Mindfulness

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My theory about why we need mindfulness is that it is related to be “connected” continuously.  Our brains can become overworked from all the stimulation we get from various sources, such as computer, TV, internet, and smartphone. We are 100% connected. We rarely get a break and when we do, we are wondering what we are missing! When we overwork our brains for so long, they cannot slow down. Therefore, we need to train ourselves to slow our brains down by being more mindful.

Mindfulness is about taking the time to connect with what is happening in the present moment. It means taking time to pause and not do anything except let your brain catch up. I recently watched some videos on mindful eating by an expert in the field. Dr. Susan Albers is a psychologist who has written several books on mindful eating, including her most recent book called “Eat Q”. She has a website about Eating Mindfully. The ideas that Dr. Albers shared in the videos came from “Eat Q.”

The Language of Mindfulness involves compassion. Instead of saying “I should” or “I shouldn’t eat that”, we need to be more curious and consider “Am I eating mindfully?” Allow ourselves to be more accepting and less critical to making choices.

Eating Mindfully – How? Follow the 4 S’s: 1. Sit down to have better focus and experience. 2. Shift into the moment – try not to think ahead or in the past, be in the moment 3. Senses – use smell, taste, texture to enjoy the food. 4. Savour and eat slowing. Set an intentional pace while you eat. Avoid racing through eating.

IOU Model of Mindful Eating

I – Inside: be aware of your thoughts and feelings while you are eating. How do you feel?

O – Outside: What is around you in the external environment? How does it affect you?

U – You: Be mindful of inside and outside and take the appropriate action for you.

Peek Behind the Craving (Keep Calm Tool #4)

Ask yourself when you are having a craving and consider the factors that impact mindless eating decisions:

Where are you? What are you doing? How are you feeling in this moment? Who is with you? What do you want to eat?

All of these tips and ideas come from Dr. Albers books and videos. I found these particular ideas to be helpful for myself for eating more mindfully but also related to other aspects of life. For example, when I am considering other aspects of staying healthy, such as going to the gym, I need to use similar ideas to use more compassionate language when I am not doing what I want to do. I need to work on not thinking only in black and white and allow the grey.

Strong Girls…Why?

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Education for women is enormously valuable. Educated and empowered girls and women are more protected them from poverty, disease, exploitation, and unemployment. Economic conditions, family life, and personal and family health are all improved when women are more educated.

Sports participation also has a positive impact on girls and women. Girls who are involved in sports do better academically, socially, and emotionally. These girls are more likely to have higher grades in school, to have stronger relationships, and to have a more positive body image. In my career as a Physical and Health Education teacher and sports coach, I have wanted to empower girls to be active in sports and to value their own image as athletes and as valuable people.

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 Check out (and “Like”) the Facebook page for things that are happening to support Strong Girls! Go to Facebook page: Strong Girls Strong World

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Gratitude

Gratitude is everywhere. On Facebook, people are being encouraged to list there 3-5 things a day that they are grateful for. I recently received an update from a blog that I follow http://www.everywomanover29.com/blog/gratitude-less-anxiety/. The article discussed the importance of gratitude to feel better and have less anxiety.

What am I grateful for?

– My wonderful husband, Niall, and our new puppy, Hamish, who is already bringing us lots of love and laughter.

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– Our new friends, job, and life in Budapest that we are LOVING!

– My family, which is spread across two continents.

– The time, opportunity, and inspiration to write this blog and to share our lives with others.

What’s the big deal with gratitude? Why is it so important to be grateful and thankful for what we have? 

Research says that people who are grateful (think, talk, or write about gratitude):

– exercise more and feel more optimistic

– are more alert, enthusiastic, determined, attentive, energetic, and have longer and better quality of sleep

– have less depression and stress

– more likely to help others

– place less importance on material goods and more likely to share with others

“The Importance of Gratitude.” UMass Dartmouth. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Sept. 2014.

There is a lot of evidence to show that gratitude is important. I am a Christian and I believe in God and the Bible. For some people, that statement would immediately cause a negative reaction. I realize that there are many people who do not believe in God or the Bible. I also realize there are many people that have seen behaviours in church or in people who say they are Christians and as a result do not believe in God or the Bible. There are many people who have had many difficult situations in their lives and so they do not believe in God or the Bible. I am not trying to push or preach to anyone. I will write about what I believe.

Therefore, for me, I see a connection between the importance of gratitude that I have seen on Facebook and in other places, to what I know about God and the Bible. God has been telling us to be grateful and thankful for a long time already. I believe that he does this both because it is good for us human beings to practice gratitude and also because it is important for us to be grateful to God. Psalm 136:1 “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.” I Thessalonians 5:18 “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

The statement “give thanks in all circumstances” is significant to me. It seems that whatever is happening to us, we need to give thanks and be grateful. Society (and positive psychology) is saying the same thing as God is saying in the Bible. Despite difficult times or challenging circumstances there are always ways that we can be grateful. Last June, I travelled with 4 other teachers and 25 high school students to a school in Malawi, Africa. This school has about 400 students, ALL of whom have been affected by HIV/AIDS. For many the children themselves have contracted the disease and all of the children had lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS. Despite these impossible circumstances, these children found a way to be happy and positive and grateful. They showed us their love with their hugs and smiles.

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There is no way we can compare or categorize difficulties in our lives. We all have our own struggles. We all have our own gratitude.

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