Meditation and Mindfulness: How Often Are You Fully Present?

Do you meditate? Do you want to but don’t know how or don’t have the time? Meditation is widely-regarded as being an essential daily practice for maintaining a state of presence, calming the mind, controlling anxiety and having awareness of what we are feeling and what is going on around us. Presence allows us to fully be in the moment and meditation is a great way to achieve presence and remain in that place throughout the day. Those who meditate on a regular basis cannot speak highly enough about the incredible benefits and notice a huge difference when they fall out of the practice. I have dipped in and out of meditation for years and although I don’t have a consistent practice, I always come back to it when I feel depression and anxiety arising, and it really does help.

According to meditation app Headspace, ‘meditation isn’t about becoming a different person, a new person, or even a better person. It’s about training in awareness and getting a healthy sense of perspective. You’re not trying to turn off your thoughts or feelings. You’re learning to observe them without judgment. And eventually, you may start to better understand them as well.’ 


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This practice is also known as ‘mindfulness’, which is essentially a mental state achieved by focusing your awareness on the present moment. We can practice mindfulness at any moment in life by simply being aware of what is going on around us. This is something that is becoming increasingly harder to do these days, especially with the rising addiction we all have to our smartphones which provide endless entertainment and distraction, removing us from the present moment. Watch a small child or an animal and regard how hyper-present they are. They hear every sound, watch every thing and are curious about what is going around them. As a result, their senses are sharp and they are living fully in each moment. Isn’t that a wonderful thing? More than that, it is our birthright. However, daily stresses and worries can remove us from the present moment and mean that we aren’t fully experiencing life. How often are you fully present? Check in with yourself now by taking a moment to breathe. Feel your breath. Listen to the noises around you. What can you hear? What can you see? Taking a second to reconnect can be incredibly grounding.

So, how we can make mindfulness a practice?

It is fair to say that not all of us have time to sit and meditate each morning but remember that meditation can happen at any moment. All you need to do is put your attention on your breath and that will automatically return you to the present moment.

A great app for helping with this is the Breathe app which focuses on resonant breathing, something that ‘induces a state of restful alertness and mental clarity.’ You notice a benefit simply by inhaling as the ball on your screen goes from small to large, and exhaling as it does the reverse. Something so simple really does help. Headspace teaches you how to meditate and holds you accountable each day, while also gently reminding you that it’s okay for your mind to wander and to struggle at first. You can even start by simply doing one minute meditations and tailor the experience to you. The app can also send daily mindfulness reminders to your phone, one of which is to simply ‘remember that blue sky’. Calm is another popular app, which offers meditation for sleep and stress reduction. The benefits of meditation really are endless and there are so many ways to incorporate it into your daily routine.

To get started, here is a basic meditation from www.mindful.org

The first thing to clarify: what we’re doing here is aiming for mindfulness, not some process that magically wipes your mind clear of the countless and endless thoughts that erupt and ping constantly in our brains. We’re just practicing bringing our attention to our breath, and then back to the breath when we notice our attention has wandered.

  1. Get comfortable and prepare to sit still for a few minutes. After you stop reading this, you’re going to simply focus on your own natural inhaling and exhaling of breath.
  2. Focus on your breath. Where do you feel your breath most? In your belly? In your nose? Try to keep your attention on your inhale and exhale.
  3. Follow your breath for two minutes. You can imagine the breath ball—inhaling as the ball expands, exhaling when the ball contracts.

For more meditation tips, check out https://www.headspace.com/meditation/tips

If you are interested in learning more about a meditation practice, research meditation studios or classes that may be located near you as this is also a great way to incorporate meditation into your weekly routine and meet new people. Classes are a wonderful way to discover the type of meditation that works for you and they are lead by an instructor who will guide you through the session. I attend meditation classes in LA at The Den Meditation and Unplug Meditation as then I commit to meditating for the 45 minutes that I’m there, and I always leave having taken something positive from the experience. Alternatively, YouTube is a great resource and there are many online courses which are often free and provide you with a guided meditation. Deepak Chopra offers a 21-day meditation experience with Oprah, which is a wonderful way to immerse yourself in a meditation experience, hold yourself accountable and maintain a meditation practice.

