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Cultivating Mindfulness ~ Staying in the Present

By Veronica Vidal

Why Focus on Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment—and accepting it without judgment.

Mindfulness is now being examined scientifically and has been found to be a key element in stress reduction and overall happiness.

Mindfulness can help relieve stress, treat heart disease, lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, improve sleep, alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties, treat depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Mindfulness improves overall well-being!

Here are 6 simple steps to practice mindfulness anytime, anywhere.

1)    FIND A PLACE that feels calm and quiet to you
2)    SET A TIME LIMIT. Use an alarm or your smartphone to set between 2 and 10 minutes. (beginners do just 2 minutes)
3)    REMAIN STILL. Commit to a comfortable and stable position during your meditation.
4)    FEEL YOUR BREATH. Follow the sensation of your breath as it goes in and out your nose.
5)    NOTICE WHEN YOUR MIND IS WANDERING. When you notice your mind is wandering, simply return your attention to the breath.
6)    BE KIND. Don’t judge yourself nor obsess over the content of the thoughts. Just keep coming back to observing the sensation of your breath.

Note:  In addition to formal meditation, you can also cultivate mindfulness informally by focusing your attention on your moment-to-moment sensations during everyday activities. This is done by single-tasking—doing one thing at a time and giving it your full attention. As you floss your teeth, pet the dog, or eat an apple, slow down the process and be fully present as it unfolds and involves all of your senses.

5 Dimensions of Well-Being

What does well-being look like to you? When you envision someone who is “well” and “healthy” what comes to mind? What factors do you think influence wellness?

  1. Emotional Well-Being: How can you become more effective in these abilities? The ability to accept yourself and successfully cope with the challenges life brings; ability to identify how you’re feeling and why; ability to constructively channel anger, love, fear, hope; ability to focus on positive things in your life; ability to find your meaning and purpose.
  2. Mental/Intellectual Well-Being: How can you stay mentally stimulated? Be creative in learning new concepts; expanding knowledge, skills, trying new hobbies; opening your mind to new ideas and experiences that can benefit your personal and professional life.
  3. Physical Well-Being: What aspects do you need to care for? (i.e. balanced nutrition, proper hydration, regular exercise, breathing techniques, healthy sleeping habits)
  4. Spiritual Well-Being: What helps you stay connected with your inner self? Cultivating inner peace? Practicing gratitude, meditation, contemplation, and prayer. Developing contentment? Being in nature? Growing your faith in your Loving Higher Power?
  5. Social Well-Being: What helps you feel close or connected with others? Having supportive relationships add value to our and other people’s lives. This is one of the strongest predictors of well-being.

At the end of each day, reflect on:

What have I done today that has given me a sense of accomplishment? Pleasure? Closeness with others? How can I find a healthy balance between work and play, between being active and resting? Am I making time for things I enjoy? Look to create balance? What can I do differently tomorrow?

Inner Peace: 6 Easy Tips

True inner peace is independent of external conditions and circumstances.

Inner peace is available only through looking inward, and can only and ever occur in the present moment.

Here are 6 simple tools to tap into your INNER PEACE

1. Meditate Every Day
Even if its for 5 minutes. Take out the time to breathe and just Be. Stop the inner noise, and find inner silence.

“I discovered the secret of the sea in meditation upon a dewdrop.” Kahlil Gibran

2. Develop Your Spiritual Practice 

Since you are unique, your practice needs to be unique to you. A spiritual practice can come in a thousand shapes and colors. There are no boundaries, no rule-books, and no right or wrong way to do it. Spirituality is simply a connection with your highest self, with your true purpose in life, with finding the path that brings you peace.

3. Read Uplifting Literature

Before going to bed, read something motivational or inspirational. It calms your mind, uplifts your spirit, and will even help you to get a good night’s sleep.

4. Engage In Daily Prayers

Make time to connect to your understanding of a loving Higher Power, and release your worries. Trust you’re not alone. Trust there’s a Higher Power with a Higher Purpose. Be like a child in the hands of a loving parent, where you can relax your mind, emotions, and soul.

