Finding Stillness

I just want to remind you that we all need a bit, or more of stillness in our lives. What I mostly mean by stillness is mindful stillness. Away from the distractions, noise, busyness of the world. Being in the moment. Doing something that can rejuvenate the mind and body.

Stillness is a difficult concept for most. We have the need to keep moving, or keep busy. Our minds are always buzzing, full of thoughts. We don’t like to be still, because it gives us time to think. People like to avoid their thoughts. But sometimes facing our thoughts. Allows us to become aware of them, which helps us to understand them, and then accept them. This helps us to move on.

I always enjoy finding stillness throughout the day, even five minutes of it can be helpful. It may be difficult to do, but the peace, and calmness that come from it is quite rewarding. I also like to challenge myself to do something that can be uncomfortable. I always need this time to recharge, and gain energy. There is so much freedom in stillness time. The freedom to just be you, the freedom to be, the freedom from constraints of the world.

I like to take a couple of hours to be still. What I usually do that incorporates stillness is sometimes actual stillness, which is meditation. I do a couple of different meditations. Sometimes I close my eyes, and focus on my breath, trying to allow my thoughts to flow. Sometimes I do a body scan, focusing on each part of my body. I also do mindful observation, focusing on things around me. Another one is mindful appreciation, finding appreciation of the things around me, or the different parts of my body.

All of this allows me to focus my energy on the moment. It allows my mind, and body to relax. It gives me the space to appreciate myself, my life, and the things around me. I don’t think most people give themselves that space to do that. It isn’t easy to do this, and thoughts will still come. This can deter people, but you have try to continue to bring yourself back to the moment. It will happen.

I tend to like the challenge of doing this. It is something many can’t do. It shows the strength of my character to continue to practice this, and it is a wonderful thing. It also strengthens patience. Many like to rush through life, sometimes getting upset, angry, or anxious. I was like this. Meditation reminds you to to slow down, and not put so much energy on rushing, or forcing things. Giving yourself  a minute to do this can make a difference.

Another thing I do is mindful stillness, as I mentioned in the beginning. This one is easier to do. This is just being in the moment. It can be any activity away from computers and phones. Recently I have been drawing. I am not the best, but it is fun to try. I also write, and read some inspirational things, during my mindful stillness time. You aren’t exactly still, but still in the moment. When I am immersed in a mindful activity. I don’t necessarily focus on the time. It actually seems to fly by when I am being mindful. It happens when you are immersed in something you enjoy. Time isn’t important, and that is key, since time can sometimes trap us. It can force us to rush, and be busy, and become anxious.

Stillness can be a beautiful thing if you give it a chance. It cultivates motivation, determination, and creativity. It shows you what you are made of, or how strong your will is. It teaches you about yourself. It gives you the space to work on your goals, improve your self, and learn. I learn more about my thoughts and my body, during this time. I learn about my character, personality, and goals through stillness times. It helps strengthen my character, skills, and creativity. This helps me focus on what is important. A lot of good things can come from stillness.

I just like to have a bit of stillness in my life, because the world is full of distractions and noise. Those things can easily cloud the mind with negativity, and it can exhaust the body. I like to give myself the space to clear the mind, and rejuvenate the body. Most people ignore this space, and it is a shame. There is so much to learn from this experience. Try to give yourself that space, even if it is for a couple of minutes. You may enjoy it, and maybe find the peace you need.

Silence goes along with stillness, so I wanted to post these words from one of Mindful books. I thought it went well with my post. Lets try to be still as much as we can in this noisy, and busy world we live in.IMAG0242

 

Lazy Sundays/Falling Into the Negativity Trap

This post is more of a personal experience I had a couple of Sundays ago. I thought I share my experience, and what I learned from it through mindfulness practice. I hope it can be helpful for you if a lazy day comes into your life.

Good old lazy Sundays. This is the one day I don’t do much. The day I like to relax, and chill the most. That can also lead me to fall into laziness and distractions. Sundays tend to be the day I get lazy, and distracted the most. I tend to scroll more, and continuously watch Youtube videos. This type of thing isn’t good for my mentality and peace of mind. I always feel so drained after doing this. But for some reason I find myself getting caught in it. It is just such a simple trap to fall into.