Whatever your lifestyle, know that there is a way you can incorporate meditation and mindfulness into your daily life, as it really does only take a few seconds to feel your breath and reconnect to the present moment, yet the benefits are truly endless. I always remind myself that simply being aware of everything going on around me, having my senses engaged, breathing deeply and living fully in that moment is a form of mindfulness. It also helps us to feel more grounded and gain mental clarity, which is crucial for handling situations with rationality and being able to truly appreciate all of the little things around us. I am making a pledge to be more mindful in my every day life and I’d love you to join me!

007 is a woman!

Black actress Lashana Lynch is taking over the iconic role

There’s a new spy in town! British actress Lashana Lynch has just been announced as the new 007 in the Bond franchise. Although Daniel Craig will still have the titular role of James Bond, the codename of 007 has been reassigned to a new character, played by Lynch. This new plotline comes as Bond leaves MI6 and is “called back to action to fight a new villain”, as quoted from an anonymous “movie insider” who also says that “there is a pivotal scene at the start of the film where M says “come in 007”, and in walks Lashana who is black, beautiful and a woman.”

Daniel Craig with Naomie Harris, centre, and Lashana Lynch in Jamaica. Photograph: Gilbert Bellamy/Reuters

Originally from West London, Lynch made her film debut in 2011’s ‘Fast Girls’ though her breakthrough role came earlier this year in Captain Marvel as fighter pilot Maria Rambeau. Now, she will step into the role of Nomi, who is initially seduced by Bond but refuses his advances.

This isn’t the only display of girl power shaking up the 25th Bond movie. British writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge (‘Fleabag’, ‘Killing Eve’) came on board to polish up the existing script, making her the second female writer in the history of the franchise. 

Waller-Bridge, who’s shows are known for digging deep into the female psyche, is quoted in the Daily Mail as saying, “There’s been a lot of talk about whether or not Bond is relevant now because of who he is and the way he treats women. I think that’s bollocks. I think he’s absolutely relevant now. “[The franchise] has just got to grow. It has just got to evolve, and the important thing is that the film treats the women properly. He doesn’t have to. He needs to be true to his character.”

Speaking to Deadline in May, she also mentioned how she was excited to make the female characters “feel like real people”, explaining that it “brings me much pleasure, knowing that I’m giving that to an actress.”

From hiring a female 007 to recruiting a female screenwriter, both of these moves have been widely praised as they steer the famed franchise into a new era, allowing it to remain current and become more inclusive. 

Holland Goes Green!

Holland takes steps to preserve the planet and improve air quality by covering hundreds of bus stops with plants to attract bees!

Utrecht, a city in the Netherlands, has covered the roofs of 316 bus stops in sedum plants. Not only does this look beautiful, but it helps to support the city’s biodiversity by attracting honeybees and bumble bees. These plants also store rainwater and capture dust, which counts as one of many measures that Utrecht has put in place in a mission to improve air quality. This forward-thinking city in Holland plans to introduce 55 new electric buses by the end of this year and have “completely clean public transport” by 2028, a scheme that is already being implemented. Utrecht also runs a scheme which allows residents to apply for funding to transform their own roofs into green roofs.

This wonderful idea also helps to employ people, too! The roofs are cared for by workers who drive to and from each place in electric vehicles, and the bus stops have all been fitted with energy-efficient LED lights and bamboo benches to make the entire operation eco-friendly. To top all of that off, the electricity used to power the buses will be sourced from Dutch windmills.

This story reinforces how accessible an environmentally-friendly lifestyle can be for all and challenges us to find more ways that we can go green. People are now being encouraged to refuse plastic straws when they are not needed, as well as carry a reusable water bottle and coffee cup (like these from mybyta.com) to eliminate as many single-use plastics as possible. 

