In the digital economy, managing living expenses is a real challenge for emerging adults

Voices of Emerging Adults – Isabel’s Set-back:

“I have got to find a way to get out of here! This is not where I pictured myself at age twenty-two. I know I’m not the only person in my friend group to have to move back home to save up some cash but I feel like I’m in purgatory. I thought I was going to be able to make it work, living with two friends from high school and holding down two jobs this summer. It was really fun, actually, but Jess went back to school and Laura and I couldn’t swing the rent. It’s so hard living at home after having been out on my own. I have zero privacy and my parents are scrutinizing my every move. Every day we have less patience with each other. Today my father actually put a schedule up telling me when I’m allowed to use the washer and dryer. It’s like a police state. I tried to tell him how hard it was to lose my independence. He half-jokingly said, “It’s hard for me, too.” I used to like my dad’s sense of humor, but that comment really stung.”

Get the book! Mindfulness for Emerging Adults:  Finding balance, belonging, focus, and meaning in the digital age for just $19.99.

“I really needed to Skype my college roommate for a while after that episode with dad. I had two good semesters at college, but I just got so overwhelmed with the tuition bills and I started second-guessing my major. So I took a leave of absence and took the two jobs. Since that didn’t work out, I’m having trouble staying positive. I know I should be doing more than applying for jobs online, but I just can’t get myself to actually go and talk to people.”

“It was my college roommate who talked me into counseling. The stress of keeping her grades up to keep her scholarship was really weighing her down last year. She said talking to a college counselor was really helpful.”

“When I first met with my counselor, I was doing a great acting job by being super-agreeable. It just seemed like another sign of my failure, sitting in that office, so I kind of wanted to keep my misery to myself. But after the third session, I could tell she wasn’t reacting to me the way my parents would if I told them how worried and lost I feel right now. She told me that setbacks are a normal part of young-adulthood. She didn’t freak out when I told her I slept until noon yesterday. I liked the
way she was trying to get me to see asking for help as a strength instead of weakness.”

“I guess I’ll keep going for a while. Still, I’m really having a hard time believing that things will get better. My energy just keeps dwindling. I wonder what the counselor would say if I told her how isolated I really feel? I was always kind of the quiet one in my group of friends in high school. I thought I was growing out of it. Now I can’t even seem to bring myself to go for a run without feeling self-conscious. I know I feel better when I get outside, but I really just want to curl up in my bed, or numb out on Netflix. I know it’s not getting me anywhere to binge watch tv but at least it’s an inexpensive break from the stress.”

What we can’t get from technology – why emerging adults need contemplative practices now

Technology is wonderful! I am after all writing this book on my laptop, on a program that helps me catch typos and make my points as clearly as possible. However, the pervasiveness of technology can trick us into thinking that we are physically evolving just as rapidly as our digital gadgets. We are much more than walking, talking, processing systems. Our physiology is the same as our grandparents and our great-great-grandparents. The human nervous system we all possess needs to be cared for and tended to with

Get the book! Mindfulness for Emerging Adults:  Finding balance, belonging, focus, and meaning in the digital age for just $19.99.

great-great-grandparents. The human nervous system we all possess needs to be cared for and tended to with connection to community and the natural world. Imagine you have zero connection to other humans and zero connection to nature. Lonely and terrifying, isn’t it? You will start to understand the important role these connections play in our overall well-being. Direct experience (present-moment experience that employs use of the senses) as opposed to narrative experience (where we are planning or remembering) is the perfect complement to our tech- focused world. Direct experience is a main theme and mindfulness skill in the Center Points model…..

To continue with Isabel’s story, order Mindfulness for Emerging Adults:  Finding balance, belonging, focus, and meaning in the digital age for just $19.99.

We wish you twenty minutes of mindfulness every day!

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Rewild Yourself

by Donna Torney on July 17, 2017 · 0 comments

This spring I read two books that have motivated me to increase my time in nature.  Not that I needed any more motivation, having just finished a five-year stint in private practice just outside of Boston.  This was a great personal and professional experience in many ways, but an hour-long commute into the city coupled with busy days sitting and conducting talk therapy left me feeling achy in my body and soul.

And so I’m spending the next chunk of my life closer to nature in my native state of New Hampshire.  I’m not sure what daily life will be like, but I’m certain that it will include more time outside.  

I love technology and the opportunities it creates, but I am feeling an almost animal-like urge to run in the woods, walk barefoot, and splash in waterfalls.  Maybe you feel the same way?  After all, we humans are a part of the natural world.

Florence William’s book, The Nature Fix, and Go Wild, written by John J. Ratey, MD, and Richard Manning remind us of our connection to the natural world, and the many rewards – both physical and mental – of spending time in nature.