Saturdays I usually have a plan. I am more productive. I just like to get more things done on Saturdays. I accomplish more things on that day. Then Sunday comes, and I feel I can relax. I just don’t want to do anything. This can be a problem, because it makes it easier for me to get lost in distractions. It is Football season, so it makes it even more easier to get lost online, scrolling through comments about the game. Comments online can bring me to a negative state, and they can also annoy me, which brings my mood down. But I keep scrolling online. I continue to go on Youtube, and watch mindless videos of kpop, which also gets me, because I tend to scroll through comments there, and on Twitter. Watching kpop videos is enjoyable, but too much of anything isn’t good for you. The negativity, and numbness just piles on.

Thankfully with practicing mindfulness. I was able to become aware of my actions(awareness is always key in mindfulness). I thought to myself, why am I letting other people’s opinions bother me? Why does it matter? It isn’t that serious? None of this was providing me benefits to my well-being.

This is when I was able to pull back, and step away from the negativity. I do this whenever negativity gets too much. I decided to turn off my computer, and to be mindful for the rest of the day. I needed my peace of mind back. So I decided to do some mindful and productive things. I decided to work on my healthy meals plan. I always try to eat mostly nutrient based foods now, so I like to have a plan. Then I was inspired to write this post, so I did my rough draft on paper, like I always do. Creativity and reflection tend to seep through, during mindful and quiet times. I always love that part.

After that, I proceeded to meditate, and then read. It was lovely getting back to the silence. I still get lost in distractions every now and then. And that is okay, I am human, we all are human. If things like that happen on your journey. Try not to beat yourself up about it. As long as you are aware, learn, and try to make changes. That is all you can do. Mishaps will happen. Mindfulness is a learning process, and it isn’t simple.

As long as I, and any one who practices mindfulness has the awareness. It can help set anyone free from any negativity traps that comes our way. Always try to remember to bring yourself back to the moment. You will get lost, but you can always bring yourself back. Sometimes I will fall into the trap, but I also realize I am human, it will happen. Instead of blaming myself, or having negative self-talk. I practice self-kindness. As long as I am able to step away when I need to is all that matters. You can also do this as well. Disconnect, go to the quiet, get mindful. Your mind will thank you for this.

The Sundays after that experience has been different. I try to balance mindful time with moments of online time. I started drawing and coloring, which has been a fun mindful exercise to try. Just doing the things I can to be in the moment, which brings me joy and peace. I hope you can all try some things that can bring you back into the moment as well.IMAG0225

 

Mindfulness Cultivates Heightened Awareness

Awareness is one of my 5 points to mindfulness, and it is quite a wonderful tool one gains when practicing mindfulness. It is very beneficial to keeping one productive and mindful. Practicing mindfulness can teach you awareness of many things that you may not have been able to catch before.

  • Being aware of negative emotions
  • Being aware of negative thoughts
  • Being aware of not being present
  • Being aware of distractions
  • Being aware of criticism towards self and others
  • Being aware of judgment towards self and others

All of these get noticed when you have the ability to center yourself back to the present moment, and have self-awareness. I have brought myself back to my mindful approach many times when I found myself being distracted, negative, or not present.

Negative emotions, negative thoughts, distractions, criticism, judgment will not go away, and they will pervade you at times. It is hard to be mindful at all times, but with continuous mindfulness practice. You will be able to realize when you are not being present and mindful, and you will be able to center yourself back to where you need to be. It is quite an innate reaction now. I don’t really have to think about being aware, it just happens, and this comes with continuous practice.

Being able to center myself has kept me more compassionate, less negative, more productive, more focused, and more in the moment. It is quite fascinating the awareness one gains from having a mindful approach to life. You become aware of yourself, others, and your surroundings.

It can also help you become aware of your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. All this awareness is important on your life journey. This can help one gain perspective, learn, improve, grow, and experience. All this can lead to a path of happiness, peace and calm. Awareness is key to our well being and mindful path.

