SMART GIRLFRIENDS GUIDE™ to Mindfulness (Part 2 or 2)

Even words have power. If you constantly speak negatively then you are thinking negatively and it grows the negative side of the brain. Just as if you speak positively you are thinking positively and grow the positive side of the brain. How do you want to train and grow your brain?  What do you want to focus on- developing a positive happy life or a negative unhappy life? What you think about is what you talk about and ultimately what you will do. “Think It, Say It, Do It” 
Science has proven that the brain is like a muscle that you can change and grow by mental exercises. Just like we train other muscles in our body we can train our brain.
Divorce is a transition that is one of the most difficult events in life that includes stress, physical pain, depression, anxiety, sleeplessness. When I speak to women going through a divorce I tell them in the very beginning that they have a choice.   Do you want to have a full life or a life of less?   Be mindful not mindless and you will find your #happy4everafter.

Here is the Smart Girlfriends Guide to Mindfulness:
1)  There are many simple ways you can be mindful throughout the day for just a few minutes at a time. Start with a few short, routine and autopilot activities, like brushing your teeth, showering and getting dressed into present moments. Feel how the mint of the toothpaste taste, the warmth of the water and the feel of the clothes touching your skin. Mindfulness does not need to be complicated.

2)  Meditation is a great next step.   It’s simple, it’ free and you can do it anywhere.  First pick a chair or a futon to sit in comfortably and with your back upright.    Second set a timer for 5 minutes. ( most phones have a timer) Then close your eyes and focus all your attention on the feeing of the breath flowing in and out.  Slow and steady.  Third step  if your mind starts to wander, which it will,  do not worry just gently guide your focus back to your breath. Be kind to yourself and know that mindfulness is not about perfection but being present. When the timer goes off you can continue or slowly open your eyes.
The key to any exercise is to just do it.  The more you exercise you build your muscles. The same goes for your brain. You can increase your time in the mental gym and try new exercises that work for you.
3)  YouTube and the app store have so many options for you to take mediation to the next level.  Find what works for you by trying different types of meditations. Guided ones  are popular when you first start.  Find the music or visuals that you like.  I always enjoy Oprah and Deepak Chopra’s meditation series that also includes a mantra for the meditation

4)  Other mindful exercises include taking a walk with no purpose but to experience the sights sounds just follow where your mind takes you. It can be anywhere a park or a mall.  Painting and other artistic projects can be an exercise in mindfulness.  Just follow the colors or textures  that appeal to you.  The only goal is to notice your feelings and how your body reacts.  Practice just  acknowledging without reacting but experiencing.

5)  A red stoplight can cause one of those mindless reactions of frustration. Next time you’re stopped at a red light instead of being annoyed try a mindful exercise, a ‘breath break’. Breathe slowly and deeply while the light is red. While you take the breath break put your thoughts on hold and quickly check into your body, your stress level, emotions. When it turns green you can keep mindfully breathing deep and slow or resume normal breathing.  You are now changing your brain to see red lights, or life’s challenges, not as frustration but an opportunity to take a breath break, center and ground yourself.
6)  Cell phones were first a modern convenience but now they can become more of a distraction and for some even an obsession. Next time your phone rings or text vibrates resist the urge to answer immediately and mindlessly answer. Think about the person contacting  you and your relationship with them.  If there are any issues prepare yourself for the conversation.  You can choose to fully complete your task at hand and call back lately  or choose to prepare yourself mindfully for the communication.  Don’t let the phone rule you let your mindfulness take precedence.
7 )  Mindful communication is powerful.  All to often we have rote conversations with family and friends.  “How have you been?”  “How was your day?” are just monikers of social grace.  Mindful communication is being totally present with whom you’re  speaking with in the moment. Look in their eyes, listen not only to the words but the tone and speed of the delivery. Pay attention to your own participation, what is your tone, are you engaged, do you respond to their verbal and non verbal cues.  People can tell when you are present and participating, at home, work or school.  Even babies can tell if your present.  Here is a great demonstration on the basic level of mindful communication.
8)  There are countless other activities that cause frustration and you can use for excercies, especially the ones where you have to wait. Turn those frustrating moments into breath breaks.  I was standing in line at the DMV.  Just thinking about going to the DMV can start to cause stress.  I was waiting in the umpteenth line and I could feel the annoyance growing and my patience waning. I tried to take a breath break. It helped for about ten minutes but then I could feel my body tensing  and my frustration growing again. I needed to turn my mind onto something else.  I started looking at all the people in the building. Their faces and body language, their mood and pondering their personal stories all without judging but with curiosity.  My mind wandered around the room and noticed all sorts of small details that told me more about the people standing in the lines and sharing the space.  I could come up with all kinds of stories about different people By the time I got to end of the line I was calm and in a better mood.   Sometimes the breath break is not enough and you have to use other tools and exercises that work for you and the circumstances.

The more you practice the more it benefits you and the more creative you can become.
Try the Masaru Emoto's Rice experiment.   I also call it the Think It Say It Do It experiment because it drives home the power of positive and negative thoughts and words and the results they produce This is a great experiment I did with my children and it is was as powerful for me at it was for them. For the experiment we cooked a box of rice, evenly split the cooked rice and put the two halves into two exactly alike jars next to each other.  On one jar we labeled  LOVE and the other jar HATE. Then every day for 30 days the children and I spoke words and phrases of love to the LOVE jar and words and phrases of hate to the HATE jar.  We could see changes in the rice witing the first 10 days. By the end of the 30 days you could clearly see the difference. The LOVE jar of rice was white and fluffy.  The HATE jar was brown and mushy.  We were all amazed.  Even my 12 year old son said it really made him think about his words.   This is a great experiment to with your children, your partner and yourself to remind you what your feed your mind and the words you speak and affect on you.  h
“What makes the new science of mindfulness so meaningful is that it’s not just about what happens in the lab; it’s about you and me; it’s about anxiety and resilience about well-being, and happiness; and it’s about learning specific things that one can do to actually make life better.

Star Young is an entrepreneur and Fortune 500 award winning executive.  Ms.Young is a certified excellence coach and a trained facilitator of Edward Deming Continuous Improvement.  In addition, she has been a talent for CBS syndicated programming, as well as a co- founder of the Beauty Spot and author of Smart Girlfriends Guide series