3 Ways to Make Rush Hour Your Favorite Time of Day

Rush hour is not anyone's favorite time of day, right? It is full of traffic, irritation, and maybe a few hundred pushing people if you are in NYC. How could this possibly get one degree less annoying? 

I'm going to share my insider secrets to help you begin your day a little better.

As therapists we are trained with multiple techniques. The clinical terms are coping, reframing and thought stopping. I'm here to give you the real-life application of those things. 

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Slow the F*ck Down!

This is not click bait. This is a plea from me to you to truly take some time to slow it down. Take the time to read this as though your life depends on it. Let's be clear about what I mean. What I write here might not change your life, but slowing down certainly will!

I want you to consider what it would be like if you slowed down your mind to be able to think clearly, process your thoughts and plans fully, and organize your emotions and energy so you can feel like a human again. It would be pretty lovely right? 

We are so fast moving, ridiculously consumed by going-going-going that we rarely catch a moment to breathe. We are often working insane hours only to have no social lives or time for ourselves. This pattern begs asking the question: what is the point?!

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Mindfulness & You: Series Recap

This month I have interviewed a few fabulous experts in various fields on what mindfulness means to them and how they utilize mindfulness with their clientele. This week I am concluding the 'Mindfulness &' series with my thoughts on the subject.

Mindfulness has become a popular catchphrase in today's society. We might be told to "be mindful" of what others might want or need or to "stay mindful" of ourselves and our needs. Mindfulness can be applied to an array of fields: parenting, health, eating, love, self, choices, behaviors, thinking, and the list can go on and on. 

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Mindfulness & Love

So far in the 'Mindfulness &' series, I have interviewed a nutrition coach about how mindfulness and our physical health are connected and a life coach about where mindfulness fits into our work lives. This week I am focusing on ways mindfulness can improve our relationships.

As a therapist, I understand the value in developing an independent mindfulness practice for yourself but I wondered how couples could go about achieving this same level of presence in their relationships. As it turns out, a lot of work still needs to be done as individuals, however there are some key ingredients that I learned about this week that can significantly strengthen relationships.

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Mindfulness & Health

Mindfulness is something I believe strongly in. Not only is it scientifically researched and proven to be an effective way of coping, thinking, and living, it is something that I have found to be immensely helpful in my personal life.

My practice of mindfulness began about 15 years ago when I began taking yoga classes. This was years before I solidified my professional direction and life calling. Although rudimentary, this early practice of using my breath to connect me to the present moment helped me through stressful college years, in relationships, and in my personal growth.

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3 Methods for More Mindful Travel

Traveling typically puts us in the mindset of hyper-planning, over researching, and the act of "doing" rather than just being. In other words, travel can make it difficult to be present. When we get into the mode of plan-plan-plan and go-go-go, it is easy to get caught up in what is happening next, rather than truly immersing yourself in what is happening now. With a few tweaks in the way you travel, you can easily be a more mindful traveler. 

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Being Present During Holiday Stress

It is the most wonderful time of the year. It is also the busiest. The holiday season passes in the blink of an eye. If we are not conscious of being present, we can miss a lot of special moments. Being mindful allows us to enjoy these moments with our loved ones, creates less stress, and provides rejuvenation. With December halfway through and 2016 around the corner, take some time to disconnect from the stress and chaos. Choose to get connected to yourself and the reason for the season by practicing mindfulness.

Mindfulness means being connected to yourself in the present moment. The practice of mindfulness allows for increased awareness of the thoughts, feelings, and sensations happening in the present. It is the ability to connect with yourself, your surroundings, and the experiences happening in that moment.  Rather than being distracted by the past or future, being present enables us to enjoy the moments that are happening right now. As the holidays approach, use these tips to help you focus on the present.

1.  Breathe, connect, repeat! Mindful breathing, meaning being connected to your breath, is the quickest way to bring yourself into the present moment. Intentional breathing allows you to be connected and aware of the now. When you notice your thoughts getting away from the present, take a deep breath and refocus your energy to the festivities at hand.

2.  Be mindful of how you are spending your time. The best way to begin a mindful holiday season is to choose with purpose. In the time between Thanksgiving and New Years it is easy to have obligations each weekend, which can lead to stress and exhaustion. Instead of feeling pressure to attend every event, choose wisely and exercise discretion.

3.  Practice saying no. Saying yes to every invitation will likely make for a very stressful month. Instead, find some balance in your agenda by making time for the things that are energizing instead of draining.

4.  Stick to the choices that you have made. Being mindful means enjoying what is not what could be. Remind yourself why you chose to do what you are doing and give yourself the chance to be present without letting guilt or second guessing get in the way.

5.  Leave expectations at the door. Minimizing expectations and judgment allows you to appreciate moments for what they are, not what you think they should be. Instead of expecting your cookie-decorating party to be a perfectly coordinated event and getting upset with yourself if something fails, be in the moment and enjoy the event as it happens.

6.  Balance the busyness with self-care. It is nearly impossible to be completely stress-free during the holidays so be sure to reward yourself for getting through the stress. Balance a hectic shopping trip with a peaceful coffee break. Prepare for a large family gathering by having a relaxing walk prior.

7.  Choose to find the best in each situation. That holiday party you thought would be a blast might be a bust; enjoy it anyways. Be present, laugh, enjoy. Being mindful does not give you control over situations, but it does give you control over how you respond to them.

Enjoy the moment by being present and have a happy holiday season!