And the good news is we don’t have to sign up for a triathlon or hike a major mountain range to reap these rewards.  All we need is the direct experience of being outside.   This time doesn’t have to be goal-directed, but mindfulness will help us absorb the gifts of nature.

Here’s a handful of facts from The Nature Fix, and Go Wild to help motivate you to explore your animal nature:

~ Biophilia –  Simply put, the term Biophilia refers to the human affinity for nature.  We feel best in natural surroundings because we evolved in nature. Living things thrive around living things. When we are outside, we are making full use of our five senses.  The dull veil of indoor light is lifted, and the world becomes 3D once more.

~ When we breathe in fresh air and natural scents our nervous system is soothed.  Speaking of senses, are you losing yours?  Studies show that we are only using a fraction of the potential of our sense of smell compared to our hunter/gatherer ancestors. Certain scents in nature have been shown to reduce blood pressure and cortisol levels and that living in urban settings can decrease our sense of smell.

~  trauma symptoms.  Time in nature has been shown to reduce trauma symptoms.

~ Treadmill versus the trail.   Running or walking outside engages much more neurological activity than running or walking on a treadmill. In fact, modern gyms are designed to help you tune out of your body by distracting you with loud music and plenty of screens.  Gyms are a great resource in bad weather, but as much as possible, take your workout outside.

I’d like to place a bet – or maybe it’s a wish.  Now that many of us can work almost anywhere, we will start to migrate back to more rural areas, small town main streets will come back to life, and with it a greater sense of community and belonging.

~ Outdoor play.  Trying a new game outside helps you increase the positive emotions of humor and curiosity.  These two emotions open and expand creativity and possibilities.

~ Up your Awe quotient.  Taking in a natural scene is inspirational, and helps broaden our perspective and take life less seriously.

~ Nature boosts our immune system.  One study in Japan showed a 40% decrease in sick leave simply by placing potted plants in a workspace.

~ Other benefits include increased community, empathy and help with changing addictive behavior.

Don’t forget – we are nature.  I urge to you check out the new research on nature, but more importantly, I urge to get outside, maybe without your shoes, and remember your wild self.  Now more than ever, we need to stay mindful of the fact that we are part of the natural world.

The World Health Organization tells us that as of 2008, a greater percentage of our species live in urban areas.  I’d like to place a bet – or maybe it’s a wish.  Now that many of us can work almost anywhere, we will start to migrate back to more rural areas, small town main streets will come back to life, and with it a greater sense of community and belonging.  It’s what our wild ancestors had.  I can dream, can’t I?

Share my dream?  How do you stay mindful of your natural self?  Contact us at mindful hub.

We wish you 20 minutes of mindfulness every day!

Check out these upcoming course offerings from Sounds True

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For the all the gritty scrappers ….

by Donna Torney on July 17, 2017 · 0 comments

Are you a gritty scrapper or do you love someone who is?  The title of this Ted talk is misleading – while the presenter does address resume writing, it’s much more of an ode to post-traumatic growth.  It’s worth the ten minutes, and you will get your daily dose of inspiration.  Rock on scrappers!

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Running Towards Yourself – Mindful Exercise

by Donna Torney on July 17, 2017 · 0 comments

Children are masters of mindful movement

Because of my busy schedule, I often feel I need to make a choice between getting some physical exercise and formal meditation practice.  But the truth is you can do both at the same time.

A walk, run, or spin on an exercise bike can be another item to check off your  to-do list, or you can be mindful of every foot strike, breath, and spin of the wheel.

By being mindful of your surroundings, the joy of movement, the changing seasons, you can transform your exercise routine into an opportunity to rejuvenate your body and your mind.

By being mindful of your surroundings, the joy of movement, the changing seasons, you can transform your exercise routine into an opportunity to rejuvenate your body and your mind.

Listen to this interview with Danny Dryer, founder of Chi Running about turning physical movement into a meditation practice to get a better idea of to combine exercise and meditation.

 

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Good weather, bad mood?

by Donna Torney on June 2, 2017 · 0 comments

 Trees are blooming and the sun is shining, but you’re just not feeling it.  You’re not alone.  From anniversaries to allergies, there are many reasons why spring and summer may not be your favorite seasons.  In my private practice, I have noticed an annual increase in anxiety and agitation that mirrors that of the winter blues, let’s call it the spring slump.  Other practitioners agree with me, but there is little in the scientific data to back our clinical anecdotes.  Did you know that suicide rates actually spike in late spring?

Summer depression can be even harder to bear.  After all, we are supposed to feel great when the weather is nice, and it seems like everyone on Facebook is having a blast, right?   If your mood changes in the warmer weather, take it seriously.  Read contributor Jennifer Scott’s commentary below to know how to ask for help:

Life has a way of becoming a difficult time for many of us whether it is just a bad day or that day has turned into a month. If you find yourself feeling depressed, anxious, or having suicidal thoughts, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, life doesn’t come with a pause button, so how are you supposed to be productive when your brain is telling you that you are stuck? The good news is that there are simple activities you can do to help you break free from your thoughts. Use this toolkit for helpful resources, as well as mental fitness tips to engage your mind and help you find peace.

