“Acknowledging the complexity of life may be an especially fruitful path to psychological wellbeing.”
Because if you don’t take care of you first, you won’t be able to take care of anyone else.
Is mindfulness just another trend, or could it actually have the power to change your life?
We need this is our lives.
Spring is upon us! So it’s time to kick all of that stagnant, winter energy out of your life and invite rejuvenation and balance back in.
Not sure where to start? Here are our top 5 tips on how to detox you mind, body and soul – just in time for the warmer weather.
They don’t call it a ‘spring clean’ for no reason! Now is the perfect time to throw away anything that might be weighing you down. Go through your clothes, draws and cabinets, and toss out (or give to charity) anything that you haven’t used or worn in over a year. It’s been said that decluttering invites new energy into your life and clears any blockages.
With the change in season comes a change in produce – and appetite. Ditch the hearty, winter lasagnes and hot pots in favour of fresh, spring salads and grilled proteins. Also, make the most of the lush, seasonal fruits such as honeydew, mango, lychees and apricots. Your body will thank you for it later!
Get some sunshine
With the weather warming up, it’s the perfect time to get outdoors and soak up some of the sun’s rays. Why not grab a friend, a coffee and a picnic rug and head down to your local park for the afternoon or take a stroll on your lunch break? Experts say that sunshine has a profound effect on people’s mood due to its ability to increase the ‘feel good’ hormone, serotonin. You’ll be surprised at how revitalised and recharged you’ll feel afterwards. Be sure to slip, slop, slap though, ladies!
Drink more water
In winter, our desire to drink water decreases. What you may not realise however, is that h20 helps to flush out any toxins from the body and can also help to speed up your metabolism. Make a conscious effort to drink at least 8-10 glasses of water a day going into spring. While it might seem tricky at first, you’ll be amazed at how quickly your body will adapt.
They say that our power lies within the present moment, therefore it’s important to remember to bring awareness to it on a daily basis. Practising meditation is a great way to do so, however something as simple as a ten minute body scan can also be effective. Set aside some time in the morning – or on your lunch break – and listen to a guided scan (check out Smiling Mind in the app store). Not only will this help you to relax and de-stress, according to research it promotes a sense of inner balance and self-awareness.
Are you struggling to establish a daily meditation practice? You might feel that you don’t have time for it; it’s boring, it’s not for you, or you simply forget. Yet, the benefits of meditation are profound: It relaxes your nervous system, brings clarity, increases your vitality and connects you with your intuition. Who wouldn’t want that in their lives?
1. Start small
If the thought of spending 20 minutes meditating seems daunting, try 5 minutes. Everyone has 5 minutes a day that they can invest in themselves, whether it’s immediately after you wake up, in your lunch break or just before going to bed. As you get used to meditating regularly, you can gradually increase the time.
2. Choose what works for you
There’s no one right way to mediate. You can focus on your breath or a mantra that you’re saying to yourself, listen to a guided meditation, or try a walking meditation. Experiment with different ways to meditate and choose what you enjoy the most.
3. Everyone can meditate
Are you concerned that you have all kinds of thoughts in your head and that meditation is not working for you? It happens to all of us and it doesn’t mean you can’t meditate. Simply acknowledge your thoughts as soon as you notice you’re thinking and go back to your focus – whether it’s your breath, your mantra or the movement of your body.
4. Create a routine, but don’t get attached to it
If you’re able to pick a time to meditate every day, great! It’s much easier to remember your practice when it’s on your schedule and it’s easier to turn it into a habit. But sometimes things will happen that disrupt your schedule, or you might be struggling to create a routine in the first place. Don’t let that take you out, just watch out for the next available time and use it for your meditation.
5. Don’t give up
Feeling bad that you’ve missed a day or two? Not many people will stick with it every single day. Don’t be harsh on yourself about it; simply return to your daily mediation practice on the next day or as soon as you can.
Image via Pixabay
Teaching mindfulness to kids has a lot to do with staying out of nature’s way. Children have the innate ability to live in the present moment. They’re aware of what’s going on in their bodies and express their needs freely. They let go easily, they cry when they’re hurt and they can laugh the very next moment when they’re not feeling the pain anymore. The simplest objects can capture their attention for a long time.
As they grow, they learn to dwell on the past, worry about the future and keep their minds busy with outside distractions like we do. To some extent this is inevitable – no one is mindful all the time. But we can make sure that our kids can call on their mindfulness skills when they need them, and here are some ways to do it.
Share your own mindfulness practice with your kids
To teach your kids about mindfulness, first you must practice it yourself. You can choose something easy to share with your kids like a 5-minute meditation, or a mindfulness walk where you guide them to notice the feelings in their bodies and what is happening around them in the present moment.
