The problem of our minds

There’s a thing about « A problem », it only exists when we think about it and it will take as much space as we choose to give it.

Right now, right here if we take a deep breath and let go of our thoughts about the problem then for a few seconds it’s gone.

Right here right now there’s no problem, there is only peace.

Our mind will name it « problem »while in truth it’s just an uncomfortable situation. In time it will heal itself, always.

And then it’s up to us to choose to focus on another « problem » or not.

K. Wilson

http://www.awakenmeditationretreats.com

Navigating the Holiday Season as a Newly Divorced Parent with Depression: How to Take Care of Your Mental Health and Keep Your Holiday Spirit

Article by Alexis Hall

yoga_rect

Around 4 million divorced parents live in the United States, and around 20 percent (814,000) of them became divorced in the last year. That means that this holiday season will be their first time facing the challenges of negotiating holiday schedules, conflicts over gifts, and other woes of being newly divorced during the holidays. While navigating the holiday season as a newly divorced parent won’t be a cakewalk, you can keep your holiday spirit while also keeping your mental health in check by following some tips.

Try to remember that your kids should never be placed in the middle of the issues you and your ex-spouse have. How you handle the holidays with your ex will greatly affect how much enjoyment your child has during the holidays, and how you handle your ex can be an example to your child on how to handle conflict, stress, and anger. Never ask your child to choose which parent she would rather spend time with. Start communicating with your ex well before the festivities begin to find a fair way to split time. This will cut down on the stress and give you time to prepare for the new adjustment.

If you don’t get to spend the actual day of the holiday with your child, don’t worry. You can have just as much fun on the days near the holiday. Thanksgiving can be celebrated on Tuesday or Saturday, and Christmas can be enjoyed on December 21 or December 30. What matters is that you’re celebrating with your child and spending time together, so focus on that.

Just because you’re apart from your child on the day of the actual holiday doesn’t mean you can’t communicate with her. To lift your spirits, send a nice text message and arrange for a phone call or Skype call. Be careful not to spend too much time on the call; you don’t want to infringe too much on your ex’s time with your child. When talking to your child, keep it upbeat and don’t say anything negative about your ex.

Use your ex’s day with your child to your advantage. Do something that makes you happy and/or relaxed during your child-free time. Call up a friend for coffee, enjoy a day at the spa, or soak in a soothing bath in your own home. Consider a mental health day. Do something that’s not part of your normal routine. For example, if you’re known for binging shows on Netflix, do something different so that you actually recharge. Get outside, see a show, or try something new. To keep stress low throughout the holiday season, be sure to follow a healthy diet and exercise regimen.

Taking a day (or more) for yourself to recharge is especially important during the holidays when you’re more likely to experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression that occurs at the exact same time every year, usually in the winter months. Symptoms of SAD include the normal symptoms of depression (loss of hope and self-worth, fatigue, sleep issues, etc.), but can lead to more serious issues like addiction. Additionally, you may experience cravings for sugary or starchy foods, extreme sleepiness during the day, difficulty waking up, overeating, and avoidance of family and friends.

Children love routines and rituals, so try to keep some family traditions going. You’ll likely enjoy keeping them too. Ask your child what is really important to her. Maybe baking cookies with mom or choosing a tree with dad are rituals that can continue. If some traditions can’t continue or you can’t be apart of some of them (like if she chooses the tree with one of you), create a new tradition for just the two of you. Take her ice skating, go look at Christmas lights, or volunteer at a soup kitchen.

Remember that attitude is everything. If you anticipate that the holidays will be disappointing, they probably will be. Try to stay positive and remember the true meaning of the holidays. Put your child first and focus on making the holidays enjoyable for her, but don’t forget to make time for yourself too. Although the divorce means this holiday season may be very different ones in the past, it doesn’t have to be an end to your holiday spirit or ability to enjoy the holidays.

Stressed Out? Try Some ‘Mindfulness’ Practice

img_7395

Contribution from freelance writer Sally Writes

Stressed Out? Try Some ‘Mindfulness’ Practice

The word mindfulness has become a prominent fixture in western vernacular in the past couple of decades. It is a direct translation of the pali word ‘Sati’ which literally means to ‘keep something in mind’. So then, what exactly does this practice entail? In brief, we should understand that mindfulness is essentially a ‘centering’ practice that aims to make users more aware of how their bodies and minds function.

For example, a common method for being more mindful is through the observation of one’s breath. While this may sound like an easy task, it is much more difficult than you might think. For starters, you can begin with five minutes a day of watching the ‘in and out breath’. This steady awareness helps us tackle difficult emotions more efficiently and allows us to have a better perspective on things, as and when we are faced with them.

Some handy mindfulness techniques..

  • Walking awareness: this technique was widely propagated during the time of the Buddha as it is highly portable and can be done on the go. The method entails the user being aware of his/her footsteps so that the attention is focused on the pressure sensations on our feet.
  • Mindful Eating: this is another potent method that is highly useful to make ourselves more aware. While this might be difficult to practice during work hours, it can definitely be a handy tool when eating at home or when on a mindfulness meditation retreat.
  • Visualisation: this is another method that has been propagated for centuries by various Hindu and Buddhist meditation practitioners. It involves us focusing on a visual image (candle, photo) and centering our awareness on the object for a certain period of time. This technique helps gather our awareness and allows us to feel refreshed in a small period of time.

How does mindfulness help me in real life?

Studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between mindfulness and lowered levels of stress. For example, people with a 15 minute daily practice were on average seen to be 46% less likely to face issues related to stress, anxiety and mental fatigue. These numbers are quite startling as they reveal that a practice this simple can greatly influence the way our mind works.

Where to get started?

There are many useful books on this subject that can help us get started into a regular practice. Other than that, it is also beneficial to check out local teachers who have had prior experience of meditation and mindfulness. Lastly, users can also go online and find a teacher that connects with them.

 

www.awakenmeditationretreats.com