Mindfulness

Time to relax

Beach relaxationRight now, you are going to take about 10 minutes just for yourself.

Find a quiet spot where there are no distractions, and sit in a comfortable chair .  Turn off your phone’s ringer, your TV, and any other electronic devices that may distract you.  Once you are ready , click on the audio clip below.

https://linbloommcdowell.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/final-guided-relaxation.mp3

Imagine being able to go through a day feeling this way much of the time.  Imagine bringing this feeling of peacefulness and tranquility with you into meetings at work, or when dealing with stressful situations at home.  You don’t have to imagine, because you can.

Flame of mindfulnessMindfulness

Relaxation techniques are part of a toolkit that you can make available to yourself to help bring some calmness and equanimity into your life.  Another tool in the toolkit is meditation, which is mentioned throughout this site, and is also discussed in my interview with Tom Sterner. Both of these tools have a common denominator: mindfulness.

In Jon Kabat-Zinn’s book, Mindfulness for Beginners, he defines mindfulness as

“….awareness, cultivated by paying attention in a sustained and particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally”.

As the above quote says, mindfulness is purposefully cultivated awareness. We can apply this concept in our daily lives: when we eat, when we take a walk, when we talk to our children. By living mindfully, we slow down, paying attention to not only our inner selves, but the world around us.  We can use mindfulness not only on a daily basis as a routine part of how we live, but also to address such issues in our lives such as obesity, stress reduction, and smoking cessation, to name a few.

By being present and mindful, we can develop equanimity, or a calmness and equilibrium, in all aspects of our lives. We can learn to be still, to take a breath before we react, to pay attention, to be aware.

So, begin your mindfulness journey by paying attention as you go about your day.  When you talk to your children, or your spouse, or a friend, look into their eyes and really listen to what they are saying.  When you take a walk, feel the ground beneath your feet, listen to the sounds around you, inhale the smells of nature.  When you eat, truly see the colors of your food, inhale their aromas, feel the textures and temperatures and all their tasteful qualities.  Pay attention and focus on only what is happening in those moments.

And whether or not you meditate, find the time to just be by yourself and mindfully relax. You can use the guided relaxation audio above, favorite soothing music, or any other relaxation recordings or techniques that you may find.  It is a wonderful way to start the day and end the day.  It is another way to be mindful.

You can read more about mindfulness, meditation and relaxation, including some great smartphone apps for relaxing (for our own-the-go lifestyles) by clicking on the links below.

Do you have any relaxation techniques or apps that work for you that you’d like to share? Please comment below!

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Posted in Meditation, Stress Reduction, Your Personal Journey

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