We all want what we want, and we want it NOW! Or better yet, yesterday. Waiting can be excruciating if you are counting on a paycheck, or even waiting to buy the newest iphone. I was recalling this feeling with a friend today. When I was in grad school, my daughter was three, and we didn't have two pennies to rub together. I would spend so much of my head space longing for that chapter to be over, so I could earn more and build a life for us. What I overlooked, was how precious three can be (aside from meltdowns at Target). How blessed I was to have summers off, to have picnics and savor otter pops at the park. I was rushing through the now, to get to the "better." The truth is, everything is as it should be in this moment. These experiences are vital to my tomorrow. Savor this moment. Be patient.
Have you ever been watching a movie with an action scene, and suddenly realize that you haven't been breathing? Breath is life. Until I started to practice yoga, I didn't realize how important this was. Sure, we need air to survive, but unless our breathing is hindered, we are rarely aware of it. Working in healthcare has given me an acute understanding of all the functions we take for granted. Our lungs give us the gift to calm a racing heart, center a busy brain, and take pause before acting rashly. Take this moment and breathe. Take in the beauty of the air around you. You are blessed with this gift of breath.
The present moment
Anxiety and depression flourish when we convince ourselves that the worries within our heads will manifest. Our safest and most perfect place to live, is in this moment. In this moment you are safe. You are whole. You are loved.
When we judge someone for their beliefs, personal choices, or even the driver in front of us in traffic, we deplete our personal wellness. When you find yourself in distress because these judgements, observe this feeling and let it go. Watch it float away like a leaf on a stream.
Everybody has things that have happened, that take root. It may be resentment, heartache, or better times that have long passed. We take these feelings out and ruminate over them from time to time, creating complex and distressing emotions. If you are experiencing this in your own life, remember this: for things that aren't serving you, they may be harming you. It's time to let them go. This can be achieved through meditation, visualization and even counseling. Lighten your load by focusing on the present moment. This is the place where joy and peace resides.
A lot of people spend their headspace thinking about the "what if's" of tomorrow. We try to control the outcome of things by spinning all the possibilities in our head and concocting clever comebacks. These are futile efforts of control. The only moment we have control over is this one. In this breath. Trust provides us with the understanding that whatever is ahead, we know that it will turn out just as it should be. Think of a time when something didn't go the way you planned. I am guessing that something positive, even years down the road- blossomed from that seemingly negative event. Trust that your tomorrow is filled with absolute perfection, whatever form that takes. Breathe it in. Trust.
Mindfulness is the focus on the present moment instead of ruminating over the past or trying to control the future. Mindfulmoments are created through intentional actions that keep us in this time and place. This focus can be created through numerous activities: savoring a piece of chocolate, mindfully walking while soaking in the beauty around you, or even folding laundry. One of the fastest ways to bring you into the present when you are ruminating over your bills or social calendar, is to simply breathe. The act of breathing in through your nose, and out through your mouth (like blowing out a candle) over a period of four seconds can literally re-boot your system when practiced 4-5 times in a row. Take a moment. A mindfulmoment, to just breathe.
All of us struggle with control. Every day we make hundreds of decisions that give us the illusion of power in our lives. I want a tall, decaf, soy, vanilla latte. I want to listen to U2 in the car on the way to work. I want veggies and hummus for my afternoon snack. This desire for control spills into other areas of our life without awareness. We want our children to be a certain way, or our partner to stop snoring. When things don't go as planned, we are faced with the jaw clenching irritation that comes with anxiety. If we are mindful, we see these feelings, as if from a distance. Observe them. Honor your feelings and then let them go. The only control we have, is in this moment. Here and now, everything is as it should be.