Even if they just see you doing it, they’re likely to join in. I was struggling to find alone time for my daily meditation during the school holidays. So, I’d announce that I was going to meditate and the kids were not to disturb me, and I’d get on with it. More often than not, when I was finished, I’d find little people sitting next to me quietly with their eyes closed.
Gratitude is a perfect and easy way to notice and appreciate things that are right here and now. You can make it a formal practice at the same time every day (for example, before bed), or you can share things that you’re grateful for throughout the day and ask your children to do the same. It’s easy to turn it into a game, and the kids will quickly begin to notice more of the world around them and how it enriches their lives.
Use simple mindfulness activities
Ask your children to tune into their emotions and tell you how they’re feeling. Or listen to a piece of music together, focusing just on the music. Put on some guided mediations for kids (try the Smiling Mind app).
Teaching mindfulness to kids doesn’t have to take time out of your day. Each one of your daily activities can be turned into a mindfulness practice if you remember to focus on the present moment only, and invite your children to do the same.
Image via Pixabay
Using our intuition is not something we learn at school. Most of us have been taught to make decisions relying on logic and information that we receive from the outside world, but this is no longer a great strategy for a successful life. Information is everywhere and it can take us decades to get through it and arrange it in a logical way, and who has decades to spend on every decision? We need a shortcut and we need it now!
Luckily, intuition can provide this shortcut by helping us access our inner knowing of what is right for us in every moment. Successful thinkers and doers from all walks of life admit that developing their intuition has been vital to their success. Bill Gates, the richest man on earth has a popular quote: “Often you have to rely on intuition,” while Einstein said: “The only real valuable thing is intuition.”
“But I’m not Bill Gates and I’m not Einstein”, you might be thinking. “What if I don’t have intuitive abilities?”
Everyone has intuitive abilities
Intuitive coach and energy healer Freya Dwyer explains that intuition is the part of us that guides us to bring love and grace to every situation, and it’s a part that we all have. Even if you don’t think you’re intuitive, you have probably experienced intuitive hits without realising it.
For example, you might be having a fight with a family member and you really want to say that one thing that will ‘get’ them, but there’s something in you that warns you not to go there. Or you might get a strong sense to eat a certain food or walk a certain path, and you don’t know why, but to do anything else feels wrong.
Why is it important to follow your intuition?
Your intuition offers the shortest way to personal fulfilment. “If we don’t follow our intuition when the voice is quiet and small, eventually your life will become so uncomfortable that you will have no other choice but to follow it”, Freya says. A bad relationship is the perfect example that comes to mind. We see and feel that something is off from the very start, but we choose to ignore our gut feeling, just to end up breaking up months or years down the track after a lot of heartache.
Freya tells a story from her own life when her intuition helped her make a decision that wasn’t comfortable, but it turned out being the right one. “When I was in my twenties I worked for a company that was very unethical. I didn’t have a lot of experience and I thought that must be the way things were in that industry, but it felt very wrong to me.
“One day I just walked out. I didn’t know what I was going to do or how I was going to pay my bills, but I knew I couldn’t stay one more day in that place. After I did that, I gained employment at a wonderful company and was able to build back my self-esteem.”
Developing your intuition
While everyone has intuitive abilities, using your intuition is like using your muscles. Train your muscles every day and you will soon notice that your body becomes fitter and stronger. Practice your intuition and you will start receiving clearer signals.
Freya recommends daily meditation as a way to develop your intuition. You can start with just 5 minutes a day and then gradually build up your meditation practice. Other activities that can help are journaling and yoga, or another physical practice to connect you to your body.
Self-care is extremely important when you want to hear your intuition clearly. When you’re stressed out and running around all day, you’re unable to discern between worry and intuition. Instead, take some time for yourself and do what relaxes you. With a calm mind it’s much easier to remember to pay attention to the signals in your body.
Stop and notice how you’re feeling throughout the day. Acknowledge the things that feel good, whether it’s patting the neighbour’s cat, smelling a flower, or drinking more water. Then notice how you feel when you do things that don’t feel right, like constantly checking Facebook or complaining. Get to know changes in your body as you go about your day. What gives you a feeling of bliss? What makes your stomach tighten?
The difference between intuition and fear
But wait, isn’t that tightening in the stomach just fear? Shouldn’t we ignore it and go for what we want anyway? Freya offers an easy way to distinguish between fear and intuition. Fear is about rehashing the past or trying to predict the future, while intuition is always, always in the present moment. Fear tells you that you have limited options. Intuition is infinitely creative. Fear tends to compare you to others and their situation, but your intuition knows that you’re entirely unique.
