Practicing Mindfulness

We’re on day 6!! That’s awesome. Today and tomorrow we’ll focus on mindfulness practices. These are a handful to suggestions to help develop and cultivate your mindfulness practices.

Today, we will review basic steps for mediation, how to listen to your body, understanding where some of your angry and other emotions are coming from, and breathing through harsh judgments.

1). Find a good spot. Quiet, free of clutter, can be inside or outside. If you are going to make it part of your daily practice you may want to select an inside spot so weather doesn’t get in the way. Leave the lights on.
2). Use a time or app so you can meditate freely. Some apps are guided or just have ambient music. Start out with 5 minutes. Work up to 45 over time. Do what feels right for you.
3). have good posture. Eyes 4-5 ft in front toward floor. Or eyes closed. Chin slightly tucked and spine aligned. Sitting bones centered and stable . arms parallel to the torso, hand naturally on thigh or palms up knees below hips.
4). Follow your breath as it goes in and out. Your attention may leave your breath and your mind may wander. If it does return to your breath. Don’t judge yourself or your thoughts just come back to your breath. Taaadaaa you did it.

When was the last time you noticed how your body was feeling? Not when you’re feeling unwell, stressed or in pain. We are all living very busy high tech low touch lives and go through our days detached from our bodies. Pay attention to what your body is saying. Is it telling you you are stressed and this stress is triggering an health issue. Is it telling you you are tired and need to stop and take time to rest. Pushing through, surviving on little sleep, and multitasking are not helping us at all. Take a few minutes each day to notice your own physicality in this world. Do not judge. Are you legs feeling weak and weary, do shoulders feel strong and confident, is your brain foggy an scattered. What is your body telling you. Take a few minutes during the day to do a body scan. (sit, stand, lay)
1) get comfortable,
2)close eyes or with a soft gaze not focusing on anything,
3) rest for few minutes and notice your natural breathing,
4) when you are physically and mentally settled bring awareness to your body. How does it feel supported by the floor, etc.
5) focus your attention on different parts of your body, toes, feet, legs pelvic, abdomen, lower back, upper back, neck, arms, hands fingers, face, head.
6) for each part linger and what do you notice, and
7) if your mind wanders bring it back to your body, if you nod off that’s fine too, when you’re ready return to your body. Your body is sending you a lot of information. Listen to it. Love it. Care for it. Pain in the shoulder could be stress from work. Figure out ways to reduce stress rather than taking pain reducers .

Next time you notice an intense feeling rising. Stop and take a moment to figure out what’s going on inside of you.
1) recognize the warning signs; heart rate, frustration, pulse, body temperature,
2)Pay attention to your body, notice your breathing and take a few mindful breaths. Notice how your body feels as you breath in and when you exhale,
3) Rest in awareness. Meaning don’t do anything and exercise some patience and stick with these feelings, but remind yourself this shall pass. Discover what this anger is trying to teach you.
4) Ask yourself What is upsetting me about this situation? What am I thinking about that is worrying or upsetting me? What is making me sad, angry, frustrated or disappointed right now? And
5) practice without judging yourself. Breathe and offer gentle curiosity and listen for a response. Exercise self-compassion.

This practice can help with the negative thoughts and chatter that clutter our minds and the overwhelm we feel as a result of not being able to settle our minds. Here are 3 steps to try;
1) take a seat and get comfortable
2) bring attention to your belly breathing and notice the breath coming in and out. Some people place a palm on their belly and feel it rise and lower with each inhale and exhale. Focus on the rise and fall of your belly. When the negative chatter creeps back in focus on your belly breathing. Try this for about 5 minutes. Focus on the sensations.
And 3) You will notice your mind is not interested in the breath. Bring it back to your belly breathing. Be a little curious about the judgments rising. Notice it and let it go. Notice it with kindness and let it go.

Remember to take stock in your heart and your mind and practice self-compassion.

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