Posts Tagged Compact Disc
7 Easy Ways to be Mindful Every Day
By MARGARITA TARTAKOVSKY, M.S.
Mindfulness has a way of sounding complicated. It’s anything but.
“Mindfulness is paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally,” according to Marsha Lucas, Ph.D, psychologist and author of Rewire Your Brain for Love.
There are many simple ways you can be more mindful. Here are seven tips to incorporate into your daily life.
1. Practice mindfulness during routine activities. Try bringing awareness to the daily activities you usually do on autopilot, said Ed Halliwell, mindfulness teacher and co-author of the book The Mindful Manifesto.
For instance, pay more attention as you’re brushing your teeth, taking a shower, eating breakfast or walking to work, he said. Zero in on the sight, sound, smell, taste and feel of these activities. “You might find the routine activity is more interesting than you thought,” he said.
2. Practice right when you wake up. According to Lucas, “Mindfulness practice first thing in the morning helps set the ‘tone’ of your nervous system for the rest of the day, increasing the likelihood of other mindful moments.” If you find yourself dozing off, as Lucas does, just practice after having your coffee or tea. But “…don’t read the paper, turn on the TV, check your phone or email, etc. until after you’ve had your ‘sit,’” she said.
3. Let your mind wander. “Your mind and brain are natural wanderers – much like a crawling toddler or a puppy, Lucas said. And that’s a good thing. Having a “busy brain,” Lucas said, is actually an asset. “The beneficial brain changes seen in the neuroscience research on mindfulness are thought to be promoted in large part by the act of noticing that your mind has wandered, and then non-judgmentally – lovingly [and] gently— bringing it back,” she said.
4. Keep it short. Our brains respond better to bursts of mindfulness, Lucas said. So being mindful several times a day is more helpful than a lengthy session or even a weekend retreat. While 20 minutes seems to be the gold standard, starting at a few minutes a day is OK, too.
For instance, you can tune into your body, such as focusing “on how your shoes feel on your feet in that moment, or giving attention to how your jaw is doing [such as, is it] tight, loose or hanging open at the audacity of the person in front of you in the coffee line?” Lucas said.
5. Practice mindfulness while you wait. In our fast-paced lives, waiting is a big source of frustration – whether you’re waiting in line or stuck in traffic. But while it might seem like a nuisance, waiting is actually an opportunity for mindfulness, Halliwell said. When you’re waiting, he suggested bringing your attention to your breath. Focus on “the flow of the breath in and out of your body, from moment to moment and allow everything else to just be, even if what’s there is impatience or irritation.”
6. Pick a prompt to remind you to be mindful. Choose a cue that you encounter on a regular basis to shift your brain into mindful mode, Lucas said. For instance, you might pick a certain doorway or mirror or use drinking coffee or tea as a reminder, she said.
7. Learn to meditate. “The best way to cultivate mindfulness in everyday life is to formally train in meditation,” Halliwell said. He compared practicing mindfulness to learning a new language. “You can’t just decide to be fluent in Spanish – unless you already are – you have to learn the language first,” he said. “Practicing meditation is how to learn the language of mindfulness.” Meditation helps us tap into mindfulness with little effort, he said. He suggested finding a local teacher or trying out CDs.
Mindfulness isn’t a luxury, Lucas said, “it’s a practice that trains your brain to be more efficient and better integrated, with less distractibility and improved focus. It minimizes stress and even helps you become your best self.”
Lucas cited Richard Davidson’s research at the Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin, which shows that all of us have an emotional “set point.” “Some of us have more of a tendency toward withdrawal, avoidance, negative thinking and other depressive symptoms, [whereas] others have a greater tendency toward positive moods [such as, being] curious, tending to approach new things and positive thinking,” she said. Davidson has found that through mindfulness, we may be able to train our brains and shift our set points.
“Mindfulness practice now has an abundance of neuroscience research to support that it helps our brains be more integrated, so your everyday activities, thoughts, attitudes [and] perceptions…are more balanced [or] well-rounded,” Lucas said.
7 Keys to Becoming a Positive Person
By MARGARITA TARTAKOVSKY, M.S.
“The quality of your thinking about whom you see in the mirror largely determines the quality of your life,” according to speaker and bestselling author Brian Tracy and therapist Christina Tracy Stein in their book Kiss That Frog! 12 Ways to Turn Negatives into Positives in Your Life and Work.
“If you change your thinking about yourself, you change your life — almost immediately.”
As such, the authors help readers morph their negative thoughts and emotions into positive ones and fulfill their potential. They note that developing high self-esteem and a positive attitude takes practice. In the last chapter of their book, Tracy and Stein spell out the seven keys they say will help you be the best that you can be.
1. Use positive self-talk.
Tracy and Stein believe that how we talk to ourselves determines 95 percent of our emotions. If we don’t talk to ourselves positively, then our default is negative or worrisome cognitions. As they write, “…your mind is like a garden. If you do not deliberately plant flowers and tend carefully, weeds will grow without any encouragement at all.” They suggest saying statements that are positive, present and personal, such as “I can do it!” and “I feel terrific.”
2. Use positive visualization.
According to Tracy and Stein, visualization is probably the most powerful ability we have. They suggest readers “Create a clear, exciting picture of your goal and your ideal life, and replay this picture in your mind over and over.”
3. Surround yourself with positive people.
The people we live and interact with play a big role in our emotions and success, Tracy and Stein write. “Decide today to associate with winners, with positive people, with people who are happy and optimistic and who are going somewhere with their lives.”
4. Consume positive mental food.
The authors suggest feeding your mind educational, uplifting and inspirational information. (As they say earlier, “Good in, good out.”) Seek out info that makes you “feel happy and more confident about yourself and your world.” This might come from books, magazines, CDs, audio programs, DVDs, online courses or TV programs.
5. Practice positive training and development.
Dedicate yourself to a lifetime of learning and growing. Tracy and Stein quote entrepreneur and motivational speaker Jim Rohn: “Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.”
6. Practice positive health habits.
“Some of the factors that predispose us to negative emotions of all kinds are poor health habits, fatigue, lack of exercise and nonstop work,” write Tracy and Stein. So they suggest taking great care of your physical health by eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly and getting plenty of rest and relaxation.
7. Have positive expectations.
“Your expectations become your own self-fulfilling prophecies.” That’s why Tracy and Stein encourage readers to expect the best. “Expect to be successful. Expect to be popular when you meet new people. Expect to achieve great goals and create a wonderful life for yourself.”
What are your thoughts on these steps?
Do you think positivity is key for our lives?
Learn more about Brian Tracy and Christina Tracy Stein. If you’re interested, we also reviewed Kiss That Frog! here.