Integrative Health Blog

Holiday Mindfulness and Centering...Don't Forget to Breathe

Posted by on Tue, Dec 23, 2014

Carol Richardson M.Div., M.P.H.

During the holidays, we often feel pulled between our desire to be there for and with others, and our desire to rest and renew ourselves. 

Here are some practices which can help you do both:

1.  Gratitude. 
Practicing gratitude during the holidays is more important than ever, because of the stress of trying to get everything done for everybody.  If we stop and think about it, though, what we are actually trying to express through our actions is love and appreciation for the people in our lives.  

So, why not take time before we begin our day to think of all the people who will be part of our day and our holidays, by spending a moment feeling grateful for them, even if what they bring us are challenges that help us to grow.  By taking a few moments to acknowledge several things for which we are grateful, and for why we appreciate the people in our lives, we can shift our own energy to a positive state of being, and we can take that positivity into our day and share it.

2.  Breathing. 
Before we get ourselves busy in the morning, it is good to breathe deeply, allowing ourselves fully to oxygenate ourselves, clear our sinuses, and feel energized for our day.  Throughout the day, when we feel tense or tired, deep breathing, especially coupled with gratitude, can release tension, increase our positive energy, and relax us.

3.  Mindfulness. 
While deep breathing, it helps if we notice where the tension may be found in our bodies, and allow it to release.  We may take time to notice what our bodies need, and honor our bodies.  We may notice our own attitudes, and realize that we can choose a new, more positive attitude if we need to.  We may notice our feelings, and what we would like to receive for ourselves.  We may notice what others actually need from us, and realize that our highest consciousness truly does seek to be there for others, even if we don't feel like it in this moment.

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Tags: mindfulness, stress

What is Mindfulness?

Posted by on Mon, Sep 17, 2012

Chas Gant MD, PhD

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Tags: mindfulness, stress

Mindful Eating

Posted by on Tue, Mar 15, 2011

C. E. Gant MD, PhD

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Tags: mindfulness

3 Ways to Practice Mindfulness Every Day

Posted by on Mon, Jan 17, 2011

By Chas Gant MD, PhD

Mindfulness is a separate faculty of consciousness totally distinct from cognition (thinking), emotion (feelings), intuition or sensory awareness (the 5 senses). Mindfulness is not about Mystical Religions, awareness or meditation, although many religious and spiritual paths make use of mindfulness techniques.  Many therapies and psychotherapies are becoming “mindfulness-based” as it is discovered that all healing methodologies get better results if mindfulness is adjunctively applied.  Mindfulness techniques are primarily taught to improve emotional stability, to manage stress, to expand ones intelligence, to become more productive and to lead a more joyful and meaningful life.

Scientific studies have proven that mindfulness involves about 1/5th of the brain, the frontal lobes, as well as other associated structures.  Like other skills, such as intellectual, musical or athletic, which are associated with the development of other brain regions, mindfulness can be practiced and improved over time.  Educational psychologists are studying mindfulness and devising methods to teach children how to practice and develop this skill. Mindfulness training is being introduced into school curricula around the USA. Future generations will someday be trained to use their whole brain and not just 80% of it.

Mindfulness can be applied to all areas of your life.  Listed below are three important life experiences which invite us to be more present and which, if regularly practiced, are guaranteed to get positive results.

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Tags: mindfulness, mental health, addiction, integrative health, mind-body, integrated health