kids who have it all are they going to grow up to be monsters have we given them too much should they get a job and pay for college on their own…..UGH!!!!!

Mindfulness is an awareness of the present moment. 

That is it. Nothing about the future, nothing about the past - just right now, right where you are. 

So how do we get this mindful mindset and shut off the chatter of our full minds??

Here are three quick start tools to get you instantly more mindful:

1. Notice 5

Notice five things in the space where you are right now. 

I see a piece of paper. I see a pen. I see my cup of tea. I see my chair. I see a framed picture. 

Done. Good work, you are in the present moment in the space you are in. 

Let’s try one if you are sitting outside.

I see a tree. I see a blue sky. I see a fluffy cloud. I see a bird. I see a small flower. 

Great work! You did it again! 

Next time your mind is full and racing, pause to notice five things in your midst. This will instantly bring you back to the present and reset your mind for you to regain control.

2. Smiling Organs

This one sounds silly and ridiculous, but I promise it works!!

Take a deep breath and as you do, imagine your lungs smiling with gratitdue that you let them expand. Now imagine your heart smiling because your lungs are smiling. Now picture your stomach with a smile. And your liver smiling. Two smiles on kidneys. A big smile on your intestines. And your bladder. (This is where I usually remember I drank too much coffee, but bring your mind back!) And don’t forget your brain, a big smile appears on your brain for doing this mindful work. That’s it, not only are you mindful to your body now, your are in the present moment, out of the racing mind, and likely smiling becasue this was a silly exercise! But you have to admit it just worked!! :)

3. Object Study

Pick up any object near you and study it as if you were seeing it for the first time. 

I’ll use my tea mug as an example to get you started: I see the colors yellow, green, and blue. It has a curvy handle that ties into the mug at the top and the bottom. There is a small chip on the left side. My tea looks like the color of a brown bear. (Be careful, here is where I might start thinking about bears, bring it back to the mug.). It is a ceramic mug. It could be a vessel for many things. The handle looks like half of a heart shape. The blue stripe on it is the color of the sky. 

You can do this as long as you need to with any object. If you find yourself ruminating over the past or worrying about the future, you can do a quick object study to bring your brain back into the present moment. 

Play around with these exercises and adjust them to meet your needs. 

The point of mindfulness is to bring yourself into the moment of now so that you don’t miss what is happening around you, you gain awareness of your environment, and that awareness helps you tune into to feelings, behaviors, and thoughts of your own and of others which leads to a more compassionate way of being in the world. 

What is Self-Compassion?

What is Self-Compassion?

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