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28 Sep

6 Tips on Creating a Happy Long-term Mindful Relationship

By Lindsay Leimbach www.CenteredMoment.com

Here are 6 basic tips on creating a happy long-term mindful relationship:

  1. Explore and maintain shared beliefs. Common belief systems are humankind’s chief bonding tools. Relationships survive where there are basic awareness and agreements as to ultimate values and matters of belief.
  2. Know you are the maker and the keeper of the rules. You define and are responsible for the rules of your work and home. You can try the rules that society imposes, but if they don’t fit then change the rules not your authentic selves.
  3. Be honest and genuine about what you need of each other. Never second-guess what the other person wants; you are not a mind reader. Awareness of your own needs is the first step. Awareness that your partner may have different needs in a non-judging way is the second.
  4. Develop mindful relationship rituals. Mindful rituals are things you do by mutual agreement and with awareness. These are different from habits, which you may not even consciously know you’re doing and can be divisive. Mindful rituals renew your sense of being a tribe and your commitment to each other. They strengthen the feeling that you support each other; that you are in it together.
  5. Work out mutually agreed roles. Often relationships fail because roles are not agreed or given respect. Awareness and gratitude of each other’s role will negate feelings of being dismissed, taken for granted, or under appreciated. Awareness and gratitude will foster happiness and growth. “Thank you” goes a long way to building a loving relationship.
  6. Maintain a nexus of friends outside of the core relationship. One of the common traps into which couples fall into is not having the time, inclination or mutual trust to go out and make external friendships. Friends are a way we develop support, fresh ideas and company. The feeling of being part of a community builds internal strength and reduces stress.
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09 Jul

Mindfully Working with an Angry Brain

Mindfully Working with an Angry Brain

By Lindsay Leimbach

Do I have an angry brain? At times I sure do, I have a brain
that will blow up like a volcano. I do not have an angry brain all the time,
just some of the time. It can happen when my teenage boys forget to do the
chores, even when I have left a reminder note on the kitchen table. Or when my cell
phone bill is twice as high as usual and no one can explain how it
You know the irritating life
stuff that we all face.

Anger is a normal response of the brain when a situation
appears threatening. It is a primary emotion that is well established at birth.
Yes, it is actually a good thing. It is our internal radar that screams “life
threatening situation! Be prepared to fight, defend, and conquer”. It serves
all animals well in protecting their lives, families, and territory. However,
the issue is that this emotion can be triggered over chores not being completed
or a phone bill. I do not need the flight/ fight response to be activated to conquer
my teenage children or the cell phone service representative.

Actually I have found that I make things worse when trying
to solve an issue with an angry brain. I evaluate incoming information
incorrectly, I cannot truly understand another’s point of view, I over react,
and often say something off topic that just escalates the anger. I also have found
that my angry brain is contagious. It seems that when I let it leak out, others
catch it and it multiplies. Then I don’t just have one angry brain but an epidemic
of angry brains on my hands. The epidemic creates misery for everyone.
I have chosen to make sure that the epidemic of
angry brains will not start with me. I know anger is a normal emotion that I
will continue to have. I am okay with this. Through Mindful Living I have learned
how to work with my angry brain instead of fighting it. I am able to listen to
the warning signs that my brain is telling me, and still not feel like a need
to fight and conquer my family or the service representative.

Mindful Living has made me aware that stuff happens, good
stuff and bad stuff. Things are always happening. It is what life’s about. Things
change every moment. I have realized that if I want to be a positive influence
on my own life, I need to start living my life in the present moment. To notice
what is happening in my own thinking, moment by moment. I used to be frantic in
my thinking. I was completely caught up in worry of past or anxiety of the
future. I was not even aware that I was becoming angry until my volcano blew.
Those around me were often as shocked as I was to the amount of anger that possessed
me. I have learned through Mindful Awareness of my feelings and thoughts what causes
and promotes my anger: mostly when I am over tired, stressed, frustrated or overwhelmed.
I have learned there are other common causes that promote anger: physical or
emotional trauma, chemical or biological issues with the brain, alcohol and
drug abuse, and learned behaviors through families and cultures.

