Nourish the solution mindfulness

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<ul><li><p>Jo Williams B.Ed, MSc coaching PSychology</p><p>try a little mindfulness</p><p>www.nouriShthESolution.coM</p><p>nourish the Solution:</p><p></p></li><li><p>contentsintroduction 3</p><p>research 5</p><p>Vagus nerVe 6</p><p>MeditatiVe practices 9</p><p>Mindfulness exercises 12</p><p>gratitude 19</p><p>references 20</p><p>resources 23</p><p>nourish: the solution: try a little midfulness introduction 2</p></li><li><p>3</p><p>introduction</p></li><li><p>Ive always been successful at living mindlessly. I was living mindlessly, </p><p>happily, until my life and brain turned upside down; until I was hit with a </p><p>multitude of illnesses and a cascade of symptoms. Despite my expertise, </p><p>its no longer an option for me to live mindlessly. In order to fully recover </p><p>my health, I need to follow a new path. A more mindful and conscious one. </p><p>Its not easy. But its the only way of being that has supported my healing </p><p>journey so far.</p><p>so, what is mindfulness exactly?</p><p>Mindfulness is different things to different people, and different cultures. </p><p>Maybe you know of it as an ancient practice from thousands of years ago. </p><p>for some its a:</p><p>nourish: the solution: try a little midfulness introduction</p><p> trait,</p><p> philosophy,</p><p> way of being,</p><p> quality of mind,</p><p> form of self-regulation,</p><p> state of consciousness.</p><p>For me, its a little bit of peace, connection, and renewal. </p><p>Its a way of strengthening our attention muscle through the concentrated </p><p>focus on a particular word, sound, movement, or breath. By strengthening </p><p>this muscle we can achieve an awareness of our thoughts, emotions and </p><p>sensations. This helps us to access a sense of inner peace, balance, and a </p><p>deeper perspective.</p><p>4</p></li><li><p>what doES thE rESEarch Say?</p><p>A ton of empirical data has emerged since John Kabat-Zinn </p><p>developed the secular Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) </p><p>program in the 70s. MBSR has helped many people manage chronic </p><p>illnesses and chronic pain. Mindfulness interventions have also </p><p>been used to reduce psychological symptoms. Professor Mark </p><p>Williams of Oxford University developed the Mindfulness-Based </p><p>Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) to help people with depression and </p><p>anxiety.</p><p>The research tells us that mindfulness can strengthen our </p><p>immunity and change the structure of the brain. It thickens the </p><p>cerebral cortex, the part of the brain associated with attention </p><p>and emotion regulation; and it dampens the amygdalass activity </p><p>that activates anxiety and depression. Dr. Creswell published an </p><p>important report this year that shows us for the first time that </p><p>mindfulness training can reduce inflammation in the body. These </p><p>results were achieved with just 3 days of mindfulness training, and </p><p>lasted for 4 months!</p><p>5nourish: the solution introduction</p><p></p></li><li><p>Vagus nerVe</p><p>Described by Stephen Porges as the love nerve, the vagus nerve is a key nexus of </p><p>mind and body, and a biological building block of human compassion</p><p>~Dacher Keltner</p></li><li><p>Mindfulness and focused attention </p><p>training also strengthens our vagus </p><p>nerve, the 10th cranial nerve. This is </p><p>one of the largest and longest nerve </p><p>systems in our body and it innervates </p><p>most of our organs. It originates at </p><p>the back of the head in the brain stem </p><p>and meanders down the neck into the </p><p>chest, abdomen, intestines connecting </p><p>to the liver, spleen, pancreas, heart, </p><p>and lungs. It is made of thousands </p><p>of fibers that communicate with </p><p>the brain about whats happening </p><p>with our organs and our autonomic </p><p>nervous system (ANS).</p><p>Keeping our vagus nerve healthy and </p><p>strong is so important because it calms </p><p>our organs during times of stress and </p><p>illness. It can also reset the immune </p><p>system and switch off proteins that </p><p>fuel inflammation. By strengthening </p><p>our vagus nerve we support our </p><p>digestion, blood sugar regulation, the </p><p>cardiovascular system, blood pressure, </p><p>and our microbiome. But it doesnt </p><p>just help us physically. A healthy vagus </p><p>nerve is also associated with high </p><p>levels of psychological wellbeing and a </p><p>greater capacity for concentration and </p><p>memory. It can even reduce anxiety </p><p>and depression. </p><p>nourish: the solution: try a little midfulness Vagus nerve 7</p><p>In a nutshell, the vagus nerve activates our parasympathetic nervous system so we can focus, slow down, relax, and heal.</p><p>Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images</p><p></p></li><li><p>nourish: the solution: try a little midfulness Vagus nerve 8</p><p>How do we strengthen our vagus nerve?