Therapy: How To Get It When You Need It

Let’s face it- we could all benefit from counseling. Sure, there may be times when we feel as though we ‘need’ it more than others, but therapy is something that we have probably all thought of taking up at some point in our lives. Not only is it a wonderful, healthy way to process our experiences, but it helps us to heal and understand them too. Many people credit therapy as the very thing that gave them the confidence and clarity to make a huge life change, with countless people continuing counseling throughout their lives to maintain a healthy frame of mind. As many of you know, I have battled with depression throughout my life and I haven’t always sought help in those darker times, so we wanted to share this post for anyone who is struggling to remind you there are many options of help out there. 

We all know the immense benefits of speaking to a professional on a regular basis, yet so many of those seeking or needing counseling never actually start for a variety of reasons. I am fascinated and in awe of the amount of great resources out there for people needing support, so I wanted to share some of those with you by looking at the reasons people often avoid counseling and what you can do to overcome those issues.

1. Financial Hardship

Counseling services are known to be costly- however, you can still receive wonderful care at a low price or often even for free. There are many donation-based counseling centers around the world who can calculate a low per-session fee based on your income and pair you with the therapist they feel will be the best fit for you. Many of these centers also offer weekly support groups and drop-in sessions, so research your local counseling center for more information. In America, you can also dial 211 from any phone for a full directory of your local mental health and counseling services, as well as giving Mental Health America a call at 1-800-273-TALK. There is also an incredible global platform called IAMAlive, which is an online crisis network where all of its volunteers are professionally supervised, trained to help you in almost any situation and can help you find additional in-person resources as well. Volunteers come from and operate around the globe, and their online chat is just one click away, and there whenever you need it.

Alternatively, if you have health insurance, give your provider a call to find out whether mental health treatment is covered within your plan. If you live in a country that offers free healthcare, speak to your doctor about the mental healthcare options which may be available to you.

There is a great online counseling platform called 7Cups, which provides affordable online therapy from $33 a week at www.7Cups.com.

2. Lack of time

If you struggle to make it to a weekly or even monthly session, there are amazing online counseling services where you can speak to a trained therapist at your convenience, whenever and wherever suits you, simply by calling on your phone or from your laptop.

Some great websites are:

www.betterhelp.com

Better Help’s mission is to make counseling more affordable and accessible by providing licensed, trained and experienced therapists on the world’s largest e-counseling platform.

www.blahtherapy.com

Blah Therapy gives you the option to chat to people all around the world who may be going through something similar. Think of it as an anonymous, global support group at your fingertips.

www.talkspace.com

Talkspace matches you with a therapist who you can speak to anytime, anywhere using their Smartphone app or from your web browser.

www.regain.com

Regain is an online relationship counseling platform which provides convenient, discreet and affordable access to a licensed therapist.

3. Shame or fear

Although counseling is now much more common within our society, so many people often feel a sense of shame or embarrassment around the subject. If you can relate to this, know that all sessions are completely confidential unless the therapist feels you are in danger of hurting yourself or others. Counseling is a safe space for you and therefore only you need to know that you’re going. However, remind yourself that it is a courageous thing to start and you should feel a sense of pride for being brave enough to do it. You WILL reap the benefits.

If you need the reminder that it’s okay to get help, ReachOut (www.reachout.life) is a free social network that you can access on your smartphone, which provides a support network full of people who are struggling with similar issues. ReachOut offers communal options to talk to others about your problems or thoughts, as well as more urgent options to talk to someone. This is a great way to heal through community and realize you are not alone.

You may not find the right therapist right away, but definitely stick with it and know it’s okay to find someone else. I don’t have therapy all the time but I know that when I feel depression coming on, I ensure I get the help I need. If you or a loved one needs immediate professional help, there are countless helplines where you can speak to a professional at any time. This is a link to a great article with information on helplines you can call wherever you are in the world, so please know that support is always available and you are absolutely not alone.

