My Dog’s View on Mindfulness

We can learn a lot about mindfulness from our pets. Mindfulness is basically being aware in the moment, centered, focused and fully present. Imagine my dog, Joy, sitting on my lap getting petted, feeling safe, loved and relaxed. No worries about the past or the future, just happy and content. Not being mindful is Joy at the dog park, running around in circles at full speed, and trying to keep the other dogs from getting her ball when she gets blindsided and rolled by a black lab who wants to play a bit rougher!

Most of our day is in the dog park…moving as fast as we can from one appointment to another, while keeping up with the texts from a client who has an urgent priority, trying to outwit our competition only to end the day exhausted and fully spent.

The Centre for Mindfulness studies says “With mindfulness, we train ourselves to pay close attention to what is going on the present moment; just as it is. Much of our suffering is a result of regrets about the past, worries about the future or judgments about the present.”

You can begin a mindfulness practice in as little as 8 minutes per day with 3 simple steps:

1. Give yourself a mental permission slip to take one minute off. Sit down someplace quiet.

2. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath in through your nose, and exhaling through your mouth. Be aware of the in breath, the out breath and the short pause in between. (If your mind starts to wander, just notice and return to focus on your breath.) Repeat 8 times. Gently open your eyes.

Fully embrace the sense of being completely present in the moment and return to your day refreshed and fully alive.

3. Put 8, one-minute deep breathing breaks in your digital planner or Fitbit:

  • When you wake up,
  • Before you get out of your car,
  • When you first sit down at your desk,
  • At mid-morning break,
  • Just back from lunch,
  • Mid-afternoon break,
  • When you pull into your driveway and
  • Just before you go to sleep.

These few minutes per day make a huge difference in your focus, sense of fulfillment and pure joy.
After a couple of weeks, try extending each time to 16 breaths (2 minutes). It will naturally lead you to explore a meditation class, guided audios, or having a stack of contemplative readings. All ways to reprogram your mind to think in healthier and less stressful ways.

Once you’ve experienced the personal benefits, bring mindfulness to your workplace. Companies like Google, Aetna and General Mills offer employees mindfulness programs including meditation classes and quiet rooms.

Let’s brainstorm ways to make your organization more mindful. Contact me before June 1 to set up a free 30- min consultation.

To your health and wellbeing,
Marla

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