I think happy thoughts


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Breathe

Breathe- this seems like a simple thing to do. We all breathe or we would die. However, we don’t all take time to stop and focus on our breath. What does that mean? Taking the time to really breathe and let yourself just “be” is one of the best ways to ground yourself.

At times when your mind starts to fill with thoughts and plans and things that need to be done, taking a step back and just focusing on your breathing can help you gain control. You can try it at any time. Challenge yourself to spend a whole minute on breathing. Set a timer so you don’t have to worry about keeping the time. The first time you try it is hard but it does get easier.

Trying to find a few minutes each day to just sit and “be” is not always easy. “Being” and not doing is hard for people who are so used to multitasking and running from task to task never taking a break. Minds often start to wonder and think about other things. That’s not a bad thing but try clearing your mind and just focusing on the breathing.

A person who has practiced breathing can use it in many situations. Grounding yourself in the present can be helpful for reducing stress and increasing your ability to concentrate on one task. Often, focusing on so many different things at once means that none of those things gets our best work.

Breathing can also be the one thing that saves a person from losing their temper. When a discussion becomes emotionally charged, responses seem automatic and are often not ones we like. When a person is able to take a breath and think before letting an automatic response take over, then that person has more control. The response can be more rational and planned instead of automatic. Then the situation can be diffused or dealt with in a way that doesn’t lead to regrets.

One of my favorite benefits of breathing is that you get time to be with yourself. You can appreciate just being you. You can clear your mind of all other thoughts and just relax. Even a few minutes each day is restorative and can help you feel more ready to deal with whatever else you have to handle during that day.


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Mindfulness activity

Here is a new activity you can try to practice your mindfulness skills. It’s fun to do by yourself or with others. Kids can even try this easy way of practicing mindfulness. The point of this activity is to practice your skills of being mindful (noticing and observing) without making judgements during the activity.

Mindfulness while eating – take a full minute to eat the raisin

1. You find a raisin (if you really dislike them pick another small item of food).

2. Take your time looking at it. Notice the texture, it’s color, the size, shape. Any physical details about the raisin.

3. Smell it without saying it’s a good or bad smell what does it smell like.

4. Place it in your mouth but do not chew it. How does it feel?

5. Slowly chew the raisin but be careful not to swallow it right away.

6. Did it change at all in flavor, texture, smell?

7. Slowly chew for the rest of the minute taking note of all your sensory input.

This exercise is very simple but can be hard. We are so used to eating without thinking. Spending a full minute on one raisin can be a great challenge and easy way to bring awareness into your eating habits as well as daily routine.

The next challenge is to try something new to do at a much slower pace than normal and find out what you discover.