5. Commune With Mother Nature

Get out for a 5-minute walk every day. Set the intention to notice the green trees, the flowers, the birds, the sky. You will come back recharged, and calm.

6.  Practice Affirmations
a) Repeat or create your own affirmations. “May I be filled with serenity. May I be safe from inner and outer dangers. May I be well in body and mind. May I be at ease and peace.”

b) “I am Divinely protected. I am Divinely guided”

In the words of Eckhart Tolle: You find peace not by rearranging the circumstances of your life, but by realizing who you are at the deepest level.” 

Practicing Resilience

REFLECTING ON RESILIENCE: 

In a nutshell, resilience can be defined as is the remarkable ability of humans to adapt when faced with adversity, as well as the ability to “bounce back” from disappointment- failure- loss, feeling stronger, wiser, and more determined than ever.
Resilience is about experiencing all of the negative, difficult, and distressing events that life throws at you while staying on task, optimistic, and high-functioning.

Here are 5 coaching tools I am focusing on to enhance RESILIENCE:

1) Reframe your mindset from victim to survivor: “I CAN DO THIS”, “I AM GOING TO MAKE IT NO, MATTER WHAT”. Become accountable and use whatever resources you have at hand. Affirm that you’re strong and capable enough to face anything life throws at you.

2) Accessing & Sustaining Positivity
When you withdraw your attention from negativity (stop feeding it energy, but at the same time not struggling against it) and instead give your attention to positivity, it can start to naturally displace the negatives.

A resilient person can overcome the devastating feelings of the crisis without getting stuck in the cycle of desperation and negativity.
Staying positive does not mean that things will turn out okay. Rather it is knowing that you will be okay no matter how things turn out.” – unknown

3)  Stop and think to make rational decisions: 
In the midst of the crisis or an unforeseen event, it’s easy to be compulsive, have poor judgment, and make wrong decisions. Train yourself to stop, analyze, and then decide.

4) Have Faith:  Trust that God, the Universe, or your own understanding of a Higher Power, will always conspire to contribute with you, and provide you with everything you need, in the hardest moments. Cultivate unbreakable faith.

5) Practice Affirmations: 
“I have the strength and courage to get through any situation.”
“I am flexible and can adapt when life doesn’t go according to plan”.
“I am Divinely protected. I am Divinely guided”

What do you tell yourself to build resilience?

However,it is not so easy for everyone, to take that step forward in times of crisis, and that is why I want to offer you my coaching services, to support you. Together we’ll develop the correct attitude, discover your strengths, work in the habits that limit you, and bring forth your talents, strengths and passions so that you can get the life you want.

In the words of Charles Darwin, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives . It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”

Wish you Love, Strength, Freedom, Health and Success !

In Gratitude,

Vero Vidal

5 Steps for Letting Go

Letting go is about accepting what is happening right now, and not worrying about what will come up tomorrow.

Fully accepting the situation as it is without constantly wishing it would be different, is the way to get on the road of being OK. And this isn’t limited to accepting situations. We have to start to accept people for who they are as well.

Remember, every day we have a choice to keep on holding on just a little longer or conclude that today is the day we will finally let go.

What do you want to let go of?  …anger?… fear?… resentment?…judgment?… sadness? the past?… the need to be right?… the need to control?… guilt? …the need to ask for advice?…addiction? … the need to be a victim? …

Think about it what in your life, is no longer serving you?

HOW TO WORK ON LETTING GO?