Mental Health Hotlines Worldwide

Here are the numbers for some helplines in the US:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-8255

Crisis Text Line

Text CONNECT to 741741

The Trevor Project

Call: 1-866-488-7386

Text: 1-202-304-1200

Social Media: TrevorSpace

National Alliance on Mental Illness Helpline

1-800-950-6264

You are not alone. You are loved. There is help and support out there for you when you need it.

Love,

Ione

Help Children With Usher Syndrome Keep Their Sight And Hearing

Medicine has infinitely improved countless lives. We can find cures, and we can find comfort. But we can’t make these miracles without coming together. Here is a message from Stacey Ashlund about how you can help.

“My son was born with Usher Syndrome, meaning he was born deaf and is going blind. Right now there is no cure–but researchers are close to finding one–so all the families that share this are working together to fundraise for medical research to find the cure. It is possible! We’re holding our big fundraiser in cities across the US — called Sight.Sound.Cycle — and people can join spin classes and/or donate, and spread the word here. I hope you can help us get the word out!”

Support this cause or share this link to help Stacey’s son and others with Usher Syndrome.

This was an Uplifting Causes submission. Thank you Stacey for submitting this cause to the Uplifting Content Community and doing your part in helping make the world a better place.

Learn more about how to have your Uplifting Cause featured here.

12-Year-Old Spits Some World-Changing Lyrics

Get ready for a lyrical rollercoaster! It’s amazing to hear this insightful 12-year-old from Australia express such profound ideas about our world, and in an impressive rap at that. You might want to listen to this more than once though–both to enjoy the talent and to hear all his impactful words.

The talented Solli Raphael himself tells Uplifting Content,

“I love to write to help people and I create poems of inspiration because I really feel we all need to change our actions towards all of humanity. It is important to me to make tomorrow even better than today!”

Share this video to spread a great message and get this talented 12-year-old kid out there more!

Website

Facebook

This was a My Uplifting Content Submission. Thank you Solli for submitting your work to the Uplifting Content Community.

Learn more about how to have your Uplifting Content featured here.

How To Enjoy And Succeed At Your Job

It can become pretty easy to go to your job and work every day without really being aware of what you’re doing.  Days often become routines, routines become autopilot. Then there’s that mental virus you may have caught that says work is just work and isn’t supposed to be fun–that it can’t be. None of this is really true though.

Ethan Smith has submitted a short video to remind you of the power you have over your own attitude, and therefore the way to success in your job.

He tells Uplifting Content“My goal is to teach the youth how to improve their personal philosophy before they get sucked into the ordinary 9-5, financially troubled life. Please have a look and I hope you enjoy.”

Feel free to share the link to pass on these empowering ideas to anyone you think could use a boost in the workplace.

HOW TO EARN MORE MONEY | Ethan Max Personal Development

?❓ HOW TO EARN MORE MONEY ❓?•TAG Someone that hates their job ‼️•LIKE//COMMENT//SHAREYOUTUBE- https://youtu.be/vq2evBJafKU

Posted by Mental Wealth on Tuesday, October 17, 2017

This was a My Uplifting Content Submission. Thank you Ethan for submitting your work to the Uplifting Content Community. We are so grateful to you for making a difference and uplifting people in your own special way.

Learn more about how to have your Uplifting Content featured here.

How You Can Use Your Skills, Talent Or Resources To Help Disadvantaged Girls Around The World

If you would like to give the huge gift of helping a girl pursue education and elevate her life, The Global Give Back Circle has a variety of ways you can, no matter what part of the world you’re in. Here are the three main ways you can help:

Mentor

The Global Give Back Circle is looking for females to mentor girls in Kenya, India, China, South Africa and Rwanda. Just fill out a short form on their website.

