Positive States of Mind

Use this as a meditation mantra

Watch “The power of acts of kindness” on YouTube

A Christmas story sparks an interesting news story on kindness.

Positive States of Mind

My Struggle for Kindfulness

My endeavor to cultivate a mindful mindset and a focus on kindness, what I have come to know as kindfulness, has seemed challenging and a labor (litteraly a labor of love). My dual status as an Uber driver and as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist was called into question. I had a passenger call me a liar, when I indicated that I was a Licensed Therapist. I’m not quite sure why I became puffed up and insulted when this passenger stated “that’s what they all say.” Thankfully, with non-reactive awareness, I was able to maintain composure and decorum.

“To dwell in the here and now does not mean you never think about the past or plan responsibly for the future. The idea is simply not to allow yourself to get lost and regret about what the past or worries about the future. If you are firmly grounded in the present moment, the past can be an object of inquiry, the object of your mindfulness and concentration. You can attain many insights by looking into the past? But you are still grounded in the present moment.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

My passenger struggled with understanding how “a therapist” would be out accepting rides at 2:30am. She did not understand the nuances of my life. That I enjoy Uber driving and that my income can use the infusion of extra funds. I responded with love and explained that I was being truthful. I did not argue or plea my case. This would have trivialized my rider’s understanding and personal suffering.

I need to continue to cultivate this type of mindfulness. Daily practices and otherwise repetitious cultivation is the only way that I can achieve this.

Personal Affirmation

I believe in myself.

Taking Care of You Tip: Stand tall

It’s pretty common for people to say that you can’t take care of others unless you take care of yourself. This makes profound sense. I plan to make a real effort to incorporating self care tips to this kindness blog. Healthcare experts vary in their advice, depending on their field. However, their the message is unifying: one small change can make a big difference in our lives. I hope this new set of tips help.

If you are feeling down, check out how you are standing. Those who are deep in depression tend to have a slouched posture. Conversely, this slouched posture can actually trigger sadness and despondence. Mental health experts call this outcome “embodied cognition.” This could be a quick way to shift this action and change your mindset.

1) Stand against a wall, making sure that your heels, bottom, and shoulders are touching that wall. The lower back curves, so don’t expect it to make complete contact with the wall.
2) Lower the chin just a bit and keep your head away from the wall. Visualize yourself standing tall like a giraffe.
3) Keep this position for 20-30 seconds. After this time move away from the wall, while keeping this posture. If possible, walk around like this for another minute or two before sitting.

Try this before you walk out the door in the morning. Try to maintain this tall posture as you leave the house and start you daily journey.

self-esteem

Kindness Tip: Do a co-worker a solid

Happiness is something to be shared. If there is a co-worker that you could write a letter or memo of endorsement for, do so. If there is someone who is very helpful, diligent, and dependable, then let others know. Be specific about ways the person has made your job easier and write that message that will enhance their career. Compassion is contagious.

💞📝😋💻💕

App Review: Insight Timer

Mediation is touted as something that promotes inner peace, present-moment awareness, purposeful grounding, and a genuine mind/body connection. Science is investigating the full range of benefits that can be obtained from meditating. But, some studies indicate that meditation practices can help with conditions like insomnia, lower back pain, anxiety, and even hypertension (high blood-pressure).

Ideally, meditation should be undertaken with training to fully appreciate the benefits and nuances. However, having said that I will say that I feel that it is a very forgiving discipline with no cookie-cutter or right/wrong way to do it. It is something that one needs to experience and get-a-feel-of.

So how does one get training when there is usually little time, little money, and not a lot of availability for formal training? Fortunately, there are free meditation apps that are very helpful. These apps run from simple timers, to sources of white-noise/music, to very detailed and very informative.

I downloaded this app about four days ago because I wanted to do another review on a free meditation app. I wanted to wait about two weeks or so before I wrote the review. But, I can clearly see that I love this one a great deal and that I’m going to get a lot out of it. The name of this app is Insight Timer. It is one of the most popular free meditation apps available. And I can clearly see why.

You’re going to find more than four thousand guided meditations and over a thousand different teachers, so it’s very extensive. As soon as you open the app you get a very real community feel. You are going to see displayed all the people that are meditating while you’re on, in real time. You will also see the meditations that individuals are listening to. There are great meditation topics that you can choose from, including stress, self-compassion, nature, self-love, loss, and forgiveness, just to name a few. You are going to find some well-known teachers to choose from on this app. You will find mediations from world-renown experts from the contemplative field, including Tara Brach, Jack Kornfield, and Sharon Salzberg. There are sleep specific meditations and useful stat-tracking that can help you keep abreast of your meditation progress.

You can also find podcasts, talks, and meditation music. But, what I really find useful is a very cool timer that allows you to set specific bell tones to begin, specific bell tones to end, and specific bell tones to sound intermittently throughout your meditation. The timer also includes ambient music that plays throughout your meditation. I have found that I like the timer set for a 12-minute meditation with the Sakya bell tone to start. I continue with the Sakya tone for intervals of every 4 minutes (three interval tones for the entire mediation time) and Zen guitar as the continuous ambient music. I also set the timer to end with the Basu bell tone so there is a distinct end to my practice. The beauty of this timer is that you can tailor these factors to however you like.

I would have to give this app five stars. I am still exploring the full range of benefits that are available from the Insight Timer app. It’s by far, my favorite meditation app. I can see that I’m going to be using it for some time to come. Check it out. Here is the link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.spotlightsix.zentimerlite2

Kindness Tip: Something special for the homeless

Want to work some kindness into you busy day? Try this suggestion: Create some gift bags for the homeless. Take gallon plastic zipper bags and insert a washcloth, toothbrush, socks, hand sanitizer, and some snacks. If you can, toss in a five dollar bill. Hand these out to homeless people that you come into contact with. Share this gift, a pleasant smile, and some kind words. Compassion is contagious.

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Kindness Tip: email some kindness

Try this as a way to foster kindness. The next time you send an email, try to add a compliment about the person that you are writing to. Dig deep and try to think of something you like about the person or their work. Think of character strengths. Mostly, just try to think of ways to add some kindness to any/all messages that come from you. Compassion is contagious.

💞💻📱💕 👊😉👍