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6 Ways Mindfulness Can Improve How You Feel



Manage your emotions! Six ways Mindfulness can increase peace of mind

“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; live the actual moment. Only this moment is life.” – Thich Nhat Hanh


Understanding Mindfulness

Emotions are a heavy thing to manage when life gets overwhelming. We let our emotions get the best of us, and this is almost considered normal. We like to make rash decisions, act on impulse, speak without thinking first, or just throw in the towel. Being caught up in the moment can leave you with regret and worries. Just imagine how much more enjoyable your day could be if you stopped thinking about what was or what could be, what people may think of you or what they may say… Not only does this cause extra stress both mentally and physically, it also hinders your performance.


We can all agree that “Let it go!” is one of the most annoying songs of this decade, however, strip away the cheesy music and the peppy Disney lyrics and you are left with a powerful message. Letting it go is the best way to effectively manage your emotions, keep it together and most importantly, be present. There is a time and place for everything. Deal with what you need to when the time is right and don’t waste your energy worrying about something that you can’t solve or fix immediately.


The concept of being mindful means to be in the moment, with a non-judgmental attitude. It means being aware and not trying to attempt or confirm anything. Mindfulness is a skill that you will continually develop but will never really master, and that’s okay. The purpose is to practice, practice, practice!


Six ways to help you practice Mindfulness

1. Develop your self-awareness. The first step to any behavior change is awareness. What kind of emotions do you have the most difficulty dealing with? For most of us it is negative emotions such as anger, sadness and stress.

At the end of your day, jot down moments when you found that your emotions got in the way of your peace of mind. Answer these questions: How did you deal with it? How would you prefer to deal with it next time? Start a journal, or if you hate using a pen and paper and have chicken scratch writing, type or record notes on your phone or computer.


2. Start meditating. All the cool kids are doing it. Meditation is actually a great way to cultivate mindfulness. It’s like going to the gym, but for your brain. When you meditate, you are training your brain to be in the moment, to focus and to refocus. Learning this skill can prove to be useful in all aspects of your life. If you tend to get distracted at work, you can learn how to stay focused and bring yourself back to the present.

When dealing with colleagues, friends or partners, we sometimes can get caught up in the moment and overreact. With meditation you can train yourself to take a step back and observe instead of react. Now if you’ve never meditated before, don’t expect to start off by meditating 30 minutes every day, that’s just not realistic. Start small, maybe five minutes a day, or a week. There are many tools to guide your practice. Check out free guided meditation tracks, apps, meditation groups in your neighborhood, or give it a try it on your own.

3. Be a tourist in your own town. When you are traveling, try to be more aware of your surroundings. The sights, sounds and smells make up a complete sensory experience. Practice mindfulness in your everyday life through mindful walking. Next time you find yourself going to see a friend, or getting to a restaurant, soak in your surroundings the same way you would if you were visiting an exotic destination. Whatever your mode of transport, try and practice being in the moment by letting go of any thoughts or worries you may have, and really experiencing your route to get to your destination.


I guarantee that if you do this on the way to work or school, you will find something new each day that you haven’t seen before. Now, don’t forget that it is normal for your mind to wander. The point of this exercise is to notice your mind wandering off, and then to bring it back to the present. This practice will help you strengthen your concentration, awareness, and ability to connect in the present moment. Like I suggested when starting meditation practice, begin small. Start of with five minutes a day and then eventually go for longer when you’re comfortable.


4. Throw your taste buds a party. Just like mindful walking, you can try mindful eating. Many of us eat lunch in a hurry at our desks instead of taking time to enjoy our meal. Some people even skip meals because they are too busy! Crazy, I know. Not only is this detrimental to your mental wellbeing, but it affects you physically as well. No matter what you’re eating – a snack, a whole meal, or just an ice cream cone, try and sit down and enjoy the different flavors. Be aware of how your body is reacting to the experience. In the morning, wake up a few minutes earlier so you can sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee with a bagel instead of rushing to work and eating while you travel, or skipping the meal altogether. And no, a cup of coffee from Starbucks is not considered breakfast.


5. So fresh and so clean. Taking mindful showers is another way to make sure you practice mindfulness on a daily basis, assuming that you shower everyday. Next time you’re scrubbing away, try and focus on different sensations such as how the soap feels on your skin and how the water feels dripping on your head. If you find yourself rushing or having distracting thoughts, take a deep breath and refocus on your practice. If you’re lucky enough to have a big shower, try sitting down and just experience the water falling on you.


