Category Archives: Society

THE SECRET ART OF LIVING IN THE ‘NOW’.

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Image via Omar Mendoza on LinkedIn: bit.ly/2EDjarX

@psychtoday #livinginthenow #LiveWell #mindfulness

“Everyone agrees it’s important to live in the moment, but the problem is how,” says Ellen Langer, a psychologist at Harvard and author of Mindfulness. “When people are not in the moment, they’re not there to know that they’re not there.” Overriding the distraction reflex and awakening to the present takes intentionality and practice.” [Dixit:2008].

This is true. Living in the now rarely comes easy to anyone. I, for one, have a mind that jumps from idea to idea and thought to thought incessantly. I think if I moved around as much as my mind does, I’ll be the fittest person in the whole world!

It is, unfortunately, the ‘sickness’ of our times. You cannot just focus on work.  While you are there you are constantly distracted by phone calls, colleagues dropping in with assignments or just to chat, and that is just the things you experience while you sit behind your desk. Behind your forehead  your mind is busy ALL THE TIME: must pick up the kids at two, what will be for lunch/dinner, remember the present for Mom, oh and it’s Valentine’s Day….roses, wine, chocolates for hubby, etc, etc and so on and so forth. No wonder we suffer from exhaustion and terminal depression!

‘In the now’ seems impossible, doesn’t it? Well, let me share a secret with you; while you are so busy overthinking everything, planning and plotting your next move or mulling over past mistakes, life is passing you by. You are MISSING EVERYTHING that goes on around you!

Dixit’s article in Psychology Today  gives a few tips on how to practice your ‘now-mindset’ . I’m writing a shorter version for your reading pleasure, but you should really read the full article here.

Below a summary of some pointers for those of us having trouble taming our unruly thoughts:

  1. Stop being so self-conscious.

Do not overthink what you are doing now. Just let go and DO it. If you are, for instance, asked to draw a picture of a flower. Don’t fret about the type, what colour, what medium, how big or small, just GET ON WITH IT! Grab what you have at hand and draw that flower, you may surprise yourself and, who knows, even ENJOY what you did for a change!

  1. Enjoy the moment.

Stop worrying about the future or the past. Let it go and enjoy what you have NOW, here, this moment. If you are, for instance, on the beach, you might think: “The weather is so beautiful, I hope tomorrow will be so sunny too.” While this thought may seem innocent enough, it has already re-focused your mind to what is going to happen tomorrow. While you are fretting about this, the beautiful day at the beach is passing you by and you are MISSING OUT!

  1. Just BREATHE!

Meditation experts and yogis alike know this. Focus on your breathing to bring your thoughts back to the present. Breathing helps us to reconsider things. It may be that you are having a disagreement with a colleague or you are stuck with a maths problem, whatever it is, if you just close your eyes for a second and BREATHE, your mind will literally reorganize itself and bring everything back to ‘the now’. You will be able to think clearer and, by focusing on breathing, all other distractions will disappear.

  1. Flow with the moment.

What is meant by ‘flow’? Well, in short, it means being so involved with something you are doing that you lose track of time. Flow means you are focusing on the task at hand, without even noticing distractions. Dixit mentions the example of a pianist, who will focus on a piece of music, setting himself a goal of finishing the first few bars, then the next and he will immediately hear if he makes a mistake. For him nothing else but the piano and the music exist.

You can do this too by consciously focusing on getting things done, one little bit at a time and actively avoiding distractions.

  1. Accept what is wrong in your life.

Ask yourself this question: if something in my life is so terrible that I cannot possibly change it without enormous effort, should I allow it to spoil my enjoyment of life as a whole? The secret is to understand that your emotions connected with a bad situation is real, it is there, lingering in your mind.  Recognize it and accept it, but do not let it tease you into thoughts of despair.  You can still enjoy every moment, even with bad things going on.