Connecting to your intuition is a discipline. Practice every day and little by little you’ll be able to experience greater flow and ease in your life.
Image via Pixabay
We often associate mindfulness with having a special place, time to yourself and complicated mindfulness techniques, but you don’t need any of these to be mindful. Mindfulness is simply a state of being present and you can practice it anywhere. If you’re not sure how to do it, here are some simple ways to get started.
1. Deep breaths
Whether you’re at work, with your kids or stuck in traffic, there’s always an opportunity to take a few deep breaths and focus on the way the air is flowing in and out of your lungs. Notice the sound of your breath, the temperature of the air and the way it fills your belly (not chest!).
2. Engage the senses
- Look around and notice what you see without judgement. Don’t sort things into interesting and boring, beautiful and ordinary. Simply notice what’s there.
- Then concentrate on what you hear, even sounds that you’d normally block out. Do you hear the birds singing? The traffic in the distance? People talking?
- Next, notice things you can feel – the pressure of your feet against the floor, a slight breeze, discomfort in your shoulders.
- Turn to the sense of smell. What does the air around you smell like? Finally, notice the taste in your mouth.
3. Eat mindfully
Most of us just eat when the time comes to eat and combine food with other tasks to save time. As a result we eat too much of the wrong kind of food or forget about meals altogether. Instead, practice tuning into your body to check if you’re hungry and what kind of food you’d like to eat. Then take your time to notice the colour, the texture and the smell of the food you’ve chosen. Chew it slowly and concentrate fully on your experience.
As you can see, mindfulness doesn’t have to be hard and time-consuming. Anyone can use these mindfulness techniques and experience the benefits without taking too much extra time out of their day.
Image by realworkhard via pixabay.com
Imagine taking a vow of silence, cutting off all contact from your loved ones and the outside world, giving up grog and only eating vegetarian meals – all for the duration of a 10-day, live-in meditation course, in the name of personal enlightenment?
Personally, I’d struggle on all fronts – particularly with not being able to see my husband and two toddlers for that long – but for countless others, this is nirvana. For in the eternal quest for peace of mind and happiness, people are flocking to a residential meditation centre in regional South-East Queensland, set in landscaped gardens within 60 acres of bushland.
And once there, thousands of meditation students will, each year, willingly take a vow of “noble silence” for the duration of a 10-day adult course which caters for up to 70 people.
Participants must also eschew all modern luxuries, such as the use of technology, including all electronic devices. Eek!
Following the age-old technique of Vipassana meditation – one of India’s most ancient practices hailing back to the time of Buddha more than 2500 years ago – Dhamma Rasmi is located at Pomona, Queensland, about two hours north of Brisbane.
This Vipassana meditation centre is hugely popular with both men and women and even offers 20-day courses for “old students”. About 40 courses in total are run annually, including one-to-two day classes for teenagers and children, and pregnant women are welcome at the adult courses.
So, why on earth would you do it? The benefits of such a 10-day meditation course are said to include:
- It’s a practical way to achieve peace of mind and boost your happiness and productivity.
- A 10-day residential course with a qualified teacher gives students the opportunity to be “free from distractions”, according to the course terminology. This apparently helps you tap into your reality within.
- This technique is said to help participants “come out of suffering”.
- The course is non-sectarian and so suitable to all people, regardless of religion, gender, race or nationality.
- It focuses on the deep interconnection between mind and body, and “dissolves mental impurity”, resulting in a balanced, uncluttered mind full of love and compassion.
And a word of warning, dear reader: this residential meditation course is a serious undertaking and not for the faint-hearted.
Before you apply, you’re encouraged to “read and accept the code of discipline”, including what is expected of you, lest you get chucked out. And note well: all journalistic attempts were made to interview a course convenor or teacher for this story, but all such requests were declined. Apparently, publicity is neither sought nor welcomed, hmph.
For more information, visit www.rasmi.dhamma.org or www.dhamma.org.au.
Images, in order, via www.dailymail.co.uk and www.popscreen.com.
- The quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
- A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
Christmas is coming and with it, giddy highs and stressful lows, as we strive to make things absolutely perfect for our loved ones, including our precious children and other family members.
Is my eggnog good enough for hard-to-please Aunt Myrtle? Will everyone get along this Christmas, or fight over the turkey? What if my toddlers misbehave? Agh!
So, in order to combat such anxieties, relationship psychologists say it’s vitally important to be mindful and enjoy the present.
Mindfulness is a hot topic and buzzword at present, but it has long been recognised as an effective way to reduce stress, increase self-awareness, enhance emotional intelligence and effectively handle painful thoughts and feelings.