I now realize that I have some well-established habits that
I slide right into when I get angry. I am trained to a response just like
Pavlov’s dog that starts to salivate when he hears the dinner bell. For example,
when I feel my family is taking me for granted, then the angry bell rings. I am
not salivating, I am fuming. This negative reaction does nothing to make the
situation better, and I never feel better. My fuming actually makes things worse.
I found that “what you think about you bring about”. As I feel angry and taken
for granted, I am connecting neurons in my mind by thinking to myself “I am angry”,
“no one cares”, “I am forgotten”. The pathways become deeper in my thinking and
are reinforced by strong emotion. Then my brain looks for outside events that support
these negative pathways.
I find myself
on the “poor me” angry loop that I cannot jump off. The good news is that I
have learned the brain has neuroplasticity. In short, the brain is always
changing: neural networks are building and reinforced with what you think about
and other neural networks are falling apart when they are not being used. I now
realize I can be the master builder of my own brain!

Mindfulness has taught me that I can jump off the loop of
past angry behaviors and responses anytime I choose through awareness in the
present moment. It sounds easy. It is easy to say, but it takes practice,
practice, practice to execute. Mindful Living is not one skill. Rather, it is a
way of being. It requires numerous skills and techniques to live mindfully.
These aids help you stay in the present moment without judgment.
Two Mindful Living tools that have worked for
me when dealing with my angry brain are:

  1. Event Happens + Being Aware of Thinking
    +Skillful Response = Positive Outcome

Events happen, I am not surprised. Some of these events
bring forth the emotion of anger. That is okay. I am listening to myself; I can
sit with my anger. I know that feeling the anger won’t hurt me and in time I
always calm down. I know that when I calm down, I can clearly judge how angry I
am. I often rate my anger on a scale 1 to 10. This gives my brain some objectivity
about how intensely I should react to the event. Now that I am calmer, I am
ready to make a skillful response. My response is what I want the world to know
and hear. I might be doing a skillfully planned battle cry as a response or
maybe I need to skillfully
just let it
go and know stuff happens. Whatever I choose, I recognize that I am reinforcing
my outlook on the situation in my mind and in the minds of others. I will
mindfully implement a skillful plan of
action to achieve a positive outcome.
I am ending any angry brain epidemics
that could have started from me.

  1. Breathing 4x4x4:

When I am aware that anger is arising, I breathe in for the
count of 4, breathe out for the count of 4, and do this for 4 times. Breathing
should not be a big surprise. We instinctually tell others that are upset
“catch your breath, breath, breath, breath”. Breathing at a slower rate calms
the body and the brain down. The brain is able to shift out of a flight/flight
response and have greater impulse control and planning ability. Being aware of
what you’re thinking and feeling cannot happen if you feel your head is going
to explode. Breathing slower and more deliberately will decrease your blood
pressure and clear your tunnel vision.
With a calmer state of mind you can achieve, “Event Happens + Being Aware of Thinking + Skillful Response = Positive

For other guided
meditations that can help reduce anger and blogs about Mindful Living please
visit my website CenteredMoment.com.

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22 May

Creating Personal Power with Mindful Eating

Creating Personal Power with Mindful

By Lindsay Leimbach

Mindful Eating fosters personal power and happiness in your life
and is a large part of Mindful Living. Mindful Living is having awareness of the present moment during your day to
day activities. Mindful Eating is
having awareness concerning food and eating, with a focus on enjoying each bite.
Personal power arises through the awareness of the relationship you have with eating
behaviors and food choices.  In today’s
hustle and bustle, we are often inclined to eat on the run while multi-tasking.
TV dinners, fast food chains, power bars, and super-sizing are reinforced in
our media and society.  We frequently eat
in a hypnotic state; we don’t remember what we ate or how much we ate. Mindful
Eating is a skill that can awaken us to the pleasure of eating and the joy of
the present moment. Eating mindfully can improve eating behaviors, enable
weight control, prevent chronic disease, and foster a healthy relationship
between food and ourselves.

Mindful Living is never denying yourself, telling yourself
you can’t, or restricting your thinking. It is an awareness of your external
and internal motivations, without judgement.  Likewise, Mindful Eating is having awareness
of your external and internal motivations without judgment in relation to food.
Awareness leads to insight, knowledge, and positive choices – and making those
choices is the exercise of personal power over food.  

When we place restrictions and judgments on ourselves and our
food by saying “I can’t eat …” we are reinforcing negative thinking and
giving food all the power. What the mind thinks about, in a positive or negative
way, the mind will be attracted to. Example, if you tell yourself “I cannot eat
any bread”, as soon as you walk up to the table, you will focus on all the
bread items you cannot eat. You have convinced yourself that a certain item is
“dangerous”, and, therefore, the brain will point out that item every time you
come across it. This is how the brain is wired to keep us safe.

Instead of thinking of food items as “dangerous”, realize
you can eat any food you want (provided you are not allergic). You’re simply
choosing to limit the intake of food items that do not promote your well-being –
you are exercising choices, rather than restrictions. Mindful Eating is shifting
your focus from restrictions, dieting, and weight to personal power that
promotes your well-being. It is a shift of thinking from “I can’t” to “I feel
better when I eat…” or “this food works better for me so I choose…”

To make the shift from controlling your thoughts from a
“warning Will Robison “Danger, Danger”” about food to “I got this under control
and feel great about it” is mindful awareness. The crucial step is knowledge.
How does your body react to different foods? Do some cause weight gain? Do
others cause bloating or tiredness? Knowing your personal relationship with
foods adds to the knowledge that allows you to make positive informed choice
without emotion. If you knew a friend treated you well, you would invite him or
her into your home. If you knew someone was assaultive and rude you would not
invite that person. The more knowledge you have about how your body reacts to
food, the more inclined you will be to choose foods that promote health and well-being.
You will have more personal power to walk away from foods that are assaultive
or harmful. Awareness opens the door to knowledge, and knowledge leads you to
make a better factual decision. On the occasions that you want to have a food
that might not treat your body so well, then do so. But make an informed choice
to use moderation, which will also help eliminate those guilty feelings you
might normally associate with eating those foods. Realize that the consequences
are just the consequences, not a result of failure but a choice.

How does one eat mindfully? Be awake and aware while eating.
Choose when you will eat. Choose where you will eat. Choose what you will eat.
Choose how much you will eat. You have the personal power over food; food does
not have the power over you.

Here are 6 steps to Mindful Eating:

Evaluate your
– Are you really hungry? Are you eating as a social response? Is it
a habitual time and place to eat? Be aware why you have chosen to eat. Rate how
hungry are you from 1 to 10.

Asses your food
Stop, pause, and really appreciate your food. How does it look? How does it
smell? How much have your served yourself? Have you served the food in a
mindful way (e.g. placing a portion in a bowl or on a plate, instead of eating
from the box or bag)?

Taste your food
– Really taste it. Eat slowly and savor the food and textures in every bite. Do
not rush. If you are going to eat, choose to relish your food.

Investigate your
– check in with yourself while eating. Are you still hungry? Is it
time to stop because you are full, or because times up, the waiter took your
plate, or the food is finished? Make a conscious decision about when you are
finished. Remember you will feel fuller faster if you eat slowly.

Notice how you feel
– Be aware of how you feel physically and emotionally while eating. Are you calm
and relaxed or are you rushing, lost in thought, or lost in the TV? You will
eat more when you are eating on automatic pilot and you will not even remember
how the food tasted. Eating in a trance like state is an invitation to over
eat. Remember to check in with yourself 30 or 60 minutes after eating. Has your
meal given you energy or do you need a nap?

