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Being Mindful

June 22, 2016
Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer ( , Estherville News

Mindfulness meditation. The words might make you think of a guru from one of the more contemplative religions leading ohms and aahs to a group of followers dressed in draping fabric. Meditation is not tied to any religion, though it can be part of your chosen religious practice or prayer life.

It's not a lot of mumbo jumbo. It's beginning to be scientifically proven to repair the brain's pathways, particularly in the amygdala and hippocampus, where some of the widespread disorders of depression and other mood disorders, ADHD?and related issues, and PTSD and other trauma-based brain issues originate.

I'm a junky with a goal of 40-60 minutes a day (usually I get 15-20)?but there are five-and-ten minute mindfulness practice meditations for beginners or those who aren't pursuing a major rewiring at this point. Last year I had the Headspace app, which costs $100 per year. I?went through many of the packets of guided meditations (you can choose 10-20 minutes for each), narrated by the alluring and soothing British-accented voice of Andy, with occasional video diaries from him to improve your daily practice. Having reached the end of my year's subscription, and not seeing much new material of interest, I instead delved more intently into the free things available.

If you like adding apps to your phone or device, I found Calm, Guided Mind, and Meditation (available on Google Play or iTunes).

You can also download to your device podcasts from UCLA's Mindfulness podcast at the?Hammer (museum), which is approximately 30 minutes weekly. ( You can listen online or download from iTunes. This is my go-to free source of mindfulness, and they have topics from dealing with difficult emotions to courage, to tapping your inner wisdom, to more basic narrations.

My next favorite is an Irish mindfulness master named Padraig. He has several brief meditations as well as one called The Mountain, which I listen to any time I need a little more fortitude for what I'm about to face.

You don't need someone else's voice necessarily to practice daily mindfulness. If you have ten minutes, you can sit or stand or lounge (but don't go into a lying-down position as you might fall asleep)close your eyes, or leave them partly open and find a focal point. Breathe in and out. They don't have to be deep breaths or any particular way of breathing. Notice the pauses between the in and out breaths. Keep going for five minutes first, then ten, then more if you want to. If thoughts enter your head, that's normal. Don't worry about them, just notice them and let them pass. Like weather.

Studies show that periods of silence are great for our concentration, emotions, health and welfare. I?wonder if we need to create quiet or silent moments intentionally, because our world now contains constant (mostly electronic) noise.



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