Archives for April, 2012
Mindfulness is the simple yet complex act of being present in the moment. It is paying attention, on purpose. Mindfulness might mean noticing the swirl of milk that rises in a freshly brewed cup of coffee or the touch of a breeze on the back of your neck. When mindful, we do not judge. Instead we notice and observe what is. In doing so, we let go of mental clutter, are released from emotional reactivity and become immersed in the fullness of the present moment. Our thoughts become plain thoughts, not necessarily fact or reality. Our emotions, while real, don’t require us to react. When in the present moment, we can let go of fears for the future or regrets from the past. We are able to be in our lives as we are living and to act with intention. Start off the week with awareness. These quotes inspire us live mindfully in body and spirit.
How you interact matters, as much as and sometimes more than, the words that you say. Imagine someone asking for a raise. One person does so with a smile and straightforward gaze, while another says the same words with a frown and stares at her shoes and hangs her head. Your body language and style not only affect the outcome, but also the way you feel. Sometimes we interact in ways that wear at our own self-confidence.
“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” Dr. Suess Situation: Someone “borrows” things from you and doesn’t return them Try this: Explain the situation, “I’m out of cash and need the $5 you borrowed.” Express how you feel, “I keep worrying about it and I’d be relieved to have it back.” Ask (and possibly offer a solution), “can you have it for me this afternoon? I’ll text you to remind you, before we meet.” Situation: You clean the house and a partner leaves clutter and dishes all over, expecting you to pick up.
Much of the strain and conflict that causes stress in relationships occurs when your wants are consistently side-lined by your internalized sense of how you should behave. Are you stuck “doing the right thing” while sacrificing what you want? Often, we're stressed out not because others are expecting things from us, but because we expect them from ourselves. These internal “shoulds” may have originated in external expectations, moral codes or rules that you internalized long ago that have now become pressures you place on yourself.
In our lives, most of us have gotten stuck in worry, felt close to panic, called ourselves names (stupid, idiot or failure, for example) or had trouble focusing. It’s painful to be stuck in negative thinking. When this goes on for a long period of time or when it interferes with your ability to function, it’s important to find strategies to lessen this type of thinking. Often we think of our bodies and our minds as two separate entities, but they are a part of our whole selves and as such, are closely connected. The body and mind communicate to and influence each other. Sometimes, the best way to change how you are thinking is to make changes to how your body is feeling.
Life can be full of uncertainty and pressure. You might face it when you’re in college and are uncertain about such things as who you are, how you fit in, what your future is and how to best prepare yourself for it. Or you might suddenly find yourself uncertain and feeling vulnerable and as though you have no purpose while awaiting difficult news about your health or experiencing changes at work. Stress, anxiety and depression are often consequences of the combination of uncertainty and pressure.
You may wonder what your stress response is and why it is important? Stress, today, refers to the pressures we experience in everyday living. These can be the pressures to earn a living, pay our bills, meet the demands of raising a family or care for aging parents. They can be daily pressures, such as a traffic jam, disrespectful co-workers or being asked to do things we’re not good at. They can come from the environment—poor lighting or noise—and from our minds. We experience stress when we perceive something as threatening. The threat may be to our life or well-being, but it can just as easily be a threat to an important relationship or our standing at work.