That bad thing is not happening NOW, is it?? It is normal to have moments of sadness or anxiety about that which we cannot control, but focusing all your thoughts and energy on those negative emotions will do no good.  An example may be a car accident. Say, for instance, you and your family are in an accident. The car is written off, but you guys are fine. Yes, you can get all depressed about the wrecked car, worry about the insurance claim, the time you may spend without a car while yours is getting fixed, this is all normal. You may feel sad, upset and anxious, but don’t let those negative thoughts overpower the fact that your family is fine, without a scratch, IN THIS MOMENT! That is something to celebrate, don’t you agree?

  1. Engage with the moment.

I’ve experienced this many times over the years. You’re on autopilot and do things that you are not even aware of. Sometimes when driving, I will end up somewhere and not be able to recall the drive there. Or I’ll do chores at home and end up with a clean house, but no memory of the day. I zoned out completely! This may sound very funny (and it actually is, in a way), but it is also very disturbing to lose an entire day.

We should practice to engage with every moment of our lives. While driving somewhere, look at your surroundings, you may be pleasantly surprised about the view you’ve been missing all this time. When you clean your house, look at the items you’re dusting, appreciate them for a change. Remember, some of the items have stories attached to them and you should enjoy them for what they represent in your life.

I know what you will be saying: “This sounds like work.” Well, that’s the fun part! Being in the now is not work at all. Yes, it takes some practice to change your busy mind habit, but you can start immediately, with small things.

Where ever you are now, just stop for a minute and breathe, take in the scenery, be thankful you’re alive, appreciate the sunshine outside. That, my friends, is all it takes.

You don’t need to bend and shape your life around this ‘new’ idea. Living in the now doesn’t mean setting goals and reaching for the stars. You don’t have to look for it or strive to achieve it, because you are already there.

Do yourself a favour and read the full article by Jay Dixit here.

SOURCES:

DIXIT, Jay.  2008.  The Art of Now: Six Steps to Living in the Moment[Web:] https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200811/the-art-now-six-steps-living-in-the-moment [Date of Access:] February 14, 2018. [Short link: bit.ly/1RJmwrb]

IMAGE SOURCE:

MENDOZA, Omar.  2014.  The power of the now.  [Web:] https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20141030214042-195965566-the-power-of-the-now/  [Date of access:]  February 14, 2018 [Short link: bit.ly/2EDjarX]

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Use love to thwart tantrums

#Parenting #TantrumControl #Family #Children #Relationships @HeyParentBaby

All parents know that helpless feeling when your child throws a tantrum. Some of us count our blessings when it happens at home and not in a busy shop. At least you are saved the embarressment and judgmental stares of strangers.

Still, you must find a way to deal with it. The age old trick of distraction usually works, but what if mini-you is unimpressed by your efforts?

Daily Parenting Tips suggests a hug. Asking baby for some love is guaranteed to throw them off track.

Why not try it next time your precious angel turns into an angry little devil?

SOURCE:

Daily Parenting Tips on Twitter: https://twitter.com/HeyParentBaby/status/900296977174454273

NewYear, NewBeginning

I’ve seen the phenomena many times; people come to see the counselor/psychologist for whatever reason. Diagnosis is often anxiety or depression, which is quite correct, but what many individuals fail to understand is that the root of many of their problems lie in the choices they have made themselves.

Life is about choices, and granted, sometimes making such choices take some chemical intervention. Less anxiety, better choices….making certain choices can be really hard, but the bottom-line is, they are CHOICES. You can decide to cut off connections with a poisonous friend or to stop drinking alcohol, smoking, negative thinking, whatever your vice maybe. Whether you need the support of a professional and a pill or two, well, that is also entirely up to you. In the end, you see, you have the power to change your life, whether you believe it or not.

The problem is, people rarely take responsibility for their own miserable dispositions. They blame it on colleagues, exes, family members, past traumatic events, illness, and so forth. All these are valid reasons to be depressed, yes, and you may have been completely innocent of causing any of these bad events and/or relationship break-ups, but you are still responsible for your own decision to cling to it. I understand that letting go is never easy, therefore you have the option to get help; someone you can talk to who can guide you through your healing process.