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Walking Down Your own Path

We all have our own path to follow in life. We should never try to live like others, or try to follow someone else’s path. There are times when family, or a society tries to dictate how one should live. But we should never let anyone force us to do something we don’t want to do. We have to do what makes us happy, and we can’t be happy living a life for someone else.

We all have our own journey to take in life, and yes, you may have people who may inspire you to do things. Wanting to do something should come from you. This is your life, and you want to live it to your best potential, so it is important to do things for yourself. Also, don’t think you have to do things on a timetable like society dictates. People stress themselves out because they don’t know what to do at 18, or when they are not in a relationship by 21, or haven’t even dated. They’re sad when they haven’t moved to their dream home by 30, or married, or have kids. I guess everything should be planned out by that time. I mean that is how it is supposed to be right?

The thing is not everyone progresses in life at the same time, or want to do the same thing. Not everyone wants to get married and have kids, and that is okay. Not everyone will have their ‘perfect’ life by 30, and that is okay. I am 31, and just got out of college. Trying to jump-start my career. Not everyone will be able to move out on their own by 30. I haven’t, because I don’t make a lot of money at the moment. Yes, society says I should move out by 18, but we all have different circumstances in life that lead us to where we are. I choose not to force myself to live in a bad place I barely can afford to say I live on my own.

You got also take into account the setbacks you will have in life, nothing progresses in a smooth line. Our journey is never smooth. Many people envy others who have the life they want, and if that is what you want, then you must take action to have that life, but if you want it because you think that is how life should be, then you may have to change your thought process. That type of thinking can lead to anxiety and depression. You may want a career that people will say it will get you nowhere, but it isn’t about them. It is about what you want.

I say embrace your individuality, embrace your unique story. The most important thing should be embracing who you are and finding your own happiness. Live your life for yourself, not for your family, friends, society etc. People will have their opinion, but do you want to fit in, or be happy?

Doings things like everyone else is safe and comforting, but won’t bring happiness. I can tell you the people living the ‘perfect life’ are probably not that much happier, because honestly it all starts with if you are truly making yourself happy, and putting yourself first. We all have our own journey in life, so try living it. No matter what you are doing, just do it the way you want to do it.

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Mindfulness Exercises

Mindfulness is about being aware of the moment without judgement. Just taking in all the sights, sounds, smells, thoughts etc, of the moment. I thought I would write down some mindfulness exercises that may be helpful to reduce the stress in your life. Mindfulness has been known to help reduce anxiety. It has definitely decreased my anxiety, so it may be helpful for you. As I mentioned when you are focused on the present. You have no time to worry about the past, or future to cause anxiety. Mindfulness takes practice and patience. It isn’t easy to master, but with persistence and motivation it can be done. I don’t use all the exercises, because some don’t interest me. You should do whichever one suits you, or interest you. It is about what is right for you. Here are some exercises.

Body Scan-The idea is to pay attention to your body, become aware of your body. You can lie down, or sit down, whichever way feels comfortable to you. You will then go through each part of your body, putting it into focus. You can start from head to toe, or vice versa, or any where. You will then pay attention to the sensations of that body part- pain, comfort, tightness, or any feeling at all. There is no right or wrong answer, just go with what you are feeling. You will do that with each body part you focus on. It s about becoming aware of the sensations of your body. This can take up to 20-30 minutes. But it is best to do it as long as you feel the need to. I actually have never tried this technique, but this technique comes up a lot in the suggestions for practicing mindfulness. Not sure this one suits me, but if this interest you, go give it a try. Whatever way to keep you in the present moment.

