Connect with us

Articles

Join the Mindfulness Revolution – 10 Awareness-building Moments Every Day

Published

on

Join the Mindfulness Revolution – 10 Awareness-building Moments Every Day

A recent issue of Time Magazine had a feature image on the cover for mindfulness, calling it a revolution. You might be asking; why has it become so popular? You might even wonder; what is mindfulness, really? You may even want to know how you can develop it, or why would you want to.

Here are four definitions of mindfulness, all of them accurate.

1. Mindfulness is awareness.
2. Mindfulness is being more present – More embodied in the moment.
3. Mindfulness is calm, alert, presence with equanimity (Equanimity is being even-minded or non-judgmental).
4. In the book Full Catastrophe Living, the author Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as paying attention on purpose in the present moment without judgment.

To help clarify what mindfulness is, it can be useful to know what it’s not. It is not absent mindedness, mindlessness, or conceptualizing – Unless the latter is intentional and you’re aware of it. An example of non-mindfulness that most of us have experienced is driving down the freeway and suddenly realizing we haven’t noticed anything that we have passed in the last ten minutes. We were caught up in our head; someplace other than where we were.

If we were being mindful in this example we would have noticed the scenery as it went by. This is an example of mindfulness of sight, or seeing what’s there in the present moment without getting caught up in thought.

 

Join the Mindfulness Revolution – 10 Awareness-building Moments Every Day

 

You can be mindful of many things including your body, anything perceived by your senses, and even your feelings and thoughts (when not carried away by them). For example, in the time you’ve been reading this article, have you had any sensory awareness of your body? Have you noticed feeling any pain, temperature, or pressure such as the chair against your back? If you had some awareness of any physical sensations, then you’ve had some mindfulness of the body. Regardless of whether you experienced any of these things before I mentioned them, there’s a good chance you noticed some of them as I pointed them out. At that moment you were mindful.

Take a moment right now and check in with your body; feel the pressure of the floor against your feet, and also the pressure of the chair against your back, if you are seated. Notice your eyes taking in these words, and observe your thinking as you read. There. That’s mindfulness of your body, seeing, and thoughts.

It’s now probably obvious to you that you have some mindfulness some of the time, but maybe you have it less often than would be beneficial to your greater wellbeing. In the busy modern world we are often caught up in our heads un-mindfully. One big reason that practicing being mindful, especially of the body, more of the time is that your nervous system calms down and you feel good – You have a felt-sense of greater wellbeing. Your body enjoys your mindful awareness.

 

Join the Mindfulness Revolution – 10 Awareness-building Moments Every Day

 

You are probably seeing how practicing mindfulness can counter stress and anxiety. When we are anxious our nervous system is highly activated; we’re hyper-aroused. If we are mostly disconnected from the direct experience of our body we feel nervous, jittery, and frazzled, and we have a difficult time concentrating. We may even be numb to how our body feels. This is not uncommon. When we are stressed we may not even notice that our breathing is more shallow and rapid. We may go through most of the day in this state, and by the end of the day our nervous system flips from a frenetic-state to a state of severe exhaustion and fatigue.

 

Join the Mindfulness Revolution – 10 Awareness-building Moments Every Day

 

On the other hand when we are connected to our body it is soothing to the nervous system and we are less likely to become hyper-aroused. When we do experience stress, if we’re mindful of how we’re feeling, we can choose to be present in the body and take a few deeper breaths. This regulates the nervous system to a state of greater calm and we experience wellbeing and greater resilience to additional stressors. By practicing mindfulness of the body in this way we can learn to consciously regulate our nervous system and over time we can settle into a pattern of alertness (high state) and relaxation / recuperation (low state). This is compared to the un-mindful states of high-anxiety and extreme fatigue.

You can now see more clearly the reasoning behind definition number three above. Mindfulness is Calm, Alert, Presence, with Equanimity. Calm and alert can seem contradictory until they are seen in this way – that of a well-regulated nervous system. An easy way to remember this definition is with the acronym C-A-P-E which uses the first letter of each of the key words; Calm, Alert, Presence, and Equanimity. In a sense this state of heightened mindfulness is a type of super-power; an inner one that positively impacts all areas of our life.

 

Join the Mindfulness Revolution – 10 Awareness-building Moments Every Day

 

This is one example of mindfulness; that of the body, which you now see can increase our sense of wellbeing and over time our resilience to the stressors of modern life. Other benefits include acting with greater self-awareness, and non-reactivity.

You may be wondering; how does one go about increasing mindfulness? We do it by practicing. Now; how to practice? There’s formal meditation which is great, but it is not for everyone in the beginning. Another excellent way to get started is informal practice throughout the day.

