Saying goodbye, with meaning.

by Donna Torney on June 1, 2017 · 0 comments

It’s the season of goodbyes, and exciting new beginnings.

A formal speech or an impromptu thank you; this is an opportunity to be your authentic self, appreciate the connections you have made, and savor the success that has come about because of these relationships.

When it comes to the workplace saying goodbye can feel awkward – whether you are a grad student saying farewell to your dissertation committee, or a high-level executive, the workplace goodbye is a unique art form.

A formal speech or an impromptu thank you; this is an opportunity to be your authentic self, appreciate the connections you have made, and savor the success that has come about because of these relationships.

Here is a carefully curated list of links that will help you say farewell. Some are heartfelt, and some are silly. Think about your audience(s) and take some time to check out the many difference ways you can say adios! With a bit of reflection, you can hit the right tone, and leave with a sense of serenity.

http://careerbright.com/career-self-help/sample-goodbye-emails-to-colleagues

https://www.nsc.edu/Files/humanResources/docs/goodbye.pdf

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sarah-cooper/how-to-write-a-goodbye-em_b_7843358.html

https://www.thebalance.com/how-to-say-farewell-to-co-workers-2063020

https://www.reference.com/business-finance/say-goodbye-coworkers-c213395769949962

http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/on-retirement/2012/05/25/sometimes-retirement-means-saying-goodbye

We wish you twenty minutes of mindfulness every day!

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Good weather, bad mood?

by Donna Torney on May 24, 2017 · 0 comments

 Trees are blooming and the sun is shining, but you’re just not feeling it.  You’re not alone.  From anniversaries to allergies, there are many reasons why spring and summer may not be your favorite seasons.  In my private practice, I have noticed an annual increase in anxiety and agitation that mirrors that of the winter blues, let’s call it the spring slump.  Other practitioners agree with me, but there is little in the scientific data to back our clinical anecdotes.  Did you know that suicide rates actually spike in late spring?

Summer depression can be even harder to bear.  After all, we are supposed to feel great when the weather is nice, and it seems like everyone on Facebook is having a blast, right?   If your mood changes in the warmer weather, take it seriously.  Read contributor Jennifer Scott’s commentary below to know how to ask for help:

Life has a way of becoming a difficult time for many of us whether it is just a bad day or that day has turned into a month. If you find yourself feeling depressed, anxious, or having suicidal thoughts, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, life doesn’t come with a pause button, so how are you supposed to be productive when your brain is telling you that you are stuck? The good news is that there are simple activities you can do to help you break free from your thoughts. Use this toolkit for helpful resources, as well as mental fitness tips to engage your mind and help you find peace.

Mental Health Resources – if you are feeling suicidal:

While there are several coping mechanisms you can use when you are having negative thoughts, the key is to seek help first. If you’ve had any suicidal thoughts, or have made an attempt, it’s urgent to seek help from a trained professional such as a doctor, therapist, psychiatrist, or other counselor. Check out these resources to get you started:

3 Easy Coping Strategies You Can Start Today

Once you’ve sought out that initial treatment, you can start implementing coping strategies into your daily routine. To start, try out these three strategies to get your brain back on the right track.

  1. Mindfulness meditation – This type of meditation is used to focus your attention on the present moment and away from your brain’s internal “chatter.” It is also helpful in keeping you from getting caught up in your thoughts, which is quite common when you are experiencing periods of stress. Meditation will help you to acknowledge how you are feeling and let it go, therefore reducing stress and depression, improving attention, and relaxing your mind and body. An added bonus is that meditation can be practiced anywhere — at home, in your car, or in a quiet corner at work.
  2. Get active – You can also boost your mood by getting active. Sure, it might be the last thing you feel like doing — but when you get out, get engaged, and get active you’ll be less likely to experience depression. Taking part in outdoor sports and recreation, like swimming, hiking, cycling, or even simply going for a walk to clear your mind can work wonders for your mood. Getting your heart pumping is great, but simple tasks like walking the dog, washing your car, or gardening are enough to work up a sweat too. On days when you don’t feel like getting out of the house, write in your journal, work on a passion project, or follow along with a workout DVD. Do whatever it takes to get moving.
  3. Sleep – Sleep gives your brain and your body time to rest, recharge, and reset. Studies have shown that most people would be happier and healthier if they were to get an extra hour or two of sleep each night. Sleep deprivation not only increases stress and depression, but it is linked to other chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Strive to get at least eight hours of natural sleep each night to give your brain the rest it needs and deserves.

