mindfulness for everyone

Mindful hub is an online community where you can find support, encouragement, and skills for living a more centered, meaningful life. Our goal is to cultivate an ever growing, changing, and interactive “hub” that will support individuals, groups, and health professionals in the quest to find well-being and contentment through mindfulness.

When you next find yourself among humans…..

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“Comparison is the thief of joy” – Theodore Roosevelt

Comparing situation A with situation B is big part of how we make it through the day. Overuse of this often-unconscious process, however, can feed anxiety and feelings of being “less than” or “better than” that lead to separation, isolation, and in worst cases, to violence.

Out of fear, we think by sizing up, categorizing, and otherwise pigeonholing people, places and things we keep ourselves safe from harm.

Taking a nonjudgmental stance, both toward others, and ourselves is one of the cornerstones of mindfulness.  This ability to step back and detach (applying equanimity) is a skill that will decrease anxiety, stress and discontent and increase feelings of connection to the human race.

But taking a nonjudgmental stance is easier said than done, as we humans are so good at judging.  We think by sizing up, categorizing, and otherwise pigeonholing people, places and things we keep ourselves safe from harm.

While using “good judgment” can certainly keep us safe from harm, excessive use of judgment that deems us better than or less than creates an artificial wall.

Try this mindfulness practice when you next find yourself among humans:

  1. Start by taking a few deep breaths, which will help you calm your nervous system and take a neutral stance.
  1.  As you walk down the road or the grocery aisle, note the thoughts that pop into your head.  You might mentally register someone as “short,” “tall,” “bald,” “smarter than me,” “better dressed than me,” or “poorer than me.”
  1.  Resist this urge to go on auto-pilot by thoughtlessly labeling your subject.  Instead of using one or two descriptive words, try using the phrase “Just like me” as you make your observations.  Here are a few examples:

“just like me, this person looks tired.”

“Just like me, this person worries.”

“Just like me, this person can feel joy.”

“Just like me, this person wants to be loved.”

See if this mindfulness experiment helps you to feel less critical and more connected a condition we all share – being human.  Connect with mindful hub.  Let us know how this exercise works for you.

We wish you twenty minutes of mindfulness every day!

 

 

 

Make Napping the New Black

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The other day I mentioned that I felt guilty after taking a nap.  Luckily I have some kind friends who answered with loving responses, encouraging me to rest.  If only our culture would do the same.  If only we were allowed, like bears, to turn off our metabolism, tuck in the kids, and wake up in April.  What if we gave ourselves permission to create a human version of hibernation?

Soon enough we will be ushering in spring and sunnier days.  Our faces turned up toward the blue sky, and napping may not even occur to us.  For now, let’s honor our bear-selves and give in to rest, and trust in the science behind the benefits of napping, yoga, meditation, and other related restoration:

Don’t feed in to the burn-out culture.  Instead of bragging about your sleep deprivation, brag about your naps!

Research shows that napping and resting boost creativity and problem-solving.  Scientists at NASA rely on rested astronauts to make 40% fewer mistakes.  Today, allow yourself to take a mindful siesta.  Make mid-day downtime a firm commitment on your schedule.

If you can lay down, do so for only twenty to thirty minutes.  The ideal nap is a light sleep that leaves you feeling refreshed, not groggy.  If you can’t lay down, you can rest by moving away from your computer and taking some gentle stretches.  If you absolutely can’t move away from your screen try a meditation app like calm.com or headspace and focus on your breathing, allowing yourself to luxuriate in a half-awake state.

Most Americans are sleep-walking around with a big sleep deficit.  If you are feeling fatigued consider the following:

1.  Go to sleep at the same time every night.

2.  Use your bed for sleep and sex only.  That means not catching up on past seasons of your favorite Netflix series.   Make eight hours of sleep the new black.

3.  Learn how to relax your mind and body on cue.  If this seems foreign to you, check out our post on Yoga Nidra.

4.  Keep your naps short and toward the middle of the day  – especially if you struggle with insomnia.

5.  Choose tea and toast or milk and oatmeal as your evening snack over alcohol.

6.  Turn the lights out!  Especially computer screens.  Any blue light from LED screens tells your brain to stay awake.

Need more incentive to nap?  Visit the National Sleep Foundation website.

We wish you twenty minutes of mindfulness every day!