So, how on earth do we practice mindfulness?
Some simple tips to live in the moment, as advocated by Buddhists, include consciously focussing on the present. Practice staying in the moment, focusing on the here-and-now and putting worries and concerns aside to be dealt with at a later time.
In addition, pre-planning and setting aside time to be organised can help us to relax on the big day, knowing that we’ve done our best to have things “just so” as we want them to be for Christmas lunch. And, as any psych will tell you, it’s important to be kind to yourself, be realistic and don’t expect perfection!
Unexpected problems and issues will always arise, but we have to try to be happy with having done our best.
Using relaxation techniques such as slow, deep breathing, not letting yourself worry about things that you could have done – instead, visualising a scene of peace happiness and tranquillity – can also help you to be mindful and relaxed during the festive season.
As well as combating anxiety, another great goal this Christmas is to develop a sense of gratitude, or appreciation for what you have, or towards a particular person who has done something good for you.
For having a strong sense of gratitude can act as a strong antidote to counter depression.
Writing a list of the good things in your life can a cool, fun place to start and experts say this is also a great habit to teach the kids.
Another idea is to write a gratitude letter – a letter to someone who has done something for you that has changed your life in a good way – especially if you’ve never told then how much you appreciate what they did. You don’t even have to actually send the letter!
Images via www.pixabay.com.
We all know that meditation can help us relax, slow down and find an island of peace in our frantic days, yet, how many of us actually do it? We make up with all kind of excuses: that we don’t have time, we can’t sit still, it’s boring and it’s not for us. Most of these excuses come from misunderstanding what meditation is and what isn’t. Here are some of the most common myths we tell ourselves.
Meditation requires time and a quiet space
Meditation is a technique for slowing down the mind through focusing on a single thing and letting go of everything else. While it can be easier to escape distractions if you have a dedicated time and place for meditation, the single thing you’re focusing on can be anything – your breath, the movements you make, a scene in nature, a sound, the present moment. For your meditation practice, you can easily use your daily commute, housework or anything else that’s already there in your day.
You need to sit still with your eyes closed when you meditate
That’s the first image that comes to mind when you hear the word “meditation”, isn’t it? Someone sitting still in lotus pose with their eyes closed. I can understand why it wouldn’t work for everyone and it’s not for me either. I can’t do a lotus pose and, more often than not, the moment I close my eyes in a mildly comfortable pose I drift off to sleep. Yet, as I already mentioned, there are many alternative ways to meditate, from jogging to knitting to watching the sunset (and you’ll have a hard time doing either of these activities with your eyes closed).
It takes a long time to see any benefits
You’ll start experiencing the benefits as soon as you start practicing meditation. They may not be mind-blowing at first. You’ll probably not experience a huge shift of consciousness, but your body and your mind will get a change to rest, let go of stress and heal.
Meditation is just relaxation
While meditation is relaxing, meditation and relaxation are not the same thing. Meditation is about becoming more aware of the present moment and relaxation can sometimes be about escaping it – imagine watching TV or reading a good book, where you enter an alternative reality. In comparison to relaxation, meditation offers additional benefits: self-knowledge, clarity of thought, focus and resilience in stressful situations.
When it comes to meditation what you do is far less important than how you do it. As you can see, with intention you can easily incorporate meditation into your day and reap the rewards.
Image by suc via pixabay.com
Break-ups can feel like a death, except there is no funeral to go to and no gravesite to visit. It’s sheer grief, despair, loneliness and isolation. Sound familiar? There’s no quick fix and there’s no one size fits all way to cope; but nevertheless, you need to find a way and move on.
Each person experiences grief differently. As long as it doesn’t affect your mental and physical health, do what you have done in the past when you have experienced a loss. For some, it will be the first time they have experienced this intense emotion. Check out this article on coping with grief for more information.
Give yourself time to heal. Rebound relationships might take your mind off your ex, but it will be extra baggage you may need to deal with. Plus, is it unfair to the person you choose to rebound to. There is no designated time limit on how long you need to give yourself, but if you’ve been in a long term relationship, be aware it will take some time to learn to adjust to life without them.
Distancing yourself from your ex is essential. Avoid going to places where they might be, calling or texting them or listening to saved voice messages. All this will add to your pain and prolong your ability to move on. Plus, this is initially how stalking can develop. Listening to music which reminds you of them or looking at photos might be something you choose to do as you grieve but long-term this can be really unhealthy.
If you have mutual friends, avoid asking about your ex. If they choose to discuss your ex and it’s making you uncomfortable; politely ask them to stop. It would be better for you to choose to associate with your friends, rather than mutual friends, in initial stages. If you want to retain a friendship with them ask them to give you some time while to work through the break-up.
