Category - mindful

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When We Worry Too Much And What To Do About It
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Two Simple Mindful Breathing Techniques
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PTSD—Always There Under The Surface
4
Are You Happy? If Not, Why?
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Dealing With Conflict—The Story Of An Empath
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The Special Needs Parenting Sweet Spot
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Why mindful? And what does that even mean anyway?

When We Worry Too Much And What To Do About It

I understand the parameters of reality, so why do I worry so much? It’s pointless and I know that worrying is harmful, so why do I keep doing it? I think I have an answer. The first time I recall being really worried was when I was seven years old. My dad traveled a lot and one night his plane was late. I was convinced he had crashed and I worried myself sick. Of course he was fine. I had worried myself sick for nothing.   Over the years I continued to worry about a variety of things from A to Z — some realistic, some ridiculous.  They say only eight per cent of our worries are realistic. And of those, we can actually only do something about half. This means ninety-six per cent of the things we worry about are a useless waste of time. Why do some people worry more than others?   I have a theory that we worriers have three things in common:   1. WE NEED TO BE IN CONTROL We dictate and delegate, but then end up doing everything ourselves because everyone else does it wrong. We like to organize and compartmentalize and strategize and basically orchestrate the outcome[…]

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Two Simple Mindful Breathing Techniques

Jewel, right? She’s an actual gem. I loved her in the nineties. And I love her now with her simple approach to mindfulness. Clearly we’re soul sisters because we both use these easy breezy breathing techniques. ‘Counting Breath’ and ‘Box Breathing’ are my go-to techniques throughout the day—to calm my mind and squelch panicky feelings… hey, thanks PSTD. Sometimes I use them to simply relax and take a break from the multi-tasking mayhem that is my life.  I’ll just let Jewel explain. She’s perfection.  Try these tomorrow. It’s life changing.      Side note: My husband’s name is Adrian. We started dating around the time Jewel’s song “Adrian” was popular. It creeped me out and left with me an irrational fear of canoeing. But nothing a little box breathing can’t fix. 😉 

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PTSD—Always There Under The Surface

Adrenaline is nature’s way of keeping us safe in the face of danger. It serves a purpose, but when a traumatic experience causes you to live in a constant state of fight or flight it can wreak havoc on your life. PTSD can wreck you if you let it.  We’ve all experienced that jolt of muscle quivering energy that floods our bodies during scary or stressful situations. Like when the car in front of us stops unexpectedly causing us to slam the brakes. Or when a glass slips from our hands, but we catch it before it smashes. Our hearts race, but we quickly recover and move on.  But sometimes the situation is painfully serious and the recovery time is substantial. Like when your child has a medical emergency—a near fatal seizure or maybe she chokes and stops breathing. I can’t begin to describe how frightening that is. We’ve been in this horrible place a few times over the past decade. We’ve watched helplessly as our youngest lay unconscious, or unable to take a breath.   Our daughter Avery’s near fatal seizures have rendered her lifeless in my arms. I’ve seen her lips turn blue. We’ve watched paramedics bring her back to[…]

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Are You Happy? If Not, Why?

If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands. What, no clapping? Aren’t you happy?!  Well, don’t let that make you sad because not many of us are consistently happy. According to the studies anyway. Science has us pegged as a sad sack of SOBs just trying to make it until cocktail hour.  My daughter however, she’s perpetually happy. She gleefully claps her hands all the time for no apparent reason. It’s like a happiness explosion where her joy just can’t be contained and the sudden burst of happy claps is a way to let it out.  I consider myself a very happy person, but I can’t say I feel “happiness explosion happiness” in adulthood very often. But alas, nobody is as happy as Avery. She doesn’t fit the typical mould. She doesn’t worry. She doesn’t know fear. And there’s zero hate in this kid’s world. It just doesn’t exist for her. I’d say she’s 90 per cent happy—9 per cent ‘meh’, when she’s tired or told, “No, you can’t host a play date right now.” And 1 per cent legitimate sorrow, usually when she’s missing a loved one. The rest of the time, bliss.  I get the sense[…]

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Dealing With Conflict—The Story Of An Empath

Conflict turns my stomach. It makes my chest tight and uncomfortable. I feel legitimately sickened by it.  I avoid arguments, and negativity, and pot stirring, and drama as best I can—not because I’m a high road walker. It’s more about self-preservation. I wasn’t kidding when I said conflict makes me sick.  As a sensitive, over thinking, soft-hearted, earnestly reflective, people pleasing, peace making empath, it’s a struggle for me to let it go. Why can’t I be more like Elsa?! I take hurtful words or actions to heart. I absorb them and replay them in my mind. That’s the tricky part about being a “highly sensitive empath“. It eats me up.  When friends in my life are in a bad place, I absorb it like a mushy sponge. Instead of spitting an insult back at the insulter, I swallow it. This is not to say I swallow people’s spit. Only my own.  Somebody told me once that this makes me weak. So I slapped her hard across the cheek and kicked her squarely in the crotch. Okay, not really. But I really gave it to her… but only in my head. Don’t get me wrong, if you mess with one of[…]

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The Special Needs Parenting Sweet Spot

It’s a struggle to stay rooted in the present. Memories of traumatic moments from the past seep in and thoughts of what “could” happen trickle through the cracks. These leaks can start to erode the “special needs parenting sweet spot.”  “Be mindful!” I remind myself constantly. “All the good stuff is happening now! If you don’t open your eyes and breathe, you’ll miss it.”  Sitting sandwiched between two conversations at my daughter’s adaptive soccer league last week I felt like my happy place was put in peril. As I sat on a cold metal bench watching wildly enthusiastic kids chase after soccer balls followed closely by their volunteer partners. I couldn’t help but hear the two conversations happening separately on either side of me.  One pair talked about their young children recently diagnosed with complicated disorders. The fear, the confusion, the anxiety—I remember it well. The “beginning” is a unique kind of difficult. So many questions, so much anxiety—parents reaching out in desperation to anyone who might have answers, or at the very least offer some guidance.  My stomach clenched as I listened to the despair in their voices. Though my compassion was overshadowed by my relief in having escaped the early[…]

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Why mindful? And what does that even mean anyway?

I like to hang onto things—to cling to past experiences and their corresponding feelings (good and bad) like some kind of memory hoarder.  At the same time, I enjoy time travel into the future. If only I had a functional crystal ball, then I wouldn’t need to spend so much time guessing and imagining what lies ahead. I like to know how things are going to play out so I create possible scenarios in my head. It’s a crap shoot. About 90% of my predictions are wrong. Or more often, by the time the future becomes the now, I’ve forgotten what outcome I was trying to orchestrate in the first place.  My husband started actively learning about mindfulness years ago, long before it became a trend. And man has it ever become a trendy. These days you can’t swing a yoga mat without hitting a meditating millennial or a #mindful hashtag.  Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn is the first book on the subject of mindfulness that my husband read. In fact, it’s the first book he’s read from cover to cover in our entire marriage! Clearly it captured his attention.  I’m reading it now. It’s no ‘Girl[…]

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