Mindful Eating/ Drinking–I just put these two together, because they fit together. This exercise is about being aware of what you are eating and drinking. Try to focus on what you are eating and drinking. I always make the mistake of eating without really taking in the taste of the food, really savoring the food at the moment. I am busy focusing on something else. I am sure lots of people do that. You can be in the present by slowly eating or drinking. Taking in the smell, taste, texture. How it feels in your mouth or throat. What are your thoughts on what you are eating, or drinking. Is it good, bad, need more flavor, too cold, too bitter etc,? Really taking it in your food or drink. I admit I rarely do this one. I am usually watching something, skimming through social media, or researching something while I am eating or drinking. I wouldn’t mind trying this one. If you like to try to give your food a little more mindfulness, go ahead and try this one.

Mindful Observation/ Walking- This exercise is all about paying attention to your surroundings. We always like to keep moving, going from place to place, but we rarely take the time to see what is around us. This exercise teaches you to pay attention to what is around you. It can be while you are at home, working, walking to your car, sitting in your car in traffic. Try to take a moment to focus on your surroundings. what do you see? Do you like, or not like what you see? How does these things make you feel? Maybe you’ll discover something new, or see something in a different perspective. I always try to look up at the clouds whenever I am sitting in traffic to keep my mind off of the traffic, so I don’t get frustrated that I am not moving. It makes the traffic much more tolerable. Instead of worrying about getting to your next destination. You can focus on what is in front of you. This can alleviate the tension you are feeling. You can also try going for a walk in nature, or the city, or anywhere you like, and take in all the sights, sounds and smells while you are walking. I always try to take walk in nature, and just immerse myself in the sights and sounds. I also like to go near the water, and just watch and hear the water flow. It is very peaceful. Try to take the time to enjoy what is around you at the moment. You may like what you see.

Mindful Immersion-This exercise is about finding contentment in the moment. This activity can be helpful for times when you are rushing to get things done. I find this exercise helpful when I am out shopping. I hate shopping, and I want it done and over with, so I try to rush and stress myself out in the process, because my thoughts are on getting home. I have learned that I have to center myself to the moment while I am shopping. I try not to rush myself. I just focus on what I am doing. I try to walk through the store at a slower pace. I put my focus on what I am buying. I may even look around at the other people shopping. I think to myself I will get home eventually. No matter what this has to get done, so why not make it more bearable? I must focus on what I am doing now, and try to enjoy it as much as I can. This helps me a lot. I find myself not stressing about shopping as much. Although, I still don’t like it, but it helps one tolerate an uncomfortable situation. So whatever situation you don’t like, don’t try to rush out of it, but try living in the moment. You may discover things about yourself and the situation when you are more aware of the moment. You gain a new perspective. The stress comes from wanting to get things done, but they will get done, so it is better to focus on the moment, so you have no worries.

Mindful Meditation-This exercise is not easy. Many people find meditation difficult. It is hard to sit there, and allow your thoughts to flow through you. Sometimes it is hard for people to keep going, because their thoughts overwhelm them. Yes, they can get overwhelming. A way to not allow your thoughts to overwhelm you is to confront each thought. Meditation isn’t a way to push away your thoughts. It is a way to understand and accept your thoughts. What I do is see each thought as a wave, or a river. I put the thought out there. I ruminate over it. I try to figure out if there is a solution, if there is, I wash it away like a wave, or throw it into the river and let it flow. If there isn’t a solution. I do the same thing. I don’t try to over-think the problem. If it can’t be fixed, there is nothing more I can do. The problem is people continue to think about the problem, instead of washing it a way. First, put the problem to the surface, then try to find a solution, or become aware there isn’t one, and then let it go. You can use another technique. I sometimes put myself in a bubble, and have thoughts bouncing off the bubble, not letting them get in. It is up to you what you want to do. You can also do simple breathing exercises. This is how you can start m. Breathe in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth. Just continue doing this for a couple of minutes. Visualizing helps me more, but I usually start out with the breathing exercise. You can also visualize a place that you like, or find peaceful as well. Meditation, once I get through all the negative thoughts, really puts me in a peaceful place, but one has to get through all the thoughts, and that is the hard part. You can sit or lay down. Do whatever feels comfortable to you, but not too comfortable where you fall asleep. You can start by doing it for 5 minutes. I usually do it for 20 minutes. It is all up to you how long you want to meditate for.

