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Monday, October 17, 2016

Letter from Ms. Jenn: My Journey to Being Mindful

At the beginning of this year I decided to try to live a more mindful life, to try to focus on each moment and look for the good in each situation.  Sometimes in our busy lives we forget to take time to just be in the moment.  So many things busy up our lives now.  Between work, family, daily obligations, social media, the news, traffic, and all the other things that consume our time it is hard to focus on just one moment without thinking about the next.  These things also sometimes make it hard to see the positive things in our lives. Work can be stressful, family demanding, too many daily obligations, seeing negative things on social media and the news, and so many accidents on the roads.  With all of these things going on I wanted to try to see what I could do to help myself lead a more mindful, happy life.  It has been a process trying to train my brain to be mindful.  I know a lot of you are feeling the same pressures of life that I have been feeling so I thought I would share with you a few things that I found helped me on this journey.

The first thing I had to do was make a decision to take some time for myself and know that I wanted to enjoy the moment I was in.  This was super important for me because I was having a hard time separating parts of my life.  When I was teaching in the classroom I wanted to only be doing that and not thinking about all the other stuff I had to take care of as the director.  When I got home I wanted to focus on my family and not think about what I had to do at work the following day.  This took a lot of practice. It still takes work but it is worth it.

One way I practice this is through meditation.  I found this app called “Calm” and it taught me how to meditate and it has a lot of guided meditations that teach you how to be more mindful.  If this is something you think you could get into I would really recommend it!

Another thing I do is say “no” more.  I still say yes a lot but sometimes I know that I need to say no.  This was really hard.  Really, really, hard.  But it was an important step.  You have to have time for you to do what you want to do and just feel like you can be in that moment. 

Being mindful doesn’t mean to meditate, it just means to be in the moment, to give your full attention to what you are doing.  Whether this is playing with your children, exercising, or cleaning the house, you can be mindful.  When I run I used to think about work and ways to solve problems. Now when I run I try to focus on my run.  How I feel, what I smell, what I see, what I hear, and I focus on my breathing.  This is still hard to do too, but when I do I fully enjoy this time more than when I was thinking about work the whole time.  Being mindful has the same effect when I am doing other activities too like playing a game with the children or writing this blog.

I found a series of books that I could really relate to too.  They are the “f**k it” books by John C Parkin.  I really liked the “F**k it, do what you love” book.   These books won’t be for everyone but I really liked how the books talked about letting go of things.  I read this book really slow and took notes as I did.

One of the last things that helped me with this is putting away my phone.  I was way too connected to my phone and becoming more disconnected from my life.  I found I was so focused on the news and social media that I wasn’t focusing on the life that was right in front of me.  So I have made a conscious effort to put my phone away while I am in the classroom and only check it periodically while I am at work and to get off news apps and social media so I can focus on home when I am home.

All these things were hard to start and still can be challenging at times but the reward of being more mindful and just feeling happier is definitely worth it.  Just thought I would share this with you all in case anyone else is interested in starting to live a more mindful and happy life.

“Worrying doesn’t take away tomorrow’s troubles, it takes away today’s peace”

- Ms. Jenn

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