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Mindfulness in Minutes

What is mindfulness? We hear so much about it, but do you know what it is? Mindfulness is a type of meditation.

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. https://www.mindful.org/what-is-mindfulness/

It allows you to focus on being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment.

Practicing mindfulness involves breathing methods, guided imagery, and other practices to relax the body and mind and help reduce stress.

Mindfulness can be achieved in just a few minutes. You do not need an hour to meditate. In the book Mindfulness On The Go, author Padraig O’Morain gives wonderful ideas on how to practice mindfulness in just moments and they fit into your busy life. https://www.padraigomorain.com/mindfulness-on-the-go-book/

Some of the benefits of mindfulness are:

– it lowers stress

– it lowers anxiety

– it can lower the risk of depression

– it allows you to handle anger in a different way

– it allows you to handle resentment in a different way

– it allows to you accept things that you can not change

– it can boost your creativity

One exercise that I personally like to do with my son, he just turned 12, when he is feeling overwhelmed and anxious is what I call the rule of 5. He has to close his eyes and tell me 5 things that he can hear while taking deep breaths. He has to tell me things that he smells (this is usually less than 5) and he has to tell me 5 things that he can feel.

Usually the conversation goes something like, “I hear the car passing on the road, the neighbors dog barking, the bird singing, the air/heat just turned on, and my breathing. I smell the simmering pot, I feel my clothes, I feel the air on my skin, I feel the cats fur, I feel my breathing, I feel the blanket…..

By the end of the exercise he is calmer. He is more relaxed. This is just mindfulness. It brings him back to a center and then we can talk about what was going on to cause him the stress in the beginning.

Check out Padriag O’Morain on Twitter talking about mindfulness. https://twitter.com/PadraigOMorain?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

Trauma, Yoga, and Healing

Therapeutic yoga supports your journey of  healing from trauma, depression, anxiety, grief, pain, stress, and other obstacles the we all face in life.   Therapeutic yoga teaches us how to listen to your body and what it is trying to tell you.  You will also learn how to connect your mind,  body, and spirit. https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_Body_Keeps_the_Score/vHnZCwAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=0 In chapter 16 of book The Body Keeps The Score the author, http://Bessel van Den Kolk, MD talks about learning how to inhabit your body with yoga. One of the lines in this chapter that struck a cord with me was:

“Yoga is about looking inward instead of outward and listening to my body, and a lot of my survival has been geared around never doing those things. ”

Yoga is a powerful way to learn and apply Mindfulness. Research shows that yoga helps us reconnect our minds with our bodies and get “unstuck” from patterns of anxiety, depression, traumatic memory, or behavioral disorder. Yoga is an Accessible Practice. Everyone can practice yoga, no matter how old or young, mobile or limited, flexible or stiff, active or sedentary. Therapeutic yoga focuses on specific and individual needs. You can do it, no matter where you are starting from. If you’re looking for a way to deepen your recovery, or simply improve your quality of life, yoga is a gentle and effective method. 

If you are interested in more information on  Yoga classes that supports your journey of healing from life’s hardest stuff: trauma, anxiety, depression, grief, pain, etc. link on the link provided. https://www.facebook.com/yogaroad.withblair/ Blair can offer you information on her classes and her teaches techniques. (She is Amazing ya’ll!)

Random acts of kindness.

When I am having a bad day performing random acts of kindness puts me in a better mood.  It honestly makes me feel better and even makes me smile.  So today’s blog is ideas that you can use for random acts of kindness.  The best part, some of them won’t cost you a dime.

  1. The simplest act of kindness is to SMILE at someone.  Smiles are contagious. You smile at someone and they smile back.  
  2. Hold the door open for someone.
  3. Let someone with a few items go in front of you at the store. 
  4. Give out sincere compliments to people.
  5. Buy someone else’s coffee.
  6. Buy the person’s breakfast behind you in the drive thru line. 
  7. Donate your gently used clothes and toys.
  8. Leave money in a gumball machine for children.
  9. Send someone a card in the mail.
  10. Send someone a gift for no reason.
  11. Leave a large tip for a server who was amazing.
  12. Donate dog/cat food, toys, blankets, or towels to the animal shelter.
  13. Volunteer at the animal shelter.
  14. Leave a sweet note in your child’s or spouse’s lunch.
  15. Put money in someone else’s meter.
  16. Give yourself a compliment.
  17. Plant a tree or flowers.
  18. Volunteer to read to children.
  19. Sing at a nursing home. 
  20. Visit an eldery person in your neighborhood.
  21. Cook dinner for a sick friend or a new mother.
  22. Buy people’s ice cream on a summer day. 
  23. If you own a business, have a bowl of water for dogs that people are walking.
  24. Tell someone a joke.
  25. Pay the toll for the car behind you.
  26. Learn CPR.
  27. Help someone who is struggling with their grocery bags.
  28. Buy a gift card and hand it to someone on your way out of the coffee shop.
  29. Leave a coupon next to that item in the grocery store.
  30. Hold the elevator door for someone. 
  31. Send someone flowers, just because.
  32. Mow your neighbors lawn.
  33. Give up your seat on the bus or subway.
  34. Buy from mom and pop stores or buy local.
  35. Leave a positive note inside a library book when you return it. 
  36. Give someone a hug.
  37. If you see someone taking pictures of their family, offer to take one with them in it for them.
  38. Say Thank you and mean it. 
  39. Praise someone in front of their boss or co-workers.
  40. Tell the manager about wonderful service given by a waiter or waitress. 
  41. Donate blood.
  42. Paint rocks with messages and leave them lying about the park for people to find.
  43. Rescue an animal from the shelter. 
  44. Go to a free concert and leave the performer(s) a generous tip. 
  45. Volunteer at a soup kitchen.
  46. Have a cookout for the neighborhood.
  47. Pay for dessert for the table next to you.
  48. Donate your books to the library. 
  49. Help someone cross the street.
  50. Wave at your neighbors.