I hope one of these exercises resonated with you, if not, that is okay too. Mindfulness isn’t for everyone, but if you are willing to try one of these. It may help make your days a little less stressful.

Focus Your Mind on the Positive

Focus your mind on the positive things in your life, rather than the negative. Let the positive outweigh the negative. There will always be things that stress us out in life, but there also things that makes us happy. Try to focus on the things that makes you happy. Don’t allow that negative mindset to bring you down. At this moment I have a school loan that I can not pay off at the moment. I also do not have my own car, and have to save up for one, which is hard with the little pay I get. I am also trying to look for a better paying job, and all the Case Management jobs I would like to apply for have lots of applicants where it will be difficult to get a job. They also require me to have a reliable car, which I don’t have. Now I can focus my energy on these distressing situations, and stress myself out, and become depressed, or I can focus on all the things that make me happy-writing this blog, hanging out with friends, viewing nature, meditating, reflecting, reading books, watching videos of my favorite K-Pop groups. Now think about what makes you happy, and put your energy towards that.

We can also try to appreciate the things we do have, instead of focusing on what we don’t have. Try to write, or think about all the things you do have. The problem is we focus too much on the negative, and not enough on the positive. I am sure everyone who is reading this is struggling with something right now, but try to take the time to be mindful-live in the moment-and try to look at things with a positive mindset. Focus your energy on the things that make bring you happiness. You have the choice to see the good, or the bad. What will you choose? It is all up to you.

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Finding Your Happiness

Happiness is something we all want in life. If someone asks what do we want in life. We will most likely say happiness. How we define happiness is different for all of us. It is hard to describe what it is. The one thing I am sure of is we should learn to find happiness from within ourselves. We should learn to put ourselves first. That may sound selfish, but it is not selfish at all. Being happy is very important.

Happiness within ourselves can spread happiness toward others. If we are happy, this can benefit us in our careers, relationships, and family life. Being happy gives us an opportunity to see things more clearly. This all starts with looking within ourselves to find what makes us happy, and doing exactly what makes us happy. We tend to put others before ourselves. Sacrificing our happiness for someone else’s happiness, and that is not how one should live.

Being happy allows oneself to live to their full potential. It allows you to achieve your goals. It creates many opportunities. Happiness goes hand in hand with a positive mindset, and as I mentioned in my previous post. Positive thoughts cultivates many opportunities for oneself in life. We seem to think that we have to live our lives for others, and yes we should give to others, but to give to others fully. You have to start by giving to yourself first.

Even if you do something for yourself for 30 minutes to an hour a day. That gives you an opportunity to seek happiness. We all have something that makes us happy. For me it is writing for this blog, gaining knowledge, viewing nature, meditating, or mindfulness.

Some like to draw, write music, write stories, dance etc. Whatever it is that makes you happy go ahead and do it! It will benefit you greatly to make time for yourself. The more love you have for yourself. The more love you can give to others, this includes your spouse/partner, friends, children, family members etc. Your happiness can spread towards them. Your life should not evolve around another. If you can find someone else to do things that make you happy, great!, but it is also great to do things on your own as well. Whatever it takes to do things that makes you happy, you should try to do it.

I do believe that attaching oneself to a person, place or object to find happiness is not the way to find happiness. Happiness must come from within. Only you can make yourself happy. Do not give a person, situation, or object power over you. Think about it, if one of those things go away, what happens? You become upset, sad, and depressed. This causes unhappiness.

I am not saying all those things can’t make you happy, but it should not be your sole reason of happiness. Do things that make you passionate, or help you learn and grow, or gives you purpose. These things is what makes you truly happy.

Material things and objects are great, but they don’t last, and the happiness for those things fade. There are many things I bought that made me happy for the moment or for a bit, but after awhile, I got tired of it. One thing that I will never get tired of is my love for learning, or my love for Psychology and helping others, or going for a walk in nature.

These things are true happiness. So go out there and find what truly makes you happy, and go do that. Your happiness is most important. It should be valued. Take care of you first, then you will be able to take care of others in the best way possible.

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