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Mindset

Mindset & Meditation: Stealing Joy

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Stealing Joy

 

This week’s mindfulness echo’s last week’s post on “Look Within”. Too often, especially in the digital age, we let our happiness be determined by “likes”. We glare at photo-shopped images comparing our bodies to others, and we let other people’s opinions impact OUR attitude and mood for the day. All of these have one thing in common. They steal our happiness, our self-confidence, our self-worth, and our joy.

 

In the meditation from last week we are guided to not seek approval from outside sources, rather, look within yourself to find your happiness, what makes you unique, and THAT is what you should focus on.   There are also those out in the world, fire starters, who thrive on getting a “reaction” out of you. These people are thieves of your joy. If left alone, they have no power, but they poke and poke waiting for the moment you break and reply/react. You have just given them power. Think for a moment about the last time something you read or heard got you all fired up. Now think of how you then acted towards other people thereafter. Were you kind and patient, or were you short and potentially rude?

 

The same rule applies in traffic, where we all tend to lose it from time to time. Nothing gets under our skin more than the person that cuts us off in traffic. This is where your mindfulness practice is put to the test. We think that this jerk cut us off on purpose, and maybe he/she did, but maybe they are rushing to help someone, get to the hospital, make it to an important meeting on time and they simply didn’t see you. Maybe they did see you and they feel bad for cutting you off but don’t have time, or know how to say sorry/thanks/oops in that spit second. Whatever the case may be, don’t let traffic or people in traffic steal your joy. Again, there are folks on the road that like to “poke the bear”, however, it is up to you whether or not you react. Instead of getting angry and letting them know they are number one with that special digit, create a picture of patience and say to yourself and them, “I hope you get where you are going safely and everything is alright”. Then smile and wave. Try it, and I assure you, that you will feel a sense of happiness and peace instead of anger, and you will go through your day a bit more confident in your ability to stay calm and be happy.

Mindset & Meditation: Look Within

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Look Within

I first listened to this guided meditation one pre-dawn morning sitting on a beach in Maui.  My external surroundings were incredible, but the message in the meditation helped me to realize that, internally, everything I was working towards and trying to become was already present, I simply needed to be still, look within, and listen.

When we search for a goal, or aspire to be/look/perform/act a specific way we more often than not look at other people. Our thoughts become fixated on, “if I could just be like/look like XYZ, then I would reach the goal, or be happy”. This week’s focus is to set aside your desire to look or be like someone else, and to go within yourself to discover who YOU are and understand that, you are exactly who you are supposed to be, and that whatever it is you are seeking to find/become is already in you. You simply need to be still, be quiet, look within, love yourself, and listen…

 

For this week’s audio you will need to download the free Insight Timer app on your smartphone. Search for Sarah Blondin and listen to “Discovering Your Intrinsic Self”

Mindset & Meditation: Walking Meditation

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Walking Meditation

If you are curious about meditation or mindfulness, but don’t think you can sit still long enough to try, or you simply don’t have enough time in your busy day to add one more “activity” to your list, then listen to this week’s audio on walking meditation. The  first thing I learned about mediation and mindfulness was that it simply begins with being present and being aware. This can be during stillness or can be during movement. Whatever you are doing you are relaxed and focused one hundred percent on you and your surroundings. Here is how to incorporate a walking meditation or moving mindfulness into your day.

If you are already a runner or walker, the next time you go out to run/walk, don’t bring music with you.  So often I hear people tell me that they cannot run without music to “distract” them. They are admittedly trying to not be present during their run, but I encourage you to try. As you are running, or walking, simply breathe and pay attention to your surroundings.  The colors of the trees, grass, or street. The sounds and smells around you. The people and the cars that pass you by. Your foot cadence and your breath pace. Be one hundred percent present, not focused, but simply present and aware or your surroundings. That is meditation and mindful awareness :-).

If you don’t run not a problem. You can do the same thing during daily tasks/chores at home. When folding laundry, be present and aware of how you fold each piece of clothing. Notice the warmth of the garments, how they smell coming out of a fresh hot dryer,etc. Again, that is mindful awareness and mediation.  The same can be done while cooking or cleaning, and in our busy fast paced lives, it is also a great way to “stack” your activities. Don’t have time to cook and meditate? No problem, because if you are practicing moving mindfulness you can do both at the same time, and the same during a walk or run. Give it a try and remember to simply breathe, be present, and absorb what is around you.

