• If you use it, will buy you time to think through your actions before you react
  • Tools are free, easy, can do anytime/anywhere
  • Helps us accept what we cannot change
  • As we become more aware of pleasant vs unpleasant things in life, we can create more pleasant experiences (ie. If I know that it feels uplifting to notice signs of spring, then I can be on the lookout for birds and blue skies).
  • Once we break free from our usual reactive programming, we can look at the situation objectively and decide what (if any) action to take in order to feel better. This is called mindfulness.

Mindfulness exercises

  • 2 mindful bites – Instead of trying to be mindful all the time, try mindful eating for the first two bites of any meal or snack. Pay attention to your senses in terms of how you experience it rather than evaluating it.  For ex., notice the texture, taste, smell, appearance of the food, and the sounds when you bite into it.  You don’t need to savor it, you’re just paying attention to your sensory experience in an experiential rather than evaluative way.  Again, you should just notice the experience and not judge or evaluate the experience.
  • What 1 breath feels like – Feel the sensation of one breath flowing into and out from your body. Notice the sensations in your nostrils, your shoulders, your rib cage, your belly, etc.
    • Cleansing Breath – To take a cleansing breath: Inhale deeply into your belly, through the nose (if you can’t breathe through your nose, use your mouth), bringing the air deeply into the lower lobes of your lungs. As you do this your abdomen will rise. On your out breath, your abdomen will sink back into your spine. This kind of breathing will reduce the stress response in your body.
  • Take a mindful moment to give your brain a break instead of checking you email or filling up every tiny space in your day. Spend a few minutes looking outside, notice the leaves fluttering on the big tree outside.  Notice the color of the walls and the texture of the ceiling and just take in the details of your surroundings.
  • Air on exposed skin – Pay attention to the feeling of the air on your skin for 10-60 seconds. This is best when wearing short sleeves or with some skin exposed.  You’re are practicing being in experiential processing mode (as opposed to evaluative “judging” mode, which tends to come automatic).
  • Scan your body – Scan your body from top to toe for any sensations of discomfort or tension. Attempt to soften to the sensations of discomfort.  Next, scan your body for any sensation of comfort or ease.

Benefits of MEDITATION

  • Reduces stress
  • Allows us to take control of our emotions
  • Improves concentration

*Get comfortable, lie down and close your eyes (if they are ok with that) and have somebody read the following meditation.

Meditation: Hiking to Freedom

To begin take in a nice big deep breath…. and then let it out slowly now …Good … let’s do it again … Taking in another deep breath… and letting out slowly now … good… Taking in another deep breath … and letting it out slowly now… listen very carefully now…you’ll need to focus in on each word I’m saying … I want you to imagine now that you are lying down on a big, soft white cloud… It’s so soft…as you allow yourself to sink down into the cloud…as you dink into that softness… you become more and more comfortable on this cloud… You realize that you are completely safe on this cloud… the cloud supports you completely as you begin to just drift and float sinking deeper and deeper down …imagine that you can look above you and see a beautiful sky… occasionally you notice other clouds floating by … and a bird here and there… before long you begin to feel the warm sun on your body… it feels so good as you continue to sink down into the deepness… the softness of this cloud…That cloud just drifts and float…just relaxing…drifting and floating…deeper and deeper relaxed….. before long you begin to become aware of the sun shining above you…It’s just the perfect temperature… as the sun shines down upon you, you can feel the warmth beginning to soften all the muscles in your face…calming you…that calm feeling now spreads from your head…down through your shoulders…down through your arms…All the way down through the tips of your fingers…as you sinker even deeper into the cloud the calming energy from the sun now spreads throughout your torso… and your entire upper body is completely soft and comfortable…now that pleasant feeling is spreading down through your hips and legs…all the way down through the tips of your toes… and you are feeling very peaceful and calm…now in a moment I’m going to begin to count down and with each number you will allow that pleasant feeling increase.. (Count down from 5-1) good …very good…

Now imagine that this cloud is almost like a magic carpet carrying you off on a wonderful adventure…as your cloud hovers above the earths landscape you observe various places…beautiful meadows…fields of flowers…valleys and majestic mountains covered with snow…rivers and streams…as you float above all of this you realize that you can direct this cloud to take you wherever you want…you notice a trail now directly below you…there’s something very appealing about this trail…so much that you direct your cloud to bring you closer to the trail…soon you find yourself standing on the trail…it’s a hiking trail and you can tell that the trail leads to the most amazing mountain…in preparing for this hiking adventure you realize that you have a backpack with you…filled with whatever you need for your journey…you begin your hike…finding as you go that animals …birds…butterflies.. all seem to be there with you along the way…accompanying you and offering pleasant companionship on your adventure…as you continue you realize you are getting closer to the mountain…that the trail is beginning to become steeper and requires more effort to navigate…as you take another step you become aware that the backpack you are carrying on your back is getting heavier…at times it might even seem as though you could be carrying the weight of the world with you…to reach to top of the mountain will be a great accomplishment for you…so you are now quite willing to make whatever adjustments are necessary to achieve your goal…even eliminating things from your backpack…you continue on your hike soon you come upon a small campfire…a place to rest for a bit…as you come upon a small campfire…a place to rest for a bit…as you find a place to sit you remove your backpack and decide to remove those items that are only hindering your progress on your journey…as you reach inside you are gently guided by an inner knowing…and inner wisdom…this inner wisdom to search inside and find all the negativity stored in the backpack…remove it and toss it in the campfire…as you do you are guided to know that whatever you are eliminating from backpack is for your highest good and greatest benefit to release now…and as you toss whatever you choose into the fire there is a tremendous sense of relief that comes over you…finally…finally you are experiencing the healing of the fire…burning away all the old memories…eliminating whatever you choose…once you feel complete with clearing out your backpack you feel ready to continue on your hike… The great adventure of your life…you notice that somehow the hike has become easier…without the weight you use to be carrying it all seems much easier…much more pleasant…and exciting…you are becoming even more eager to discover the possibilities waiting for you at the top of the mountain… inspired…excited you notice your pace is picking up a bit and you feel more enthusiastic with each step you take…soon you realize it’s just a few more steps and then you’ll be at the top… you take in a deep breath and then there you are…you have accomplished what you set out to do…you’ve climbed the mountain of freedom…and here at the top you have an amazing view of the world around you…somehow the world now looks different…from this place you realize that the possibilities are endless…the world is much more appealing from here…it’s filled with joy and happiness…and here you are completely safe…it’s peaceful…calm…and here you find the strength…a sense of confidence and knowing that from this moment forward you are completely capable of experiencing the best that life has to offer it feels good…there is light…a sort of energy here at the top of this mountain that now surrounds you…this light… this energy is a gift to you for your accomplishment of climbing this mountain of freedom…. Soon it becomes time to return from your great hike… as you go back down the mountain, you are directed to take this protective light and energy with you… It is yours and it is a source of protection that will continue to be with you from this moment forward… so with each step you take back down the mountain allow that protective light to become stronger and brighter… more comfortable and pleasant.. You are now completely safe… Free and inspired to enjoy all the areas of your life more fully and joyfully.

Now with a deep breath you are going to return to consciousness… with each number you will become more aware…… 1 …… allow all feeling to  begin to return to your body….. 2 …… Feeling yourself awakening …… 3 ……. With each breathe you are feeling more aware ….. 4 …… feeling more alert and refreshed ….. 5 ….. Eyes wide open fully awake now …. Realizing that you are now energized and feeling lighter.