Summertime is full of fun activities: picnics, pool parties, days at the beach, and family vacations give us the opportunity to get outside, enjoy nature and spend time with love ones. But summer fun can also lead to stress. Make sure you take 10-15 minutes every day to sit back and relax without distractions. Try this quick meditation to chill out and get your “me-time” fix:
Welcome to day 4 of our relax into the holidays series.
The holidays bring with them a myriad of things we need to get done: presents to buy, cookies to bake, reservations to make, places to be, projects to finish…
Thinking about all of these things can leave our minds a cluttered, muddled mess.
In keeping with this week’s theme of relaxing and clearing your mind, I am sharing an activity I like to do to get my thoughts under control and clear my monkey mind. It is more of an exercise than a traditional meditation, but I guarantee you will still feel more relaxed and mentally clear.
I love to do this exercise before bed to get my mind clear before going to sleep, but you can do it any time you need to clean the cobwebs out of your head.
For this exercise you will need paper, a pen/pencil, and a timer. Take your time and have fun!
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The holiday season is in full swing, and whether you celebrate or not you have probably been feeling a bit overwhelmed, stressed, rushed, and impatient (or you have noticed it in people around you).
There is no doubt that all of the cooking, cleaning, decorating, shopping, socializing and traveling can cause quite a bit of tension, pressure, and irritability.
These emotions, while natural, can create a strain on your relationships, career, and most importantly your health.
In an effort to help you be your best this holiday season, I have created a series of brief meditations to aid you in managing the final push through the holidays. Every day this week, I will post a 3-5 minute mediation to remind you to take a few moments to relax, recharge, and collect your thoughts. Think of them as my holiday gift to you.
You can do these exercises any time you are feeling a bit flustered or overwhelmed. The mediations are most effective when you can be seated or reclined in a comfortable position with your eyes closed. Do not listen at a time when your full focus and concentration is needed, such as when driving.
Today’s meditation focuses on your breathing. You will feel more relaxed and focused after this mediation. Give it a try and have a happy healthy day!
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We have reached the final days of this month’s wellwork assignment.
If you have been diligent in practicing your mental focus exercise you are be experiencing some terrific results.
First, you have probably noticed that your mind is clearer and is no longer filled with distracting thoughts. The condition known as “monkey mind” has dissipated. Rather than having multiple thoughts bouncing around in your head at the same time you can now focus on one thought or task at a time and get more accomplished in the process.
Second, you are most likely feeling less stress, anxiety and depression. Meditation has been shown to reduce these negative emotions. Developing the ability to focus the mind is imperative in starting a meditation regimen. In addition, various studies show that meditation can help lower blood pressure, increase circulation, improve sleep quality and help develop areas of the brain associated with improved memory and decision making.
Improving mental focus can also help you learn to pay attention to your thoughts and allow you to actively create positive thoughts. Negative thoughts can cause blocks and barriers to success. By being aware of what you are thinking you can focus on designing positive thoughts and images that are in line with your goals. This positive outlook serves as a motivating force as well as a support system when encountering obstacles. Also, mental focus improves your ability to visualize positive outcomes and circumstances related to your goals.
Finally, improved mental focus results in more self confidence, increased attention to details, calmer reactions to emotional stimuli and a greater sense of inner peace.
Remember, honing your mental focus provides a host of benefits, but it is a skill that needs to be practiced everyday. So, keep up the good work and the benefits will continue to multiply.
You are now a week into your first Monthly Wellwork assignment. How is it going? Are you able to focus on your red dot a little longer each day? Have you even been doing your Wellwork or have “more important things” gotten in the way?????
Making changes in your life requires effort and work. It does not have to be unpleasant or hard but you have to make it your job to create the change you desire.
One of the first places you can see the benefits of your improved mental focus is at work/school. When your ability to concentrate improves you are able to respond in a timely manner to unexpected events, remain focused and calm amid various office distractions and make better decisions.
While multitasking is often considered to be an asset in the business world various studies show that switching back and forth between tasks can actually add a few tenths of a second each time you switch. Over time those tenths can result in a 40% reduction in productivity. The loss in productivity results from the time it takes for the brain to readjust from one task to another and from the increased external distractions associated with multitasking such as coworker involvement or online media/advertising. By learning to focus your mind on a single task such as answering an email or drafting a letter you can more quickly and efficiently complete the task and move on to the next.
The red dot visualization exercise is a great way to build up to a mediation practice. A study at Massachusetts General Hospital showed that individuals that engaged in meditation had increased thickness in areas of the brain associated with memory and decision making. A quiet mind is capable of retaining more information than a mind littered with distractions.
Finally, developing mental focus can improve communication in the workplace. Whether brainstorming ideas with colleagues, giving a presentation or negotiating a contract, approaching the meeting with a mind free of internal distractions and the ability to restrict the influence of external distractions allows you to be attentive to each individual in the group and respond accordingly.
Spending 3-5 minutes each day working on improving your mental focus skills is a small investment that can big great returns in your professional life.
This month’s Wellwork sets the stage for future exercises that can make your dreams take flight, but you have to lay the groundwork now. So, if you haven’t been diligent about practicing now is the time to get back on the bandwagon and get to work.
In case you have forgotten how to do the red dot visualization exercise you can download the instructions here
Making a permanent, long term change can take time. It will typically take about 21 days to make (or break) a habit.
With that in mind, I have created a series of activities called, Monthly Wellwork, designed to help you create change and clear the path toward your goals.
This month’s Wellwork is about quieting the mind and developing mental focus.
Learning to quiet the mind can help prepare you for meditation or self hypnosis sessions, allow you to get back in touch with your inner voice and even help you sleep better.
By developing mental focus you can increase productivity at work or school, avoid external distractions, improve memory and pay more attention to details.
I will discuss some of these benefits in upcoming blogs but for now let’s get started with your Wellwork for March:
Instructions for Quieting the Mind:
You can find a link to these instructions as well as an image of the red dot visual available to download and print for your exercise below these instructions.
What you will need:
The red dot visualization aid, tape or thumbtacks, a chair and a timer
What to do:
-Print out the included red dot visualization aid. You may also use a different geometric shape or color such as a blue square or a yellow triangle if you prefer. Just make sure the image is simple and not overstimulating.
-Choose a room where you can sit quietly and comfortably for several minutes each day.
-Attach your image to a wall 3-5 feet in front of your chair at eye level.
-Focus on the image (it is ok to blink). Do not allow anything to distract your attention from the image. Keep your mind focused on the image. If your mind wanders direct your attention back to the picture.
– Begin by maintaining your focus on the image for 1 minute. Practice daily until you can stay focused on the red dot for 5 minutes or longer.
-Once you can hold your attention by looking at the image for 5 minutes repeat the exercise but this time visualize the red dot in your mind with your eyes closed. Start visualizing for 1 minute and gradually work up to 5 minutes of visualizing with your eyes closed. Remember to keep your attention trained on visualizing the image. Do not let outside thoughts or disturbances distract you
Download the instructions for this exercise here: