Posted in MindBody, Practices

Surviving a Thought Storm

In this article, I share a simple technique to help you ground into your body and out of the chaos brewing in your mind.

Understanding How You Feel

The purpose of today’s article is to learn how to survive a thought storm by grounding into your body. But first, let’s understand what a thought storm is and the best way to do that is to understand the power of worry. If you’re not a big worrier then switch that word out for stress or anxiety, whatever hits home for you the most.

I chose worry as an example because we can all relate to that feeling. On some level, in some are, even before quarantine each of us had little bits of worry and/or stress in our lives. It’s normal, we’re human and to an extent, it could even be healthy to consider the dangers of the world. But lately, it feels extremely heightened, like no matter where you turn something scary is there and you’ve always got to be prepared for it. There are a few problems with living in a constant state of worry, like your body living in a stressful state rather than visiting one, and the lack of positivity you’ll attract since you’re literally never on the lookout for it.

But what I’d argue is the most significant problem of all of the energy you feed the negative emotional state. The more we worry the more there is to worry about, and the more we’ll find evidence that we should continue to worry. Such a vicious cycle of straining the mind and the body without ever truly offering relief. And as a result, feeling like we’re constantly swept up in a storm without any control over where we’ll land.

If you don’t understand how your inner world works, both body and mind, then you’re never going to feel like you’re in control.

The truth is we don’t ever really control what happens outside of us but we do have control over how we respond. The difference between response vs reaction is a pause, a moment of consideration before allowing emotions to get the best of us, but more importantly recognizing that we have the ability to respond. In fact, as humans floating around this world filled with so many stimuli pushing and pulling us in different directions, it’s our job to respond (responsibility-ability to respond… get it?)

Now that you’ve been reminded of your ability to respond to what’s going on around you, let’s get familiar with what’s going on within you.

Let’s Talk Momentum

Worry and stress and anxiety and tension, these all have momentum on their side. Momentum is energy that is generated from within and pushes you toward an outcome or circumstance. Each time you experience one of those sensations or emotional states you’re essentially feeding the energy that propels that momentum. This could be a healthy cycle or a detrimental one, it all depends on what emotional states you’re constantly calling on.

If you’re reading this article chances are the emotional state of worry on your mind and body is quite familiar. So when you start to worry you’re going to be late for work one day, remember it’s not the first time you’ve experienced worry, and because it’s an experienced emotional state it has A LOT of momentum power behind it.

You’re no longer ONLY carrying the feeling of being late to work. Now that you’ve begun to summon the emotional state of “worry”, all of the stored energy from your history with worry starts to usher in a powerful momentum to keep this state going. So even if you make it to work on time there’s a chance you’ll remain worried all day, finding more reasons to feed that energy.

That’s how powerful momentum can be.

When you experience an emotion you also feel a physical sensation in your body. The mind holds memories of stories while the body holds memories of feelings. Each time you call to mind an experience the body relives that feeling as if it’s happening right now. The problem is you’re so focused on the narrative, the story of the memory playing in the mind, that you neglect how it’s showing up in the body and trick yourself into trying to “think” your way out. Unfortunately, some negative narratives have been played for so long that they have too much momentum behind them, making it nearly impossible to think your way out of them.

The mind and body connection is an extraordinary tool of communication, but too often it’s working against you because you’re unaware of its power. Let’s change that today.

Become Aware of Your State

If you’re in a negatively charged emotional state the first step is to become aware that you’re in that current state. It sounds simple, and honestly, it is, but when you’re stuck in “thinking” about things it can get complicated.

Awareness starts with observation, not a judgment of how you’re feeling or wishes that you could feel. Wanting to wish away a negative emotion isn’t the way to create change because it’s not coming from a place of acceptance. First, notice what’s coming up for you in the form of thoughts and physical sensations and practice being okay with it at that moment. Start there and start over and over if you have to, which you probably will have to.

If you haven’t practiced disciplining your thoughts or mindset, not something you’re good at yet. It’s okay to wave the white flag and admit that you’ve experienced this negative emotional state for so long that it’s got a strong momentum. Maybe you’re really good at being worried, stressed, tense, or anxious. That’s where you are right now and that’s okay. Be there to create change there. Running from discomfort makes it impossible to allow your momentum to be transformed into an energy that works for you rather than against you.

You can’t win the battle in your mind because you’re not familiar with how to discipline your thoughts. So what can you do? Notice how it’s showing up inside your body.

See you spend so much time in the mind creating stories, talking to yourself, and thinking about the past or the future, that your first instinct is to “think” your way out of a problem.

But what about when thinking IS the problem?

What about the stronghold those thoughts have on you that creates a storm in your mind that sweeps you away in an instant?

What’s the solution when you’re fighting a battle in your mind you’ve lost time and time again?

The solution is to ground in to your body.

Try This Practice Today

It takes time to shift from getting caught up in a thought storm to learning how to ground into the body. What’s important to remember when incorporating a new healthy habit is that it’s only possible with consistent practice and repetition. The next time you find yourself being pulled back by the momentum of a stressful or heavy pattern of thinking, remember you have the option to make a different choice.

Once you become aware that you’re caught up in the same old way of thinking, pause. Notice the direction this pattern takes you toward and remind yourself you have the power to make a better decision. You can always shift your focus from your mind to your body.

Try this practice: Choose 5 things to pay attention to that are happening within or around your body. Starting by focusing on the physical sensations you’re experiencing will be the most powerful because it’s taking you out of your mind and into your body. Grounding isn’t an instant shift from chaos to peace, it starts with simple observations, open curiosity, and gradually calming the mind down.

✨ Ask yourself “what are 5 things I notice about my body right now?” As you begin to observe whatever is happening within you stay away from labels like good or bad. Learn to treat yourself like a science experiment and get specifically clear and unbias about your answer.

✨Imagine that your opinion about what is happening doesn’t matter, all that matters are the symptoms, sensations, and experiences that are unfolding within you. Remember that your memories are emotionally charged so it’s important to notice when they begin to creep into your explanations. For instance, a simple shift from “my chest hurts” to “I feel tight sensations in my chest” or “I can’t breathe” to “my breath is very shallow” could make all the difference in how you process this moment.

✨Some emotional states are more charged than others, which have the potential to spiral you quicker into feeling lost in the storm. Grounding into your body, and noticing what you’re feeling and the world around you invites the chance for the storm clouds to begin to clear.

✨It’s also an act of self-love to remember and tends to the body while there is chaos brewing inside the mind because the body is simply reacting to the mind’s direction. The body can be directed to a calm more centered space, much quicker than changing your negative thought to a positive one. As a result, the mind will slowly find its way to a place of clarity, so you can move yourself toward solution-based thinking rather than an irrational problem-focused perspective.

Start Where You Are

Whatever emotion you’re feeling, whatever thoughts are circulating through your mind, whatever sensations are pulsating through your body, you can start this practice today. Surviving a thought storm isn’t about conquering the chatter of the mind, it’s about recognizing how powerful that momentum of energy has become and seeking shelter by noticing the impact it has on the body.

The more you practice observing your thought storms and the power of their current, the more likely you will be to pull yourself out of mental distractions and into physical sensations. The more you tune into the body the stronger your awareness becomes and continues to expand, this is what will help you eventually discipline or even break those thought patterns.

The more you practice anything the better you’ll get and the more capacity you’ll have to handle even more. So before you jump into wanting to change your negative thinking into positive thinking, start by noticing the quality of your thoughts today and it’ll lead you to the physical state of your body. It’s fascinating to watch how intelligent the mind-body connection truly is, now imagine you were part of that conversation?

You can be! All you have to do is open your eyes to what’s already happening, moment to moment, with acceptance and patience.

Start where you are, with how you’re feeling, and watch the subtle changes unfold.

Posted in MindBody, Practices

A Guide to Creating Conscious Change: Alignment vs Action

Awakening to Your Life

Mindfulness is the practice of moment to moment awareness, awakening to your life as it is. This is a simple yet powerful practice that allows you to adopt a new set of attitudes, to view your world with a fresh pair of eyes. Becoming aware of who you are and what you are doing at this moment brings you out of the thinking mind and into the body, where experiences have been happening unnoticed. By bringing your attention to the experience of your physical sensations you are learning to ground into the present moment, whereas the thinking mind will take you away from it.

Awakening to your life as it is will bring opportunities of profound change into your life. Often people choose only to look at the future to dream, or to the past for reflection as a reference for the change they want. These ways of viewing experience and creating change can only get you so far. It’s the present moment that will reveal all the things about yourself that you’d like to change and how your current lifestyle choices are shaping you as a person. Therefore, if you want to become a better version of yourself tomorrow you have to start paying attention to how you’re showing up today.

The Steps of Conscious Change

A conscious change is one that you are involved in, have contemplated thoroughly, and decide on deliberately. Now is always the best time to time to create conscious change in your life. The first step, as you already learned, is becoming aware of what needs to change. But before any change occurs willingly most people wait until they’ve become frustrated with their own ways or circumstances. The laziness will begin to annoy you, the tardiness will impact your relationships, he procrastination will ruin yet another weekend, the doubts will no longer hold up as truth. You know deep down it could be better, and you also know that the responsibility for these changes falls on you. At some point, you will have to break up with your way of living and welcome change. Choose to do it before you’re at your wit’s end and save some energy for what’s to come. Here are the 3 steps to creating conscious change or A.C.T.

  1. Awareness

    Becoming aware of what needs changing is the first and most important step. Nothing can shift in your life until you become aware of what needs to. This is the starting point for inviting the new and releasing the old, where you learn to focus on what is serving your highest good.

  2. Choice

    After taking some time to observe there’s of your life you’d like to change, you’ll then get ready to make a choice. Sometimes this choice is a giant leap into the unknown, while other times it’s a simple step in the right direction. Even if it’s a small change it can conjure up some indecisiveness within you. This step is about deciding on what feels the best rather than comparing what “would be” better. You can’t see how things will play out exactly but you can tap into your intuition and figure out what course is best for you to take.

  3. Trust

    Finally, it’s time to trust this entire process. Trust in your ability to observe what behaviors, thoughts, or habits need to change in your life. Trust that your choice is a stable one that will bring you closer to who you envision yourself becoming. Trust within your ability to consciously create an overall improved lifestyle for you. Each time you actively build inner trust you strengthen the foundation of your relationship with yourself and your ability to make things happen in your life.

Observing Misalignment

To understand whether you are on the path bringing you closer to who you wish to become, it’s important to know when you’re misaligned or veering off course. An indication that you are experiencing alignment is when you are feeling positive and pleasant emotions. Alignment is the experience of feeling good and allowing more good feelings to find you. This happens when you are thinking healthy thoughts, making choices that line up with your idea of happiness or success and position yourself in a way that invites more of this feeling. An indication of misalignment is when you are feeling negative or unpleasant emotions. In this state of being, you are allowing more of these experiences to gravitate toward you. This happens when you’re thinking of harmful or uneasy thoughts, making choices out of emotional reactivity that do not align with your idea of happiness or success.

Although alignment is the ultimate goal, it’s important that you learn to notice when misalignment is occurring. The most notable thing to become aware of is the experience arising in your body. When you’re thinking troublesome thoughts or experiencing an unpleasant moment, it does not stay only in your mind. It travels throughout the body depositing stress in pockets of your muscles, bones, and internal systems. If you can begin to link your mental experiences with your physical ones you’ll begin to uncover certain patterns of behavior that follow your thoughts. For instance, if you are thinking thoughts of self-doubt your shoulders are likely to slouch and round forward; if you are experiencing an anxious thought that may appear in the body is a fast heart rate or sweaty palms.

Once you’ve become aware of misalignment in your mind you can locate it in your body. The thought patterns you’ve created over the years are powerful and often difficult to shift into a more pleasant experience. That’s why it’s important for you to recognize how misalignment shows up in your body, because that you can change by moving. Move your body in a healthy way, go for a walk if you can, stretch your arms, roll your shoulders back and release the tension in your face, unclench your jaw and take a deep breath. All of these simple choices will help bring you toward feeling better. The closer you are to feeling better the closer you become to alignment. Once you have tapped into the feeling and experience of alignment you can begin to take action toward your goals.

Planning Your Action

Deciding to take action or make an important decision isn’t something to be done without consideration. The right plan of action taking at the wrong time could push you further back than when you started. This is where the importance of alignment comes in. Making decisions in a state of clarity will bring you closer to the change you wish to see, whereas making decisions in a state of emotional reactivity most likely won’t. Although there is a huge difference between allowing your emotions to overcome you and channeling their energy for change, some people can’t quite point out those differences. For most people, emotions running high isn’t something that you thrive off of. It’s actually more likely to stress you out than bring you clarity or confidence about what’s next. This is why alignment and action go hand in hand.

By orienting yourself in the direction of joy, happiness, and success, you are aligning with your higher self. The more you consciously align with yourself the easier it will be to take action. Think of alignment as making your way to the diving board, each step bringing you closer to what you want to do, have, or be. The closer you get the more intense you’ll experience feelings of excitement, joy, and maybe a tinge of apprehension, but you keep moving. toward what it is you want. Now imagine jumping off the diving board as your plan of action, diving into the unknown whether it be by a single step or a massive leap. Don’t rush your way into action without appreciating the role and significance of aligning yourself with what’s meant for you.

Let’s Review

Mindful awareness is the key component in creating any conscious change. Awakening to your life as it unfolds means to release resistance to the state of your life now, so that you may invite new opportunities to find you. Before you begin to make changes you must first become aware of the areas in your life and things involved that need change. In this article, I’ve mapped out 3 steps of creating conscious change that can serve as a guide to making strong decisions that instill your inner trust. By first becoming aware of what needs changing, then making a conscious choice of how to move forward, and finally learning to trust the outcome and your ability to handle it. After you’ve made your decisions and have begun to experience that inner trust, you can learn to build on it by practicing alignment.

The simplest way to practice alignment is to become aware of the moments you’re feeling good and work to invite more of that feeling. This does not mean resisting negative emotions or rejecting unpleasant experiences, these are all apart of the journey. Instead, it’s about becoming aware of both alignment and misalignment, observing and understanding how they both show up in your experience. Misalignment will be tied to negative emotions and bodily sensations of feeling contracted or tight. Being in alignment will feel more open and flowing, with pleasant thoughts and positive feelings. After you’ve become familiar with how it is you want to feel continue striving for that feeling, building up the opportunity to take action. A plan of action is powerful on its own, just like aligning yourself with how you want to experience life is powerful. however, together they become an undeniable force propelling you toward the life you are creating.

You are the creator of your life experience and you are responsible for the ways you choose to respond to the world around you. Every day you are capable of bringing yourself closer to your higher self. It’s in the choices you make, the thoughts you observe, and the behaviors you begin to uncover. Bring a sense of curiosity to what it is you’re noticing within yourself and work on releasing judgment. Who you are today doesn’t have to be defined as good or bad, right or wrong, success or failure. Practice mindfulness with how you are showing up each day as a means for understanding the person you’ve become, not condemning or judging but welcoming. Allow your experience to be one that reveals deeper levels of yourself and uses them as ways to expand.

If you want to create conscious change in your life never stop paying attention. Keep aligning with what feels good and releasing what does not. Keep coming back to the present moment and all of the wonders it has to offer. And when this road gets more challenging than you had anticipated, keep coming back to the breath. Because as long as there is another breath cycle flowing through your body, you have another chance to begin again.

Posted in Mindfulness, Practices

Become Aware of Your Posture

Understanding Body Language

Body language is a language of nonverbal cues, often expressing more than one had planned on sharing through their words. It’s as if their thoughts and inner experience were telling a story through the body, with or without their awareness.

Chances are you’ve heard a little bit about body language and may even understand some basic movements, such as having your arms crossed over your chest indicates being closed off while having your hands stacked in fists on both hips indicates a sign of confidence.

While being closed off may come off as more instinctual in certain circumstances, standing in confidence, for instance in front of a mirror, maybe a deliberate practice to elevate our mindset.

In this post, I’ll be sharing information specifically on being mindful of your posture and how it may relate to your state of mind. For a more in-depth understanding of the science of body language, check out this article 16 Essential Body Language Examples.

Noticing Your Body Throughout The Day

As with all mindfulness practices and techniques, the first step is to choose something to shine your awareness onto. Today you can anchor into the intention of paying attention to your body, specifically the neck and shoulder area, giving yourself the opportunity to let go of some extra tension.

Noticing your posture throughout the day opens your awareness to what is already happening within your body. By noticing how the body is positioned, feeling, or being supported, you are also dropping out of the busyness of thoughts and into the physical sensations happening right now. Not to mention the added benefit of helping your back and hip alignment long term, especially if you’re sitting in front of screens or living a mostly sedentary life.

Proper posture may be a challenge to keep at first but in the long run, will benefit your overall physical health. It will also appear a bit different for each person because of all body shapes, sizes, and capabilities but everyone can essentially follow these general guidelines.

A healthy posture appears as one standing or sitting as tall as possible for the shape of their back and comfortably, having their shoulders rolled back without holding tension, and dropped away from the ears, chest upright without being pushed too far out.

As a reminder, practicing mindful awareness isn’t about judging yourself for inadequacies or jumping on the urge to change whatever it is you’ve begun to notice. Mindful awareness it’s about turning on an inner light of awareness with a sense of curiosity and compassion while opening yourself to accepting what is already and considering more supportive approaches in how you respond.

A way to raise awareness of your posture is to think about the way you spend most of your day. Start by observing how active you are or how often you are seated throughout the day. Here are a few prompts you can ask yourself:

Am I on a computer or phone looking down at a screen? How often? What is my posture like while I do this?

If I am sitting most of the day, how supportive is the back of the chair or the firmness of the cushions beneath me? Is it comfortable? If not, how can I improve my seating?

Do I experience any discomfort in the neck or shoulder area throughout your day?  If so, am I taking any breaks to move, shift, or release any tightness throughout the day?

How can I be more present with my posture and my body going forward?

Connecting Thoughts and Posture

After practicing mindful awareness of your posture throughout the day, you may find your awareness expanding on its own toward other parts of your experience. The ultimate goal of noticing posture may be to change or improve it over time, but that isn’t necessarily the intention.

By choosing to become aware of your posture more often, you are also noticing how your body is reacting to different environments and stimuli. One connection in particular that can be made is the one between your posture and your thoughts.

The more you practice paying attention to the quality of your posture each day, the feel of your neck, and the weight of your shoulders, you may also gain insight into the quality of your thoughts that accompany them.

As the basics of body language teach there are two main forms of language: open and closed. As you begin to notice whether you are contracting or allowing any given experience, you may also recognize the thoughts that are guiding the feelings in your body.

For instance, catching yourself in a negative or stressful thought pattern may lead you to notice that your shoulders are scrunched toward your ears, tightening the muscles around the neck. Or maybe your environment triggers a pattern of stress and tension, ultimately causing you to tense up your body in some way.

Once you’ve noticed the connection between what you’re thinking and how your body is reacting, you can decide how to respond. A simple way to return back to a state of openness is to take a deep breath, release that tension with an exhale, and move forward with a bit more clarity than before.

It’s within these quick glimpses into how the body responds to thoughts that you can deepen your mindful awareness practice, while further understanding your reactions and responses to the world around you.

Try This Practice Today

Your posture is an important component of mental and physical alignment. The more you practice noticing the connection between your thoughts and physical sensations, such as posture and body language, the more intention can be brought to the way in which you respond.

The thoughts and physical sensations you experience correspond more often than not. Your mind and body are in constant communication so it’s important to check in with yourself throughout the day and tune into inner that conversation.

When the mind is not disciplined it is likely the body isn’t either. Be prepared for distraction as it is the nature of the mind to fluctuate, while also bringing a sense of loving awareness by directing your focus back to the body.

Carve out a few minutes today to practice awareness of your posture. Try this:

  • Take a few moments to settle into your seat or wherever you’re standing
  • Close your eyes or soften your gaze away from anything in particular
  • Tune into the feel of your body, your posture, your neck, and shoulder area
  • Now imagine a string at the top of your head leading all the way up into the sky
  • Take a deep inhale to straighten out your back, chest out, shoulders up
  • On the exhale gently drop your shoulders while keeping an elongated spine
  • Refocus your mind on the present moment
  • Repeat this practice as many times throughout the day to realign and begin again

This practice can be something you do the moment you wake up, in between transitions throughout the day, during moments of stress, or anytime you’d like to tune back into the body. My favorite thing about this practice is that it’s practical and visual, while you’re tuning back into your body (the physical) you’re also imagining what alignment looks like (the mental).

A simple practice for bringing you back into your body and the present moment, with a dash of imagination, that can be as long or as short as you’d like it to be.

Let’s Review

The body speaks through physical sensations and non-verbal cues, some of which you may even be unaware of, and it can often indicate a larger message. The words spoken may not tell the full story of what’s happening, while body language speaks volumes about how someone is feeling at that point in time. Whether they are closed off or more open, feeling comfortable or tense in their body, these bodily cues offer deeper insights that paint a bigger picture.

In order to get a better understanding of the energy you’re giving off, it’s important to start by noticing your body language, more specifically your posture. The area of the shoulders and neck could tell a lot about the “weight” one may be carrying physically, mentally, or emotionally. It can also shed some light on their response to stress during day-to-day activities and responsibilities.

By taking the time to practice tuning into how often you have proper or poor posture, you may also gain insight into the quality of your thoughts. There is a strong connection between what someone is thinking and how their body is responding to those thoughts. Since the mind is considered the intelligence center while the body is considered to be a vehicle or vessel, it’s important to be mindful of the connection between the two.

Cultivating a mindfulness practice around your posture will eventually expand your awareness of thoughts, thought patterns, and the amount of time spent on autopilot or in the thinking mind. While the ultimate goal may be to improve posture, the intention is simply to begin noticing what’s already happening. Adopting an attitude of non-judgment and loving awareness will help you stay consistent with your mindfulness practice.

By noticing posture you are intentionally tuning into the body, therefore dropping out of the thinking mind even if just for a few moments a day. These moments matter and over time add up to a significant investment through the journey of inner work journey.

May you have the courage to tune in today, and remember you can always come back to the here and now.

Posted in Mindfulness, Practices

Overcoming Distraction with Mindfulness

Are you struggling to overcome the distractions showing up in your day-to-day? Have trouble staying focused because your thoughts are pulling you in multiple directions? Finding it difficult to keep your attention on what’s in front of you?

In the world of smartphones, social media, and instant gratification, you are surrounded by an infinite number of distractions. Beyond the screens of entertainment and minute-by-minute updates, there’s also the issue of the untamed mind being programmed to swing from thought to thought.

It’s within the nature of the mind to wander, anticipate, think, or keep moving in some way or another. Rather than resisting the ebb and flow of your thoughts in times of distraction, it may be a more powerful practice to direct your attention outside the mind and into the body.

Noticing You’ve Become Distracted

All change starts with awareness, becoming aware of what is already happening or unfolding in the present moment. Shifting your attention from the mind and into the body first requires becoming mindfully aware of where your attention has been placed.

To be mindful of distraction is to notice it with acceptance of what’s caught your attention or how long you’ve been distracted; it’s letting go of expectations and assumptions about the process of learning to focus.

Distraction is the mind’s reaction to a lack of direction. If you want to focus you need to choose something to anchor your attention into. By tuning out of the thinking mind, which often moves at a rapid pace, and tuning into the body, which can be tangibly experienced through physical sensations, you are able to anchor your attention into a feeling or even the breath.

Grounding Into The Body

The mind may be where distraction takes place but the body is the vehicle that plays it all out. In other words, while the mind is taking you on trips to the past or into the future, the body is often left unattended in the present moment. If the mind wanders long enough it’ll find itself circling negative emotions, which elicit sensations of constriction or tension in the body.

For instance, when you have an anxiety-producing thought you may clench your fists or maybe it feels like your chest area got incredibly tight. This is the body’s response to your thinking. The longer you stay distracted in the mind, the further from grounding into the body.

Grounding begins with an anchor, the breath being a wonderful place to start mainly because it’s always waiting in the present moment for you. Paying attention to the breath is also a neutral focal point, an example of the ebb and flow that’s happening within your body. Whether you’re tuning in or not the breath will continue to flow, but it can offer great insight once you are paying attention.

Let’s go back to that anxiety-producing thought. Along with a tight chest and clenched muscles you may notice you haven’t exhaled in quite some time. If you are breathing you may notice it’s shallow and quick, rather than deep and smooth. The quality of your breath cycles, inhaling and exhaling, is an indicator of your levels of stress or calm.

Practice Tapping Into the 5 Senses Mindfully

While the breath is one of the most powerful and profound ways to choose focus over distraction, it also may be challenging for those who have never done breathwork or meditated before. Another way to ground into the body is to tune in through your 5 senses: touch, sight, smell, taste, and hearing.

This is a common practice offered to people suffering from high levels of anxiety as well as stress, frustration, or moments of overwhelm. By having a tangible and practical focus on each of the senses, it may be easier for you to shift from overthinking to simply paying attention to the present moment.

The beauty of this practice is that even if you ask yourself these same questions each time you feel overwhelmed, you’ll get different answers each time. Just like mindfulness, each moment is a fresh unfolding of something new.

Ask yourself the following questions changing the number of senses as you please:

What is one thing I taste right now?
What are two things I smell right now
What are three things I feel right now?
What are four things I hear right now?
What are five things I see right now?

By tuning into your senses you are automatically grounding into your bodily sensations. Your bodily sensations are leading you out of the thinking mind and into the here and now. It’s in the here and now that you can make shifts in your attention by deliberately deciding where to focus your energy, and making more focused choices.

Let’s Review

If you’re having difficulty focusing or battling distraction, you most likely won’t be able to think your way out of it. To do anything mindfully is to bring your full awareness to it, without judgment, anticipation, or expectation for things to be different. Therefore, choosing to become aware of what being distracted looks like for you is a good place to start.

Once you’ve noticed distraction in the mind you can also notice how it may be showing up in the body. For some, this may look like tension in the muscles, while for others it may show up as constricted sensations of tension. However distraction arises within the mind it’s a wonderful opportunity to become aware of the body. Rather than resisting the fluctuations of the mind, it’ll be more beneficial to bring attention toward the body and work from a practical focal point.

Grounding into the body can be done through the vehicle of the breath, which is always in the present moment, as well as tuning into the 5 senses. By asking yourself to bring your attention to what you can smell, hear, taste, touch, and see you’re more likely to overcome distraction because it’s happening in the mind. Although you may not keep distractions at bay for a long time through this technique, it will be long enough to interrupt the cycle and provide your mind with a direction of focus.

The 5 senses can be the path into knowing your body and listening to its wisdom on a deeper level. By practicing this exercise during moments of stress, frustration, or overwhelm you’ll be developing the muscle of direction, which will ultimately weaken the muscle of distraction in the mind. Rather than fighting your thoughts or trying to change the fast past thinking mind, tuning into the 5 senses is a great way to get to know the body with loving kindness.

Practicing mindful awareness of distraction isn’t about taking it away altogether, but choosing to recognize its hold on you so that you can make a more deliberate choice. Remember, peace is always one choice away, that choice is always yours to make, and that choice begins with self-awareness.

Check out this episode on How to Overcome Distractions and Negative Thoughts
Posted in Practices

Intention Setting with Mindful Attitudes

Living With Intention


When you’re ready to have things in your life improve or align, it’s essential that you learn about the energy you put into your world. The energy put into your intention is what gives it the power to make shifts in your life. When you go through the motions of your day on autopilot you are missing out on opportunities to tune in.


Tuning into your experience creates the possibility for you to respond with intention. This doesn’t mean that you have to change up every decision you make, you may very well keep them the same as they’ve always been. What’s important is that you pay attention to what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, and the energy you bring to each task, This makes all the difference when you’re working toward or already have a goal of self-development.


Intentionality is bringing a particular kind of awareness and attention to an experience you are facing. When you set an intention for the day or the week, you are essentially choosing an anchor to ground you when life starts to speed up. In order for you to successfully set and follow through with an intention, it’s important that you gain clarity on how this intention will serve you. Start by becoming aware of the part of your life that you’d like to see improvements in. What needs to be improved about your attitude? How are you struggling in this part of your life?


Setting Intentions

Setting intentions at the beginning of your day is like looking ahead and anticipating how you’ll need to show up. Whatever intention you set will begin to show up in the form of opportunities, challenges, and obstacles in what would normally be seen as everyday things. Bringing intention to your thoughts, behaviors, feelings, and ways of navigating through the world allows you to change the way you see things.


Although you cannot control what’s happening outside you, or what may be thrown in your path each day, you can control the ways in which you respond. By setting an intention before your day begins you have something to anchor into in the moments you experience overwhelm, stress, or anxiety.


Before you decide on which intention to set for the day it’s good to get in tune with what you are in need of most. Life has seasons and each season will invite different levels and types of difficulties. What’s important to remember is that this intention is suitable and appropriate for you to ground into when life gets cloudy. Some seasons call for the same intention until you’re feeling capable of moving on to something else. Other seasons call for you to connect with how you’re feeling each day and work from there.


Without energy, an intention is just another set of words, an empty affirmation without the force to back it up. Bringing energy into your thoughts and words gives life to your experience, and that energy continues to flow. The more powerful the energy is the stronger the intention becomes. The more in tune you are with the energy you bring to your experience, the more intentional each of these experiences becomes. Although you can’t always control outcomes and circumstances, you can control the energy you choose to respond to your inner and outer world.


At the beginning of your day visualize what lies ahead for you. Bring into your mind’s eye the typical challenges of the day-to-day, whether they’re massive or minuscule they’re all opportunities. From beginning to end, run through the people you’ll interact with, the places you’ll visit, and the energy you plan on bringing. It’s important to be realistic when looking ahead into your day, while also grounding yourself into your personal power to respond intentionally.

Daily Intention YTCheck out this 5-minute video on How to Set an Intention


How to Set a Daily or Weekly Intention

Become aware of what area in your life you would like to improve. Allow yourself to practice accepting the attitudes, choices, and behaviors in this area of your life. Don’t judge yourself for where you are, just notice the patterns and decisions that got you here. Once you make peace with anything that may be unpleasant about your current experience, start getting curious about what ways could make this experience better for you.


What attitude would help enhance your life?

What attitude would help you gain clarity?

What attitude would align you with your higher self?

Consider the opportunities throughout your day that you could potentially practice applying this intention.

How often will these opportunities come up for you? 



Setting Intentions with Mindful Attitudes

Beginner’s Mind

To acquire a beginner’s mind is to practice freeing yourself of expectations and assumptions about how life should unfold. Expectations leave little room for infinite possibilities.


Those who practice patience experience less stress increased empathy and are more likely to achieve their goals. By deciding to view every frustration as an opportunity to practice patience, you will start to shift to more open and positive perceptions in life.


Acceptance essentially means to receive the reality that is unfolding before you. Acceptance implies there is resistance present, so the question to ask is what circumstance or reality are you currently resisting?

Letting Go

Our thoughts, beliefs, and ideas become stronger with the attention they are fed, creating an attachment. Practice letting go. There is profound power in practicing awareness of thoughts, each time bringing a sense of neutral observation. Rather than latching onto what arises in the mind observe the thoughts as they pass.


Your beliefs begin as thoughts, therefore a belief is a thought you continuously practice. The reason to acquire a nonjudgmental attitude is to create a fresh perspective in place of familiar beliefs. Notice the labels you place on experiences and the limits they create.

Non-Striving (being)

Start prioritizing time to be still. Being is our natural state however it no longer comes naturally anymore due to all of the stimuli we experienced every day. Practice being in-between each task you switch to throughout the day.


Develop an inner trust in your decision-making and in the path unfolding before you. Practice this when you find yourself in doubt or fear of unknown circumstances.


Gratitude is the answer to living a happy life. The best way to practice gratitude is to find the good in what frustrates you and what you view as a problem. Everything is an opportunity to practice patience and growth. If you can begin to shift your perspective to thinking this way you are making progress.


Practice a kind and generous way of thinking, being, and living. The way you treat yourself will reflect on the relationships you form in your life. Bring attention to negative self-talk and practice a more compassionate inner language.


These are the attitudes that make up a mindful mind. By embodying one of these you are slowly adding drops into the bucket of conscious awareness. It’s not intended to be a quick process. Instead, it’s intended to be practiced daily, or weekly, as your life transitions from phase to phase.


The more you anchor yourself into an attitude intentionally, the closer you bring yourself to being at peace with yourself and those around you. As you begin to move into this peace of mind you’ll begin to experience shifts in the ways you perceive your life. May you exist with compassion in your heart, gratitude in your soul, and an open curiosity that fills you with faith and love.


Love. Heal. Grow.