Zenful Living

My nieces are two of the most amazing women that I know. They own SaltyGirl Boutique, “a beauty shop bringing you natural, organic and safe skincare products as well as up-cycled sustainable and USA made accessories and gifts”. They also have their “Foundation for Love”.  This foundation was created after my niece experienced a diagnosis of breast cancer while she was pregnant with her daughter. In their statement about foundation for love they state, “we want to provide gestures that may help relieve some of the stress and worry for people experiencing a cancer diagnosis”. These two women, along with the support of their families, started their business due to their passion for “health and wellness”

These two women inspire me more than I could ever explain to someone. They get an idea and they research and move forward. They are strong, independent, caring, smart, and loving women. I use them as my inspiration to move forward with my passions. 

Why am I writing about them in my Zenful Living post? They also have a blog and they also are interested in mindfulness. I saw a Facebook post about their most recent blog post on Mindfulness Mondays and the fact that they will be doing a series on mindfulness every Monday. It got me thinking about my goals and dreams of living a more mindful life and bringing mindfulness into not only my personal life, but also my professional life. I am more inspired to continue to learn more about mindfulness practices for both my personal and my professional life, but I haven’t exactly figured out how it translates into an actual career.

I’m thinking that the more I use mindfulness in my personal life, the more it will spill into my professional life. As a clinical social worker, I see a lot of people with depression and anxiety as well as increased stress. I often talk about grounding exercises, visualization, and breathing. These are two very easy ways to bring mindfulness into ones life. They’re also very benign and not so out there that people are hesitant to use them.

Our breath is amazing. As involuntary as it is, it can also be something that we can train. As a culture, we tend to not breath the most effective way for our bodies. We often breath too fast, to short, and too shallow. When we slow ourselves down and focus on breathing slow, long, and deep, we can very quickly feel the change in our bodies. A good breathing exercise is inhale slowly to a count of 4, hold the breath for a count of 7, and then slowly breathe out for a count of 8. You can also do breath work in a 5-5-5 count or even forget about the holding part and just breathe out twice as long as you inhale. There are many breathing exercises, but this is my favorite.

Meditation can be difficult for some people. What I have learned, from the limited education I have on meditation, is that there are many different forms of meditation. For me, I find visualization style meditation to be something that resonates with me. I have learned that I am not a fan of the “body scan” meditation. I like to visualize calming things, like bubbles, tree roots, white/pink light and things like that. I can very easily calm down and get into a meditative “trance”. I recently did one with light going down your spine. You then visualize roots forming down to the center of the earth and hearing drumming, the heartbeat of the earth. Once you are there you visualize what you see and then imagine your spirit guide coming to you. Your spirit guide can be anything or anyone that resonates with you. Once you have your spirit guide, you ask for guidance and then you say good-bye and head back up the roots to your body and come back to the present. This is just a basic representation of the meditation, but it was an amazing experience and I didn’t even fully do it. Visualizations can be a place that is comforting, doing something that can’t actually be done in reality like floating on clouds, or just visualizing an object that is special to you.

My Inner Wild Woman

Grounding exercises are great for anxiety and stress. When I discuss grounding exercises with people, I usually discuss using all of our senses. Using our senses beings up back to the present, not focusing on the past or the future. When you think about what you see, hear, taste, smell, and touch, you can’t think about your anxieties. I have even tried to teach my children about using this when we are hiking so that they can really embrace and love the woods.

After writing this post, I am feeling more passionate about these different forms of mindfulness. I am even more passionate about learning more about mindfulness now, given how much I liked writing this post. I hope to learn more details about these forms of mindfulness as well as journaling and creative arts mindfulness, which will be a topic for another post.

My cosmic smashbook for journaling

Do you use mindfulness practices? What are some of your favorites? What are ones that you don’t enjoy?

Namaste,

Amy

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