Mindfulness Apps: Gimmicks or the Real Thing?

MeditationWith “mindfulness” having become such a buzzword over the last few years, it could be easy to dismiss mindfulness apps as gimmicks. But mindfulness has become much more mainstream and validated as not only a healthy way of living, but the practice of mindfulness meditation and mindfulness-based stress reduction have become integral components of corporate wellness programs and mainstream healthcare. And now, mindfulness apps for your portable devices have entered the arena. Rather than being gimmicky, they are useful and accessible tools to help both beginners and current practitioners stay on track with mindfulness practice.

These apps are available on Apple and/or Android devices, and offer opportunities for everything from just chilling out to some relaxing music for a brief period of time, to practicing various types of mindfulness meditations through guided meditations. Read on……

Mindfulness at Work

job stressI see it all the time: friends, family, colleagues and clients who are valiantly trying to cope with the excessive demands of their jobs. Their departments are under-staffed, their workload is off the charts, their colleagues are irritable, no one seems to really listen to anyone, and everyone is working as fast as they can and still feeling as though it’s not fast enough.

Does any of this sound familiar? Read on……

The Discomfort of the Unknown

The unknownI was chatting with a close family member recently, and she described what a difficult time she was having making some decisions about what to do next in her life.  She was poised at a transition point and considering many variables, was consumed with the process – it occupied her thoughts throughout the day – and she was understandably exhausted.  I felt badly for her, because I knew that she felt extraordinarily uncomfortable in that limbo that often exists before you make big decisions.

Read on……

Mindfulness – How to Stay Sane in Our Crazy, Multi-tasking World

water dropYou’re at work, trying to complete a project on time.  The phone rings, and you stop what you’re doing to answer it.  Your email chimes to let you know another email has arrived in your Inbox.  You sneak a quick look and then see another email that you forgot to answer that needs immediate attention. You start typing a response to the email while you’re still trying to carry on a conversation on the phone. Then someone walks in to your office to ask a question, and you cut your phone call short to answer their question, leaving your email half-finished. After that conversation is over, you stop for a minute, certain that you have forgotten something, but can’t remember what it is.

Does this sound familiar?  It happens everywhere, and not just at work. Read on……

Self-Care: Taking Care of You

MeditationThe other day, I was lying on the floor of the Quite Storm Dojo in Wilmington, Delaware, experiencing my fourth Kokyudo class.  (If you’d like to learn more about Kokyudo, check out my interview with Ryan Fisher in the Expert Pages).  Kokyudo (or the Natural Breathing Method), is a breath-based version of Aikido which, as described on Ryan’s Facebook page, “…… retrains the connection to this vital source of energy by way of removing every restriction to the natural breathing process. Stress-reduction is one of the many byproducts of a consistent practice in breathing re-education.”

As I lay there on that wonderfully spongy, comfy, floor, feeling like one big “AHHHHHHHHHHH”, I reflected on how often I put off doing something like this for myself.  It’s ironic, since I’m such a big proponent of self-care, especially since I have so many self-care “tools” at my disposal: meditation; physical therapy exercises; massage therapy; relaxation recordings and music; and yoga DVD’s. I can also nourish my soul and take care of myself by taking a walk outside, or taking a break to sit quietly with a cup of tea.  So the question is: why is it so difficult to make the time to take care of myself on a regular basis? Read on……

A Retreat for Your Soul

Retreat at the beach

As I prepare to take a two-week break/vacation, I am reminded of an article that I read in The Daily OM, “Going Away To Go Within”. In that article, Daily OM co-founder Madisyn Taylor describes how “occasionally, we need to pause – and step away from the hustle and bustle of modern life. She goes on to suggest that one way to get away from our daily life is to go on retreat.  A retreat is much more than a vacation, instead providing us with time to “rest, heal, reflect and renew our spirit”. Read on……

The Self-Sabotage of False Assumptions

internal dialogue“I’m too old to apply for that job.”

“She hasn’t answered my e-mail yet, so she must not be interested.”

“I’ll never be able to lose weight.”

If this sounds familiar (as in, you’ve either uttered similar words or held similar beliefs), then you are not alone.  Many of us do this without realizing that we’re getting in our own way – we have become our own obstacle!

Read on……

Life Lessons in the Present Moment

Smell the coffee


The pull of the internal dialogue

Inner dialogueToday was definitely a lesson in “practice what you preach”.  I’m not talking about anything earth shattering, but the short story is that after a lovely 4-day family vacation away from home, we returned to a partially flooded basement, the pool of water flowing from our heat pump unit- carpet soaked, furniture damaged, and the rest is a story waiting to unfold.  My internal dialogue began immediately, begging to be verbally expressed.  This never should have happened.  Our heat pump has never worked properly.  Why didn’t the service people see this the last time they were here?  And then, How am I going to get any work done with all the phone calls that have to be made, and service visits to be home for?  I’ll have to rearrange my schedule, and it will be extremely inconvenient.  I’m so tired of things not working the way they should.

Read on……

What’s the Hurry?

In a hurryHurry

Recently, as my husband and I were out driving, a car zoomed up past us on the right shoulder of the road, cut in front of us, and then proceeded to tail the car in front of her.  My first thought was “What’s the big hurry?”  This wasn’t the first time this had happened during the day, while we were out running our regular weekend errands.  Which nicely segues into the next point: why do we call it “running” errands?  This conjures up images of dashing here and there to complete these necessary tasks that for some unknown reason can’t be done in a leisurely fashion, but need to be accomplished as quickly as possible.  What’s the hurry? Read on……

Finding Comfort – The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

Mug of tea

“Comfort” is a word that evokes many images and emotions.  It brings to mind a type of relief or respite from stress, physical or emotional pain, worry, or other types of distress.  It suggests self-nurturing.  Wikipedia defines it as “a sense of physical or psychological ease, often characterized as a lack of hardship”.

And it comes in many forms, but believe it or not, not all of them are good for you. And although it may seem ridiculous to judge types of comfort, if you think about it, you’ll realize that we sometimes choose to comfort ourselves by doing things that may initially feel good, but in the end, may be self-destructive. Read on……