Mindful Work

Working from home, a cubical, construction site or open studio space – work is work. Big businesses have tapped into the work of their employee populations and taken note of just how much mindfulness has made a difference in employee performance.

Need to get the job done? Working as a group or individually, mindfulness helps to complete the task – and most of the times – with a happy outcome for all parties involved.

Take a look at how Forbes & NYT describe what Google, Starbucks, Aetna and so many other companies have done by incorporating mindfulness into their work.

 

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Eating Mindfully

Learning to live more mindfully can be challenging , but also a great way to explore ways in which we can live in the moment… Including eating… Below are some info graphics about eating mindfully… Time for a focus on your meals and snacks…

 

Map it out…

I was never a very good scout, which led me to being even worse when it came to cartography, and simply reading a map…. There were no Google maps or iPhones when I was in college… it was a good old fashioned paper map. My mom loved them, had them everywhere. We would buy updated maps for our cars every year. And while I found them beautiful and fascinating, reading them was nearly impossible. Thank you, Apple!!! Thank you , Google!

But today maps still interest me… mind maps, mapping your heart and soul on paper can become a beautiful piece of artwork, or simply a colorful list of ideas and thoughts… Try it out! Sit quietly and comfortably with a large blank pad of paper, some markers, pens, paints – any of the art supplies that excite you:) Map out your day, something simple at first. Try mapping your work day, or your school day, or a “regular” weekend. See what it looks like on paper – use little sketches or blots of color to make marks and comments around your maps.

Below are  a few different mind maps – there is no right or wrong, just lots of mindful flow onto paper….. You can use any “topic” to start a mind map, even school subjects or work projects, chores around your house, plans for a new room, your brain, your pets, your cup of coffee… Ideas are endless, but getting them on paper and learning how to focus on their meanings can be an amazing journey and  outlet.

Set in Stone…

There’s something about rocks and stones that has always fascinated me… I’ve had little collections of river rocks , sea glass and stone gems since I was a kid. I have rocks in almost every part of my home these days – and while most of them are decorative, I know where everyone of them is from. Just by touching them I’m reminded of the day and place where I found my stone treasures. They bring me a sense of tranquility, always (maybe that’s why I had lots of worry stones in school too!). Of course there are also some fun ways to incorporate rocks into your home, room, office, etc. The next time you’re out for a nature hike, look  for some stones or rocks that catch your eye. Make a “peace rock” with your stone findings… or, create a little stone piece of art for yourself, a friend or family member. You can even make your own worry stones out of clay – for extra creativity! Keep your rock reminders near by, where they can easily be found and picked up.

Find more ideas on Pinterest here…or here. in my resources….

 

 

Bits & Pieces

Prepping for some upcoming workshops and finding bits and pieces of “left over” ideas  and materials…. I have a love for visuals, and seemingly, so do most of the people I meet with for mindfulness workshops. Need more inspiration? Take a look here for LOTS of ideas on how to incorporate mindfulness into your life…….2c25bf9fdbd831dfddad4be81bb23dc8.jpge875335303329a3c999354c068e156aa.jpg08a61e0f149daf8f144f66c82c6c8aa2.jpg8-art-therapy-ideas.jpg6-art-therapy-ideas.jpg

Brain Talk!

It all starts with our brain… and realizing just how powerful that brain is can be vital when looking at ourselves, our stresses, fears and joys. Feeding ourselves a good, clear, clean, breath throughout the day, can help reset our brains and render a healthy, focused, stress-less person.  We can start by educating ourselves, and our kids, about the importance of our brain and our breathing.

 

Visit Ellen McHenry’s> here for a great brain learning template! For a better understanding of how the brain works – for the “non med student” – visit Geeks with Juniors,  a site for parents and kids.

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The Mind Up! series, from Scholastic and Goldie Hawn, is another great teaching resource for kids and adults learning more about the brain , breathing and mindfulness.

 

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Add a little color…

It seems as if no matter where I am these days, I tend to see “coloring books” everywhere. They used to be something for bookstores or toy stores only but now they show up as I check out at the food store or even a local coffee shop! The “zentangle”  and mandala mania has definitely grown in popularity, and most likely, for the better.

Our home is filled with coloring books, and more so now, zentangle-like books. These books range in difficulty and patterns – and you can find them in just about every theme possible. My daughter loves the animal themes, I tend to go for floral, trees and botanicals. Plus, these books come in ALL sizes too now – mini ones for long car rides or travel, and GIANT versions for the whole family to get involved in – which, by the way, is a GREAT idea!

While tiny boxes and lines may not be your thing, the art of simply coloring is quite meditative and you there are LOTS of resources out there to choose from.  Next time you’re feeling a bit edgy or anxious, give this a try:

If you’re an artist and want to try your own design, then color it in, give it a whirl.

If, however, you would prefer not to draw, pick up a zentangle or “meditative” coloring book of your preference.

Have lots of your favorite colors ready to go! Markers, crayons, pencils or paints can be used for any of these.

Color away! Don’t think of anything else except for the beautiful colors or shades that you are blending, mixing and creating. There is NO right or wrong, all you have to do is color.

Here are just a few examples of zentangle and meditative coloring ideas:

 

You can find LOTS more of these ideas via Pinterest or my Pinterest Mindful Board here

Check Amazon and local book stores too  – they have some wonderful collections too!

Mindful Walks

It just snowed a LOT … they said 28″, but with drifts and winds, it’s more like 4 feet! ok, well, close… But it’s also beautiful! The shoveling and the work were intense… yes, my back and shoulders are already feeling it a day later, but well worth it.

What I also love about snowy days are the walks… It doesn’t have to be a perfectly sunny and bright day out to enjoy a walk. In fact, the snow is a great time to enjoy a real mindful walk. It’s a wonderful way to learn how to walk mindfully or simply improve and benefit your mindful practice.

Get a good pair of snow boots on and add your warm and fuzzy scarf, hat and mittens and find a clear road or path that’s walk-able. Feel the air against your skin. Listen to the snow and the sounds it makes as you walk through it. Notice how your body feels, your feet, your legs, arms, etc. Take note of the trees around you, the branches, the birds, animals, the slight wind or temperature in the air. If you want, take your camera or a journal, and capture some of your most mindful moments.

By now we all know the benefits of a good walk. On snowy days, you don’t have to trek for miles , you may just want to spend 10-15 minutes with some good , clear snowy air and work on your mindful practice. Get outside, it’s good for you.

 

Check out this article too on how walking benefits your brain…  Happy snow trails!

 

Time Off…

The holidays have come to an end. The cold weather is setting in too… after a number of oddly warm days. And, I noticed, that I haven’t posted here in some time… my apologies. I was taking some time off – no computers, phones, emails, Ipads…

Over the winter break I wanted to truly enjoy my time with family and friends. I wanted to be mindful of all of our experiences together – and being “unplugged” – helped me do just that. While I love my gadgets, I do know that keeping them at a distance is something we all need to be more mindful of too.

If you’re not certain about how to unplug, just begin. Simple steps every day… No phone for an hour. No computers after dinner. No Ipads in bed. Use the time to BE with yourself, your family or your friends. Notice your conversations and how they may change when you’re not checking your phone every 2 minutes. Watch your interactions with family during your meals, when the Ipad isn’t at the table. Spend time with YOU, breathing, practicing yoga, a favorite sport or hobby, or a good book, instead of sitting in front of the computer after a long day.

And yes, there’s a book for that! :

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the #s and facts aren’t too pretty for tech-savy teens:

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and yes, it’s true….

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