How our team practices Mindfulnes

In a world where meditation and mindfulness has become quite the buzz, for many of us it can start to feel like another task on the list of things we should be doing.  like it requires a serene environment, or for us to escape our lives. Images related to meditation and mindfulness are often like the above: clean, serene... nothing like our daily environment. But mindfulness at its best isn't adding to our tasks, it's approaching our tasks with care. Mindfulness at its best happens in the messiest environments. It works to address stress in the long term rather than just offering a brief reprieve and returning to stress in the same way. Mindfulness at its best shows up in countless ways in our lives. To illustrate, we asked our team how they practice in their daily lives. They shared myriad practices, some of which may speak to you. Here's what they had to say:

Jan, Meditation Instructor: Every day after I finish or accomplish something, no matter how big or small it is, I stop and take one or two breaths and acknowledge the sense of released pressure and satisfaction that I feel having completed it, instead of just rushing on to the next event of my day without noticing it at all. This helps me build self confidence and resilience and my body benefits as well.

Gayle, Self-Hypnosis Instructor: Each morning I take a few moments to set an intention for my day. Getting in touch with my breath, I remind myself of at least 3 things which I am grateful to have in my life.  As things become hectic through the day, or when preparing for a difficult interaction; I take a moment to place both feet on the ground. Standing works best for me, feeling the stability of the earth, reconnecting with my breath I bring myself back to my intention.

Patti, Executive Director: I rely heavily on a brief body scan.  Over the years I have come to notice where I hold tension in my body. When in a stressful situation or conversation I immediately check-in with my shoulders & posture. If I am leaning in with my neck extended along with my body or have slumped shoulders I slowly make adjustments, releasing the tension held in these vulnerable places and breathe slowly. I employ mindful grounding techniques by shifting my awareness to the sensation of the balls of my feet planted firmly on the floor reminding myself to stay present when I notice my mind is running amuck.

Jan, Deputy Director: I've been practicing yoga regularly for about 20 years. I tend to use a yoga breathing pattern during times of stress, pain, when I need energy or to settle my mind. I utilize the old standard "4-7-8 method" which entails; (1) inhale to a count of 4, (2) hold for a count of 7, (3) exhale for 8. This method takes no time, requires no equipment, can be done anywhere and can really lift my spirits in a pinch

Sarah, Communications Director: I use the Insight meditation app (it's free!) and try to meditate first thing in the morning. Even if it's only for just five minutes, I find something is better than nothing. The consistency helps me build the habit, and the five minutes help start the day off on a good foot. The insight app has thousands of different guided meditations to choose from, so you can find a theme that speaks to something in you life.

Susan, Yoga Instructor: I try to notice how fast I’m walking, and allow myself time to slow my steps. Then, I tune in to the things I am grateful for and they always bring me to the present moment.

Marilyn, Office Manager:

I begin each day repeating a positive phrase or quote.  When the alarm rings in the morning I try to pause and repeat the phrase a few times to be mindful and grateful for the new day.  One phrase I often use is a quote from Mother Teresa "

There are no great things, only small things with great love"

Jan, Meditation Instructor:

When something comes up during my day that initiates a feeling of fear, like I can't do something, or I'm not good enough or smart enough, once I recognize I'm in that loop of thinking, I stop, take a breath, and replace that thought with the opposite thought, then, I immediately bring to mind a past event where I did do something that was as difficult or as challenging, if not harder, and I made it through. ( I typically use the same one or two events from the past so I don't need to surf my memories for too long). In this way I have evidence to support my new thought. Over time a new loop of thinking will be developed. One that will help me, instead of hindering me or holding me back.

Patti, Executive Director:

 I am a firm believer in connecting to the calmness offered in nature, feeling the breeze against my face, expanding my view of the world when I am myopically focused by looking up at the passing clouds or night sky with an accompanied slow inhale & exhale, creating more expansive space in my mind for breath and peace.

Suzi, Office Volunteer:

 I have incorporated mindfulness into my daily life in several ways. My watchwords now are 



and Mindful

.  At odd moments each day I pause and stop “doing” and just enjoy “being.”  My to-do list waits while I smile and be grateful and 


 in that moment. I am more 


 of my body and emotions now and I listen when my body sends a message about pain or discomfort—or pleasure and joy! When sadness or stress creeps into my mind, I open my heart and comfort myself with the knowledge that I can handle whatever comes.

Do any of these practices sound useful to you?