Here’s a 5 step process you can work through to loosen the grip and “let go”:

  1. Close your eyes and take ten deep breaths to calm and center yourself. Just allow your body to breathe however it needs to.
  2. When you feel calm, think about the thing you want to let go of, the thing you want to release. Feel the feelings that come up.  Don’t hold anything back.
  3. Focus on the strongest feeling. Exactly where do you feel it in your body?  All emotions create homes in our bodies which create physical sensations (pain, heat, cold, numbness, tightness, etc.).
  4. Open your eyes and start writing whatever comes up for you in a journal. Pen and paper work best for this process (no electronics).
  5. In your journal, answer these questions:  What do you want to let go of?  What patterns would you rather not repeat?  Can you see the difficult experience differently? What would you gain by letting go of this particular issue?

This process is like peeling an onion. In order to give your subconscious mind time to work, repeat this process on a weekly basis until you feel that you can truly let go and move forward.

However, it is not so easy for everyone, to take LET GO and move forward,  and that is why I want to offer you my coaching services, to support you. Together we’ll develop the correct attitude, discover what is holding you back, how to come into the present, and work in the habits that limit you so that you can enjoy what is unfolding right in front of you so that you can have the life you want!

Wish you Love, Strength, Freedom, Health, and Success!

In Gratitude,

Vero Vidal

 

Reflecting On Gratitude In Times of Hardship

Several studies have found that more grateful people experience less depression and are more resilient following traumatic events. Multiple studies have found that people with higher levels of dispositional gratitude have signs of better psychological health, including higher levels of perceived social support and lower levels of stress, depression, and anxiety.

Let me share 4 coaching tools I am focusing on to cultivate GRATITUDE:

1) Keep a Gratitude Journal. This is the most basic and powerful practice in all of Positive Psychology. There has not been a single text on happiness published in the past decade that does not mention this exercise. Every day, write down three blessings from the past 24 hours. Pencil and paper or online journal work equally well.

2) Offer a Prayer of Thanks. Robert Emmons, in his 2007 book, “thanks!” says that 70% of people surveyed (all religions combined) pray daily. Those who say ‘thank you’ more often than ‘please give me….’ experience higher life satisfaction.

3) Accept your situation. See beyond self-denial. Instead, accept your current situation. Sometimes it helps to accept a loss. This means accepting what you don’t have currently, and doing the best you can with what you have. This makes you ready to take in anything life throws at you.

4) Include others into your expression of gratitude. By focusing our gratitude on individuals that we are thankful for (and not material items or specific circumstances) we enhance the benefits of our gratitude. Give a detailed description of what this person did for you, and what impact they have created in your life.

“Everything that happens to us has a blessing built into it.” ~ Dr. Wayne Dyer

I sincerely hope these reminders are of service to you.

WOHASU 2018 – Video Presentation.

Learn how to access the power that lies within you!

As the Chair of the 2018 Global Yoga Community Board for The World Happiness Summit- (WOHASU),  I felt honored to also have been invited to provide a presentation alongside world leaders in the science of happiness.

Because the pursuit of happiness is such a personal journey that is dependent on several factors,  I wanted to share with you, one of the most basic and powerful tools to access your happiness. The tool that I presented at WOHASU 2018 conference, was The Power of the Breath”. 

This video will endeavor to explain the physiological mechanisms and the mind-body connection of breathing, as well as many of the research driven applications utilized with breathing. 

I hope you enjoy this presentation and that you can pass this information on to your love ones 🙂

Much Love and Gratitude,

 

 

 

 

Water and Brain Function Optimization

Over 70 % of your body is composed of water, and every function in the body is dependent on water, including the activities of the brain and nervous system.

Water and Brain Function – “How to Improve Memory and Focus”  – by Merlin Hearn and Nancy Hearn

The average person in the U.S. drinks less than a quart (32 ounces) of water a day.
Yet, according to the Mayo Clinic, the average adult loses more than 80 ounces of water every day through sweating, breathing, and eliminating wastes.
If you are drinking less than 80 ounces of water a day, what is the impact on your brain function? Drinking water and brain function are integrally linked.
Lack of water to the brain can cause numerous symptoms including problems with focus, memory, brain fatigue and brain fog, as well as headaches, sleep issues, anger, depression, and many more.

