Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Posts tagged ‘achieve greater peace’

This Works!

How many times have you wished you could just slow down your brain as it flits from past, present and future thoughts at warp speed? You know what I mean…when you simply can’t seem to relax and pretty soon you are thinking or worrying about so many things that you become a bit overwhelmed or exhausted. You may even start one thing and get distracted as you move to another and another. When I was working I remember at times that I seemed to be making myself nervous! I often wondered if there was a way to slow down those brain synapses. 
Well, there is now something that works and it easy to do! It’s called Mindfulness Training which was developed out of MIT originally to help cancer patients focus on their healing. The actual course consists of 30 hours of training and can be a challenge to work into a busy schedule but… I’m going to share the essence of it and resources on the web so you can begin to use it in your life. Trust me you will be glad you did.
Basically, it’s about paying attention to your breathing. I know… It sounds to simple or basic to be real but stay with me on this. With eyes closed sitting in a relaxed position stay focused on each breath as you inhale and exhale. As each new thought pops into your mind (and at first there will be hundreds it seems) you simply let each thought go and return to the awareness of breathing. This will take a few times to actually get into the hang of it but sooner rather than later it will actually get easier.
This technique actually changes a part of your brain which increases your ability to slow down and focus. I have often wrote about neuroplasticity which is the brains way to change with new stimuli. The research on Mindfulness actually proves that is exactly what is happening when you practice this frequently. You are giving your brain the message that you want greater focus with a more calming approach to attend to your daily tasks. The amazing thing is that this doesn’t slow you down or lessen what you can achieve but you do so in a much more calm, positive and productive way. Just think… this is without any artificial stimulants!
To get started I suggest that you go to the website (Hospice of the Valley) and click on ‘News and Resources.’ Scroll down on the page to ‘Mindfulness Classes’ and click on the text ‘Enjoy a Mindfulness sitting right now.’ You will see 12 different options. For each option you can listen to someone walk you through the exercise. I suggest the 5 or 15 minute sitting a few times each week. According to the research it is more beneficial to do a short exercise frequently rather than a longer one less often.
This is the first time I have ever discovered something that helps focus, calm and bring a sense of control in even the most challenging circumstance. Try it for a week or two. Once you get the hang of it you can sit quietly even in your car, breathe slowly for 3 of 5 minutes before going into your next appointment and center yourself. You will be amazed at the difference!
Have a great few days!

Take 5 You’re Worth It!

Are you fast forwarding just to get through another day? If the answer is yes, read on… Have you ever considered how many days, weeks, months or years you have been doing so and forgetting to take even 5 minutes a day to reflect on what you learned? If you’re thinking,’I don’t even have an extra minute let alone 5 to reflect,’ I hope you read this blog.

We have all heard the saying, “Stop and smell the roses,” yet in our often hectic lifestyles we seldom heed the advice until a major life change happens and we think to ourselves, ‘If only I had …’ We won’t fill in the blank with another task or accomplishment but most often with the thought, ‘if I had known or taken the time to realize.’ Taking just 5 minutes a day before going to sleep to think about what you learned about yourself or others that day gives you the chance to fill in the blank, not with regret but with gratitude. So, I ask once again, “What new ‘Aha’ did you discover today?”

The American mindset is often to do more, faster, better and you win. This non stop pressure has caused us to be not only innovators and achievers but we lead the world in most areas…except…wait for it…self reflection. We often get so lost in our constant activity that we fail to see that the real work of our life involves learning our unique life lessons and growing from them.

By taking 5 minutes to reflect on what you learned from the experiences of the day you begin to rebalance the scale of doing versus understanding – activity versus wisdom. You achieve a deeper understanding of yourself and inner peace from the practice of ‘Taking Five’ than ever by checking just one more thing off your daily ‘To Do’ list will ever yield.

We have a lot of responsibilities and expectations on our time. Often, we feel exhausted just getting through the day. I believe some of this exhaustion can be attributed to not only the pace we work at but the lack of self reflection. Visualize a mouse running on a wheel as it spins faster and faster. It’s hard to appreciate the journey when you’re simply getting through a cycle – in this case another day.

When we alter our perspective and take 5 minutes daily to reflect upon what we learned about ourselves or others we feel reaffirmed even more energized for tomorrow. We begin to see that each day is meaningful to our self growth. We achieve more than a paycheck we receive a ‘note’ in our personal life file that will be remembered and celebrated both in this world and the next. In essence, we become the wind beneath our own wings.

We can achieve a greater peace about life and ourselves when we internalize the idea that it is not simply the number of days we live but the understanding – the life – we put into them that makes all the difference. Think of this practice as a personal gift you give yourself everyday that brings a smile to your face just before going to sleep.

Let’s try for a couple of weeks to take 5 minutes at the end of each day and reflect with gratitude that you made it through and what you learned along the way. You will be surprised at the result!

Have a great few days!