Mindfulness is simply taking your mind off of things for a while. It doesn't have to be complicated. Consider it as just a few minutes out of your day to gain your balance, refresh your perspective, and give yourself a break from any overwhelm you may be experiencing.
Mindfulness is not like praying. When you pray, you ask or thank. In mindfulness, you focus and listen. The key to mindful meditation is to concentrate on something positive, without being distracted, for a certain length of time. Don't worry if your mind keeps drifting to your shopping list or last night's events. This is normal. It's OK. You don't have to make your mind a blank page, which is difficult for most people these days.
Go somewhere quiet where you will not be disturbed and get into a comfortable position. It's nice to have a spot in your home for just this, a place to be quiet or pray. Close your eyes and regulate your breathing, neither too shallowly or too deeply. As you breathe out, imagine you are expelling all of your tensions and worries. Let negative out. As you breathe in, you are taking in peace and love. Let positive in.
While being mindful you might also focus on what you hear, smell or feel around you. For example, really feel the sun on your face, smell the earth and newly fallen leaves in the rain, hear the birds singing, the wind in the trees or waves rolling up on the beach, focus on the warm coffee cup in your hands or hot sand between your toes. Or, simply picture a place in your mind you would like to be that is calming and focus on your senses as if you were already there.
Being mindful isn't about creating exciting, mental rendezvous or preparing for meditation. No. It's about creating a mental oasis of serenity that you can pull into place wherever and whenever you feel stressed for a short or as long as you like. Of course, the longer your mindful practice lasts the more relaxed you'll feel.
After your mindful "meditation" sit for a moment or two and reorient yourself to your surroundings, your breathing and your senses. Smile and give yourself a shoulder hug for taking a mindful timeout.
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This following simple deep breathing exercise is a simple way to melt away stress. Before you begin, sit on a straight-backed chair with your back straight, palms on thighs and feet flat on the floor.
Close your eyes, breathe naturally, and inhale to the count of 4 and hold your breath for the count of 4. Without straining, exhale to a count of 4 and hold your breath for a count of 4. This is one breath cycle.
Repeat this cycle (inhale to 4, hold 4, exhale 4, hold 4, etc.) while focusing on your Solar Plexus, which is located at upper stomach area just below your breastbone. This is where your inner light resides, your sun. Feel the warmth of your inner sun spreading from your Solar Plexus throughout the rest of your body as you breathe in and out.
You might not be used to breathing deeply. Tension and stress cause you to become a shallow breather. If you become lightheaded or dizzy you are breathing too deeply. Don't take in so much air. Take more shallow breaths. Or, breathe in and out to the count of 2 or 3 and increase your count to 4 only as you get used to breathing more deeply over time. The idea is to breathe naturally and relax.
Calming benefits are immediate while it can take up to 6 weeks to experience a profound meditative state.
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All too often, stress at work will wear you down and make you wish you were doing anything else but what you are doing for a living. But, sometimes, when you truly dislike or even "hate" your work position in life it is simply because you are ill-prepared mentally or physically for your day (or night). The following 10 suggestions are meant to help your work shift go more smoothly and reduce sensitivity to stress on the job.
#1: Get to bed at a decent hour (before 11:30 PM) or early enough to sleep 7-10 hours at night. If you work nights, keep a regular sleep schedule. Get up early enough to not have to rush. More sensitive or overwhelmed people become anxious when rushed. Being rushed can set a negative tone to the rest of your day.
#2: Eat breakfast with a proper dose of protein or have a protein shake. It is always best to eat a larger amount of protein with your first meal of the day. This helps to stabilize your blood sugar and mood throughout the day.
#3. Now, I don't know about you, but I can't lay my clothes out the night before because by the time morning rolls around I'm no longer in the mood for whatever I laid out the night before, so I'm not going to tell you to do that. However, I do suggest that you make time in your weekly schedule to have your basics ironed, hung up, and put away in their places so all you have to do is grab what you want to wear in the morning.
#4. Wear comfortable shoes. A poor fitting shoe will cause aches and pains all the way up your body. Poor fitting shoes can make your back hurt and give you a headache. Better shoes usually cost more but they will save you money by saving your health in the long run. another option is to buy insoles.
#5. Dress up to the next level in your position. Often, when we aren't happy with our jobs we lose self-esteem and begin to let go of our appearance because we just don't care anymore. However, this only causes others to see you in a negative light and will greatly reduce (if not eliminate) your chance for a promotion. If you are in sales and you want to be a supervisor, dress like one. If you are a supervisor and you want to be a regional manager, dress like one. In other words, when it is at all possible, take your appearance up a notch while still dressing in clothing that feels comfortable to you (not scratchy, too tight, too warm, to cold, etc.). You will find that when you place effort into how you look other people will take you more seriously. And, remember to smile.
#6. If you sit at a desk much of the day make sure your chair is comfortable. Bring in a cushion or wear some form of back support. Make sure your legs are relaxed in front of you with your legs only slightly bent in a relaxed position.
#7. Your eyes, when sitting up straight (and looking straight ahead), should be focused at about 2 inches below the top of your monitor screen. To keep from getting a crook in your neck, your phone handset should have a shoulder pad attachment. Look away from the screen and stretch regularly.