Water and Brain Energy

The brain is one of the most important organs in your body to keep fueled. It is approximately 85 percent water and brain function depends on having abundant access to water.

Drinking water and brain function are integrally linked.

Water gives the brain the electrical energy for all brain functions, including thought and memory processes.
According to Dr. Corinne Allen, founder of the Advanced Learning and Development Institute, brain cells need two times more energy than other cells in the body. Water provides this energy more effectively than any other substance.
Water is also needed for the brain’s production of hormones and neurotransmitters. Nerve transmission requires one-half of all the brain’s energy.When your brain is functioning on a full reserve of water, you will be able to think faster, be more focused, and experience greater clarity and creativity.

Daily hydration will not only help with better thinking, it can help prevent attention deficit disorder in children and adults.
The reason why it is important to drink plenty of water throughout the day for optimal brain function is because your brain does not have any way to store water.
When your body loses more water than you are replacing, dehydration will kick in and brain function will be affected.

Brain Symptoms of Dehydration

Dehydration causes your brain to shut down and not run at full speed. Some of the mental symptoms of dehydration include brain fog, afternoon fatigue, focus issues, depression, anger, emotional instability, exhaustion, headaches, sleep issues, stress, and a lack of mental clarity and acuity.Studies have shown that if you are only 1 percent dehydrated, you will likely have a 5 percent decrease in cognitive function.
If your brain drops 2 percent in body water, you may suffer from fuzzy short-term memory, experience problems with focusing, and have trouble with math computations.
Further studies have shown that prolonged dehydration causes brain cells to shrink in size and mass. This is most common in the elderly, many of whom tend to be chronically dehydrated for years.

Dehydration is also a known factor in dementia and proper hydration may help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Water is also essential for delivering nutrients to the brain and for removing toxins. When the brain is fully hydrated, the exchange of nutrients and toxins will be more efficient—thus ensuring better concentration and mental alertness.

Water and Brain Challenges

Dr. Allen has found that people with brain challenges such as Autism, Aspergers, ADD, head injuries, anxiety attacks and depression often drink almost no water each day! The lack of water only enhances brain dysfunction.
Brain inflammation is often associated with various types of brain challenges, especially injuries, and will often result in the body’s inability to detoxify harmful substances from the brain.
When the body is dehydrated, the detoxification problem linked to inflammation is exacerbated.
Free radicals such as radiation, pollutants, chemicals, pesticides, and toxic metals pass freely through the brain’s blood supply. To stop the many sources of free radicals attacking the brain and causing brain inflammation, a strong antioxidant and powerful anti-inflammatory agent is needed.

Water provides essential energy to the brain, keeps the nerve signals going, delivers nutrients to the brain, and removes toxins. We need to be drinking enough water daily to keep the brain fueled and energized for optimum function.

Recommendations for Improved Brain Function

To start your day off right for optimal brain function, I recommend drinking 12 to 16 ounces of water as soon as you wake up.
Always keep a bottle of filtered water near you throughout the day, especially if you have a job that requires a lot of mental activity.

Drinking water regularly will help to keep your brain fueled, oxygenated, and energized.

Many people think, like I use to, that they can drink soda, coffee, milk, or juice instead of water and get the same level of hydration. This is simply not true.
Bottom line, if you want your brain to function well, receiving and sending signals to the rest of your body, make sure it receives the water it needs.
In addition, the type of water you drink is extremely important. I recommend filtered drinking water over tap, bottled, distilled, or reverse osmosis water.

Reference
Brainadvance.org: Water and the Brain
Further reading . . .
Depression and Dehydration – Key Reasons They Are Linked
Return from Water and Brain to Health Benefits of Drinking Water

I hope you enjoy this article and choose to stay on the path to wellness by staying hydrated.

REMEMBER: The recipe for well-being is simple: 

BREATH DEEPLY, DRINK WATERSLEEP WELL, STAY GRATEFUL  and PRACTICE YOGA

My Love and Gratitude to YOU !

Veronica Vidal