6. Take it to the mat. Yoga seems to be an activity that can serve many different purposes. Some athletes use it to make sure they get a good stretch in, while others use it as a relaxation tool at the end of their busy and stressful day. Yoga is a great opportunity for you to practice mindfulness as you change and hold postures. Imagine it’s your first time doing yoga, you’re in Warrior Pose 1, and as you hold the position for a few seconds, your shoulders start to burn and your legs begin to shake. Now, most people might get caught up with those sensations and begin to feel angry and impatient. Instead of reacting, respond by bringing your awareness back to your breath and trying to observe your thoughts. I guarantee that this will make you feel a lot better than freaking out and giving up because of a few tingling sensations in your arms. After the session, keep the presence and awareness as you step off the mat, and try to bring it with you for the rest of the day.


These are all ways to train your brain how to refocus and be in the moment. It is a way to practice fully experiencing what you are living. Now, I am not saying to do this all the time. Pick the moments when you want to train your brain. When you cultivate mindfulness through, yoga, meditation, and other practices, you will see that it will begin to seep in other activities. Again, the purpose is to help you “let it go” and enjoy the present moment. There are so many things you can do mindfully. It is up to you to choose the right moments, and use those skills to help you manage your emotions more effectively.

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Can You Receive A Compliment Without It Getting To Your Head?



a compliment (1)

Receiving compliments gracefully isn’t as easy as it should be for some people. How about you: are YOU ready for someone to give you a pat on the back? To be pushed to doing more? To have someone give you a supporting hand? To be picked up when you fall down?

Sure, we may think that’s what we want. But is it what we need to develop, to grow, and to get better?

If someone complimented you on every little improvement you made while learning a new skill, would you not start to feel a bit marginalized? That perhaps they didn’t really think you could do it? What about when you do something that seems pretty easy and everyone made it into a big deal?


Receiving Compliments When You Are Not Ready For It

Why You Are Not Receiving Compliments

Developing new skills is never free of trouble. We all know the level of foundation that must be built to get from being a novice, before reaching greatness. In the learning process, we all know when we are in that frustrating stage of not being quite as good – but we know what we have to do to get there.

It’s in these moments that receiving compliments on your every action could minimize your efforts. That’s because if they truly knew you, people would be holding out for when you make that big, defining leap. 

As we overcome hurdles in our learning and development, friends, family members, and colleagues will know when the time is right to provide encouragement. They know that when that moment comes, those words will have the right amount of impact on you.

Think back to when you were growing up, playing some elaborate game. Perhaps you spent hours creating this game: building a fort, putting together things that the rest of your characters in the play could use. You pushed through despite the trials and problems.

It would have served absolutely no purpose for someone to congratulate you on every step (and misstep) along the way.  You would have lost your flow as you worked through the problem, constantly being interrupted – all while you were still trying to figure it out and understand where you needed to go.

Why You Are Not Receiving Compliments


When Receiving Compliments Makes You Content with Present Achievements

You might never have finished if someone patted you on the back early in that moment, content in the knowledge that you “thought up” the idea and that was enough. If everyone was saying you did great simply for thinking up something new, would it have compelled you to stop?

Maybe. Perhaps you would have stopped with that compliment.

As a parent, you learn when to encourage your children. Usually, it’s not when they show up, and not when they do what kids around them are able to do as well. It’s when they push themselves to do more. When they pick themselves up and still lose, when they try something new for the first time, fall over and fail, not sure if they should do it again.

Those are the moments when kids should be receiving compliments – NOT when they have done the same thing over and over again, or when they didn’t try their best but won anyways.

Kids know this. They can feel it when people give false compliments or encouragement because they did something they’ve always done. But when it is something meaningful, something they have worked hard for, they know the encouragement will be there to help them.

Why You Are Not Receiving Compliments

The reason you might not be receiving compliments or encouragement when you want to is because you haven’t earned them or don’t deserve them yet.

Maybe your coaches, leaders, parents, or other people who support you know you are not ready for it. Perhaps they need to see you making that next big leap in your growth and development.

Those compliments might not come today, tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year. But look at those around you – the great people you have chosen to surround yourself with – and you’ll see that they are waiting to give you that push. They are waiting for you to make it happen.

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3 Ways to Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart




when your dreams are falling apart (1)

I truly believe that dreams must extend beyond wishes of self-improvement; that its goal should be to contribute to the world around you.

The heart is a fickle thing. Imagine how many amazing things wouldn’t have been accomplished if great minds simply stopped when they “didn’t feel like it”.

It’s human nature. I’m sure that during the course of over 300 bank rejections, Walt Disney had days when he felt like giving up. But he didn’t. He kept going. Why? It was because his dream went far beyond himself.

