Tag Archives: meditation

No time to mediate or do other relaxing things? Why not try making risotto?


Yes, making risotto is a highly relaxing thing. It’s a dish I love to make just for the way it calms me down (not to mention it is delicious). You have to be mindful when making risotto. You don’t have to be constantly stirring it, but you do need to be attentive to it. Steam rises off it as you cook it, and that is relaxing. Once you get the hang of it, being mindful of the transformation of the dish is also relaxing.

Need more persuasion? Here’s the chef and owner of the River Cafe who thinks the way I do: A Chef’s Advice for Relaxation: Stir Some Risotto – The New York Times.

If the idea appeals to you, here are 20 Easy Risotto Recipes To Make All Season Long from Chatelaine.

Start off with a classic parmesan risotto and go from there! It’s really not that hard. Plus, as I argue here, it’s a great way to use up veg. Enjoy!

(Image by Roberto Caruso: linked to in the Chatelaine recipe.)

 

 

Mindfulness revisited (or the benefits of adopting a broader approach to mindfulness)


For some time I have been practicing a simple form of mindfulness to deal with stressful thinking. It’s a good skill to practice, and while I am not an expert, it has helped me deal with anxiety.

However as this article reminded me, mindfulness as it is practiced in Japan is much more than that. Mindfulness is a way of being present. Of being aware. Of appreciating the transient nature of our lives and thereby enriching them. Japanese people have mindful practices woven through their lives. I think we could all gain from adopting these practices. Read the piece: I am sure you will agree.

P.S. I have adopted the practice of shisa kanko (literally ‘checking and calling’) and have found it helpful in making sure I do things properly. It’s a very different form of mindfulness than focusing on breathing, but it comes from the same source.

(Photo by Motoki Tonn on Unsplash )

Two pieces to help with (getting back into) mindfulness

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For some time, I was doing well practicing mindfulness. I found it helpful. I don’t know why I stopped. But then I have stopped doing so many things during the pandemic, and mindfulness was one of those.

If that sounds like you too, here’s two good pieces that could help:

  1. How to Practice Mindfulness | A Cup of Jo
  2. How to Meditate: It’s Not Complicated, but It’s Not Easy | GQ

They’re also good if you haven’t done mindfulness before and want to start.

(Photo by Lesly Juarez on Unsplash)

Are you more worried these days? This can help


Are you more worried these days? Ha! I know you are: I see your tweets and your socials! Hey, it’s fine. These are difficult days. That’s not a licence to worry your head off though. Difficult or not, being able to worry less is a good skill to have.

If you don’t think it is a skill you have much of, read this. It will give you good practical tips to deal effectively with your worrying. Better yet, read it with a pen and paper handy; when you are done, write down a practical plan to change your worrying.

Worrying is a habitual way of thinking that can cause you damage. The good news is you can break that habit and change your thinking and have it shift away from worrying.  Worrying is like smoking or eating badly or any other harmful behaviors. Behaviors you can change. So set your mind on a different form of being. You’ll be calmer and more positive soon enough.

(Photo by Henrikke Due on Unsplash)

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For all of you performing (or interested in performing) mindfulness…

For all of you performing (or interested in performing) mindfulness, I recommend you read this: The Honest Guide to Mindfulness : zen habits.

If you have been doing mindfulness for awhile and you are getting frustrated or giving up, then it can help ease your frustration and prevent you from quitting. If you are new to mindfulness and concerned you won’t be able to do it effectively, then it can help give you some perspective.

Mindfulness has been good for me. I am looking forward to reading this from time to time whenever I find it difficult.

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Not all mindfulness is the same


If you think all mindfulness is the same, then read this: Different Types Of Meditation Change Different Areas Of The Brain, Study Finds.

Key quote:

a new study from the Max Planck Institute finds that three different types of meditation training are linked to changes in corresponding brain regions. The results, published in Science Advances, have a lot of relevance to schools, businesses and, of course, the general public.

Mindfulness can be helpful for many reasons. But how you pursue it can yield different results. Something to keep in…mind.

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How to walk better

There are few who would argue against a good walk. And any old walk will do. But if you want to walk mindfully, then Thich Nhat Hanh has a book that will help you do it. Quartz has a run down on it here: Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh explains how to walk more mindfully.

I think it could be great for people who have a hard time being mindful because they always need to be on the go. And for people who want to have more mindfulness in their life, it is also great. Read the article/book and improve your walks and your mind.

Another benefit of meditation? Raising your IQ

So says this article: Want to Raise Your IQ by 23 Percent? Neuroscience Says Take Up This Simple Habit | Inc.com

The article provides the details and a strong case for it. Meditation: not just good for relaxing. Make it your goal in 2017.

Sixteen ways to think about and improve your life

Over the last year or so, I’ve found these worthwhile pieces on how to think about life and how to improve it. If you find one of these worthwhile and it improves your life as a result of you reading it, then I think collecting and writing about these is worthwhile.

  1. If you are feeling lonely and want to understand and deal with it better, consider this: The Science of Loneliness: How Isolation Can Kill You – New Republic
  2. One idea you can consider: talk to strangers. Hello, Stranger – NYTimes.com
  3. If you need new ways to live a better life, courtesy of a famous person….7 Steps to Living a Bill Murray Life – Vulture
  4. Or if you like to write, try to improve your life via writing: Writing Your Way to Happiness – NYTimes.com (I am guessing some writers would not agree with it)
  5. If you struggle to be happy, this could help: Everyone wants to be happy. Almost everyone is going about it wrong. – Vox
  6. If you want to be more optimistic, consider the big picture, presented here: A Cockeyed Optimist – NYTimes.com
  7. If you think you are working too much and are often thinking of cutting back, this could help you: Keynes’ 15 Hour Work Week Is Here Right Now
  8. Lots of good ideas via a collected stream of tweets, here: Things @GhostfaceKnitta Learned in 2015 (with tweets) · valerieinto · Storify
  9. Why should you give away money and be happier: Giving money away makes us happy. Then why do so few of us do it? – Vox
  10. Don’t hesitate when it comes to improving your life. You have less time than you think. See this to see why: These graphics will make you rethink your life – Tech Insider
  11. Being laid off will happen to everyone. If that’s you now,  and you are struggling with it, consider: Advice For the Recently Laid Off – Medium
  12. Self Confidence makes for a better life. Here’s how to become that way and more so: The Truth On How To Become Self Confident
  13. Change your mind, change your life. How? One way: Rewire your brain: Why Practice Makes Perfect: How to Rewire Your Brain for Performance
  14. If you struggle with your thoughts (e.g., worry too much), read : BBC – Future – Why we should stop worrying about our wandering minds
  15. Sometimes the way to improve our lives is not to have more, but to seek less and not be caught up in the trappings of status. To live a simpler life, like this: Here’s why one of the world’s richest men wears hand-me-down clothes – The Washington Post
  16. More on how to live with less. Living With Less. A Lot Less. – The New York Times

(Image from one of the articles linked to on NYTimes.com)

Another tool to help with stress: the Online Meditation Timer

The folks at this site have a number of tools to help with stress, including this: Equanimity Project: Online Meditation Timer.

If you can sit quietly at your desk for awhile, it may just be the thing to help you calm your mind and get back to a more peaceful state before you proceed with your day.