When a toddler is given a new object, they may stick it in their mouth, throw it up against the wall, or even shake it. They don't categorize it as good or bad, safe or dangerous. They see everything with fresh eyes. As we age, things become less interesting. We have heard this song a million times. A sunset? Over it. If you are looking at the world with a beginners mind, you are seeing things with new eyes. As if it is for the first time. A blossom becomes a geometric miracle. A fresh slice of pineapple explodes with flavor. Wow! I will look at today with fresh eyes. A new experience. My own clear slate. I am mindful.
There are a few things I have learned from working in healthcare. One such thing is the following, slow down. Stress impacts our bodies in detrimental ways. Not only does it create systemic inflammation, but over time- this results in a myriad of chronic illnesses (both physical and mental). Take the time to pause, and soak in the details around you. Mindfulness teaches us to use our senses to bring us into the present moment. If it's a glassy pebble, or the mist that tickles your nose when peeling an orange, observe it with gratitude. I see the beauty in the details around me. I soak them in. I am mindful.
It may have been your parents, a coach, or your inner voice that echos the importance of perfection in all your deeds. While an element of drive is healthy and vital to reach goals in life, true striving leaves us feeling as though we have failed, when falling short. Last spring I got a bee in my bonnet. I was going to start practicing yoga. I did it too! I did yoga every day for about 60 days. I was determined to "crush" crow pose. While I feel this pose is against all forces of nature, it appears it can be done by several gifted humans out there. I however, am not one of them. After those 60 days, and little upper body strength to support this move, I allowed myself to be imperfect. How liberating. I may reach "crows pose" one day, but if I don't- I'm still lovable and perfect the way I am. I will allow my future to unfold. I will not force perfection. I am non-striving. I am mindful.
I don't know about you, but I would like a signed guarantee with every decision I make, that it will be the right one. Since I'm not sharp on my psychic skills these days, I'm not getting many confirmations wrapped in shiny paper with a big fat bow. I have to do this funky thing I call trust. I have to let go of control and actually trust that things will unfold beautifully. This is the moment when your thoughts start saying, "But what if this happens? Or the other thing? Or THAT?!!!!" At the end of the day, I have little to no control over the things around me. I'm able to show up with my best intentions and trust that things will turn out as they should. My choices are beautiful. Even though my future is unknown. All is well. I trust that I am cared for. I am mindful.
In this age of technology and social media, it’s very easy to get swallowed by the “comparison monster.” We get online and see people’s beautiful vacations, cars, homes, weekend properties, and perfect children/spouses. This is a quick way to feel completely dissatisfied with your life. We are so programed to increase our material status of success, that we lose sight of what matters. I challenge you to let this go. What makes you happy? Do you genuinely need those things, or are you trying to keep up with the Jones’? These possessions mean nothing, if you live in fear of financial disaster every month. Embrace your current blessings. Let go of social pressures to get more, MORE, MORE!!! I have enough. I am blessed. I am mindful.
Tonight I was doing a yoga video on YouTube. Yoga with Adriene is my favorite channel. The topic was trust. She instructed the viewer to shift their weight from the ball of their feet to their toes, and back until they found the point they believe they could fall. She encouraged the viewer to trust that they would catch themselves. That the universe is there for you, and so is everything else. I like to pause and think about big fat phrases like this. How does it apply to me? If I am practicing mindfulness, I understand that there are no mistakes. I will trust that everything will turn out as it should. I don't have to rush it, I don't have to be anyone's version of me, but my own. I trust the process. I trust myself. I am mindful.
When I was finishing up with grad school, one of my favorite professors tried to prepare us for professional life by saying, "for the first two years of your career- you will be completely lost. If you figure out where the bathroom is, you're doing just fine." Talk about low expectations! I'm a perfectionist, and this vision didn't jive with me. I was certain I would be the best hospice social worker that hit the pavement. Instead, I found myself driving about 100 miles a day in rural Idaho- lost, stuck in the snow, and entering very questionable homes with more questionable people living in them. The only thing I was an expert at? Learning where the closest and cleanest bathrooms were in each town. No need to rush to perfection. My experiences led me to exceptional patience, and priceless files in my library of skill. Don't rush through. Take this experience with the understanding and trust that it has divine purpose. I will not rush. I will savor this moment. I am patient. I am mindful.