National Hug Your Dog Day

March 10th  is National Hug Your Dog Day.

This is National Hug Your Dog Day!!!  Ok, I don’t know about you, but I don’t need a special day to hug on my fur baby.  I hug and love on them all the time!

 Let’s look at the mental health (and physical health) benefits to having a dog. 

Research supports that being around dogs (and cats) puts you in a better mood and offers stress relief.  They cut down on anxiety and depression. 

The actual act of petting a dog can lower your blood pressure. 

Oftentimes, we are more active because of our 4 legged friends.  We find ourselves out for walks, maybe even a jog.  Even if we just take our pooch to the dog park, we are getting vitamin D from the sun and that boosts our moods. 

When we are out in public with our dog, it increases our social interaction.  People are going to smile and we are going to smile back.  People are going to stop and ask to pet your dog and strike up a conversation with you.  In fact, if you walk your dog around the same time daily and in the same area, you are bound to run into the same people. 

Dogs offer us unconditional love and companionship.  They love to greet us when we come home and lavish us with love and affection. They cuddle with us and keep our deepest secrets.  They even warn us of people we should stay away from.  My dog has even been known to wipe away my tears.  

My dogs are my best friends! 

So Hug your Dog Today!

EMDR

EMDR 

EMDR is Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing.  It is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences.  EMDR therapy requires you to briefly focus on the trauma/event/memory while simultaneously experiencing bilateral stimulation.  The stimulation is usually side to side eye movement, but it can also be hand tapping. 

With EMDR you are not hypnotized.  You are in control the whole time.  You are first asked to focus on the memory and a negative belief associated with it. Then you follow your providers finger.  You then work towards a positive belief associated with the memory and work your way, away from the negative belief.

The question is, does it work?  YES!!!!!  I was sceptic the first time I ever had an EMDR session.  I didn’t understand how it worked and had my doubts that it would work on me.  It worked! 

Here is my story…..

I was 15 when my uncle committed suicide.   Prior to his suicide, his last words to me were spoken in anger, maybe even rage.  The uncle that I loved and adored, broke my heart.  Then before we could make up, he took his own life.  I had so much guilt.  I felt that I was to blame.  I felt ashamed.  I felt unworthy. I even felt that my family blamed me in some ways.  That was so much for a 15-year-old to carry.  The pain would overwhelm me at times.  When I thought of my uncle, hate and anger surfaced. I felt cold inside. 

For 30 years I carried all those negative feelings with me. I would beat myself up. Can you image how all those negative feelings affected my life and my relationships with others? I never realized that at 15 I had no control over what a 38-year-old man did. 

I ended up seeing Skye at SkyeHelps. I was seeking guidance on how to help my son through a traumatic event that he had recently been through.  In one of my sessions the whole story of my uncle spilled out. At that time, I agreed to EMDR.  If it worked, awesome, if it didn’t, I wasn’t out anything.

When we started, I focused on my uncle and his death. The negative belief was it was all my fault. The positive belief was that he loved me. When I was asked where I felt it, I felt it in my heart.  It was crushing.  I felt like I couldn’t breathe.  I was crying so hard that I could not follow her finger, she tapped my legs for the side to side movement.  I honestly don’t know how long we checked in to see where I was on a scale of 1-7.  I have no idea how long it took for me to get to zero.  What I do know is the end results.

When we were done and I thought of my uncle, I felt warmth.  I felt love.  I smiled.  I felt like he was hugging my and I was happy.  I had no guilt.  I knew that I wasn’t to blame for his actions.  I knew that my family did not blame me.  I had no shame.  All I had was love and warmth. 

30 years of negative feelings are completely gone.  30 years of blaming myself for something that I had no control over, is gone.  If EMDR can do that for me, it can you it for you.

What do you have to lose? Nothing.  What do you have to gain? Everything.