I keep counting
the leaves of the garden
I keep counting the cry of
the partridge and the crow
thy can’t be counted
but I keep on counting
it helps the counter to grow
When my first born left for college, she gave me the most magical parting gift: a jar filled with 180 little handwritten notes, one for each day that she was going to be gone for her first semester. These small love notes that my daughter wrote me act as inspirational daily reminders of what to focus on in order to stay positive, resilient and courageous in challenging times.
Today, let me share this one note from the jar with you, as it fits our topic of Mindfulness:
"You showed me how to notice and appreciate nature"
Have you ever felt there must be more to life? Well, there actually is! It's right in front of you and all around you. You just need to stop and take notice. Take time to unplug. Set aside your phone. Step away from the computer and television and notice the intricacy and beauty of the world around you. Slow down and enjoy the little things that normally you would rush straight past.
Learning to be more mindful and aware will do wonders for your well-being in all areas of life: scientific studies have shown that practicing mindfulness improves physical health, reduces stress and depression, accelerates recovery and increases our focus. Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh explains: “Mindfulness shows us what is happening in our bodies, our emotions, our minds, and in the world. Through mindfulness, we avoid harming ourselves and others.” Jon Kabat-Zinn, professor of medicine and founder of MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) defines it this way: “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” Mindfulness helps you get more in tune with your feelings, and stops you from dwelling on the past or worrying about the future - so you get more out each and every moment.
Practice Mindfulness Moments
Take a moment to try this simple mindfulness exercise based on The 5 Senses. Next time you go outside (though you can also do this right now, where ever you are!):
5 - Notice 5 things that you can see:
Look around and bring acute visual awareness to 5 things. Pick something you don’t normally notice, like waterdrops on a leaf or a bird perched on a windowsill… Or if you are sitting in a room, find something you haven’t actually looked at attentively in a long time (maybe the picture on the wall or an object on a shelve).
4 - Notice 4 things that you can feel:
Bring intense attention to 4 things that you can feel. For example, soft moss or damp grass, or the warmth of the sun on your face and the wind in your hair… You could also simply just feel the material of the chair you are sitting in right now, or the texture of your sweater.
3 - Notice 3 things you can hear:
Take a moment to listen, and note 3 things that you hear: the chirp of a bird, a plane flying overhead or the trickle of water in a stream… If you are inside, can you hear the heat moving through your pipes? Your computer whizzing?
2 - Notice 2 things you can smell:
Bring your awareness to smells that you usually filter out, pleasant or unpleasant. Perhaps the scent of a flower, your own deodorant or perfume, or something you would rather not have on the bottom of your shoe!
1 - Focus on 1 thing you can taste right now:
Slow down and really taste what you are drinking at this moment: your morning coffee, a cold sip of water or a hot cup of tea…
Finish by acknowledging how you now feel. How did this increased moment of mindfulness bring you into the present moment? What did that do for you? Did anything awaken any emotions? What did you notice that brought you joy?
Think about how grateful you are for what you just experienced. Take a mental picture of this moment to look back on later, or journal about what you noticed.
Do you love the idea of my Mama Jar?
You can easily create your very own jar of inspiration:
1 - Write your favorite motivational quotes on slips of paper (the more colorful, the better!).
2 - Pop them in any kind of container.
3 - Leave it near the alarm clock/kettle/desk/yoga mat ready for your daily dose of YOU CAN DO THIS!
Do you love the idea of Mindfulness?
A great place to start practicing is to check out my mindfulness-based Mental Fitness program : “Positive Intelligence”.
For now, open your senses and come experience a moment of magic …
Take the next step
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