Tackling Anger For Kids (Kid Book Review)

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My oldest child was born with a sassy fire-blazzing attitude, whereas, my other child is, well, basically our little happy Buddha.  Although, they are several years apart, I often call them Ying and Yang, because they are complete extreme opposites of each other.  Both children can be quite the handful when their two opposite personalities collide with one another;  as powerful as a nuclear meltdown.   Fortunately, for the most part though, it really isn’t that bad, just interesting.  However, my oldest starts school soon and I have been instructed to get her defiant attitude under better control.

A leopard cannot change its spots…nor should it

I don’t want my oldest to lose her fire.  Born a micro-preemie (26 weeks), she was born with this fire and it has driven her to overcome some incredible obstacles.  As a parent, I feel it is my job to teach her how to harness her fire rather than just extinguish it out for good.  Emotions are like oxygen, it fuels her fire!  So we’ve been working a lot on how to better express our emotions.

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Last week, we went to the library and I came across this book called, “Mouse Was Mad ,” by Linda Urban.  I LOVE IT!

This is a great book!  It is about a mouse who is mad (obviously) and goes through different types of temper-tantrums (stomping, screaming, rolling around, etc).

Not realizing that Mouse is mad, each of his friends, tells him he is doing it wrong and each demonstrate the correct way to stomp, scream, roll around, etc.  Mouse fails to do it correctly and gets even more mad, to the point he is standing silently still.  The way Mouse arrives to a calm state of mind is the cutest story ever!

If you are looking for a good book that talks about anger, this is it!  Not a bad read for adults either.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asperger’s Relationship: Our Journey

Image result for mountains clip art black and white

When I started this blog, I thought I had mountains of content to write about, in regards to my husband’s Asperger’s, but it turns out, I don’t.

There are no daily challenges with my husband’s Asperger’s, like I thought; at least there hasn’t been for a very long time.  I am not constantly trying to figure him out nor am I constantly frustrated with his inability to effectively communicate with me and others.  In the grand scheme of things, his Asperger’s quirks are no more challenging than my OCD quirks.   In a strange way, we compliment each other, making each other stronger and better in many different unexpected ways.  Last night, I laid awake in bed thinking about our journey together and all the true life challenges we have overcome since the beginning; very few specifically involved Asperger’s itself.  Asperger’s, of course, didn’t make the journey easy, but over the years, I have learned to accommodate both our quirks to maintain a happy and healthy relationship.

1950’s Relationship In A Millennial World

I grew up with the idea that relationships are to be an equal partnership; however, I learned with my husband’s Asperger’s, we cannot be equal in terms of responsibilities.  Each of us play a specific role in the relationship and in this day of age, it can be perceived as a little “old fashion.” 

Thinking about it, our relationship is a bit 1950’s, where the man’s sole responsibility is to provide financially for the family (bring home the bacon), among other duties like maintaining the family’s financial affairs, car and house maintenance, and setting strict family rules (as a man’s house is his castle and kingdom).  As for the woman, she is responsible for maintaining a well-kept home, raising children, cooking, keeping her husband happy, and looking fabulous while she does it.

Well, in all honestly, the only thing my husband actually does is bring home the bacon, after that, I am the sole ruler of this castle and our small little kingdom.  At first, I didn’t like it.  I didn’t like being in control of everything; I felt selfish and rude; plus, being responsible for everything and being the designated problem solver in the family can be quite exhausting, emotional, and totally stressful at times; but decision making gives my husband extreme anxiety to the point of panic attacks.  I am not sure, but I don’t think its entirely Asperger’s related, I think it has a lot to do with a prior relationship with a “narcissist;” a tragic chaotic love story that is not my story to tell.

Appreciating Small Help 

When it comes to conquering mountains, I am generally in the lead, but it takes both of us to do it.  I may carry most of the responsibilities, but he has learned to help me with some of these responsibilities and I have learned to appreciate his help, regardless how little or how much he contributes to helping me.

Asking is not Telling

My husband doesn’t pick up on body language, hints, or cues, which can be frustrating as  that is generally a big part of common courtesy.  If a person is struggling with an arm full of groceries, you help them.  If a person is struggling to get through the door, hold the door for them.  If trash is piling up beside the door, take the initiative to take the trash out.  My husband doesn’t do anything unless he is “told” to do it.

Now, as I have learned, there is a difference between being “told” to do something and being “asked” to do something.  I was taught, to “ask” others to do things, to be polite.  So, for the first two years with my husband, I would “ask” him to take out the trash, change a diaper, open a window, or whatever and he would just take his sweet time doing it; basically, he would do it at his own convenience and if he never did it, he would later tell me he “forgot.”   How rude, right!  Eventually, he explained to me his reasoning:  Asking means it is “optional or at your own convenience” and Telling means “do it now.”   I still struggle with this today, because I hate sounding rude; however, to him, I am not being rude at all.

Setting Boundaries 

I have also learned to set boundaries, for the sake of my own mental health.  There are decisions and responsibilities in life that I just cannot do for my husband; one being his own personal health.

The first couple of years was rough;  I was constantly flushing his toilet, being his personal alarm clock, reminding him to brush his teeth, and making sure he actually ate healthy foods instead of junk food.  Basically, I was like his mother!  His reasoning, he explained, was that he feared self-responsibility.  He told me that if I took care of him and did everything for him, nothing would ever be his fault.  Today,  I think this was a bit of Asperger’s logic colliding with depression and low self-esteem.

After we had our first baby, it was too much work to take care of a newborn, myself, and another grown adult.  When I started to fall apart (putting everyones needs before my own), he had to step up to the plate to start taking better care of himself.

There are even bigger decisions and responsibilities in life that I just cannot do for my husband, especially, when it comes to wars that are not mine to fight, like my husband’s custody battles with his ex.   My husband is still tethered to his ex through joint custody of their children and it is a nightmare.  I tried to help (indirectly) by being supportive and offering effective advice against uncooperative difficult people, but I was swallowed up whole and emotionally torn up into pieces by unnecessary, unreasonable, ridiculous drama.  Just recently, I dug my white flag deep into the ground, threw up my hands high, and walked away without ever looking back, because it just isn’t my war to fight.

I certainly learned a lot from that experience.  My place as a wife, mom, and step-mom is in neutral territory where I remain supportive, just not involved.  My official duty is to make sure drama from the other side does not cross the threshold into our home.  That is a boundary I set for the entire family, even my husband’s kids know to keep the drama of the other parent’s life at the front door.  Before entering the house, we are sure to address any issues that require addressing and do a complete mood check, because bad moods can ruin an entire visit.  So far, everyone seems to like that idea.

Parenting

Today, I think the only challenge in our relationship, regarding my husband’s Asperger’s alone,  is in the co-parenting arena.  He loves all his kids very much,  it’s just that his Asperger’s makes it difficult to express that love.   Although, my husband has become a better parent over the years, there are still many challenges yet to overcome.

We’ve been able to conquer most of our co-parenting challenges by following a strict routine (no surprises).  It not only gives the kids a good daily routine, but also helps my husband provide more one-on-one quality time with them.  I also make sure we have plenty of family days!  When it comes to discipline, he is terrible.  In the beginning, we went at it like “bad cop / good cop” style, which was just confusing for everyone.  Now, he just follows my lead by reinforcing positive consequences to help our kids make better choices.  My husband is still working on better acknowledging his kids when they speak to him.   It’s a work in progress, but way better than it use to be!  In fact, I am very proud of him.

Relationships Are Hard Work

Regardless of my husband’s Asperger’s, my OCD, and everyday ups and downs of Life, relationships are hard work.  I think this was my final realization while I laid in bed thinking about our journey together.  It does take both of us, regardless how much each other gives to the relationship, at the end of the day, we are still happily together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mindfulness: Everything Is Okay

A Different Perspective

At this very exact moment, you are okay!

Practicing mindfulness is a great way to calm down anxiety, fears, and worries.  When you pay full attention to the present moment, you realize that there is nothing to immediately fear or worry about.  We have this illusion that time is extremely fast in which is why we feel so connected to our past and our future.

The interesting part of practicing mindfulness, is realizing how long a second can be when you are fully focused on the moment.  Did you know there are things happening in the world that take less than a second to do?

  • An insect can flap its wings over a hundred times within 1 second.
  • Lighting can strike across the sky in less than 1 second.
  • The eye can blink several times within 1 second.
  • Speak one verbal word in less than 1 second (thus saying “One Mississippi” is supposedly equivalent to 1 second)
  • Supposedly, neuron cells fire several hundred times within 1 second.

Personally for me, 1 second is a long time, especially,  knowing that some things that I barely notice take place in less than a second.  It makes me wonder why I might be worried about something that may not happen until tomorrow, I mean that is 86,400 seconds away and that is if the thing that I am worried about will even happen at all.

When I focus on the present, time for me seems to slow down.  It makes yesterday feel like days ago and tomorrow a week from now.  Maybe that is the gap needed to disconnect ourselves from the feelings we have from yesterday and the feelings we have for tomorrow.

Focusing on today is good, but focusing on the very moment is better.  It reminds us that we are okay, regardless of any problems we are experiencing or going to experience (or not experience at all), we are okay at this very moment in time and it is this moment in time that matters the most.

I hope when you find yourself having a rough day, you go to bed at night knowing you are okay and tomorrow is a new day.

 

 

 

 

“Purge & Burn” Journaling For Pure “O” OCD

Journaling is like whispering to one’s self and listening at the same time.  – Mina Murray, Dracula   

I journal a lot, but I have to admit, I am terrible at journaling everyday.  I didn’t know if I lacked motivation or commitment.  However, one day I decided I was going to “google” it.  I wanted to know how to “keep” a journal; turns out, “keeping” a journal wasn’t the problem, it was the way I was journaling!

Journaling can be therapeutic; but it’s not very therapeutic, if you think you might be journaling wrong.  For me, I was beginning to feel a little stressed out not being able to keep a daily journal, because I was under the impression that there was only one right way to do it.  unnamedWhen I think of keeping a journal, I think of having a beautiful thick leather notebook, written in perfect cursive handwriting, with 365 days of intriguing entries.  However, in reality, I have several spiral notebooks, each with just a few days of intriguing entries, and the rest filled with colorful pictures drawn in crayon by my kids.  Well, when that happens, I just donate the entire notebook to the kid’s art box.

I even tried setting reminders on my phone for journaling time.  But then, I had this crazy irrational thought, “What if I could be doing something really cool, but instead, I wasted that opportunity because I was journaling instead?  What if I miss out on an epic adventure!”  (One of my irrational OCD thoughts from back in the day).

Turns out, you don’t have to journal everyday, it doesn’t have to be pretty, and there is no right or wrong way to journal; the therapeutic point to journaling is expressing yourself to a silent audience (the paper) that holds no judgement against you.  And, just in case you are wondering, journaling for just a few minutes a day will not make you miss out on anything “epic.”

Having learned all that, writing everyday was certainly not for me.  It wasn’t because I wasn’t motivated or committed, no, I later realized that I just didn’t have a desire to record my entire life story.  I journal, because it is therapeutic and realized, the days that I  do not journal (the large gap in between entry dates) tells me, that I didn’t have the need to journal and that is not a bad thing.  But then, I discovered a new way of journaling, a better way in which benefits my OCD brain….I call it, “Purge and Burn” journaling.

Purge and Burn Journaling

I still journal, but it isn’t every day and now I don’t even keep a journal notebook.  When I am feeling strongly emotional or upset about something, I “purge and burn.”  Basically, I purge all the thoughts in my head onto a couple pieces of paper and then after a day or two, I shred them (alternative to burning).  This is my way of clearing the mind when it feels as if it is being weighed down by heavy emotions, overwhelming stress, junk thoughts, or struggling with a personal problem.

Purge and burn journaling allows me to easily let go of my thoughts and feelings.  Once those thoughts hit paper, I no longer feel attached to them.  When I no longer feel attached to my thoughts, my mind becomes clear.  Then, when I read those thoughts on paper, I am able to better rationalize those thoughts with a much clearer mind.

Purge & Burn Journaling To Overcome Pure “O” OCD Episodes 

Truth is, purge & burn journaling helped me effectively end my bad Pure “O” OCD episodes.  See, I couldn’t let go of intrusive thoughts which caused me emotional suffering.  It was so frustratingly difficult, especially, when experts where telling me how easy it “should” be to let go of thoughts.

Have you ever struggled with letting go of thoughts and were instructed to do this:

“Imagine your thoughts as fluffy white clouds and just let them pass over you.  Don’t hang onto your thoughts, because those thoughts are clouds and you can’t hang onto clouds…”

Well, I tell ya, that is WAY easier said than done.  My intrusive thoughts never came in the form of white and fluffy clouds.  They were dark, ominous, rain clouds that stood overhead pouring buckets of intrusive thoughts on top of me.  Yeah, it was a lingering thunder storm in my head.

Fortunately, someone agreed with me that someone with Pure “O” OCD cannot just simply “let go” of thoughts.  Sometimes the OCD brain must be tricked into letting go of its intrusive thoughts.  It was then when I learned about a different technique where I was instructed to “voice record” my OCD experiences (no details spared) during an episode and then play it back, over and over and over again.  After awhile, your mind begins to rationalize what it is hearing (rather than what you are thinking) and the strong overwhelming bad emotions begin to ease up.

Well, personally, when I speak, I sound like Minnie Mouse who just sucked helium out of a ballon.  Basically, I don’t like listening to my high-pitch voice on recording (it seems to amplify my high-pitch voice), so I decided to journal my OCD episodes on paper instead, and then reading it over and over and over again (aloud if necessary).  I experienced the same effect; an eventual sense of calmness.  I was able to better rationalize my experience, thoughts, and emotions.  Although it was difficult the first couple of times, this technique eventually became very effective for me.  The first time, in a long time, I felt hope.  Those dark, ominous, rain clouds turn into those white fluffy clouds those experts were telling me about and a gentle breeze pushed them away out of my OCD brain.

Purge & Burn Journaling As Routine Maintenance

Unfortunately, purge & burn journaling, by itself, was not the cure-all in overcoming my Pure “O” OCD.  I overcame my Pure “O” OCD by also working on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Techniques, Stress-management, and practicing Mindfulness and Acceptance (all in which I will talk more about later).  Today, I rarely have any OCD episodes and when I do have one, they fizzle out within minutes without even thinking about it.

I still journal today, purging all my thoughts on paper and then tossing those thoughts into the trash.  I think it’s great for my overall mental health.  Not only does this allow me to better problem solve, but it is a great way to relieve stress.  Also, I think this is my way of effectively keeping my OCD brain in check, by making sure emotions don’t build up into anxiety and trigger an OCD episode.

Feel free to share your thoughts… 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Story About Kindness and Autism

Today, I have a story to share about a man I recently met who is working on overcoming his challenges with Autism and how he help me with a small dilemma.

The Not So Genius of Genius Ideas

This weekend, during a family drive, one of our kids got sick in the family car due to a small case of motion sickness.  Anyways, by the time we got home, it was getting late and I still had to go grocery shopping.  However, unlike, a semi-rational person who would simply just remove the car seat (as it was just the carseat that was dirty) to take the family car to the store, I decided to take our second car, instead…Our vomit-free, super tiny Smart Car.  Yeah, not one of my best ideas.

The Smart Car Packing Challenge

At checkout is when I realized I might have a slight problem fitting all my groceries into a tiny car.  I must have let out a loud sigh, because the cashier took notice.  I then, explained my dilemma.  The cashier paused, looked at all the groceries (a week’s worth), and laughed with me.

In the grand scheme of things, my little dilemma was nothing; in fact, it was just another one of my everyday normal adventures.  I am capable of loading my car with groceries; however, to be honest, it wouldn’t be pretty.  I imagined I would have taken up all space in the Smart Car, using up all the space of it’s tiny so-called trunk, the passenger’s seat, passenger’s floorboard, and my lap, if needed.  I doubt I would be mindful of things that could get smooshed, like eggs, bread, and fruit, because I would be too distracted with the thought of just getting it all into the car.  But, nonetheless, I would be sure that every item would fit!

A Different Way Of Thinking

I think people with Autism are remarkably brilliant!  They seem to process information differently, in which, can be beneficial to solving very unique problems.  In this particular case, fitting a week’s worth of groceries into a tiny Smart Car.

At checkout, a man overheard my dilemma and with much enthusiasm wanted to help me load my groceries into my extremely tiny car.  “I can do it!” he confidently told me.  We chatted while I finished paying for my groceries and I honestly wasn’t expecting him to actually help me.  I mean, it was so kind of him to offer to help, but it wasn’t necessary; yet, when I was ready to leave, he kindly insisted.

This kind man’s name is Alex.  He told me he could help me, because his mind works like the game Tetris.  And he was not kidding!  He cheerfully chatted with me the entire time, while he loaded my car with groceries, not once pausing to think about what he was doing and how he was going to do it.  He quickly managed to fit all my groceries into the small space behind the seats (the so-called trunk area).  Not only did all the groceries fit in that tiny space, but nothing was smooshed.  He was extremely mindful of everything, heavy solid items on the bottom with soft fragile items on top!  Having all the groceries in the back of the Smart Car was quite impressive, especially, since I was certain that some of it was going to have to sit up front with me.

I really appreciated his help!  It was such a kind thing to do!  I also appreciate the way his mind works!  I know Autism is challenging, but I thought it was pretty great how he used one of his Autistic abilities (the way his mind works like Tetris) to help others.

Thank You Alex! 

I thanked Alex for helping me and unexpectedly, he told me, he has a YouTube Channel! That is super cool!

Here is his link to his Channel:  Autism Speaks Alex2018 .  He told me that he talks about his life, living with Autism, and asked me to check it out.  He posted a new video today.  He holds a positive attitude towards his everyday challenges with Autism.  After watching a few of his videos, I think his positive attitude is an inspiration to everyone!

Autism does have its challenges and I find it extremely awesome and inspiring that I met a man who has chosen to tackle those challenges with a positive attitude, a kind heart, and as well as, take full advantage of how his brain works to help others.  I wish him the very best with his You Tube Channel and may he continue to keep a positive outlook while overcoming his challenges with Autism.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Depression: Why People Might Be Ignoring The Truly Depressed

Version 2Believe it or not, but last week I was in a state of depression.

I spent the entire week in my pajama’s.  Dirty, stinky dishes piled the sink and began to take over the counters.  I had 4 bags of trash sitting at the door and the house looked like a “hoarder” in training (okay, probably not as bad as a hoarder).  Regardless, I was totally in a funk.

Saturday, I bounced out of my so-called funk.  I took a shower, dressed up (even put on shoes), took a small stroll outside for a cup of coffee, enjoyed my cup of coffee overlooking the scenic hills from our patio, and without effort, cleaned my house.  The old, happy, overly positive, smart ass me had returned.

I must have been in a funk, because my husband surprised me by taking the trash out and I didn’t have to ask or tell him to do it.  That is a huge act of kindness, because my husband hasn’t taken out the trash in about 2 1/2 years!

Pesky Seasonal Affective Disorder

Every Winter, I encounter short periods of depression.  It is supposedly referred to as “Seasonal Affective Disorder.”  It is something my father and I both experience every year, like clockwork.  We call it our “hibernation” period, because that is what it feels like to us.  The first short day of Winter, we become hermits and spend most of the winter snuggled up in warm winter blankets, relaxing on the couch, watching movies and eating junk food.  Then, as soon as Spring hits the air, we are rarely found indoors and we tend to shed our junk food weight without effort.  Unfortunately, we might experience a couple days of depression during our so-called hibernation period, in which, is most often triggered by dark, cold, rainy days and last week, was certainly dark, cold, and rainy.

Lack of Positive Support

Saturday, I gave Depression a lot of thought; especially, about people who have chronic depression.  Not everyone who experiences depression is fortunate enough to have the ability to easily get out of their state of depression.  Furthermore, I realized just how significant negative surroundings can impact your ability to get out of any state of depression.

Last week, in my small state of depression, I noticed that when I tried to reach out for help, nobody cared.  My closest friends and family either didn’t have time to talk, thought my depression was “ridiculous,” viewed depression as a gateway to drama, or just didn’t know how to handle it and simply ignored it.  Personally, those kind of responses seemed hurtful, but honestly, I think are quite common.

In most cases, I think people just don’t want to be swindled into a possible “pity party.” Depression can be used as an effective way to gain attention for those seeking attention.  It can also be used to manipulate people and take advantage of their kindness.  Furthermore, depression can also be used as a convincing excuse for laziness.  I think this is maybe why some cases of true depression are overlooked or ignored by others.

Then, there is also the inconceivable notion that happy people cannot simply experience depression.  Welcome to my world!  When I ask my friends and family why they don’t take me seriously when I express my depressed feelings, this is their response, “But you are always so optimistic, happy, and always smiling; how could you be depressed?”  Well, shall I start with the mechanics of the human brain, because after all, I am human.

Not everyone is going to be forthcoming about their depression and reach out for help.  I think a lot of people keep it to themselves in fear of these types of negative responses.  If you think about it, if one with true depression does reach out for help and is bombarded with negative responses, how does that give one hope that they will overcome their depression?  It doesn’t, it makes them believe that nobody cares and encourages the feeling that they don’t seem to matter very much at all.  And, I think that is how depression worsens over time for some people.

The Power Of A Good Hug

I am not an expert on depression and I know everyone experiences depression differently, but if I were to offer some advice on how to make a depressed person feel like they matter, when all the words in the world become meaningless, I would say give them a hug.  It’s a good start at least.  Even if they don’t want a hug, cross those boundaries and give them a hug, well, just be sure to do it in a non-creepy, supportive way.  I know there are times when I don’t want a hug, but I could probably use one and despite saying “no,” I probably wouldn’t stop a friend from giving me a good hug.  It is amazing how a simple hug can make a person feel like they matter when all the words in the world just don’t seem convincing enough.

Dealing With Those Faking Depression

Personally, I treat everyone expressing depression with kindness, compassion, and understanding, including those who are just seeking attention.  The truth is, I don’t know what everyone expressing depression is going through and those who fake depression for attention, are doing it because they are obviously going through something too and need just as much help.

Everyone needs positive support, but it only becomes useful, if you offer the right positive support.  In situations, in which I am bamboozled into feeling sorry for a person faking depression, I don’t start to ignore them; instead, I begin to provide the type of support they need rather than what they want, in effort to help push them in a different positive direction and protect me from unnecessary drama.  However, this is totally not ideal for toxic people.  When toxic people hit the radar, the best thing to do is to ignore them.

My point is, treat everyone with kindness, compassion, and understanding, so that you don’t miss anyone who is actually in need of help for severe depression; keeping in mind that even those faking depression, might need your help too.

Thoughts?  How often do you think depression goes unnoticed and what would you do to comfort a person with depression? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zen for the Awkward Pupil

How do I become one with the Universe?” I once asked myself, during a time when I felt as if my brain was broken, and obviously, just after watching Kung Fu Panda.  Yeah, don’t judge me, everyone loves Jack Black!  But, seriously, so many “mystical Kung-Fuie” questions filled my brain, distracting my (once then) OCD brain from messing with me for awhile.  That was when I decided my OCD brain could use a little Zen; after all, it wouldn’t hurt.

As the awkward, can’t take anything serious, tiny person that I am, achieving Zen was a bit challenging…

When I think of Zen, I think of wedgie tight yoga pants, crystals, candles, a third eye, and achieving Nirvana like a Dragon Ball-Z character, glowing with massive energy, hair turning color, and surrounded by levitating furniture.

Image result for dragon ball z power. up

Apparently, I had high expectations for Zen.

Trial and Error with Zen 

The only way to achieve Zen, is to become Zen.  So, I squeezed into a pair of yoga pants, sat in the middle of my living room floor, closed my eyes, and waited…

Nothing.

Next, I burned some incenses, candles, and bought a few rocks (crystals).

Nothing.

Contacted friends, read a few books, downloaded a few apps, squeezed into some yoga pants (unnecessary by the way), saged my home, lit a candle, turned on some music, sat cross-legged in the middle of my living room, closed my eyes, took in a few deep breaths and waited….

Nirvana!

Well, at least I was close.  I doubt I reached the stage of Enlightenment, but I did eventually find my inner-peace and it was the beginning of a beautiful journey in overcoming my OCD brain.

Avoid The Awkwardness: Art Of Mindfulness 

To be honest, and I wish others would have told me this, you don’t have to try on yoga pants, buy a bunch of rocks, sage your house, burn exotic incenses, or meditate for hours to achieve Zen.  You just need to be yourself and simply practice a little Mindfulness.

What I love about the art of mindfulness is that there is no need for crystals, incenses, or candles, you can do it anywhere, anytime, with your eyes open, standing up, wearing your normal clothes, and nobody will know you are achieving Zen!

You can try it now:

  • Take in a few deep breaths.
  • Then, slowly, one at a time, focus on the following:
    • Breath: Bring your attention to your breath.  Notice your body moving with your breath and the sound your breath makes.
    • Sight: Bring your attention to the room around you, identify shapes and colors.
    • Sound: Bring your attention to sound, what can you hear?
    • Taste: Bring your attention to your mouth, what can you taste? Notice textures of your teeth, gums, roof of your mouth.
    • Touch: Bring your attention to your hands.  Notice the textures of your chair, keyboard, or maybe a pen you are holding.
    • Smell: Bring your attention to your nose.  What can you smell?  How does it make you feel?  Does it trigger any memories?  Good or bad?

Do you feel better?  If not, it’s okay, you didn’t do anything wrong.  It just takes practice and your full attention.

Practicing Mindfulness allows you to clear your mind, step back from chaos, live in the moment, and gain new perspectives.  For me, I use mindfulness to ground myself and RESET my brain when I begin to feel stressed out or overwhelmed.  Of course, I still like pretty rocks, exotic incenses, and practice a little yoga.

How do you achieve Zen?