To begin informal mindfulness practice, choose something as a trigger; as a reminder to practice. Using transitions works well for most people. Transitions are times you make changes throughout your day, such as going through doors, or switching tasks. Use these as a trigger or reminder to take a moment and notice what your body is sensing. For example, you walk out the door of your house; take a second and notice the temperature change on your skin, the brightness on your eyes, the smells – run through all your senses if you like. Practice this way consistently for a week or so and you’ll begin to be more in touch with your body, which will calm your nervous system, which feels great. Keep doing this and you will experience ever greater depths to being present in your body.

You will likely go through ten or more transitions every day that can be used as reminders to be more present. You can begin by setting the intention to use these as triggers to practice mindfulness ten times each day. Congratulations, you now have a mindfulness practice.

 

Join the Mindfulness Revolution – 10 Awareness-building Moments Every Day

 

There are many reasons why this and related practices, like yoga are becoming popular. A big reason that mindfulness is so popular is that it’s greatly needed. As life gets more stressful for more people we are seeking natural ways to counter stress and enhance our wellbeing. By starting your practice you become a part of this really good revolution. Give it a try. All you have to lose is your stress!

Be well.

Brad

 

Brad Maybury teaches mindfulness practices, helping clients connect more deeply with their body and gain greater calm, vitality, and wellness! Those with symptoms of anxiety, stress and trauma go from surviving to thriving.

Visit his site to learn more: http://www.traumarecoveryresources.com/newsletter

Articles

6 Things To Remember When You Think That You’re Not Good Enough

Published

on

6 Things To Remember When You Think That You’re Not Good Enough

Have you ever had moments where you feel completely inadequate? Maybe a specific situation comes up and you think there is no way that you would ever be good enough to do what is needed. Or, maybe you feel that way all the time and you can’t seem to get past it.

Thinking that you are not good enough and having low self-esteem tend to go hand-in-hand, but they are slightly different.

Thankfully, you can work on both of them by changing your thinking habits and banishing some of that negative self-talk from your mindset. Whether you think you are not good enough in certain situations or you have a hard time believing that you are good enough for almost anything, it doesn’t have to be that way forever.

Let’s look at a few things you should always keep in mind when those thoughts come in, and how you can start to convince yourself of your true worth.

1. You Are Not Alone

Thinking that you are not good enough can cause a lonely existence. You might not want to put your burdens on others, so you don’t talk about it. You might also think that everyone else is perfectly happy with who they are, and are confident in everything that they do.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The reality is, you never know what other people are fully thinking/feeling. What you can count on, though, is that there are so many others who feel just like you, and are constantly wondering if they are “enough”. Knowing that you are not alone can help you to work through your feelings without feeling so isolated.

2. You Have Your Own Skills

A common reason why people tend to think they are not good enough is because they don’t have a specific talent or skill that someone else has. But you probably have something that person doesn’t, too.

Everyone has their own abilities and things that make them unique. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, keep your mind on your talents and what makes you special.

“If you want to make a permanent change, stop focusing on the size of your problems and start focusing on the size of you!” – T. Harv Eker

3. You Can’t Be Perfect

Perfection is a fruitless thing to chase. Many people who question their self-worth do so because they are perfectionists.

But, if you set such a high standard for yourself, you will always be disappointed. Perfection doesn’t exist, and while you can strive to be your best, it is important to understand human error and limits. That doesn’t mean the things you do are some how “less” than great. But, striving for perfection is something that can make you feel inadequate.

4. You Are Worthy of Loving Yourself

Love tends to be the answer for so many things, including any pain or turmoil that you might be going through. Thinking that you are not good enough is an easy way to cause yourself sadness and pain. Those thoughts can quickly snowball and you might start to think about more negative things about yourself.

Instead of fueling those negative thoughts, choose love. Love is like a permanent band-aid for the pain that you are going through. It is a great way to comfort yourself, provide reassurance, and get a clearer picture of who you really are and all of the wonderful things that you can offer the world. By choosing self-love, you can start to see yourself in a more positive light, and push those negative thoughts away.

“We must fall in love with ourselves. I don’t like myself. I’m crazy about myself.” – Mae West

5. Mistakes Can Be a Good Thing

Do you ever find yourself feeling especially inadequate when you “fail”? While that is not uncommon, that word should really be removed from your vocabulary.

Everyone “fails” at times, because again, perfection is not attainable. When you start to consider anything less than perfection to be a failure, it is easy to beat yourself up and think that you will never amount to the things that you truly want.