</p><p>Fredrickson and Koks research discovered that vagal tone can improve </p><p>with loving kindness meditations (LKM). Through a consistent mindfulness </p><p>practice, a healthy vagus nerve, and the brains plasticity, we have the </p><p>power to change our brain, change our reactions, change our thinking, and </p><p>improve our health and quality of life. But how do we do this when life is </p><p>so busy and its so much easier to live mindlessly?</p><p>Believe me, as a leading mindlessness expert, I get it. It can be hard.</p><p>Often its just a matter of being flexible in our approach and finding the </p><p>right practice that will fit in with our lifestyle and values. By integrating </p><p>mindfulness exercises into our day, and habitualizing them, they will </p><p>become a way of life and a way of being instead of an extra thing to </p><p>schedule into our busy lives. To help with this process, Ive outlined some </p><p>meditative practices and simple mindfulness exercises that will help you </p><p>to get started.</p></li><li><p>MeditatiVe practices</p><p>Our practice is always to go back to the here and now. Only in the here and </p><p>now can we touch life deeply~Thich Nh</p><p>at Hanh</p></li><li><p>nourish: the solution: try a little midfulness Meditative practices 10</p><p>Developed in Norway in the 60s, this non-religious meditation </p><p>involves the mental repetition of a sound which is believed to help </p><p>the mind and body relax. </p><p>acem meditation practice</p><p>John Kabat-Zinn developed MBSR in 1979 at the University of </p><p>Massachusetts Medical School where it has been used in hospitals </p><p>and health clinics over the past few decades. This is an 8-week group </p><p>program that utilizes various forms of mindfulness meditation that </p><p>include breath awareness, body scan exercises, walking and eating </p><p>meditations and hatha yoga.</p><p>mindfulness-Based stress reduction program (mBsr)</p><p>This method is usually religious and places a strong emphasis on </p><p>interior silence.</p><p>centering prayer</p><p>This is the Buddhist practice of calming the mind through the </p><p>breath. It helps to free the mind from emotions and thoughts by </p><p>maintaining a single pointed focus.</p><p>sHamatHa</p><p></p></li><li><p>nourish: the solution: try a little midfulness Meditative practices 11</p><p>This practice is a specific form of mantra meditation introduced by </p><p>Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1955. TM places attention on a mental </p><p>image to attain attentional focus. By silently repeating a word or </p><p>mantra, a meditative state is achieved.</p><p>transcendental meditation (tm)</p><p>This is where attention is focused on sensory stimulation while </p><p>maintaining neutral observation of the experience.</p><p>yoga nidra</p><p>Vipassana is a Pali word that means insight. It is a traditional </p><p>Buddhist practice that dates back to 6th century BC. It is the non-</p><p>attached observation of bodily sensations and thoughts. Awareness </p><p>is repeatedly redirected back to the breath.</p><p>Vipassana</p><p>This practice focuses attention on the breath to reach a heightened </p><p>state of consciousness.</p><p>zen</p><p></p></li><li><p>Mindfulness exercises</p><p>Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now </p><p>without wishing it were different~James Ba</p><p>raz</p></li><li><p>nourish: the solution: try a little midfulness Mindfulness exercises 13</p><p>Inhale and count to 5.</p><p>Hold your breath and count to 3.</p><p>Exhale and count to 8.</p><p>Repeat for several minutes.</p><p>Basic practice: </p><p>Begin by becoming silent and tune into being mindful instead of </p><p>doing the mindfulness exercise. Sit comfortably or lay down. Gather </p><p>your attention and start to focus on the top of your head. Slowly </p><p>work through each part of the body by shining attention on your: </p><p>eyes, jaw, neck, shoulders, chest, stomach, legs and feet. Focus on </p><p>the sensations on each part, and release any tension you notice.</p><p>Body scan: </p><p>Gather your attention and bring your focus to your breathing. </p><p>Focus on the in and out breath. Acknowledge your thoughts, but </p><p>dont engage with them. Bring awareness to the movement of </p><p>your stomach and the sensations of the air in your nostrils. Try to </p><p>visualize your breath as an ocean wave moving through your lungs. </p><p>Slow, soft, and gentle.</p><p>BreatHing: </p><p>to help focus attention</p><p>to release tensions</p><p>for stillness</p></li><li><p>nourish: the solution: try a little midfulness Mindfulness exercises 14</p><p>Find something small to eat like a </p><p>grape, sultana, slice of fruit, or a small </p><p>vegetable. Relax any tensions. Tune </p><p>into your breath. Take a moment to pay </p><p>attention to this food. Notice the color </p><p>and the shape. Take some time to be </p><p>aware of the smell. Place the piece of </p><p>food in your mouth and feel the texture, </p><p>notice how your body reacts. Notice your </p><p>thoughts, sensations, and feelings.</p><p>eating: to support digestion and eating habits</p><p>Mantras are sacred sounds that contain spiritual teachings </p><p>condensed into phrases or syllables. Choose a word, or use a sacred </p><p>Sanskrit phrase and repeat it slowly in rhythm with your breath.</p><p>mantra: </p><p>Move in a slow and repetitive manner, swaying, stretching. </p><p>Incorporate chi gong or tai chi. Notice how your body feels. Notice </p><p>the sensations.