#8. Keep your desk or work area clean and organized. This reduces tension and promotes focus.
#9. During breaks, if you can, go outside or look out of a window for a few moments in nature, especially if you work in a cubicle.
#10. Plan for and eat your lunch daily. Stash of trail mix or some other healthy snack hidden in a drawer for just in case.
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End of the year family get-togethers can be stressful, to say the least. First, it's Thanksgiving with Halloween following close after, then Christmas and then New Years. Thanksgiving is the time of the year folks, traditionally, get together with family and friends to share the traditional meal of turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, rolls, and grandma’s jello salad, and pumpkin pie. We entertain ourselves with details of our experiences and retell the stories of times past. The men might watch a game or the holiday parade on television, while the women tend to the children and the dishes. Christmas is often celebrated the same way, but with the additional stress of gift giving. These special holidays are often filled with happy traditions but, for others, it can mean loneliness, frustration, and sadness for, both, personal or financial reasons. Potlucks and family get-togethers can be stressful. So how can you plan ahead of time to reduce holiday stress?
Perhaps, like me, you have a hard time coping with large groups of people, even when it is family. I know I don’t have to tell you how hard it is to walk into an environment filled with various smells, odd lighting, changing temperatures, a cacophony of voices (some familiar and some not) and familial expectations that can make you feel trapped, like others wanting you to share your thoughts and feelings on a subject or asking you to say grace. Then, there’s the having to make excuses to leave when your sensitivities are about to make your head burst and hoping no one will be upset after you make your exit. It’s enough to make you want to play hooky from the event altogether. It’s called overwhelm.
None of us like overwhelm because of the way it makes us feel and, all too often, we turn down invites. But, without participating in life, we run the risk of low self-esteem, which doesn’t feel good either. When we fear feeling a sense of overwhelm we are actually fearing life or our reaction to it.
With that said, and thinking in terms of happy tradition, perhaps it is time to start some of your own traditions that honor your sensitivities and who you are at this time in your life.
Perhaps you could…
Tips to Keep Your Energy from Being Drained
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Mari J. Dionne ~ CHP, CLC
"The older I get the more sure I am that one's thoughts create one's reality. They say home is where the heart is but I have found it is the mind that that determines where one's heart resides."
Forgotten English Health Terms
Fish-Whole - as sound as a fish or healthy
Blind Cupid - the backside
Accoucheur - a male mid-wife
Kingsevil - a disease or swelling of the cervical lymph nodes
Valitudinary - subject to sickness; crazy
Chime-Child -a child born on Sunday who was immune to witchcraft, could see ghosts, and was a natural healer
Periblepsis - a delirious stare of the eyes
Wormland - churchyard
Green-Sickness - a disease incident to virgins; sickly paleness, with green tint of complexion
Tissek or Tissicky Cough - a tickling faint cough
Multiplying Medicine - an elixer of the alchemists, used in making and multiplying gold
Peat-Reek-Whisky - highland whiskey, distilled over peat fires
Belly-Brussen - a distended stomach or having a protuberant stomach
Oint - to smear with an unctuous substance (usually having to do with painting or disguising something)
Farbed-Up - confused
Nyctobasis - somnambulism; to walk in one's sleep
Roozles - wretchedness of mind and body
Coolth - coolness (opposite of warmth)
Pharmacopolist - an apothecary
Laver - to wash (before dinner)
Gothicism - to be rude or rudeness
Desuetude - lack of use
Splay the Bream - to cut up that fish
Doctor of Skill - a physician
Dendranthoplology - the theory that man sprang from trees
Fash - to care, to trouble one's self, anxiety
Satisfy Colon - to satisfy one's hunger
Neurasthenia - debility or impairment of the nerves
Trollibags - the intestines
Cothish - faint, sickly, ailing
Fogo - a disagreeable stink, stench, or smell
With Squirrel - pregnant
Pottinger - a cook, apothecary, druggist (Scotland)
Pomster - a quack doctor; to treat illness without knowledge or skill
Bleflummery - vain imaginings
Venefice - a practice of poisoning
Weaponsalve - a salve that was supposed to cure the wound by applying it to the weapon that caused it
Overset - to recover from mental shock
Fordolked - wounded
Wamblecropped - humiliated
Peffle - in a nervous state
Measondue - a hospital or poor house
Dead-Nip - a blue mark on the body not caused by an injury or any known cause...sometimes called a witch's nip
Sadly On - expressing that a person is ill or in a bad way
Whirligigs or Tallywags - testicles
Betwattled - to be surprised, confounded, out of one’s senses
Bone Box - the mouth
Dicked in the Nob - silly, crazed
Head Rails - teeth
Hickey - tipsy, hiccupping
Knowledge box - a term for the head
Sugar stick - the virile member
Pimpish - Dainty in the matter of food (taking in small quantities)
Witchify - to bewitch
Naufrage - shipwreck
Artwork & Photography Credits
Side Bar: Pen & Ink, Old Door, and Star (iStock.com ~ All rights reserved.) with sepia overlays.