Self Care

When we are stressed out, it is a natural and usual response to try and figure out what we can do to manage the stress effectively and to not spend bucket full of money either. I am all about saving money for a rainy day. People usually go online or use their smartphones as we want immediate relief! Throughout graduate school I heard the term ‘self-care’ and did not really understand the meaning or value of this term till I was burned out!

Since I am all about saving money, I have come up with different techniques to help myself ground, center and be less stressed. Granted, these techniques work on some days and then some days I just lose focus. After all, I am a human being and not perfect in any way. One of the main techniques I use is called being mindful. Mindfulness is an Eastern practice used by Buddhist monks to keep them grounded in the present moment. There are many books written on this topic and not until recently has it really become a center of discussion and debate.

Mindfulness is often compared to meditation when both are different in some ways. The line between them is very thin and people often become confused. Meditation is usually about visualizing along with breathing, which often times leads to calmness. According to Wikipedia, “The term meditation refers to a broad variety of practices (much like the term sports) that includes techniques designed to promote relaxation, build internal energy or life force and develop compassion, love, patience, generosity and forgiveness.”(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meditation). According to one definition, (http://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/mindfulness)”Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.”

Mindfulness is similar to meditation but it is not meditation. Mindfulness helps me (personally) to check in with my own feelings and the way I am processing stress in that very moment. It also helps me to not judge myself or the way I am feeling. This is perfectly described by Thich Nhat Hanh, “Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”― Thích Nhất HạnhStepping into Freedom: Rules of Monastic Practice for Novices

This is exactly what I experience!

So the next time you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, practice being mindful in the moment and see what that enables you to see and feel. You might be pleasantly surprised.

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