</p><p>moVement: </p><p>to calm a busy mind</p><p>to support those who have difficulty being still</p><p></p></li><li><p>nourish: the solution: try a little midfulness Mindfulness exercises 15</p><p>Notice the sounds around you. Notice what you hear. Allow the </p><p>sounds to come and go without judgment. Focus on a different </p><p>sound for a few seconds. Then notice a new sound.</p><p>sound: to support those who have anxiety when meditating</p><p>Be present in nature. Tune in to your inner spirit and connect to </p><p>the beauty around you. Allow yourself to be quiet in the moment. </p><p>Listen deeply to the sounds of the birds, the wind, your breath, your </p><p>heartbeat. Listen with a patient, quiet awareness.</p><p>dadirri: to support inner peace and connection to nature</p><p>Bring a soft attention to your breath. Reflect on your thoughts, </p><p>feelings or emotions without judgment. Let them pass and return </p><p>your attention gently to the breath. If youre able to visualize, sense </p><p>a protective buffer around you that protects you from stressors. </p><p>Watch your thoughts as if you are a fly on the wall.</p><p>eQuanimity: to develop steadiness of mind under stress</p><p></p></li><li><p>nourish: the solution: try a little midfulness Mindfulness exercises 16</p><p>Close your eyes and breathe </p><p>slowly. Generate a kind feeling for </p><p>yourself. Repeat these words:</p><p>May I be safe</p><p>May I be healthy</p><p>May I be happy</p><p>May I live with ease</p><p>Now extend this feeling to </p><p>someone with whom you have a </p><p>neutral feeling:</p><p>May you be safe</p><p>May you be healthy</p><p>May you be happy</p><p>May you live with ease</p><p>Now extend this feeling </p><p>to someone you love </p><p>unconditionally:</p><p>May you be safe</p><p>May you be healthy</p><p>May you be happy</p><p>May you live with ease</p><p>lKm: </p><p>Choose a person with whom to develop an empathetic relationship. </p><p>Bring conscious awareness of being empathetic with that person. </p><p>Notice that persons movements, gestures, and actions. Imagine doing </p><p>these yourself. Sense your breathing, thoughts, feelings and emotions. </p><p>Sense the inner feelings of this person. Imagine their face, eyes and </p><p>smile. Imagine what the other person is thinking, feeling, wanting, </p><p>needing. Think about the nature of their relationship with you. Whats </p><p>most important to them? Be present with them in your mind.</p><p>empatHy: </p><p>to cultivate compassion</p><p>to build trusting relationships</p><p>Extend this same feeling </p><p>for someone you need to </p><p>forgive:</p><p>May you be safe</p><p>May you be healthy</p><p>May you be happy</p><p>May you live with ease</p><p>Generate this feeling of love </p><p>for all living things:</p><p>May you be safe</p><p>May you be healthy</p><p>May you be happy</p><p>May you live with ease</p><p>Complete the session </p><p>by redirecting the loving </p><p>kindness back to you:</p><p>May I be safe</p><p>May I be healthy</p><p>May I be happy</p><p>May I live with ease</p><p></p></li><li><p>nourish: the solution: try a little midfulness Mindfulness exercises 17</p><p>Similar to Dadirri, this exercise reconnects you to nature. It is a </p><p>silent movement meditation in a pristine forest where all of your </p><p>senses are engaged to experience each moment. This exercise is an </p><p>evidence-based stress reduction technique developed in the 80s by </p><p>Japanese corporations to support employees physical and mental </p><p>health. It is the practice of forest bathing or forest showering, </p><p>followed by a dip in hot springs.</p><p>sHinrin-yoKu : to reduce stress</p><p>Cite these words during times of stress and uncertainty: This is a </p><p>moment of suffering. Suffering is part of life. May I be kind to myself </p><p>in this moment; may I give myself the compassion that I need.</p><p>self-compassion mantra:to strengthen </p><p>kindness for self</p><p>At the end of each day reflect on two pleasurable experiences. Try to </p><p>feel the pleasure as long as possible. Gratitude is intensified through </p><p>focused attention on the present moment.</p><p>saVoring: to cultivate gratitude</p><p>Ask the children to sit or stand in pairs facing each other. For the </p><p>younger ones, ask them to place their right hand on their partners </p><p>heart, look into each others eyes and breathe deeply and gently whilst </p><p>sending kind thoughts to each other. Alternatively, they can place their </p><p>hand on their own heart and send loving thoughts to themselves.</p><p>for cHildren: to develop connection</p><p></p></li><li><p>nourish: the solution: try a little midfulness Mindfulness exercises 18</p><p>Developing a meditation practice or habitualizing mindfulness is not always </p><p>easy. But for some of us, its a necessity to find those pockets of space </p><p>between our thoughts so we can slow down, heal, and access a greater </p><p>sense of peace, connection, and renewal. I hope these meditation practices </p><p>and mindfulness exercises will inspire you to develop or create your own </p><p>practice thats sustainable and...</p></li></ul>