Other Ways to Clear Your Mind

There are many ways you can take control of your mental health. By following the tips above, you’ll keep your brain stimulated and your mind motivated no matter what life throws at you. With the right tools, you can regain hope.

Jennifer Scott is a blogger.  Find more info on Jennifer at spiritfinder.org

We wish you twenty minutes of mindfulness every day!

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How to build new habits

by Donna Torney on May 17, 2017 · 0 comments

Gently, gently, ever gently…..

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World Happiness Report 2017

by Donna Torney on May 12, 2017 · 0 comments

Required reading for our leaders. The happiest countries are generous, forward-thinking with their natural resources and have strong social support. Happiness leads to economic health, but economic health alone does not create happy and healthy societies. The happiest societies are socially conscious. Social consciousness requires acknowledging our neighbors’ suffering. Mindfulness helps us do this without feeling overwhelmed. Spoiler alert: the U.S. is steadily falling in the ranking.

What are your thoughts on the World Happiness Report?  Do you think mindfulness practices play a part?

Share your thoughts with us.

We wish you twenty minutes of mindfulness every day!

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Can Technology Really Help with Your Stress?

by Donna Torney on May 9, 2017 · 0 comments

Many of us live very fast-paced lives, and stress affects us much more than we care to admit, often causing disruption at work and in our personal lives. If you’ve been feeling overstressed recently, taking a moment to de-stress doesn’t have to be as hard as it sounds.

Technology offers a variety of ways to reduce your stress, and many tech-related tools for stress relief aren’t expensive. Even better – most are available as apps, and on gadgets, you already have such as your smartphone. Here is some of the latest technology to help you with de-stress.

 

Tuning in with technology – WellBe

Sometimes it can be difficult to determine what exactly is triggering your stress, even when you feel its aftereffects. WellBe is a bracelet that monitors your heart rate throughout the day and works in sync with your smartphone to track where you are when your stress levels are rising.

You can also let the app know who you’re with at specific times, so you can later check how your stress levels are affected. Most importantly, this app provides the tools you need to de-stress, mainly in the form of meditations. After WellBe’s recommendations, you can check if your stress levels are lower.

Meditate Me

Meditation is a great way to de-stress that has been well-researched, but it’s not always easy to quiet the mind. Guided meditations, such as those in the Meditate Me app, are a good way to start. Since the meditation recordings vary in length, the app is useful even when you don’t have a lot of time on your hands.

Meditate Me takes meditation a step further by combining binaural beats, which have been shown to affect performance and mood, with breathing techniques.

 Managing productivity, managing stress –

ExpressVPN

Technology in and of itself can be stressful. Gadgets can malfunction, connections can be lost, and you may have even experienced a data breach at some point or another. If you’re worried about your privacy when online, ExpressVPN is an app you shouldn’t go without.

It secures your internet connection and hides your IP address (which is how your location is shared online), among other things. Using it on all your internet-enabled devices will help cut down on the likelihood of being hacked, so you can browse the net stress-free!

Dropbox

A lack of organization or simply not having something when you need it can be stressful and even more so when that something happens to be a work-related document. Dropbox is a cloud-based storage service where you can organize your files. It syncs across all your devices, so you’ll never be without your data again!

Adding files to your computer from your smartphone or vice versa is another hassle that Dropbox provides a solution for. With just a few taps on your phone, you’ll have your files sent to your account, and when you’re on the computer, you can simply drag and drop files where needed. You can view files offline as well, so you can access them anytime.

Twilight

It’s hard to manage day-to-day life if you don’t get to sleep on time. Less-than-restful sleep is also a common stressor. Sticking to a routine, sleeping in a cool room and owning a comfortable mattress can all help, but did you know that avoiding blue light during the night can as well?

Blue light is present mainly on screens and LED displays. Exposure to it at night might affect your circadian rhythm, but avoiding your phone or tablet at night isn’t practical. Instead, use Twilight, which will allow you to filter out blue light on your mobile devices. It’ll also adjust your display based on the time of day and is fully customizable.