Tonight I was given a bit of a scolding from my daughter. We were having some couch/Hulu time watching America's Next Top Model (don't judge.) I was answering a text from a friend, checked my facebook, and as I was scrolling down the page- she exclaimed, "Mama! This is our quality time! Put the electronics away!" Youch. My 11 year old let me have it. She wasn't wrong. After she confiscated my phone, hiding it under the couch cushions, I felt pretty guilty. Come on Audrey, these are special moments. Is there any witty text or Buzzfeed video that tops being present for quality time? Heck no. If you're mindful, you're in the present moment. Not on your phone. I am present. I am engaged. I am content. I am mindful. :-) (That was my daughter.)
Food is such a complicated topic for people. Working in healthcare, I've had people tell me they would rather die than stop eating fast food, or give up salt. They are serious too! It sounds like a crazy thing to say, but food is associated with so many valuable life experiences. Growing up, every family celebration was coupled with food. Either cones at Baskin & Robins, or KFC on Sunday's with Grandma. If I did well in the book it club, we got Pizza Hut. It's a food-based culture. If you are mindful while eating, you pay attention to how you are feeling. Am I hungry? Bored? Sad? You are aware of what you're putting in your body. Does the food have five ingredients? Or 50, ending with yellow #5? I tell my patients, will this food survive the apocalypse? You probably shouldn't eat it folks.
When I waited tables, I was lucky to get 10 seconds to scarf some cold ranch fries before delivering an order. It took me years to learn to slow down and savor flavors. Don't rush it. Enjoy your food. Observe your emotions. Eat food made from food! I will nourish my body. With love. With respect. I am mindful.
I teach meditation in my practice every single day. Most people walking around this big world are terrified about their future, health, family, bills, you name it- they're worried about it! I've even had patients tell me that if they don't have something to worry about, they will find something! Sometimes the endless churning of our worried brain creates anxiety. When I'm anxious, it's like watching a movie, and the main character is drowning. I hold my breath! Meditation is a wonderful opportunity to focus on your breathing, close your eyes, and picture all those worries float away for a few minutes. But wait Audrey, I can't shut my mind up! Trust me, those worries will be there when you get back to reality in ten minutes. Until then, picture those little worries in a bubble- floating up into the clouds. Sometimes you have to picture those buggers floating away more than once. Keep at it until you find your moment. Peace. There it is! I clear my mind. I breathe. I am mindful.
One of the greatest skills I have learned as a counselor, is to be present when listening to another person. Prior to my education and training, I'm not going to lie- a friend could be talking to me about their tumultuous relationship, and I would be thinking about picking up a Starbucks on the way home. It's not because I'm selfish, but my attention is a lot like my daughter's. SQUIRREL! SHINY! (It's a thing). In other words, focusing has been been a lifelong challenge. When I dedicated my life to helping others, this was the first thing that had to go. I remember my first years in hospice- I would be visiting some sweet old lady in her extra hot house, hear the hum of her oxygen concentrator, and her monotone voice as she described in precise detail- the day she baked a pie in 1934. For the life of me....FOR THE LIFE OF ME....I needed to stay present. My body begged for stimulation, my mind pleaded to talk, not listen. But I listened. What a gift this job gave me! To truly mindfully listen, don't just hear the words that are spoken, but their body language, their subtle nuances that make them unique. Hear their emotions and reflect them with compassion. You can think about Starbucks later. I listen with my ears. I listen with my eyes. I am present for others. I am mindful.
The first time I learned about mindful walking, it was a work activity. I was taught that it was a conscientious effort to move each muscle with the understanding that each motion was miraculous. Intentional movements. Laced with gratitude. Upon the completion of the lesson, our entire clinic staff made their way to the empty parking lot and began moving in slow motion- looking frighteningly similar to the zombie apocalypse. Joking aside, this was an excellent lesson for me in both patience and gratitude for the beauty in my capacity to move. If you are mindfully walking, you not only notice your body's motion, but the beauty around you- soaking it in. I move with grace. I know this blessing. I walk. I am mindful.
