Bringing Mindfulness Home

Sometimes it is a bit challenging to practice mindfulness at home with your family.  But, sometimes it’s also as simple as adding in a new ritual.

It can be starting a habit of one minute of gratitude and/or kind thoughts after you get in bed.  Or, taking a Mindful minute of deep breaths before you start to go to sleep.  Using calming music or a Mindfulness app can be beneficial before sleep as well.

Here are some apps I recommend to our mindfulness students:

There are more listed here:

Top Meditation iPhone and Android Apps

and

here:

Free Mindfulness Apps Worthy of your Attention

But, the reality is, you don’t need to install and app or listen to a YouTube video to practice mindfulness.  All you need is your lungs and they are free and they are always with us.

Bring it to the Table:

Another option is to create some routines around shared meals.  So, at the family dinner table, you can take a minute to breathe before beginning the meal.  Or, everyone can take turns saying one thing they are thankful for that day.  Setting the expectation that everyone is to focus on the person speaking is another way to be mindful.

Children, but humans in general, thrive on routine.  So, creating a regular mindful activity can really benefit our children, but ourselves as well.

It doesn’t have to be complicated.  It doesn’t have to be “perfect”.  Just give it a go!

 

If you want to dive deeper, here’s another great article about mindfulness apps:

How Do Mindfulness Apps Work?

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CHALLENGE DAY 21

HAPPY EARTH DAY 2018!

Today’s challenge is to slow down…

…is there a way you can create more time to allow to make your lunch? 

Make your own bread, jam or yogurt?

How about just taking some time for self care?

Life today is busy and stressed for most people.  I don’t think we are on this planet to live busy and stressed.

Mindfulness about ourselves, our community and our planet means taking the time

to “look around once and a while or you might miss it ” (in the words of Ferris Bueller)

Ferris Bueller Quote

So, today, can you take some time and go for a walk? 

Observe birds chirping, the color of the sky, the color of the grass. 

Have you seen bees yet this season?  They are critical pollinators for our food sources. 

Can you sit and take 10 minutes to focus just on your breath?

Can you lovingly make a meal for yourself and your family?

Can you make time to bake a loaf of bread with care?

That is all.

Just slow down today.

And, enjoy.

Thank you to all of you who participated, took a look and asked questions or made suggestions.  This has been a fantastic journey!

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Mindfulness – Trend or Way of Life?

Mindfulness Mag Collage

There has been a lot of discussion in the last few years about this thing called “Mindfulness”.   In this world of smart phones and free wi-fi, it can be challenging to find stillness.  The more busy schedules get, the more we are expected to multitask, eat on the go and rush through life, the more Mindfulness is desired.

What is it exactly?

Mindfulness is “being present and aware in a moment without judgement”. 

That’s it.  Getting still and letting our nervous systems settle is critical for balancing ourselves.  If you can sit up in a chair with feet on the floor, place one hand on your belly and one on your chest.  Close your eyes.  Feel your belly, then your chest, rise and fall naturally, listening to the air come in and out of your lungs.  As you repeat this, try counting to five on the in breath and down from eight on the out breath.  Then repeat for a few, slow, deep breaths.  Do this for a minute any time you need to reduce anxiety, calm down and focus.  This is a great breath pattern for settling down to sleep at night as it is calming.

A lot of scientific research has shown that Mindfulness helps improve focus and concentration and reduce stress and anxiety.  And the most beautiful thing about it is it’s just breathing.  And, we have our lungs with us from the moment we are born until the moment we die.  They are always with us and they are free.  Finding our breath puts us in a happier mood, helps us sleep deeper, reduces anxiety, helps our hearts be healthier, and improves our air intake among other benefits.

It’s as simple as taking one, slow, deep breath to deepening the Mindfulness Meditation experience to three, then five, then 10-20-30 minutes.  More experienced meditators can meditate for an hour or more.  The Dalai Lama meditates for something like seven hours a day.

The beauty of Mindfulness being trendy in the information age of smart phones, the Internet, tablets, and iPods is that there are free and low-cost apps available to guide us through Mindfulness meditation.

Some of the more popular apps are*:

  • The Mindfulness App (free)
  • Headspace (free)
  • Calm (free)
  • MINDBODY (free)
  • Buddhify (Price: iPhone, $4.99 and Android, $2.99)
  • Insight Timer (free)
  • Smiling Mind (free)
  • Meditation Timer Pro (Price: $0.99)
  • Sattva (free)
  • Stop, Breathe, & Think (free)
*https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/top-meditation-iphone-android-apps

Additionally, there are hundreds of free guided meditation videos on YouTube and Vimeo. 

Some of my favorites are:

The Honest Guys’ 10-Minute Guided Meditation is great first thing in the morning right after you wake up.

Yoga Nidra Body Scan Meditation is great if you have a little more time.

And this one from Michael Sealey is good any time to help reduce anxiety and stress:

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