But, when you start to view your failures and mistakes as good things and stepping stones, you can completely shift your perspective and realize that not only are you good enough, but you are also resilient and strong. Some of the biggest “failures” in history went on to be the most successful people because they learned from their mistakes. They looked at the things that went wrong and considered how they could change them.

It is important to use your mistakes as a way to learn and grow. When you are able to do that, you will find a greater sense of fulfillment when things finally come together and you get it “right”.

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordon

6. Gratitude Goes a Long Way

It might not always feel easy to accept and be grateful for who you are. But, it is incredibly important. Instead of thinking about the things you don’t have or areas where you are not “good enough”, choose to actively think about and pursue the positive. Focus on what you are grateful for. The more that you do that, the easier it will be to banish those thoughts of doubt and insecurity. I like to start every day by using my journal and begin by writing down three things that I am grateful for.

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” — Melody Beattie

Once you really start to think about it, you will find that you have more to be grateful for than you may have initially realized, and that way of thinking can help you to establish healthier, more positive thoughts about yourself that will last a lifetime.

Continue Reading

Articles

50 Thought Provoking Existential Questions

Published

on

50 Thought Provoking Existential Questions

What are existential questions?

Existential questions are usually deep, philosophical questions that question just that — our very existence.

They can be great conversation starters and they can also sometimes make for a passionate discussion. The following existential questions can be a great way to get to know someone better and perhaps even learn new things about yourself.

The word existential comes from the Latin word “existentia”, which means to exist. Existential questions challenge our way of thinking, our beliefs and our perspective.

Is there a right or wrong answer to an existential question? Perhaps not, as each question usually just asks more questions.

I have put together the following list of thought provoking existential questions so that you can perhaps start an internal conversation with yourself or start an interesting debate with your friends.

50 Thought Provoking Existential Questions

 

1. Are there limits to human creativity?

2. What makes something beautiful?

3. How do we know if we’re doing the right thing?

4. Who am I?

5. What is one thing that every human should get to experience in their life?

6. Do you believe in a power greater than humanity?

7. Are we given enough time?

8. Is privacy a right?

9. What is the best way for a person to attain happiness?

10. Are we alone in the universe?

11. What is love?

12. How would you define genius?

13. What do you think your purpose is?

14. If babies are considered innocent, when do people cease to be innocent?

15. Is it better to expand your knowledge or to deepen it?

16. Why do you think we are here?

17. How important is ‘play’ in living a healthy and fulfilling life?

18. Do you have a right to be happy, or should you earn it?

19. What happens when I die?

20. What worries me the most about the future?

21. What is a person? Is it the mind, or the body?

22. Would the world be a better place if all leaders were women? If you answered yes, why?

23. What activity have I done that has made me feel the most alive?

24. Does truth exist without evidence?

25. If I had to instill one piece of advice in a newborn baby’s mind, what advice would I give?

26. Does a person have a soul? If so, where is it?

27. Is intelligence or wisdom more useful?

28. Is it more important to love or be loved?

29. What would make the world a better place?

30. How should we measure our lives? In years? In moments? In accomplishments? Something else?

31. What is the difference between living and simply existing?

32. If you died today, would you be satisfied with the life you’ve lived?

33. What advice would you tell your younger self?

34. Which is worse: failing or never trying?

35. Is a minimum wage a good idea? What about a maximum wage?

36. What is the most important goal every person should have?

37. Can anything ever really be considered ‘true’ or is everything subjective?

38. Is the world a better place with humans in it?

39. If extra-terrestrial life was discovered, how do you think humanity would react?

40. Is happiness just a mixture of chemicals circulating through our bodies?

41. Where do you think we go when we die?

42. Have I done anything lately worth remembering?

43. Can you ever have full control over your own life?

44. How do you know that you are not dreaming right now?

45. Is one lifetime enough?

46. What matters most in my life?

47. Is a person ever truly evil? If so, are they born that way?

48. What is the meaning of life?

49. Is humanity going in the right or wrong direction?

50. What does it mean to live a good life?

I hope that you enjoyed these thought provoking existential questions. I hope that they perhaps made you think about your beliefs, yourself and the world around you (the bigger picture). If you discuss these questions with a friend, remember, there is probably no right and wrong answers, usually just a matter of opinion.

Continue Reading

Articles

30 Life Lessons That I Would Tell My Younger Self

Published

on

30 Life Lessons That I Would Tell My Younger Self

I clearly remember when I was 18, then 25 and in then what seems like a flash, I have recently celebrated by 50th birthday. While some people might dread the thoughts of hitting such a milestone. (more…)

Continue Reading

Trending