Even though I project an image of "Zen Social Worker Audrey" to the world, there are moments I tap into my true humanness and feel frustrated, cranky, dare I say inpatient! Yesterday, I was on my way to a bang trim down the street after rushing out of a staff meeting. I found myself cursing the immobile traffic. The clock kept progressing-as time is known to do. While I knew the salon would wait, I knew I wasn't going to be in any way penalized by this tardiness-I found myself pausing. Patience is one of the foundations of mindfulness. If I'm mindful, I know that HERE is where I'm supposed to be. Even if I'm late and stuck in traffic. My increased heart rate and nervous fumbling on my phone at the stoplight isn't going to make me get there a minute sooner. Pause. Breathe. This life. A series of moments. I will breathe through this one. I am mindful.
Within my role in my practice, I spend a good share of time teaching people how to meditate. For those that are uncomfortable with the idea of formal "meditation" (a guy in a lotus position "ommmming on top of a hill,)" I encourage people to look at meditation as an opportunity to daydream about a peaceful journey. I ask people to picture a sacred beautiful place in the world. It could be a cabin in the woods, a beach in Hawaii, or an old campground they visited when they were little. I ask people to see themselves in this beautiful space, but also to travel down a peaceful path. The reason I find this so important, is the journey. You would be surprised what people come across in their mind's eye. Perhaps a tree has fallen over, a bunny scurries up, or a child joins you. All of these changes are beautiful and significant to the place you are in your life. Go with it. I meditate. I journey. My own path. I am mindful.
Our culture is entirely based on food. Celebrating any holiday or event is often met with feasting (especially with sweets and carbohydrate-rich yumminess). We say "I love you" with chocolates, "get well" with steaming hot soup or casseroles. We say "thank you" with gestures like coffee cards (frappuccino anyone?) or donuts. It's a recurring theme in my world. Gratitude with donuts. Of course donuts are delicious! The problem is -my body hates them. As I've gotten older, my insides reject things that aren't made from actual food. Mindful eating is not just about slowly savoring nourishment with attention to the senses, but harnessing awareness about what you are putting in your body. You can't mindfully eat fun dip and pepperoni sticks from the corner market. Be aware of where you food comes from, and what it's made out of. If it has yellow #5 in the mix? Maybe not the best choice. First three ingredients sugar? Your body is begging you to pass on that dopamine inducing sweet treat. The next time you find yourself impulsing to gorge on short-term rewards, think about how sacred your body is. Nourish it wisely. My body is sacred. I nourish it wisely. I am mindful.
The present moment
Today I was teaching a patient about mindfulness. It may have been my 5,000th time. No matter how many times I discuss the magical impact this practice can have on someone's life, I still get chills. I can remember times in my life in which I was crippled with anxiety (living in the future) or swimming in nostalgia (living in the past). These thoughts are futile attempts at control over that which cannot be controlled, or changed. The present is where peace makes it's home. Today I found myself savoring the texture of my bright pink throw blanket as I caught a chill from my late summer air conditioning. I savored it. I took a break after an afternoon meeting to get an iced coffee with cream and savored it. I got off the treadmill this evening and stretched one way, then the other-and savored it. Over the years I have practiced mindfulness, I have learned to string these events into a beautiful day in which a find my treasure. Anxiety no longer has a hold over me. The past is gone. The future is yet to be written. The present is where I live. I am mindful.