Look after your health
People often pick up addictive behaviours after a bad break-up, such as drinking, drugs or gambling. Avoid trying to block the pain with substances or overeating, as this can quickly become an exceptionally unhealthy coping mechanism. Look for healthy alternatives to fill the void you are experiencing. Be aware of how you have coped with stress and pain previously. If it’s been unhealthy, catch yourself quickly.
At some stage after the break-up, you will begin to feel better. The tears will flow less, emotions around the break-up will dissipate and life without your ex will become normal. At this stage, you can look toward the future.
Instead of rushing into the arms of the next waiting stranger, take things nice and slow. Although sex makes us all feel great, it can have the opposite effect if you are still hooked on another person. Date on a casual basis and, if you find someone you’d like to get to know better, do that. Take sex off the table for a while and develop a friendship first. Really get to know if this person is right for you or if you are needing them to fill a void.
Even though the initial stages of a break-up are exceptionally painful and difficult, love is the greatest experience a person can have. Life will go on and a new type of normal will emerge. You never know, as one door closes, another one will open. This is the adventure of this thing we call living.
Most of us feel the need to withdraw from our rushed, busy lives every now and then. A weekend retreat is a perfect way to experience a quick dose of peace, try something new and come back reenergised.
When I signed up for a meditation retreat at Nan Tien Temple, I expected a few hours of meditation here and there and lots of free time to catch up on much needed sleep. The vow of Noble Silence (no speaking) for the duration of the retreat also looked very attractive – I could participate in classes and group activities without having to engage in small talk, which, as an introvert, I often find exhausting.
After checking into my accommodation, a nice hotel-like lodge, I went to meet the rest of the group and our meditation teacher. To my surprise, I found that the retreat’s schedule was very full. There was a lot to squeeze into one and a half days – morning chants, a tour of the temple, a tea ceremony, a tai chi class and evening meditation after dinner, just to mention a few of the activities.
I felt overwhelmed when I looked at my schedule, but I soon understood the intention behind it. The Buddhist monk, who was teaching us, talked about how mindfulness and meditation were not something you did once in a while, when you had the right conditions (when you’d managed to get away from the city for a day or two for a retreat). Instead, our teacher’s goal was to have us pay attention to every activity we engage in and practice skills that we could take into our daily lives. So during the weekend we practiced being mindful in everything we did, whether we were meditating, walking, eating, drinking tea, doing tai chi or listening to the history of the temple.
Observing Noble Silence wasn’t the only rule. No smoking and no meat were allowed on the territory of the temple, and all electronic devices were to be switched off. I broke one of the rules – I spent some time taking night photos of the temple (when else was I going to get that chance?) until one of the monks noticed and asked me to put my camera away.
Despite this little distraction, I still felt the power of mindfulness to transform stress into peace and I was amazed that it happened in such a short time. When retreat was over I didn’t want to go. I didn’t reach out for my phone or ebook reader (something I’d normally do when I have a free minute), I just sat at the lake and watched the fish for hours.
Image from muminsearch.com
By Tatiana Apostolova
While meditation began as a spiritual pursuit, it has become an exercise of many non-religious practitioners as science and medicine continue to champion its benefits.
Meditation helps relieve stress and improve mental clarity. One of the most common types of meditation is the practice of “mindfulness” – focused attention on a singular aspect in the present, such as your breath or a particular body part. Meditation can help lower anxiety, maintain focus, assist creativity, improve your memory, and just generally lift your mood.
However, not everyone has the time and money to attend meditation or yoga classes. Instead, I prefer to take a few minutes out of my day, whether that is before bed, on my lunch break, or on the train, to plug in my headphones and practice guided meditation with the assistance of one of these mobile apps.
Simply Being – $0.99
Simply Being will help you relax and settle into the moment, by encouraging you to “simply be.” You can select long or short meditations (ranging from 5 to 20 minutes), and listen to your guided session with optional background music or nature sounds. The app is easy to use and great for beginners, especially those who have trouble sleeping.
Headspace – Free
Headspace founder, Andy Puddicombe, is a former Buddhist monk and a minor meditation celebrity. Headspace was built on the principle that dedicating just ten minutes per day to mindfulness practice can have miraculous effects on your wellbeing. The Headspace ‘Take 10’ program serves this philosophy, offering ten minutes of meditation over a ten-day period. An engaging, friendly voice guides the meditations, which are also accompanied by a fun animated video.