Reducing Stress with Tech

Though stress is common, it doesn’t have to get the best of you. Reducing stress is possible in more ways than you might’ve imagined. You don’t have to look far to find the help you need. Apps and other tech tools are simple and cost-effective ways to manage stress. Most of all, they can fit into just about anyone’s lifestyle.

Do you believe technology will be able to help you with your stress? Share your thoughts with us.

About the Author: Cassie is a health and wellness blogger, as well as a tech enthusiast. Given the chance, she enjoys sharing tips on how technology can improve our lifestyles.

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Joy is sustainable happiness

by Donna Torney on March 29, 2017 · 0 comments

Science tells us that practicing gratitude has many health benefits, like feeling less lonely and building a stronger immune system.  So why is it sometimes difficult for us to feel grateful?  Why do we sometimes have a hard time saying thank you, when one of the byproducts of gratitude is joy, a positive emotion that is much easier to sustain than the fleeting happiness we feel when we get what we want.

 

Click here to sign up for the May session of the gratefulness course:  The Transformative Power of Sufficiency and Gratefulness.  

As Lynne Twist says in her interview with Brother David Stiendl-Rast, “We can bring joy to anything; Happiness must be pursued.”   When viewed this way, being joyful seems much less energy intensive than the never-ending hunt for happiness.

What stops you from feeling grateful? I know I sometimes have trouble trusting in my good fortune.  If this is a struggle you share with me, try finding gratitude in “safe” things, like the feeling of holding a warm cup of coffee on a cold morning, or the fact that you were able to cuddle with a beloved pet for a few minutes.

Fear is another emotion that puts up a wall against gratitude and keeps us wanting more.   If you are feeling fearful about having enough money, losing a loved one, or the state of the environment, take a few slow, deep breaths, you are in good company, but this company that could use some relief!  Exhale completely, and take a look at where you have influence.  The smallest act of assistance to someone in need can help you feel less fearful and a bit more in control, allowing you the space to feel grateful.

I find the emerging adults I work in my private practice are sometimes hesitant to express gratitude because they are trying to establish independence.  When we are trying to make it on our own, it can feel like a failure to ask for and receive help, and expressions of gratitude can trigger shame.  If this is your situation, remember that asking for help is an important life skill.  Try you best to say thanks, then Express your gratitude by envisioning the day when you can give back.  

Make gratitude your mindfulness practice this week.  If you need help with boosting your gratitude skills, consider joining the gratefulness.org eCourse hosted by Lynne Twist and Brother David Stiendl-Rast.

Click here to sign up for the May session of the gratefulness course:  The Transformative Power of Sufficiency and Gratefulness.  

http://gratefulness.org/blog/new-ecourse-transformative-power-sufficiency-gratefulness/

We wish you twenty minutes of mindfulness every day!

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We love the idea of traveling for months (even years) on end.  What we don’t love as much though, is the craziness and imbalance that often accompany solo traveling, like exhaustion, and feeling homesick.

You’re sitting in a beautiful city, a thousand miles away from home, and you’re second-guessing why you started this whole game in the first place.

 But here’s a secret: That feeling…it’s totally OK; as long as you’ve got the right mental tools to help you pull through the sucky scenario and get back into the balance of things. We’ve got some helpful hints which may just be able to help you get back to that point of feeling balanced, sane, and centered.

Here’s how to bust the stress-cycle when traveling the world…

Tips for Traveling Mindfully

Essential #1 – Sleep

Absolutely nothing will go the way it’s supposed to when you’re deprived of sleep. You need to get in sync with your destination’s time difference from home so that your body has already started adjusting to the sleep cycle when you get there. In order to ensure you stay clear of mind and keep the balance where it should be, you HAVE to get enough sleep.

Essential #2 – Nourishment

The foods we eat while we’re traveling hugely impact our moods and our emotions, and they can disrupt our sanity as well. We get that eating on the run might not always be as easy as it would be back home, but you need to keep in mind how important the right foods, the minerals, and vitamins, are for keeping you balanced and centered.

Essential #3 – Plans

You don’t need to be OCD about planning and organizing and then planning some more, but once you see how much easier and better your travels are when you have a solid plan, you’ll understand why this is crucial for your wellbeing…. To some extent obviously! You still need a healthy mix of serendipity to help guide the way.