This week I got to indulge my inner-teacher at my clinic. In one day, I taught 6 classes on the same topic. Phew! My voice was nearly gone by five o'clock. I got to thinking- teaching on the same topic can get a little monotonous. It starts to feel a lot like a spiel. Like I'm a car salesman, but I'm selling emotional wellness instead of leather seats. The thing is, my audience was different every single time. Every person I taught that day, came with a different set of problems, and either they endured the class out of obligation- or fancied the class a life preserver for their mental health. Each interaction was a new opportunity for impact. As I taught these classes, I had a bit of an "ah ha!" moment. I'm always trying to find new ways to integrate mindfulness into my world. I thought, this is a perfect opportunity to use a beginner's mind! If we are mindful, we are looking at things with fresh eyes, as if for the first time. From that point forward, I looked at my classes as an opportunity to present my content with new excitement! I understood that each person I spoke to needed to feel my sincerity and passion, in order to make an impact. This is all done- as if for the first time. What have you found yourself doing for the 100th time? How can you revisit this task with new vigor? I see the world with fresh eyes. I greet today with new excitement. I am mindful.
None of us are free from painful life experiences. Chances are we've all been burned. To what extent varies, but the sting of betrayal is palpable even after years have passed. Yuck. I hear this a lot from the people I work with. "Well Audrey, I had a friend that talked behind my back, so I just don't make friends anymore because they will hurt me." Yeah, I get it. She was a stinker and it cut deep. Or, "My boyfriend cheated on me, so I'm going to be alone forever. I can't go through that again." For sure. I know many people that sing that tune, or even wrote it! People can stink. They can. But here's the rub. If you cut off everyone, you don't get to experience the soft chewy center from all the good ones out there. Sure, there's a risk. But making everyone pay for the mistakes made by one or two people, is just bad math. Out of the billions of people on this planet, statistically speaking- the odds are in your favor to trust a couple fine folks. Give it a go. This is a new moment. New experience. I let go of the past. I trust the future. I am mindful.
Ring of light
About two years ago, my amazing medical director provided our whole department with an 8-week course on mindfulness taught by a very zen-like psychologist on the verge of retirement. She was a stunning lady. Tall, lanky, bright red hair. I'm not going to lie- I want to be like her when I grow up. She taught us some basic foundations of mindfulness through Jon Kabat-Zinn's model, and always gave us new exercises to try every class. The idea was that she would throw all these skills at us, so we would have a toolbox of relaxation techniques to use whenever we needed it. One of my favorites was the "ring of light." Sitting in a relaxed position and closing your eyes, start focusing on your breath. In through the nose, out through the mouth. As you begin to feel relaxed, picture a bright ring of light surrounding the top of your head like a halo. As the ring of light starts to descend around your body- picture the light relaxing every tense muscle, healing every cell, washing you in peace. You can do this slowly or quickly, checking in with every part of your body and sending it light and love. When you are done, there may be almost a tingly sensation of relaxation and peace. This is a wonderful exercise to do in the middle of a stressful day, or even before bed to calm your thoughts. Enjoy, and be well.
Meditation is a wonderful way to practice mindfulness. However, it's not always easy to become a zen "Buddha on a mountain top" type of person. When starting a meditation practice, the largest complaint I hear is the inability to focus on clearing your head with all the gunk going on inside! Yes, we all experience distracting thoughts. Perhaps a conversation you had earlier, the political climate, or the leftover apple pie you plan on inhaling tonight. Mmmm pie. This is perfectly normal. However, people often feel like "meditation dropouts" when this happens- like a big fat failure. Not the case. When preparing someone for meditation, I let them know this is an expected response- for our minds to wander. As we start to quiet things, our head says "I must solve a problem!" Just acknowledge the thought and watch it float away like a bubble in the breeze. It will come back later. No need to hold on to these things right now. Let it go. Free yourself of worries and allow them to float away- if only for a moment. I allow my worries to float away. I choose my thoughts. I am mindful.
