The secret to letting go (of what you can’t control)

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The key to letting go is giving up what is
beyond your control to embrace
what you can change. ~ Suzie Eller

There are times in life when you might run into situations that cause you to second guess yourself and maybe even desire a “do over.” However, in the long run it is typically healthier to forgo your former ways of thinking, doing or wishing by releasing whatever is beyond your control. The secret? Mindfulness. In my post “7 tips to incorporate mindfulness…,” I describe mindfulness as the act of consciously directing your awareness, without judgment—moment by moment. Take this a step further: If you discover that something doesn’t serve you in the present, then you must let it go in order to make room for new ways of thinking, relating and living. Instead of wishful thinking, choose mindful thinking. When you embrace what you can change today, you begin to entertain hope for your future.

What have you let go in order to move forward?

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

7 tips to incorporate mindfulness into your day

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If you want to conquer the anxiety of life,
live in the moment, live in the breath. ~ Amit Ray

In my post, “A month of mindfulness…,” I share how I’ve begun to practice mindfulness—the act of consciously directing my awareness, without judgment—moment by moment. I also include a few examples of where I’ve begun to pay attention on purpose. Here are seven tips on how you might incorporate mindfulness into your everyday routine: 1) Choose a better-for-you beverage or snack option. 2) Focus on your breath when you’re uncomfortable, scared or upset. 3) Give other speakers 100 percent of your attention. 4) Notice if you exhibit behaviors like jumping to conclusions or overreacting, interrupting or responding with rudeness. 5) Look for ways to extend compassion and kindness to those around you. 6) Replace negative self-talk with positive affirmations—before you “think aloud.” 7) Pause before you speak/email/text. Bonus: Always remember it’s a practice. Then watch the changes start to unfold.

How do you practice mindfulness?

Photo courtesy of David Castillo at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

A month of mindfulness: one moment at a time

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Recently I followed a movement in my Facebook feed about a 30-day minimalist challenge: remove one thing (from your life) on the first day that no longer serves you, two the second and so on. At first I was ready to jump on this spring-cleaning twist; however, rather than minimize, I’ve chosen to practice a month of mindfulness. The simple definition: to pay attention on purpose; a conscious direction of our awareness. First, I began to apply this attention to my food choices. Soon it eked into my yoga, the way I interact with my colleagues in the work place, my little family on the home front and my other relationships; how I choose to spend my time. Although it’s only a week into June, I see tangible results from my efforts. And, because mindfulness also involves approaching each moment without judgment, as I become more skilled at the practice, I can better recognize when judgment rears its ugly head. One moment at a time.

How mindful are you?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

No judgment allowed

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No judgment allowed_pakorn

 

[Image credit: pakorn]

A few days ago I ran into a couple of yogi friends and the topic of judgment came up. It seems that for yogis, the way of life on the mat is similar to life outside of the hot room. So how we treat ourselves and react to uncomfortable circumstances, during any given practice, is likely how we treat ourselves and react in “real life.” If we’re critical when we stare at our reflection for 90 minutes, then we’re probably critical of ourselves in our workplaces or with family and friends. Yogi or not, I think if we remember to approach each day (and practice) with an open mind and heart, rather than self-imposed expectations, we’d become more forgiving toward ourselves—and others. And rather than compare our journey with that of the person next to us, it’s important to accept, without judgment, that we’re exactly where we’re supposed to be. This is when we’re free to grow.

How do you keep judgment from getting in the way?

A mini mental holiday (when time is limited)

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[Image credit: Gregory Szarkiewicz]

Sometimes my judgment needs a serious overhaul.  For me, a mental holiday oftentimes does the trick (or a swift kick in the rear).  But there never seems to be time enough to plan — let alone take time out for — the former luxury.  For example, the other night I packed my schedule pretty tightly.  After work, I planned to pick up a prescription, scrub the bathroom, wash clothes and make dinner.  Following a break to eat and clean up the kitchen, I was going to dust and then attend Yoga class.  Once home, it’d be time to shower and hop in bed.  My reality?  After work I came home, changed into my comfies, poured a martini and spent the evening on a date.  With my laptop.  While I put my best-laid plans on hold, writing substituted for much-needed therapy and cheese and crackers my sustenance.   And you know what I realized?  Mini mental holidays sure beat a swift kick in the rear.

How do you maintain a healthy mental self?

Doubt paralyzes

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[Image credit: Jeroen van Oostrom]

Fall down seven times, stand up eight. ~ Japanese Proverb

Doubt can be debilitating.  Who doesn’t struggle with feelings of not measuring up (see Never settle for second best) or faulty judgment?  If you are a doubter, you know it can be as destructive as fear if allowed full reign.  It may paralyze progress or prevent us from pursuing our dreams, figuring out what works and what doesn’t and how to get back up after we’ve fallen.  And not once or twice, but as many times as it requires (provided we take the first step to begin with).  Doubt also begets second-guessing — of whatever it is we strive to do or to be.  Remove doubt, and we discover (to the irritation of our naysayers) that we do measure up but according to our agenda, not theirs.  So what if you fall down seven times?  Stand up again, dust yourself off and know with absolute certainty that it’s always the write time to believe in yourself.

Are you defined by doubt or assurance?

Judge not, lest you be judged … or something like that

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[Image credit: ntwowe]

You never really understand a person until you consider things
from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin
 and walk around in it. ~ Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)

I’ve been reading a lot lately about people judging others.  The topics vary from controversial subjects such as how long a woman should breast-feed to the legalization of gay marriage.  Even my extended family has been under the microscope, judged by people who have not walked in their shoes.  That’s the point here.  Unless we are without fault or lacking our own “stuff” we lug around with us daily (whether visible or not), I don’t believe we have a right to cast judgment on our fellow wo/man.  And without having climbed inside their skin and walked around in it, we cannot possibly know what it’s like to be them, day in and day out.  I haven’t always been as open-minded.  But if I want to be treated the same way, then it stands to reason I should keep my opinions to myself unless speaking out would keep someone from obvious harm.  At any rate, I think we could all use a lot less judgment and a lot more love.

Are you guilty of judging or loving?