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Be present where you are: Mindfulness part one

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Often times we hold images in our minds from our harshest critic.
We can be kind to others. We are shepherds and we are caretakers to others.
Although we are awfully hard on our own self.

In reality both sides are battling it out inside of our heads. Imagine the old cartoons, where there is a devil (or a critic) on our left shoulder and an angel, (the caretaker) on our right shoulder. Both are whispering in our ears, what we need to hear. I challenge you to take five minutes to think through and write down what each voice has been telling you. If you are being honest with yourself, you will hear your own inner-critic first and then notice your strengths, second.

It is natural for our minds to be so focused on the negative first. Although, we can learn to control our thinking. The first step is practicing being mindful. Try being here-and-now. Do not focus on what you have to get done in two hours or later tonight. Be present with yourself, right here and right now. First this starts with breathing.

Keep your eyes open but just focus on your senses rather than your thoughts. Notice the environment and what you are feeling, sensing, breathing, seeing around you ....
What are you seeing? Look only at one thing at a time. If you are thinking about what you are thinking and interpreting, you are no longer being mindful. Attempt to perceive without judgments, interpretations, evaluations or too much input from the brain. You should have a running commentary of what you are experiencing right now.

This exercise was meant to help us become more alert and aware of our surroundings. Mindfulness is "thinking about thinking." We do have some control over our thinking. We call this being "mindful." Being mindful can help us de-stress and relax. Doing this meditation will help you be more present in the here and no, not distracted by thoughts and judgments. At work, be fully attentive and present at work. But then at home, be fully present with your family, instead of focusing on your thoughts and worries of work.

Next week, I will offer some more techniques to help you de-stress and be even more mindful.

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