Why not decide today to take back control of your life, reclaim your power and move forward, leaving those old hurts behind. Trust me, you CAN, yes, you cannot change the past, it is done, but you can decide today to change your future.

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Come on friends, life can be such a beautiful adventure, a wonderful and precious gift, don’t let old grudges, pains and sorrows it away from you. And if you need help? Don’t ever be embarrassed to reach out; talk to somebody.

This then is my challenge to all: don’t let the past steal your joy, close the door on it and start living YOUR life with gratitude, peace and happiness.

IMAGE SOURCE:

COLEMAN, Chrystal.  2012.  Persephone Magazine: Positivity Challenge Week 7: Staying Positive at Your Non-Ideal Job.  [Web:] http://bit.ly/2iXoEQZ  [Date of Access:] January 10, 2017.

VIDEO SOURCE:

MIND INNOVATION.  2014.  Excuses and Negativity – Inspirational Video. [Web:] https:

A lovely poem and video to remind us why we’re alive  

‘​This beautiful spoken-word poem and animated video will remind you why we live and why we love. And, yeah, it might just make you cry.’ [Daniels:2016]

Source:

DANIELS, Allison.  2016. Spoken-Word Love Poem And Video Celebrate A Lifelong Love Story [Web:] MindBodyGreen.  [Date of Access:] 18 March 2016.

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What a dog can teach us about happiness

via @Artofimproving

Have you ever noticed the positive attitude dogs seem to have? They take every day as it comes and just ENJOY.

This video by Nat Johnson illustrates just that and suggests that we take the hint. Perhaps it is true that we, the ‘masters’ of the animal, can indeed learn something from them.

Read the article here.

Source:

JOHNSON, Nat. n.d. What a dog can teach us about the meaning of life. [Web:] Ideapod.com. [Date of Access:] 8 January 2016

6 Ways to Stop Mentally Beating Yourself Up

Via @PsychToday @selenidotorg by #SarahBest

“It’s time to give yourself a break. After all, you deserve one,” suggests the author. Aren’t we all guilty of this?

Isn’t it strange that, at a time that we seem to have so much compassion for others, we do not have the patience to be kinder to ourselves? Sometimes I wonder if our upbringing had something to do with this behavior. Perhaps we think that by humiliating ourselves, by always belittling and judging every action, we would seem less arrogant and people would not feel threatened by us. Ms Best is right, though, we should be stop being so hard on ourselves. It is only by being less harsh critics of ourselves that we will be able to find true compassion for others.

Do you think you will have difficulty to change your behavior? Here are some tips on how to stop all that negative self-talk:

[Excerpt only. Read full article here.]

1. Listen to your self-talk. When a friend tells you that you look ”good”, do you think, “I do feel great!”or do you wonder if she’s implying you are fat/wearing too much make-up. The first step to changing how you view yourself is to listen to how you talk to yourself.

2. Evaluate its credibility. Once you’ve tuned in to your self-talk, explore it. Healthy self-talk is based in reality, but unhealthy self-talk distorts it. Unhealthy self-talk triggers real emotions with unrealistic, or irrational, statements. [Read more about irrational thought patterns here.]

3. Examine the evidence. Challenge unhelpful messages.

4. Generate an alternative hypothesis, based on the evidence you do have.

5. Construct a statement to correct the error. Identify the thinking error.

6. Pretend you’re talking to a self-critical friend, and offer words of encouragement to yourself.

[Above six points are discussed in greater detail here.]

We always say that everyone deserves a loving relationship; true, but the most precious loving relationship is the one you have with yourself. By practicing the techniques above, you will find yourself becoming less and less critical of every little thing you do. You will not constantly question the truth of other people’s comments in an effort to further bring yourself down. Accepting compliments from others will become easier and giving yourself some credit will become a habit.

This is not pride, this is self-compassion. Go ahead, try it, you deserve it.

Please click here to read the original article on PsychologyToday.com.

Source:

6 Ways to Stop (Mentally) Beating Yourself Up | Psychology Today