Buddhify 2 – $2.99
Buddhify is the most popular app of its kind and, not coincidentally, also the most expensive on this list. However, what is a one-off $2.99 in comparison to ongoing class fees? Buddhify has custom meditations befitting whatever you are doing in that moment. You can select an activity or mood from a colorful wheel of options, such as “walking”, “can’t sleep”, or “work break”. On top of a brilliant design, Buddhify also offers a stats page, social media sharing opportunities, and solo meditation for the more experienced practitioners.
Omvana – Free
Omvana claims it is “more than the Spotify of meditation.” It offers thousands of tracks created by musicians and authors from around the world, which you can add to your personal library and customise to your liking. There are all types of meditations that will help you sleep, lose weight, or just feel great. While the app is free and comes with some sample tracks to start you off, you will have to purchase any extras from the iTunes store.
Transform Your Life is different from the other apps on this list, as it does not provide guided meditation clips, but rather written meditations for you to contemplate over the course of each day. You can set a reminder on your phone to receive a daily assignment in “awareness practice”. The ultimate goal is to help you see past the social and cultural conditioning that might limit your happiness and mental clarity. It is great motivation for those seeking a long-term exercise in compassionate and mindful living.
Image via globalone.tv
Mindfulness is being aware of the present moment, without judgement. When it comes to parenting, being mindful is means to be fully present for your children and accept them for who they are. Why wouldn’t any parent want to be mindful?
But it’s not as easy as it seems. Our minds are constantly busy with financial worries, the task on our to-do list and encounters we had last week that didn’t quite go as expected. Have you ever reacted to your child’s seemingly innocent request with unkind words? Or listened to them talk just to realise, when your child asked you a question, that you had no idea what the conversation was about? Here are a few tips on how to turn this around and bring more mindfulness into your parenting:
Get more sleep
Most of us are not getting nearly enough sleep and this is affecting our ability to enjoy the present moment. If just keeping your eyes open is a mighty effort, then it’s nearly impossible to give your attentions to anything or anyone else. When you haven’t had enough rest, you’re much more likely to make mistakes, rush or snap at your children.
Allow more time
We often allow our schedules to run our time and being late is a trigger for many of us. Children, on the other hand, have the natural ability to be mindful and curious about the world around them. If we make it a habit of leaving a few minutes earlier for school and appointments, we can allow our children to be children while at the same time avoiding the unnecessary stress of running late.
Practice keeping your work separate
This is particularly true for those of us who work from home, or bring our work home from the office. It helps to have separate time scheduled for work, when your kids are looked after by someone else. When you know that you will get time to do your work (as opposed to trying to squeeze in some work everywhere you can), your mind can relax and stay present when you’re not working.
Leave your phone behind
Do you reach for your phone as soon as you feel bored or worried? It’s so easy to let this habit get out of hand. You think you’ll be on the phone for a moment and next thing you know, it’s been half an hour and your children are not even in sight any more. Practice leaving your phone behind (or at least putting limits on how often you look at it) when you’re spending time with your kids.
Be gentle with yourself
The chances are, you’re not going to get mindfulness perfectly worked out, ever. Just as you’re trying to be there for your children without judgement, do the same for yourself. When you find yourself reacting in an angry way or thinking of your next vacation while playing hide-and-seek, just notice and come back to the present moment.
Mindful parenting is an amazing gift we can give to our children, who crave to be seen and accepted just the way they are. But, as you can see, being able to parent mindfully is not about your children. It’s about you. It’s about creating space, love and acceptance for yourself before you can give it to others.
Image by Vera Kratochvil via PublicDomainPictures.net
By Tatiana Apostolova
You’ve heard of all the benefits of meditation. You’d love to be more peaceful, relaxed and present. Maybe you’ve even tried to meditate and you’ve lasted for a day or two… So have I. Meditation is a practice of focusing on a single thing in order to release everything else and quiet your mind. Sitting meditation seems like the easiest way to do this – all you need is a place to sit and your breath. But for many of us it’s not as easy as it sounds and it’s certainly not the only way to meditate. Any other activity that helps you focus on one thing can become meditative practice.
Often focus on the breath can be achieved much easier when breath is accompanied by rhythmic movements. In most forms of exercise, focus on the breath also promotes good technique so it’s a win-win. You get a clear mind and you get your workout done at the same time. Jogging and swimming are prefect examples of activities with repetitive movement where focus on the breath is essential for good technique.
Knitting and crochet
If you’re crafty, you’re probably already familiar with the relaxing effects of knitting and crochet. Now you can take it one step further and turn it into a meditative practice by fully focusing on what you’re doing. Pick yarn that’s comforting in colour and texture. Chose a simple project so that you don’t have to check the pattern constantly, but one where you still need to count and concentrate. Then let your craft project emerge while you’re giving your mind a break from any thoughts and concerns.
