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« What Are Today's Interesting Finds? - v13 | 3 Words to Quickly Energize Your Fresh Start »
Tuesday
Jan312017

How to Practice Mindfulness for a Compassionate Fresh Start

Are you hard on yourself? Do you engage in negative self-talk about the things you didn’t do or should have done or won’t ever get to? If so, it’s a good time to engage in some self-compassion. You probably are more compassionate with your family, friends, colleagues, and even strangers. Do you extend that same graciousness to yourself?

This month I began taking a mindfulness training course. I’m enjoying the mindfulness meditation practice along with journaling and experimenting other ways of living more mindfully. So much of what I’m learning resonates with how I have always lived. Yet with this training, I’m learning new tools and ways to connect the learning to a fuller daily living experience.

Some of the mindfulness practice centers around focusing on your breath. By developing an awareness of the breath, the inhale and exhale or the expansion and the contraction of the body, you can quiet the mind, become more relaxed, less stressed, and gain better physical and mental clarity.

As I worked on the “Breath Awareness” practice this week, there was one particular passage of the guided meditation, led by Laurence Magro, psychotherapist and mindfulness educator, which I found particularly beautiful. It also connected to this month’s fresh start theme. She said that . . .

 

“The breath serving as an anchor, an anchor to the present moment. Knowing that you can always start over, coming back to the breath to refocus your attention on the present moment. Being willing to begin again with patience and kindness towards yourself.”

 - Laurence Magro, MBA, MS, LMHC

 

Are you in need of a compassionate fresh start? Could you use a boost, an anchor, some words of encouragement, or some self-compassion to engage in a do-ever? Consider using your breath to refocus on this moment. Let go of the shoulds. Ground yourself in the here and now. Expand from there.

What are you experiencing right now? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Come join the conversation.

 

 

 

 

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Reader Comments (15)

Great Post, Linda! Focusing on your breath is such a useful exercise. It always brings me back into the moment and gets me out of my head. I count my breaths up to 10 and then start over. Once I have come back into the moment I follow up the breathing exercise with mantras and affirmations. It is a great way to kick that negative reel to the curb.

January 31, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJamie Steele

I have been a little absent myself, going to monthly instead of weekly blogs, so welcome back Linda. You are correct when you say we don't extend the compassion for ourselves. I am reading a great book right now by Brene Brown called Rising Strong, about facing difficult situations and being brave enough to get back up. Being mindful of every situation is a great way to not repeat those things that are counterproductive.

January 31, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJill Robson

I find taking a deep breath and then very SLOWLY exhaling is a great way to calm myself down. Mindful breathing interrupts the anxiety rush because I can't focus on two things at once. I find few people perform their best when coming from a place of discouragement. I believe it is important to consciously deal with those self-demeaning thoughts by asking, "Is there a message here that I need to hear and then turn into positive change, or are these just negative thoughts that are damaging me for no purpose?"

January 31, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSeana Turner

I find that mindful awareness always starts with deep breathing exercises. It attunes you inwardly instead of reflecting outwardly. It's amazing what an extra oxygen does to the body. If only everyone would stop and do some deep breathing exercises before they take action. Thank you for the reminder.

January 31, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSabrina Quairoli

@Jaime- Combining the mantras and affirmations to your breathing cycle sounds like a wonderful and effective addition.

@Jill- Thanks, Jill. Interesting that you've made a choice to blog less frequently. How is that going? I love "Rising Strong!" I read it last year and found it very affirming.

@Seana- Nothing quite like the power of the breath....and it looks like it's one of your "go to" tools for managing anxiety. What a great question to ask when that negative self-talk surfaces. Thank you for offering it up.

@Sabrina- Great point about the "extra oxygen" effect! There are benefits of focusing on normal, not deeping breaths too. It helps us to focus and eliminate distractions.

January 31, 2017 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

@Linda .I actually feel i am able to devote more time to get out away from my computer and i have increased my client base a lot because of it. I am achieving balance in my business by giving an even amount of my time to all the behind the scenes parts of my business.

January 31, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJill Robson

@Jill- Kudos to you for finding the balance that works for you. I understand the desire to spend less time at the computer. Since doing the mindfulness practice, I am finding that I also want to have less screen time. That balance is constantly shifting. Happy to hear that things are flowing well for you right now.

February 1, 2017 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Self compassion can be in short supply! It's easy for us to have unrealistic expectations of ourselves. Going back to breathing in and out, slowing down our pace and tuning in to our environment makes such a difference. I recently downloaded the app Headspace on my phone and have used it. I love that mindfulness and meditation are in my grasp literally.

February 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Delap

@Ellen- That's so cool that you've downloaded the app, Headspace. I know it but haven't tried it yet. I figured that after I have my formal training, I'll begin experimenting with some of the mindfulness apps. I'd love to know what you think of Headspace.

February 2, 2017 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Great post first of all. Everytime I get to work, first of all I take some deep breath and have my mind focus on what am I going to be doing. And yes this really help a lot to work for long hours. When your mind is scattered it's hard to work. But on focusing one at a time you do it right.

Stephen @ TaskBucks

February 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterStephen

@Stephen- It sounds like you have a great routine for centering yourself before beginning your day. You're so right that when our thoughts are all over the place or "scattered," it's difficult to focus on what's most important.

February 6, 2017 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

The morning after you posted this, I was at a networking breakfast where a mindfulness mentor was the speaker. She talked about Groundhog Day, which was both humorous and interesting, but I couldn't figure out what it had to do with her business until the end. Whether the groundhog sees his shadow or not, there are about six weeks between Groundhog Day and the first day of spring. It's up to us to think of it as "Blah, six more weeks of winter" or "Yippee, only six weeks till spring!"

February 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

@Janet- What a wonderful observation! The attitude we take so greatly influences our daily experience. It's funny that you mentioned about spring's arrival. While it IS one of my favorite seasons, I am hoping for a nice, big snowfall to really make it feel like winter. It's been a mild winter so far. Hearing the news this morning, I may get my wish. I heard a good-sized winter storm is brewing and may give us 3-6" of snow on Thursday. I love looking out back with into the woods when there's a fresh, white blanket of snow covering the landscape. So peaceful.

February 7, 2017 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

It's definitely been one of the strangest winters I can remember! We had a bunch of snow mid-December, which was gone by Christmas, but no other accumulation to speak of until this past week.

February 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

@Janet- Odd weather everywhere. We DID get that snowstorm and it there was close to a foot of snow. I heard more is coming this week. Since spring is close, I don't mind (and even welcome) the snow. It makes it really feel like winter. And it will make spring that much more enjoyable and welcome.

February 14, 2017 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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