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Practising S.T.O.P.

Thousands of studies have revealed the power of mindfulness not only for our individual health, but for our success in relationships as well as careers.

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Research has shown over and over the positive impact that living mindfully can have on our physical and mental health by balancing nervous system, keeping our stress in check, processing our emotions and even changes us on a cellular level such as the increase of grey matter in the brain in creates.

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Mindfulness creates better interpersonal skills, more compassion and empathy for one and another and increases our focus, memory and information retention.

This benefits not only our personal lives, but our professional relationships and work performance. Mindfulness should not be considered something peaceful that only yogis do, but an implemented essential way to keep our brains healthy, to support effective decision-making capabilities, and to protect ourselves from toxic stress.

As we approach the holiday season in the wild ride of the year 2020, stress is on the menu. So here are some tips for you to navigate the season, however you celebrate.

Practicing mindfulness is easy and effective and can be done by anyone and anywhere. The simple and supportive S.T.O.P. technique assists us all to support our lives, especially if any challenging moments arise at any time.

The four-step process literally only takes a few seconds of your time, but will transform the rest of the hours of your day. So, lets break it down.

S.T.O.P. S is for simply for the reminder to STOP what you are doing. Consciously stop movement and mind activity whether checking emails or rushing around or whatever. Just stop and give yourself a moment to pause and proceed.

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T is for TAKE a moment and connect with your breath. We have an automatic breath that we do all day and all night without telling ourselves to breathe. Connect with your breath consciously, but taking a deeper breath in, feeling the lungs and the breath goes all the way to the outer edges of your lungs. Breathe in and out of your nose deeply and completely five to ten times. Each time your exhale, feel your body soften and relax just a little bit more.

O stands for OBSERVE. After you have taken the deep breaths, notice and observe how you feel. Become aware of any tensions or sensations in your forehead, jaw, shoulders, neck, back or wherever. Scan your body. Also notice any thoughts or feelings that you may be experiencing. If you need to diffuse any further, remind yourself that you can get through challenging times, you have before and you will again.

P is for PROCEED. Once you have paused and stopped in your tracks, taken some mindful breaths in and out, observed how you are feeling in your body, mind and heart, then you proceed mindfully and with intentionality. Knowing that you can S.T.O.P. again whenever you need to.

kelly@indigolounge.ca

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