Music is a gift. Whether you jive to The Beatles or Coldplay, we all have unique tastes in music. Music is such a tender element to life, because it can evoke feelings of absolute joy or sadness. Like a time machine, it can transport us out of our day-to-day stressors and cloak us in goosies as a reminder that our true self continues to pulse, despite monotonous adult responsibilities. This weekend, I came across an old CD case from about 10 years ago. I found my copy of Janis Joplin's greatest hits, and could not have been more excited to blast Bobby McGee. This song takes me to my youth, my unbridled passion for life experience that could not be confined to social norms. As I drove around town running errands, grocery shopping, and paying bills, I found such joy in this actively mindful act of musical savoring. I listen. I savor. I soak up the gift of music. I am mindful.
A couple years ago when I took a mindfulness class with my staff, we all made goals to implement mindfulness in our daily life. Some committed to a daily yoga practice, meditation, mindful eating etc... The medical director of my department committed to mindfully hugging her kids. Wow. I had never thought of that. How often do we rush through hugs? Kiss our kids as they rush out the door, just in passing. But to savor, really savor our connections- that is where joy and peace live. Since this "eureka" moment, I've made it a point to savor hugs. Soak in snuggles. Linger in an embrace with my daddy- appreciating every moment of this precious gift I've been given. Love. I won't rush. I am here in this embrace. Soaking up connection. I am mindful.
I choose love
I meet a variety of people in my line of work. Some are kindred spirits, while others- not exactly. With these colorful souls, I try to find something beautiful inside them- like a treasure hunt. Some may be exceptionally articulate, devoted to their family, or possess the unique skill of building a ship inside a bottle. I like to think that everyone has something good inside of them. In the practice of being mindful, we look at the world with fresh eyes, observing from a place of non-judgment. While it can be challenging to separate from a visceral reaction some people illicit, observing with non-judgement allows me to find that tiny piece of value in a seemingly abrasive personality. This skill is priceless, when practiced regularly. In whatever circumstance you find yourself, whatever news floods your screen, whoever challenges your patience, choose love. In this moment, it's OK. Today I am safe. Today I breathe. Today I choose love. I am mindful.
This was one of those weeks where my body insisted it move. I probably sit at least 8 hours during each 10-hour work day. Counseling back to back is wonderful, and I'm blessed to do it- but I have thought more than once, wouldn't it be great if we could do this while hiking? Hmmm...I think I have an idea there. About halfway through my work week, I start missing my days of waiting tables (it's fleeting, don't worry.) I likely got 10,000 steps in one evening, not to mention all the upper body work while balancing full trays up and down stairs. As I get older, my body has started telling me very clearly what it does or doesn't want. It wants sleep, yummy food prepared from scratch, gentle stretching that is kind to my ex-cheerleader knees (it all catches up) and this week- it told me to move. I hit the treadmill every day, answering the call my body was crying for. I'll tell you what it didn't want. Chocolate, processed food, Netflix, and sedentary blogging sessions. One must listen to these demands, or pay a heavy price. Part of mindfulness is being checked in to these bodily whispers. Taking time to breathe, take an inventory of your parts and feelings, allows you to take action in your best interest. Earlier this week I told a colleague my body needed juiced kale for a week. I'll get right on that. I listen to my body. It whispers. Move. I am mindful.
Yesterday at work, I looked out our building's 5th floor windows, to see we were in the middle of a snow globe. How beautiful! My initial reaction was "Oh geez, I hate driving in this stuff. Now I have to shovel my driveway! I hate the cold!" Grumble grumble. Later, as I was chatting with my boss about our future plans to make the world healthier, I saw the biggest monster snowflake of all snowflakes dance down from the sky in the blustering wind outside. I would only be mildly exaggerating when I say it was the size of a nickel, at least. It was so substantial, that I paused. She lifted the blinds in her office- and we both stood, watching the beautiful dance of snowflakes for a moment before continuing our epigenetic (I didn't even know what that was until yesterday) discussion. While driving was frustrating, and shoveling my walk was really REALLY cold, I made friends with a neighbor that helped me with my walk. Here's the thing. There is beauty and possibility all around us. When implementing mindfulness in your life, the keen observation of your surroundings from a place of open non-judgement, allows you to see the gifts around you. I could have easily continued my grumble chorus and missed out on so much. Instead, I savored snowflakes and made a friend. Beautiful details surround me. I slow down. I am mindful.