Here’s how YOU can keep going – even if it feels like your dreams are falling apart.


3 Ways to Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart

1.) Remember The “Why”

Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart

Often times, I find that dreams extend far beyond the simple purpose of making one happy. For example, being a songwriter in and of itself does not make me feel happy and fulfilled. Imagine if my life’s work was to write songs that no one would ever hear. That doesn’t elicit any feelings of happiness or fulfillment (at least to me).

Seeing and hearing the healing effects that come from the songs I create for others to hear? Now you’re talking. Healing and helping others is the part of my dream that keeps it alive. It gives me purpose in this world that goes far beyond myself and my skills.

I’m reminded of the character Ebenezer Scrooge from Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. Scrooge’s goal in life was to have money – and lots of it. He set aside love and relationships for that dream. The result of this life goal was a lonely, cold, bitter old man.

I won’t ruin the whole story for the very few of you that may not have heard it. In the end, Scrooge discovered that what brought him fulfillment and happiness were community and generosity.

So what is the “why” to your dream? How is your dream going to affect those around you? Get beyond yourself. As many have said, YOU are your biggest obstacle to success.


2.) Take Off The Rose-Colored Glasses

Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart

You know what I’m talking about. The “I’m going to make it big” and “I’m going to famous/rich/etc.” I hate to take a pointy realistic needle to your big ideas, but I’m doing it out of love. Here it is:

Your dream isn’t going to look exactly how you pictured it.

Take a minute to take that one in. Still here? Yes. Alive? Yes. Not Bleeding? No? Hurt a bit?

It’s OK. I know. I’ve been there. Dreams are vulnerable. We spend countless hours imagining what it would be like and how we will get there. But the truth is, in my experience, they have never turned out exactly how I have imagined. Why? We live in a world of people and circumstances that we can’t control.

Here is where the “why” comes in. The beautiful thing is that your works are a direct result of your heart’s intention…and what you put out into the world never comes back void. Here’s an example:

As a singer-songwriter, the common idea of making it big for my line of work is to have a hit song or perform in front of a sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden (I’m more inclined towards Red Rock Amphitheatre, but you get the picture).

Let’s say that I work and strive tirelessly to do everything I need to do to reach that goal. I release a song, I tour around the US, develop a large following, get on the radio, etc. Along the way, I hear stories of how this song has impacted the people who have heard it. Stories describing how it brought healing, encouragement, and hope.

To go further, what if I never even make it that far? What if circumstances happen and I can’t tour? What if everything “falls apart”? What if I end up playing at open mics for the rest of my life? What if it doesn’t happen in the next year? Two years?

Does that change the fact that my song helped heal and open the heart of a broken and depressed Vietnam Vet? Or how it helped encourage an author to keep going and writing? Or how my song started a conversation on how to look past the labels overshadowing soldiers and their families?

It’s all about your perspective of success, my friend. To me, because my “why” and my heart’s intention are to help people, those stories above are my version of success. It’s what keeps me going. If I get to Madison Square Garden (or Red Rocks), well that’s just icing on top of the cake.

Keep going on your dream. Make a plan, and in the words of .38 Special, “Hold on loosely, but don’t let go.” Roll with the punches and understand that even greater things can come when things don’t go according to your plan.


3.) Make Your Dream Your Job

Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart

No, I don’t mean quit your job and have no income while you work on your dream. That’s an entirely different article (and completely up to you). I’m talking about treating your dream like it is your job.

For example, if you completely failed at a presentation at work, would you just quit and not go the next day? No! You have a livelihood and an expectation to show up. So why quit on your dream at the first sign of failure?

Treat your dream like your job. Make a plan, show up every day, and understand that it may take a while to see any results. I know many songwriters who wrote hundreds of songs before they wrote a hit. However, they never would have reached it if they didn’t take that first step, made a commitment, and wrote 100 songs first.

Dreams don’t just happen. They take work. So go get started!

My best advice under this theme is check out the book “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. It is by far the best resource I have discovered in my journey of living out my dream.

Here’s the deal. With every goal that I have set and achieved, I never sat at the end and thought to myself, “man, look at what I did”. Believe it or not, I was more overwhelmed with the thoughts of the journey that I had to take to get there – the good and the bad.

I would admire and laugh at the unexpected things that came. I would smile and enjoy the character it built, the person that I became in the process. In the end, the best thing about dreams and goals isn’t their achievement, but the journey that you take to get there.

Never forget that the dream in your heart was put there for a reason. You were made to make an impact on this world.

Enjoy the journey and never, ever give up. Keep going.

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