Connecting with nature
Go for a walk or stay still admiring the view while giving your full attention to the sounds, colours and smells around you. Notice the shapes of the leaves on a tree and the way they move from the wind. Observe a wave braking at the shore, then slowly drawing back in. Or simply turn your gaze upwards and watch the clouds.
When it comes to mindfulness and meditation, it’s more important how you do things than what it is that you’re actually doing. Try one of these alternatives to meditation or create your own. The key is to stay focused and in the present moment as much as possible. And remember, you don’t have to do it perfectly to reap the benefits.
Image by Lynn Greyling via PublicDomainPictures.net
By Tatiana Apostolova
Mindfulness is a form of meditation that will help you get more in tune with yourself and relieve stress and anxiety. It’s a useful technique for all people wantingto become calmer in social interactions, process stressful situations, improve your mood, and boost your mental and physical health. Here are some tips that will help introduce you to mindful meditation.
Tip 1: Find a Quiet Place to Exist
You cannot focus on the present without a quiet and comfortable place to think. If your children are running around while you are trying to meditate, this will not help you focus on your breathing. When you find a quiet place it should contain a chair or a mat for you to sit on. Your head, neck, and back should remain straight and relaxed.
Tip 2: Learn to Remain in the Present
You should learn to remain in the present. Put aside all of your thoughts of the past and your goals for the future and remain focused on the quietness in the room. This will help you switch off.
Tip 3: Be Aware of Your Breathing
Be aware of your breathing. Focus on how your body feels as air moves in and out of your body as you breathe. You can place your hand on your stomach and become aware of how it rises and falls as the air enters your nostrils and leaves your mouth. You should be aware of how you breath and the way it feels. This will help you through the process.
Tip 4: Be Mindful of Every Thought During this Exercise
Make a mental note of every thought as it comes and goes. It could be a fear, an anxiety, a hope, or a fear. When the thoughts pop into your mind, remain calm, be aware of them and breathe. This is an important part of meditation as you learn to calm the thoughts.
Tip 5: Observe Where Your Mind Goes and Remain Aware
During the process, you should not judge your thoughts. You should simply note where your mind goes and continue to focus on your breathing. Do this with a soft smile, and even angry thoughts will melt away and feel less important as when they entered your mind.
Therese Kerr (yep, Miranda’s mum!) is on a mission to get more Aussies to go organic. As an Australian Organic ambassador, she’s part of a campaign to educate Australians about how to purchase 100% honest organic products, and what certified organic really means.
The simple mission of the One Logo Says It All campaign is to spread the message that when purchasing organic products, look for a certification logo before buying. There are over 14,000 products on our shelves today that are classified certified organic. However, thousands more claim to be organic yet have not passed any testing or auditing.
SheSaid chats with Therese Kerr to find out why organic is so important to her, a sneak peak into her new organic skin care range and how she keeps calm and stress-free at Christmas.
Why is certified organic important to you?
Our body consists of trillions of cells, all needing nutrients to function effectively. We live in a highly processed, highly refined, high sugar-content world, so the food we are consuming, for the most part, is incapable of sustaining our bodies. To add further insult, we subject our bodies consistently to chemical cocktails not only in the foods we consume, but also in our homes, personal, hair and skin care products. We consume genetically modified food, eat food that is gas or artificially ripened or hormone injected and we wonder why dis-ease in every sense of the word is so apparent.
Our bodies are continually bombarded with free radicals and to combat this we need to consume and apply foods and products rich in nutrients and antioxidants. Our body even produces its own free radicals and our liver, because of all of the toxins in our world, is so overloaded trying to perform its vital role of detoxification that it can’t perform other vital roles, e.g. breaking down fat.
In saying all of that, I believe our body has the ability to heal itself. Our body is incredible, but it can’t heal itself if it lacks the nutrients to do so. That is why I only eat and use certified organic food and personal care, skin and hair care items and only use natural cleaning products in my home.
Health happens by choice, not by accident. Good health won’t just fall into your lap, in fact the opposite will be true and the key to living a long and healthy life, is education. When we educate ourselves we have the ability to make informed choices for our health and for the health of our family.
What role does eating certified organic play in your overall health and wellbeing?
It plays a huge role in my everyday life. In 2001/2002 I developed tumors in my spleen, which resulted in my spleen being removed. This was a wake up call and the start of my journey to wellness and the journey of sharing of my journey through my world of wellness. My family and I have always been healthy, and growing up in the country provided us access to the freshest of produce.