Educate

65 million girls around the world are not getting an education; if you’ve been looking for a personal way to make a difference, you can by providing a scholarship for high school, vocational training or college for an at risk girl in Africa or Asia.

Support

Use your talents and skills, such as technical support, programming support, and fundraising to help make a difference.  

This video gives you a look into the happiness and future growth you can bring to marginalized girls in Africa.

Share this with anyone you think might be able to help!

This was a My Uplifting Content Submission. Thank you “The Global Give Back Circle” for submitting your work to the Uplifting Content Community. We are so grateful to you for making a difference and uplifting people in your own special way.

Learn more about how to have your Uplifting Content featured here.


A Son Reunites With His Family And Friends

A Son Reunites With His Family And Friends.

Warning: this submission from Carter Carollo may lead to tears of joy.  

Read what he has to say about what he did:

“After I graduated from high school, I left home for 8 months to travel across Latin America with my dad. My absence was hardest on my mom. I booked a flight home a month early to surprise her for mother’s day. Along the way, I surprised many of my friends and family, and was able to capture all of it on video (saved Mom for the end). I suppose what I hope to achieve by this video is to let people know that they are so loved, by their family and by their peers, even when they don’t realize it. Also, I hope to demonstrate, through my mom, that a mother’s love for her child is powerful beyond measure.”

Words cannot describe this series of people’s reactions when they saw Carter. They were so excited and filled with emotion. You know that feeling when you want to see someone you love so much but they’re not there–and then you finally get to? The relief and ecstasy of the contrast between absence and presence brings an expression of pure, beautiful love. This story will make you want to extra-cherish the people you have in your life.

What a gift we’ve been given–to share experiences with people we care about. So why wait for a surprise homecoming when we can express our love all the time?

Share this video with your people as a reminder of how much you love them.

This was a My Uplifting Content Submission. Thank you Carter for submitting your work to the Uplifting Content Community.

Learn more about how to have your Uplifting Content featured here.

Boost Your Mental Fitness With Resilience Agenda

Mental health issues are often invisible. People can get really good at hiding anxiety or depression, and the source of the distress is difficult to reach. To complicate matters, built into our society is a tendency to view mental challenges as taboo or a sign of weakness. However our mind’s trials are just as real and can be just as debilitating as any physical ailment.

Even if you do not suffer from a diagnosable disorder, you have much to gain from the honing of your mental powers and creating a deeply fulfilling, blissful life.

Hadleigh Fischer has shared with us some innovative approaches to promote mental strength. He has founded Resilience Agenda to disseminate ways of maintaining our minds as our best allies. Here are some of his thoughts on amplifying our mental greatness:

“I want to change the meaning of mental health. I want to make mental health something practical, pro-active, approachable. And now it’s not. It’s not relevant to enough people. I want people to think about mental fitness like their physical fitness, and to take steps to get more out of life. So I decided to start my own social enterprise, full of inspiring and practical ways to make this change.

Resilience Agenda does this by ‘nudging’ people into default actions that improve their daily environments and increase their life satisfaction, wellbeing and happiness.

We plan to build everyday products that do the exact opposite of what our smartphones do – develop focus, gratitude, resilience, mindfulness and perspective.

The 2018 Mental Fitness Diary is a premium designed 192 page appointment book, organizer, scheduler and yearly planner that helps us keep mental fitness front of mind every day of the year.  

Its packed full of inspirational quotes, strategies and tips to consider, and a complete month-by-month guide to building mental fitness and staying sharp so you can tackle each day head on and get more out life.  

We have also launched a Kickstarter campaign!  

If you’d like to show an interest, it’s easy. Just click here, take a few minutes to read about our story and our mission, and then if you’d like to help, you can share what you’ve read with those in your circle of influence.

Check out these links and share them with others so we can all get our minds in shape!

Website

Facebook

This was a My Uplifting Content Submission. Thank you Hadleigh for submitting your work to the Uplifting Content Community.

Learn more about how to have your Uplifting Content featured here.