Plan your menus, plan your sleep cycle and start implementing it before you depart, plan your routes and stops. Plan on staying mindful and plan on when you’ll spend time reconnecting with your inner self.

Essential #4 – Exercise

If there was one thing we’d suggest getting really serious about, it would be your workout regime. Keeping up your healthy lifestyle and intentionally scheduling workouts on a daily basis during your travels will help keep your body and mind in shape. If you have an at home yoga program, then keep it up while you are traveling too, you’ll be able to find some great places & spaces for yoga while traveling! It’s also a great way in which you can explore your surroundings and clear your mind in one easy activity.

 Essential #5 – Staying in the Moment

Once you start feeling exhausted and not balanced, the only way your plans are going is south. Pretty soon too. That’s why you need to get to a point where you can stay in the present, being fully aware of where you are and why you’re there. You need to stop. Take in everything you see and smell, all that you feel in that moment. Connect with nature and the locals around you. Being present and just absorbing the energy around you is one of the best ways to regain control of your mind before your emotions take over, plus it’ll help you to better your emotions as well.

Essential #6 -Your Journal

We don’t all write in (or even keep) journals, but for solo travelers looking to stay sane on their journey, it’s crucial. Think about what made you happy today, and then put it in ink, or even note it down on your phone’s memo app. It’s the small things that make up the good memories you’ll take home, and it’s also the small things that will keep you balanced.

Essential #7 – Feeling the Freedom

Being in another country far away from home has its perks, and it’s a beautiful thing once you recognize that freedom. You’ve made the right life choices, you’re self-regulated, and you’re independent. You are free to live your life and to achieve all that you set out to do, without the cultural and religious restrictions that so many are tied down by back home. That kind of freedom does not come to all, so let it empower your body and soul and let it fuel your mind to actually live out loud!

 Essential #8 – Learning Life Lessons

When you’re traveling solo, you should do so with the intent of traveling consciously, mindfully, so that you can use your adventure to essentially learn new life lessons. All of the good and all of the bad, they come together to teach us valuable lessons of life. All of your experiences happen for a reason, and with so much to see and feel, the best thing you can do as a solo traveler is to live the lessons you’ve learned in the days, weeks, and months that have gone by.

Final Thoughts

We’ve shown you eight essential tools you’ll need to stay sane while traveling solo, and if you haven’t been incorporating them on your travels, there’s no better time for it but now. Soak up all of the experiences available to you, but keep them stored in your heart so that you can take them back home again. Life can be a beautiful adventure, but it needs to be taken on with the mindset of traveling consciously!

About The Author

I’m Dan, and I’m the Editor in Chief of True North Athletics. I’m also an avid adventurer, digital nomad, and traveler. I enjoy all types of outdoor sports, a good golf tan, and spontaneous weekend trips. I currently live in Brazil where I can frequently be found hiking the rain forest around my city!

 

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What’s the Difference Between Ease and Easy?

by Donna Torney on February 8, 2017 · 0 comments

images-2What comes to mind when you hear the word easy?  maybe a single-digit math problem, or a six-piece puzzle?  Perhaps a recipe with four ingredients.

When it comes to the word ease, however, it’s not so simple to pull up a visual.  Ease is more of a feeling, more of a state of mind than an activity.   It’s a mindset that allows us to feel satisfaction, and to experience a positive state of calm, even in trying situations.  It’s that feeling of just finishing a job well-done, and sitting back, with a sigh, to relax.images

Wouldn’t it be nice to call up the feeling of ease more often?  It’s possible.  Take a look at these mindful hub articles and worksheets to start practicing well-being, right now:

Letting go of criticism

EASE is that feeling of just finishing a job well-done, and sitting back, with a sigh, to relax.

Practicing self-acceptance

Peace in the present moment

We wish you twenty minutes of mindfulness ever day!

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When you next find yourself among humans…..

by Donna Torney on January 17, 2017 · 1 comment

images-1

“Comparison is the thief of joy” – Theodore Roosevelt

Comparing situation A with situation B is a 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!

 

 

 

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Make Napping the New Black

by Donna Torney on January 13, 2017 · 0 comments

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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!

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