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.

nedneuron03

 

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.

 

fdc48e90e69250ffcf828cffad4844b1-1.jpg

 

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! :

a79c07591323621de360973815aaa213

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

f649cdf0fa1bb6bfcb106f9b9ca306f8

and yes, it’s true….

4bfa64af3889fa7812ab10595fb0aa75

e5a9337814903dcf48aa0747d311ed56

Get your art on!

imgres

We all have an inner art critic… and an inner artist… When you’re feeling a bit lost, distracted or stressed, try one of these fun art activities (click for the link) to get you re-set and charged again… you just may be surprised with your results….Be open to paint, paper, pencils, funny lines and shapes, clay, and any material that interests you, and get to your masterpiece!

Happy Trees

As a child I can recall watching a few episodes of Bob Ross and his “happy little trees” – I didn’t get it then, but I think it sunk in, and some 25+ yrs later – viola’ .. YES, trees do make us happy!

I too support the belief that simply spending some time , every day, outdoors , does wonders for our bodies and minds. The creative brains at “Happify” made this infographic to show us the connection between smiles and trees (and a few shrubs, grass and maybe some flowers and a few birds… :) )

d3aba30636a81a01c55013db64ce0c8e

Crafty Zen

615x200_ehow_images_a07_1n_31_japanese-zen-gardens-kids-1.1-800x800

Looking to bring some zen into your own room? home? classroom? Here are a few great places to check out! Zen gardens are a lot of fun to build, and use… and, of course, they’re simple to make. You can add to your zen garden too – and create it with your own signature “design” too… take a look and get zen crafty!

Japanese Zen Gardens – find out what they are, how to make one and how to use it in your own home, office, classroom , etc.

Zen Stones – find some river rocks or favorite flat stones (you can even pick some up at Home Depot or Lowes!) and use sharpies or paint to create unique, zen patterns like these:

222bd311ba69997c0f7286058e438d00

Not sure which color to choose for your next zen craft or creation? Use this interesting chart on the psychology of color for a better look at what your colors really mean.

Jars are a great place to make mini plant scenes! Take a look at just how easy it is here… Spice-Jar-Mini-Terrarium_tzom