Gratitude – It Does a Body Good

I’m incredibly grateful. Not only the part of the globe we live on—the Pacific Northwest in the United States—but for our specific town, Boise, Idaho. It’s quite possibly one of the friendliest places on earth.

Boise is quite possibly one of the friendliest places on earth

The words “gratitude” and “grace” share a common origin: the Latin word gratus, meaning “pleasing” or “thankful.” The Association for Humanistic Psychology defines gratitude as “Orientation towards noticing and appreciating the positive in the world.”

Boise – the home of free beer

University of California Davis psychology professor Robert Emmons’ research revealed that grateful people tend to be more optimistic, a characteristic that literally boosts the immune system—a clear PHYSICAL benefit.

Boise offers free smells (good ones) too

Dr. Alex Wood, a postgraduate researcher in the Department of Psychology, University of Warwick, said that  “Gratitude is an integral part of well-being”—a distinct benefit to our MENTAL and EMOTIONAL faculties.

Gratitude boosts whole health

Gratitude helps to open the heart, the seat of compassion. It helps us to see the good in our experience. It enhances trust and helps us to forgive—a benefit to our SPIRITUAL aspect.

How do you weave gratitude into the tapestry of your life?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

This Is Your Brain On Mindfulness

During recent travels, a walk on the beach had me looking at seaweed as a visual metaphor for the brain…

THIS IS YOUR BRAIN

Much like a pinball machine, the mind bounces from one thought to the next: positive, negative, past, present, future.

Much like a pinball machine, the mind bounces from one thought to the next: positive, negative, past, present, future.

 

Psychiatrist Edward Hallowell, MD, director of the Hallowell Center for Cognitive and Emotional Health tells us that:

“People shift their attention from one task to the next in rapid succession [commonly referred to as multi-tasking]. This reduces the quality of the work on any one task because you’re ignoring it for milliseconds at a time.”

 

THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON MINDFULNESS

Separating out a single thought strand, mindfulness is present moment awareness.

Separating out a single thought strand, mindfulness is present moment awareness.

 

An article in Psychology Today defines mindfulness as:

“A state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.”

 

Do you live in the moment?

© Laurie Buchanan

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Yoga – Gone to the Dogs!

Yoga invites us to drop beneath the surface of life into quieter, more introspective realms; at our house it’s a family affair.

First and foremost, it’s important to pay close attention — especially to one’s breathing.

Next, sink into stillness and get comfortable…

…really comfortable.

Our online instructor says, “Yoga straps help us stretch to the limit, increasing flexibility and muscular strength.” Willa’s look says, “You have GOT to be kidding!”

“Happy Baby” pose gently brings a greater awareness to the hip joints.

The “Butterfly” pose (also known as “Cobbler’s” pose) provides relief to muscle tension around the inner thigh area.

We use several props in our practice. Lexi will be the equivalent of 77 human years this August. She appreciates the comfortable support of an extra blanket throughout the session.

Legs-up-the-wall (or simply balanced in the air) is a posture that gets blood flowing to parts of the body that need it.

Willa is doing an exaggerated “Downward Facing Dog” pose. This posture feels especially good after resting because it elongates and lengthens the back. And as a mild inversion, it’s great for increasing blood flow to the brain and eyes.

Certain yoga postures can strengthen the cervical curve in the back of the neck.

Commonly referred to as “Corpse” pose, we simply call it “Dead Dog” at our house.

After a balanced practice, the muscles in the entire body will have been stretched. “Shavasana” provides the body with a chance to regroup and reset itself.

Namaste

Namaste — hands held in prayer-like fashion in front of the heart, accompanied by a slight bow — represents the belief that there’s a divine spark within each of us. This gesture is an acknowledgment of the soul in one, by the soul in another.

nam means bow
as means I
te means you

Therefore, namaste literally means “bow I you” or “I bow to you.”

If you have animal companions at home, what do they enjoy doing with you?

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
— Laurie Buchanan

Discovering the Seven Selves     Life Harmony

© 2013 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

Wait Loss

Different from weight loss (the shedding of pounds), wait loss (the shedding of patience) is less attractive on any figure.

I try not to do battle with time; clearly, it’s a losing proposition. Yet recently I found myself sitting in a waiting room swarming with other people who—like me—were becoming impatient. Fast!

Breathe yourself through this Laurie

  • Inhale to the count of four.
  • Hold to the count of seven.
  • Exhale to the count of eight.
  • Repeat until your name is called.
  • You can do this.

Time—yours, mine, and ours—is irreplaceable. None of us knows how much of it we have left. Not to be squandered, every moment of this precious commodity should be enjoyed to the fullest.

Are you gaining or losing wait?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
— Laurie Buchanan

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© 2012 Laurie Buchanan– All Rights Reserved

Jumping through Mental Hoops – Swoosh!

Our brains—like muscles—become stronger with use. Excuses be gone! There are oh-so-many ways to exercise our brains:

  • The ever popular, jumping to conclusions.
  • Who among us hasn’t tried pushing their luck?
  • Dodging deadlines is always good for an extra shot of adrenaline!
  • There’s the time-tested jogging our memory.
  • Raising the bar of unrealistic expectations.
  • The tried-and-true limiting oneself by running out of options.
  • Stretching the truth forces us to keep double mental books—an especially vigorous workout for the brain!

When was the last time you exercised benefit of the doubt?

Post Script
Nan Palmer, I snuck into your gear…
A special thank you to my friend, Jill Witty, for taking the photograph.

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
— Laurie Buchanan

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© 2012 Laurie Buchanan– All Rights Reserved

Emotional First Aid Kit

I carry a well-equipped first aid kit with us whenever we bicycle. It’s come in handy on a number of occasions—not only for us, but for other bikers on the trail as well.

We have a much larger first aid kit at home. It’s in a big fishing tackle box near the front door so that when—not if—the neighborhood kids knock and say, “Mrs. B., so-and-so’s hurt, come right away!” I can grab it on the fly.

The exterior/physical scrapes, cuts, bruises, burns, slivers, or blisters—general road rash— that we all experience from time to time are relatively easy to take care of: a bandaid here, a splint there, a few stitches here, some Calamine lotion, Neosporin, or Bactine there…

It’s the internal wounds—emotional, mental, and spiritual—that are much harder to address. Left unattended, they can fester and spread, wreaking havoc on our inner ecology.

What’s inside your emotional first aid kit; how do you tend to your internal wounds?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
— Laurie Buchanan

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© 2012 Laurie Buchanan– All Rights Reserved