Have gratitude for the opportunity to eat. Be grateful to all the people,
plants, and animals that played a part in providing you with food. Seeing the
bigger picture will connect you to others and help you establish a positive sense
of well-being. Sharing your gratitude with others establishes a positive connection
in relationships. It also positively reinforces Mindful Eating in others.

For more information about Lindsay please visit www.CenteredMoment.com .

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02 Apr

5 Important Points to Letting Go

“Letting Go” of negatively charged emotions is liberating to your body, mind, and spirit. Here are 5 important points that will help you “Let Go” with greater ease:

1. You are normal – You are normal if you need to “Let Go”. Everyone experiences negatively charged emotions attached to a past situation. This is completely normal. It is actually how you mind is protecting you from future poor decisions. The problem is that the mind does not know when enough is an enough and often holds on to the negatively charged emotions too long. This is when everyone has to practice the skill of “Letting Go”. “Letting Go” helps your mind to be calmer, happier, and have better clarity to make healthy choices.

2. “Letting Go” does not mean forgetting – Trying to forget something that has emotional charges such as anger, frustration, sadness, regret, guilt, and/or frustration is almost impossible. You can try to forget but this is called denial. The emotions will always be under the surface ready to rear their heads as soon as something triggers them once again. “Letting Go” is about no longer having the negatively charged emotions attached to the memory of the situation that produced them.

3. A Lesson has been learned – Having the ability to “Let Go” first means that you accept that a lesson has been learned that will have a positive influence on your life. The lesson can be as simple as “I won’t do that again”, “I will react differently next time”, or “I cannot hold on to things I cannot change”. Being able to formulate a positive lesson helps your mind “Let Go” of the negatively charged emotions which to it is clinging. This is a huge big step because it means that you are taking responsibility and control for your thinking.

4. Your mind will test you – Understanding that once you have decided to “Let Go”, you will not be surprised that the negatively charged emotions may again appear in your mind. Your mind will test you – it will ask you “Are you sure that you have “Let Go” of this anger, frustration, and/or disappointment?” This is where the true power of “Letting Go” materializes. Declare to yourself “I have Let Go, I have learned my lesson, I have moved on!” Then redirect your thinking away from the negative to a positive productive thought. The good news is the mind, in time, will stop testing you and you will actually have “Let Go” of the negatively charged emotions, while learning a valuable life lesson.

5. Visualize “Letting Go”

a. Close your eyes and take three deep breathes, relax.

b. Envision you are at a beautiful park. There is a picnic table in front of you. On this bench is a sign with a word that represent the situation that has caused the negatively charge emotions. There is also an open suitcase on the picnic table.

c. Now feel the emotions that are caused by being confronted by the sign. Allow yourself to feel the discomfort. Are you feeling anger, sadness, despair, revenge, or hatred? Allow all the feelings to rise to the surface. Take a deep breath and envision yourself naming each feeling while placing that energy into to the suitcase. Place the anger in the suitcase, Place the hatred into the suitcase. If the feeling does not want to go into the suitcase, take a deep breath and try to place it in the suitcase again. You have control. Now check your body. If you have tension in your jaw, shoulders, hands, or anywhere else, place these physical feelings into the suitcase as well.

d. Close the suitcase. There is a lock on top. Lock the suitcase. There is also a handle on top. Place the handle facing up to the sky. Take a deep cleansing breath and step away from the picnic table, the suitcase, and the sign.

e. High above you, you see a beautiful hawk. This hawk sweeps down and with ease lift the suitcase and begins to fly off with it. You watch it disappear into the distance. You now look at the sign and you say the lesson learned without the negatively charged emotion attached.

f. Feeling light, free, and at peace, you turn away and say “I have “Let Go” and now I am moving on for the better.” Envision yourself walking away for ten steps while taking ten deep breaths and then open your eyes.

g. Remember your mind will test you, but you are ready to pass the test.
You have the control.

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