Mindset & Meditation: Be Perfectly Imperfect

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“Every next level of life will demand a new you”, “and sometimes it takes being broken in order to become that new version of you” – Leonardo Dicaprio & Sean Buranahiran

After being in the fitness industry for over 20 years I have seen many clients “chasing a ghost” of perfection. Maybe it is a version of themselves from 5, 10, 15 years ago, or perhaps seeking to look like the model on the cover of a magazine or their favorite Hollywood star. They seek this “perfect figure” and are constantly let down when they don’t achieve that goal, or they hop on the scale and it hasn’t budged or perhaps crept up a few pounds. When this happens they become aggravated and frustrated which leads to poor self-esteem, acting out towards others, crash dieting, and more. They are so obsessed with the perfect image or number on a scale that they completely overlook the accomplishments that they have attained.

Things I have heard from clients:

Me: Look how much faster and longer you can run now without getting tired

Client: But I’m not 105 pounds

Me: Look how many more squats you can do and/or how much stronger you have become

Client: But I’m not a size 2

Client: We did squats with our kids on our backs this weekend for fun and they had a blast! We could never do that before!… BUT we haven’t lost any weight this week

Me: Do you not realize what you just said and how big of an accomplishment this is?!

I have even had a client that was obsessed with the tiniest bit of skin on her belly that she absolutely had to get rid of, and would not except the fact that it was just a small bit of loose skin from having 3 children. This particular client was an incredible athlete, but could literally only see her imperfections and was never happy.

It is in your scars where your story begins, and it is in your imperfections where your perfection lies. To convey this message in the form that I need you to hear/receive it in, you need to listen to the audio above. After listening to the audio and hearing the story of Melissa, please watch the video below. She shared this video along with the story of the broken bowls, and that became her personal anchor. No longer did she strive for “perfection”. She realized her strength and beauty lay within her scars. The video explains everything I want you to get out of being “perfectly imperfect”.

Be Proud of Your Scars

https://youtu.be/wG2MUeVixao

 

Mindset & Meditation: Seek Failure

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Seek Failure

 

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all- in which case you fail by default” – J.K. Rowling

 

I used this quote last week and I use it again this week because I believe it is so important to let those words sync in to your brain and become part of your mantra when you are faced with failure. Listen to the audio for my thoughts on why you shouldn’t avoid failure. You should seek it and seek it often.

 

I will leave you with this. Whenever you get discouraged because you have tried something different/new a few times and haven’t “succeeded” or reached your goal remember this… It took Thomas Edison One THOUSAND attempts before that light bulb turned on… Seek failure my friends. That is where growths lies.

Mindset & Meditation: Breathe

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Breathe…

We have all heard, or been told the expression, “take a deep breath” when we need to calm down from a stressful situation. We know breathing can help reduced the anxiety or stress of the situation but most of us never think or consider physiological mechanism of how it actually settles us down.

 

During the exhale of a deep diaphragmatic breath, your vagus nerve is fired stimulating your parasympathetic nervous system. This is your calm, relaxed state of mind/being, and is the key component to mindfulness and meditation. When you are calm and breathing properly through your diaphragm your ability to think rationally, respond vs. react to situations, sleep, and digest food just to name a few is at its highest.

 

A mindfulness practice begins with the breath. A meditation practice begins with breath. EVERY action, sport, day begins with breath… However, most of us begin each day in a busy hurry as soon as the alarm goes off with short quick chest breaths, never thinking or considering to begin the day with a few minutes of deep diaphragmatic mindful breathing to start your day off a bit more calm, centered, grounded and focused. Below is how I recommend you introduce mindful breathing into your day, and how to use it throughout the day to help you reduce stress and become more mindful and present.

 

  1. As soon as you wake up, before getting out of bed, take 5 minutes to lie on your back, place your hands on your stomach to feel it rise and fall, and simply breathe…. Don’t force inhale/exhales just take full relaxing breaths

 

  1. While breathing in bed try to ONLY think about your breath… Feel the air go in your nose and notice how it feels cool, then notice how it feels warm as you exhale through your nose

 

  1. When commuting to work, sit up straight in your car seat, place your hands at 10 & 2 on the wheel and repeat the same relaxing breath pattern as you did in bed. Don’t worry about other drivers or changing lanes…. Just breathe… Do this for at least 5 minutes

 

  1. Take 1-5 minutes during the day to either stand up or sit upright in your chair, close your eyes and breathe… Again, the goal is to focus only on your breath. If/when you notice yourself beginning to think about something else, that is totally fine & normal. Simply recognize that thought, let it go, and return back to your breath. Even if this is only for 1 minute… ***NOTE you may want to set an alarm/notification on your phone or computer to remind you to breathe J

 

  1. Repeat step 2 on your way home

 

  1. End the day in bed with breathing just as you began the day.. The goal is to breathe nice and relaxed, focused only on the inhale and exhale until you fall asleep. This may take a little time to nail down but within a few days of consistency you will begin to fall asleep quicker/easier with a relaxed mind and body