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  • 1.  Do You Practice Mindfulness?

    Posted 12-05-2022 10:36
    Happy Monday everyone!

    I've been thinking a lot about mindfulness lately. If you're not familiar with it, BetterHelp defines mindfulness as "a state of being completely focused on the present moment, without dwelling on or reacting to your thoughts." 

    With the year ending, life is somehow starting to feel busier and busier. The holidays are here, I'm wrapping up my fall semester of graduate school and I'm generally trying to stay on top of things. Sometimes, I find myself thinking, "I just need to get through (insert day of the week here) and I can take a breath." Mindfulness has been on my mind (lol) because I want to stay in the moment and not worry so much about being one step ahead at all times. 

    A few weeks ago, NPR interviewed Dr. Elizabeth Hoge, director of Georgetown University's Anxiety Disorders Research Program, about recent research surrounding mindfulness and its benefits. The study found that people with generalized anxiety disorder (which affects 7 million Americans) can benefit from mindfulness meditation in a way similar to taking medication.

    Mindfulness isn't only about meditation. I personally like to do yoga. I also live close to the lake and I find watching the waves helps me clear my mind.

    Do you have any mindfulness tips to share? What helps you stay in the moment?

    #MindfulnessMonday #MindfulnessTips​​

    Taylor Evans Ghosal
    Evanston IL

  • 2.  RE: Do You Practice Mindfulness?

    Posted 12-06-2022 09:46
    I really struggle with regular mindfulness. Like you, I tend to move quickly through each moment and blurriedly get through each day. It seems like most of my days are loops of brushing my teeth and wondering either, "what's my day going to look like" or "wait, what'd I do today?" 

    It's something I'm constantly working on, though. Here are a couple of things that work for me (when I remind myself to do them): 
    • Put my phone away - like, literally without reach. Ideally in a different room, or in a pocket of a bag that I need to work to get to. 
    • Tell myself (aloud sometimes, even): pay attention to the now. 
    • Go somewhere - ideally somewhere totally new, or somewhere I haven't been before - and experience what it has to offer my soul. (#hippyalert) 
    • Close my eyes and do a little reset: breathe deeply for about a minute, then get back to whatever it was that I was doing. 
    My partner and I were talking about the "put the phone away" conundrum when we're out exploring somewhere together, because it's also our camera. We're heading to Denver this weekend to celebrate our anniversary, and we're going to put our phones on airplane mode when we're out and about. This way we can still take photos, but we won't be distracted by notifications. I'll letcha know how that goes in next week's #MindfulnessMonday post!

    @Maria Liccardo, I feel like you've got some good tips for staying present/being mindful. And I bet @Mandi Ginn-Franz does, too. 


    Stay awesome,

  • 3.  RE: Do You Practice Mindfulness?

    Posted 12-08-2022 13:07
    @Quinn Drew I appreciate you thinking of me when it comes to mindfulness, lol! This is actually a big part of my self care routine, which seems to expand all the time...pretty soon I won't have time for anything but self care (wouldn't that be nice?!).

    Through meditation, I've come to the understanding that my brain thinks, in the same way my heart pumps and my lungs breathe. I can't really stop it from thinking unless I became a monk who can also slow my heartbeat and breathing rate. So a big part of mindfulness for me is forgiving myself for the gazillion times a day when I'm not being mindful, and being super grateful for the brief moment or two when I can settle into the moment. Giving myself a break from the impossibility of perfection has given me many more moments of peace that I would have otherwise.

    @Taylor Evans Ghosal I also heard about that study regarding meditation vs. anxiety medication and I was like, "YES!" Although I don't have anxiety, I have had frequent migraines for the past 7 or 8 years, and have tried pretty much every medication on the planet to alleviate them, with no long-term benefits and lots of yucky side effects. I'm now off all migraine meds and meditating daily (sometimes just 3-5 minutes, but that's plenty!) and the migraines aren't gone, but they're a tiny bit better, and the rest of my life is a whole lot better because of the 76 Benefits of Meditation

    Finally, I am with you on staring out at the lake. Staring into anything spacious--a sunrise, a sunset, the starry sky, even looking down a city sidewalk that goes for blocks and blocks, or the endless cornfields of southern Illinois--is very calming and makes my mind feel more spacious and open.

    Maria Liccardo