I think happy thoughts


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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.

 


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Mindfulness and How it Works

Mindfulness is something that sounds easy at first but then takes a lot of practice once you truly understand what it is. It’s the purposeful observation and noticing of the environment without passing judgment. The reason this is so hard is because we as humans are trained to make judgments all the time. It is often helpful to us in making decisions. The problem is that sometimes our judgments can lead us to negative thinking instead of just taking in the information.

An example of this would be sitting in a chair. Your fist thought might be “this chair is uncomfortable.” That is a judgment and an example of mindfulness would be “this chair has a hard seat and a straight back.” Just noticing the qualities of the chair without determining if it’s good or bad. The same would go for taking a walk outside. “It’s a nasty day out” is a judgment and “It’s raining and the sky is a gray color” is using mindfulness. When you talk about the qualities of what you see you start to notice that making a judgment can lead your thinking to be either positive or negative.

By taking a step back and noticing the environment you allow yourself to be more present in it and take it in without it being good or bad. Allowing yourself this extra time to notice the environment helps you to gain control of your thoughts. It also helps to ground you. Sometimes thoughts take on a life of their own and seem to spiral out of control. In reality you do have the ability to control your thoughts. This is a great power and very helpful when you want more positivity in your life.

The challenge in gaining control over your thoughts is to catch yourself in the process of making a judgment and stop yourself. Then take a step back and think of how you could describe the situation in factual terms. Practicing this just a few minutes each day helps to provide more grounding in your life and a sense of control over the environment you live in.

The easiest way to practice is to start by the chair you are sitting in. Take a few minutes to describe everything about the chair and the room you are in. You will be surprised at how many judgments you try to make. Being able to notice this and practice moments without judgment (Mindfulness) puts you in a more powerful situation. The practice takes time but does become easier the more you do it. Working out your mind is the same as physical exercise the more you practice the better you become at it and the easier it is.

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