This weekend, I joined record breaking numbers of women all over the globe, to peacefully demonstrate in the Women's March. As a highly sensitive person, I have often hid during times of political unrest. Following 9/11, I cocooned myself in my apartment watching "Where the Heart is," until I Natalie Portman convinced me that any amount of healing was possible. This week was different for me. My usual type-A internal motor of productivity has waned. I've gone to sleep just after dark, muse struggling to find words. I've intentionally filled my time among glittery souls, with the hope that their radiating warmth will rub off on me as we exchange hugs in greeting. That works to a point. That is, until I realized something. In my continued search for something external to bandage my hurts this week, I was given a gift.
A group of like-minded counselors in my area have just started to meet in a support group. It was inspired by a soul-sister of mine, that was able to acknowledge the intense drain experienced by our profession, constantly giving, without much to replenish our own tanks. We share words and insecurities within a safe space. It's genius, really. When we met on Friday, our numbers were sparse, but mighty in light. One of these souls introduced a meditation to the group from an application called Insight Timer. The meditation was entitled "Connecting to the Awakened Feminine." In this meditation, you are led through a relaxation exercise, followed by visualization as you connect to Divine Female energy. What makes this so beautiful, is that you picture the women in your life, perhaps throughout the world, all unified and centered on healing the planet. How beautiful. Like any meditation, I tend to go off on my own agenda. It's the rebel in me. Due to the heaviness of my heart, I used a classic visualization to clean out my insides.
I pictured myself under a waterfall, with all the darkness, unhappiness, and heavy world sadness washing off of me like dirt. A fresh clean surface of me, both inside and out. Once the dirt was gone, I pictured the water as pure light, absorbed into my body like a sponge as it cascaded over me. Not only was I clean, but full of the light I had been seeking. This visualization is powerful and settling. Peace found my heart. If you are also challenged with tenderness, I encourage you to try this exercise as well. Be Well. Love is powerful. I can heal my own heart. I am mindful.
I don't know about you, but I often feel giddy at bedtime. I've always loved to sleep, but it's become more precious over the years. After a full day of patient consults, paperwork, making dinner, navigating chatty tween gossip, and coaxing a child to bed with repeated hugs and assurance that her dreams will be filled with Hogwarts adventures...sleep is a big stinking deal. More often than not, I find myself asleep within moments of my golden retriever's settled sigh. This week, I noticed that I was skipping a block of time that could be used to savor the sweet relaxation that is finally being granted to me! This is a perfect opportunity for a little body scan check-in. A body scan is an opportunity to focus your attention on each body part or system, from the hair follicles on your head, to your toenails. With each progression through the body, notice how it's feeling. Is your stomach hungry? Does your back ache from your hard work? Send yourself thoughts of love and healing. Still angry over your co-worker's lame remark earlier? Picture it dripping away, as you exhale. I adore this practice. To me, it feels like an opportunity to honor my body for all the work it does everyday. A thank you! Next time you're ready to put your day to bed and get on with dreamland, take a moment to check in with yourself, and say "I love you." You're a pretty big deal.
The material on this site is intended for informational purposes only, and is in no way meant to serve as a substitute for individualized mental health therapy provided in person by a professional. Audrey Mitchell, LCSW does not provide the information on these pages to substitute for individualized therapies. No claim to cure, treat, diagnose, or otherwise provide mental or behavioral health care is guaranteed, promised, or implied by this site. By reading the material on this site you agree to these terms and conditions.
If you are in need of mental health services, please contact a licensed professional. If there is an IMMEDIATE CRISIS (such as suicidal or homicidal thoughts or actions, a child or adult currently being abused, or any other mental health emergency) CALL 911.
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