Unfortunately, like most people, I wasn’t fully aware of the dangers of the chemicals found in our everyday foods and beauty, skin and hair care products. I unknowingly used to lather myself in copious amounts of highly fragranced body wash, body lotion and perfume. Most people don’t realize that in the cosmetic industry alone (beauty, skin, personal and hair care products), according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), there are over 10,500 chemicals found in our everyday products and only 13% of these over the last 30 years have been tested for safety. That’s alarming. My goal now is to educate people and I do this through my website. I have contributors from all natural modalities in health: Chiropractors, Kinesiologists, Nutritionists, Naturopaths, Acupuncturists and many others contribute to my website – all intent on sharing the message of wellness.
I am intent on creating a world of wellness and in my world of wellness, I take a holistic approach to health: physical, mental , emotional, and spiritual. Ever since my health scare, I have been a sponge for learning new information on everything health. When we give the body the nutrients it needs it impacts every part of our life and I even have a Psychologist who specialises in the link between diet and the functioning of the brain coming on line in the new year to share her knowledge with anyone who wishes to learn about health.
My site is about providing information on health such that people can take from the site whatever it is that serves them, leave what doesn’t and in the process, hopefully, above all else, have the ability to make informed choices as to their health.
I was the CEO of KORA Organics for three years. KORA Organics is Miranda’s certified organic skincare line. I stepped down from that position in January 2013 to further develop a personal care range and to expand on my own personal wellness journey. Our goal as a family is to bring total certified organic goodness to the world and while Miranda wanted to keep KORA Organics as a certified organic skin care brand, it was my goal to share a range of truly beautiful certified organic products with the world and hence I am releasing, in February 2014 a range of certified organic personal care products, under the name of Divine By Therese Kerr namely: deodorant, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, mouthwash, mouth spray, hand wash and hand lotion and in April hair care products will also be released. These products will compliment the KORA Organics range and eventually I will also bring out a baby range.
I also offer podcasts through my website for anyone interested in living a healthy life and will be adding podcasts from professionals in their fields from mid-January next year.
What are your favourite organic brands and products?
KORA Organics of course, which is my daughter’s Certified Organic skin care range. I am also releasing a line of my own: Divine by Therese Kerr, which will have certified organic personal and hair care products. This range will compliment the KORA Organics range offering even more certified organic goodness to the world.
Who and what inspires you?
Making a difference and contributing to other people’s lives, especially to the lives of young people is what inspires me most. You see, we are all incredibly unique, gifted human beings and sometimes we lose sight of that. Reminding people of that is what I love to do. Sometimes, people lose sight of how amazing they are and all it takes is for someone else to see the greatness in them and remind them of just how incredible they are. They then get the opportunity to discover it or rediscover it for themselves.
My family also inspires me; my son Matt, my daughter Miranda and my husband John. The people I work with and who share my passion for making a real difference and the people who are genuinely out there wanting to share this message of wellness inspire me daily. The manufacturers and growers of certified organic ingredients and produce inspire me because they are at the ground roots of an industry impacting and bringing about change to so many people’s lives and all of the people in the certified organic industry, without exception are doing what they do, I believe, because of their genuine intent to make a difference not only to people’s lives but to our planet. The generations that follow will benefit greatly from these innovators and they all inspire me, without a doubt, to be the best person I can be.
Sharing the world of wellness and seeing light bulb moments occur during one of my presentations or public speaking engagements inspires me, as does connecting to gorgeous souls during my presentations and via my website and social media sites. I love seeing young people especially take up this message of wellness and adopt it totally into their lives. Healthy can be and is simple. Healthy is also tasty and it can be reasonably priced if you know where and what to buy. I have heaps of beautiful healthy recipes on my website for you to take and use and soon will be adding products to my site such that it will become a one-stop wellness shop for all.
What are your best tips for a calm and stress-free Christmas?
Christmas is a busy time of year, but it is also a very special time of year where families come together to celebrate and create life-long memories. We often forget that while rushing around trying to make everything perfect.
My best tip is to just take time to be in the moment, to be present to the beauty of life and to those who you are blessed to share life with. If things are getting hectic or a little too much, take 10 – 15 minutes time out for yourself and meditate. I personally mediate for at least 20 minutes every single day as it allows me to shut out the world and to go deep within. This 20 minutes of a morning sets me up for an event filled, productive day where my body is transported (for the day) into parasympathetic nervous system state where it rests and digests and performs at its optimum. Most of us operate in Sympathetic Nervous System State where we are in fight or flight and Christmas especially with us trying to be everything to everyone and be here, there and everywhere constantly find ourselves in this state. Sadly, when we are in this state (and most of us are consistently due to our hectic lifestyles) our bodies cannot digest food or burn fat and we wonder why we are feeling lethargic and worn out. Time to meditate, eat healthy certified organic and use only healthy certified organic personal, skin and hair care products.