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Mindfulness - Love the life you're in

Mindfulness is not only a modern buzz word to remind us to slow down in this busy, chaotic world we live in. It is an ancient Buddhist practice that dates back over 2500 years. Buddhist meditation and mindfulness practices both teach the practitioner to connect their mind with their physicality. While meditation requires one to sit in physical stillness and create an opportunity for mental focus; mindfulness allows you to focus on your life as it is in this moment. You do not have to create opportunities for mindfulness, instead every moment becomes an occasion to be mindful. The hardest part of mindfulness is remembering to do it!

Here are a few ideas on how to bring the ancient practice of mindfulness into your life today.

Mindful Breathing

Take 3 deep breaths 3 times per day

This practice can be done anytime and anywhere. In Buddhist meditation the breath is the anchor between the body and the mind. By focusing your mind on the breath, you bring the thoughts back to the present moment. Anxiety lies in anticipation of the future, and depression lies in repeated thoughts of the past. These states are momentarily neutralized when we connect our thoughts to the breath and thus the present moment.

Make it a habit to take 3 deep breaths 3 times per day. Once when you wake up, but before you move, once before eating lunch, and once before you go to sleep. This very simple practice is a reminder that most of our worries and concerns are not real in this moment. Instead they are thoughts about experiences in the past or in the future. Neither of which you can control in this moment.

Mindful Eating

Make eating a joyful experience

When last did you eat a meal alone or without electronic distraction? Eating can be such a pleasurable experience if we would just give it the right attention. Making the meal itself can be a mindful experience, but regardless of whether you cooked your own meal or it was placed before you, mindful eating begins with the eyes.

Look closely at the plate as a whole, then at each individual item on your plate. Think for a moment where the ingredients may have come from. Was it grown in the soil, baked at a bakery or manufactured at a large factory. Spend a brief time appreciating where your food came from and how it may have arrived on your plate. Next, if social norm allows it, or no one is watching, smell the food. Enjoy the aroma and notice if your mouth begins to salivate in anticipation of the first bite. Now you are ready to taste it! Take small bites, chew for longer and try to identify each individual ingredient or enjoy the flavors as they mix in your mouth. Swallow and continue to eat slowly and enjoy the process of chewing and swallowing. Stop when you feel satisfied, so that you do not over eat and feel uncomfortable.

Mindful In Nature

Appreciate the small miracles in nature

Being outside, or even watching nature from a window, can be a very peaceful, rewarding and mindful experience. The practice is to just notice what moves, or what draws you in. Begin by looking up. Are there clouds, or is there rain or snow? Is the sun shining or is it overcast? Are there trees or greenery or is everything blanketed with sand or snow. Really survey the area and take in every tiny detail. Then look at how many different forms of life you can find. Look for colors, feel the air on your skin or smell the air. Use every one of your sense, if possible, to explore the space around you. Enjoy being still or moving around in nature with gratitude. Enjoy the peaceful pace of nature.

"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished." - Lao Tzu

Mindfulness is an opportunity to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. It is giving your focus to an ordinary moment and turning it into an extraordinary experience. When mindfulness becomes a regular practice life becomes more precious, more peaceful and more meaningful.

You begin to love the life you're in!

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