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Mindlessly Stressed….not when you’re practicing mindfulness

stop-it

Being mindful can help us in everyday situations. Particularly when we suffer with stress, boredom, tiredness and frustration.  There are many ways to be mindful, but too often we forget two simple daily activities in which mindfulness can be present.
Eating and Breathing.  Sounds simple? That’s because it is, but in it’s simplicity is a powerful healing tool that we can take with us everywhere.

Mindful Eating
Mindful eating involves all the sensations of eating, including smelling, tasting, chewing, and swallowing.  Mindful eating also involves being aware of the body’s signals, such as full or hungry, and our satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the foods eaten.

Activity: Prepare a very small piece of food, such as one raisin, a nut, ¼ of a banana or small cracker.
First, explore this food with your sense of smell. What do you notice? Now take your first bite. Chew slowly (hint the more you chew the better the experience will be!), noticing the actual sensory experience of chewing and tasting. Close your eyes for a moment to focus on the sensations of chewing, tasting, and swallowing. Notice if the intensity of the food’s flavour changes, moment to moment. Proceed with your second and final bite and again focus on the experience. What does the body and not your mind, have to tell you about the food you ate? Practice this as often as you can.

Mindful Breathing
Mindful breathing involves bringing awareness to the physical sensations of breathing in your body. In the modern world we have forgotten how to breath deeply and fully.  Practicing mindful breathing enhances your concentration, gets you in touch with your body, and can support you in times of stress.

Activity: Close your eyes. Bring attention to the physical sensations of breathing in to your body, wherever you feel them most strongly.  Just keep your attention on the bodily sensations of breathing as you breathe normally. Now take a deep breath in.  Keep breathing in until you can’t take any more air in.  Hold this breath for a moment then gently release it.  Notice the sensations in your body.  Continue to breath deeply in a slow mindful pace.  If you notice your attention has wandered, simply bring it back to the breath. Next time you feel stressed, try a 3 or 5 minute mindful breathing meditation, and notice the difference.

Stressed?

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Stress today seems to have pervaded all elements of our lives, it has become a global epidemic.  We are stressed about employment and politics, financial deficiencies, our relationships, our fitness and our body shape along with our health and what we are eating.  

With all this stress floating around like dust in a sunbeam how do we know if what we are feeling is productive stress or harmful stress.   A way of answering this question is how does our body feel and how are we treating our bodies.  Are we

– Feeling tense, dissatisfied or bored 
– Having mood swings and changes i.e. anger/hostility; depression; anxiety
– Have poor memory & concentration or decision making ability
– Excessively smoking, drinking alcohol or eating
– Feeling overwhelmed, helpless or constantly thinking negative thoughts

How do we dim the noise to answer these questions.  When will the stress just stop so we can take control of our lives again and take the action we have been waiting for?

Truthfully the stress will never stop.  Mankind has had stress since dinosaurs were around.  It’s how we react to the stresses and how long we keep them around that will make all the difference. Over the next few posts I will highlight a few different ways you can support yourself and where to look for a little extra help along the way.  Stress is part of our lives, but it does not have to be the ruling element.  

TIP #1 – Take control of your inner voices.  Don’t try to ignore your inner speech, simply give your mind something positive to contemplate.  Read inspiring stories (both fictional and non fictional), listen to inspiring words and music (audiobooks, uplifting music, seminars) watch inspirational movies and shows (sometimes harder to find but go back to the movies of your childhood to get the happy flowing), and finally look at inspirational images (art and nature can offer some truly amazing images to inspire us).  Make this tip part of your daily routine and your inner voices will support you rather than hinder you. 

Fruit & Veg Wash

FV_WasToday many of our fresh produce is waxed or sprayed with pesticides. This means washing your fruit and vegetables before we eat them is so important.
Before eating or preparing your fruit and vegetables place them into your sink or a bowl with equal parts of water and white vinegar.
Allow your fruit and vegetables to soak for 1 to 3 minutes. Rinse with clean water and enjoy.