Mental Health Resources – if you are feeling suicidal:

While there are several coping mechanisms you can use when you are having negative thoughts, the key is to seek help first. If you’ve had any suicidal thoughts, or have made an attempt, it’s urgent to seek help from a trained professional such as a doctor, therapist, psychiatrist, or other counselor. Check out these resources to get you started:

3 Easy Coping Strategies You Can Start Today

Once you’ve sought out that initial treatment, you can start implementing coping strategies into your daily routine. To start, try out these three strategies to get your brain back on the right track.

  1. Mindfulness meditation – This type of meditation is used to focus your attention on the present moment and away from your brain’s internal “chatter.” It is also helpful in keeping you from getting caught up in your thoughts, which is quite common when you are experiencing periods of stress. Meditation will help you to acknowledge how you are feeling and let it go, therefore reducing stress and depression, improving attention, and relaxing your mind and body. An added bonus is that meditation can be practiced anywhere — at home, in your car, or in a quiet corner at work.
  2. Get active – You can also boost your mood by getting active. Sure, it might be the last thing you feel like doing — but when you get out, get engaged, and get active you’ll be less likely to experience depression. Taking part in outdoor sports and recreation, like swimming, hiking, cycling, or even simply going for a walk to clear your mind can work wonders for your mood. Getting your heart pumping is great, but simple tasks like walking the dog, washing your car, or gardening are enough to work up a sweat too. On days when you don’t feel like getting out of the house, write in your journal, work on a passion project, or follow along with a workout DVD. Do whatever it takes to get moving.
  3. Sleep – Sleep gives your brain and your body time to rest, recharge, and reset. Studies have shown that most people would be happier and healthier if they were to get an extra hour or two of sleep each night. Sleep deprivation not only increases stress and depression, but it is linked to other chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Strive to get at least eight hours of natural sleep each night to give your brain the rest it needs and deserves.

Other Ways to Clear Your Mind

There are many ways you can take control of your mental health. By following the tips above, you’ll keep your brain stimulated and your mind motivated no matter what life throws at you. With the right tools, you can regain hope.

Jennifer Scott is a blogger.  Find more info on Jennifer at spiritfinder.org

We wish you twenty minutes of mindfulness every day!

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Saying goodbye, with meaning.

by Donna Torney on June 1, 2017 · 0 comments

It’s the season of goodbyes, and exciting new beginnings.

A formal speech or an impromptu thank you; this is an opportunity to be your authentic self, appreciate the connections you have made, and savor the success that has come about because of these relationships.

When it comes to the workplace saying goodbye can feel awkward – whether you are a grad student saying farewell to your dissertation committee, or a high-level executive, the workplace goodbye is a unique art form.

A formal speech or an impromptu thank you; this is an opportunity to be your authentic self, appreciate the connections you have made, and savor the success that has come about because of these relationships.

Here is a carefully curated list of links that will help you say farewell. Some are heartfelt, and some are silly. Think about your audience(s) and take some time to check out the many difference ways you can say adios! With a bit of reflection, you can hit the right tone, and leave with a sense of serenity.

http://careerbright.com/career-self-help/sample-goodbye-emails-to-colleagues

https://www.nsc.edu/Files/humanResources/docs/goodbye.pdf

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sarah-cooper/how-to-write-a-goodbye-em_b_7843358.html

https://www.thebalance.com/how-to-say-farewell-to-co-workers-2063020

https://www.reference.com/business-finance/say-goodbye-coworkers-c213395769949962

http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/on-retirement/2012/05/25/sometimes-retirement-means-saying-goodbye

We wish you twenty minutes of mindfulness every day!

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How to build new habits

by Donna Torney on May 17, 2017 · 0 comments

Gently, gently, ever gently…..

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World Happiness Report 2017

by Donna Torney on May 12, 2017 · 0 comments

Required reading for our leaders. The happiest countries are generous, forward-thinking with their natural resources and have strong social support. Happiness leads to economic health, but economic health alone does not create happy and healthy societies. The happiest societies are socially conscious. Social consciousness requires acknowledging our neighbors’ suffering. Mindfulness helps us do this without feeling overwhelmed. Spoiler alert: the U.S. is steadily falling in the ranking.

What are your thoughts on the World Happiness Report?  Do you think mindfulness practices play a part?

Share your thoughts with us.

We wish you twenty minutes of mindfulness every day!

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Can Technology Really Help with Your Stress?

by Donna Torney on May 9, 2017 · 0 comments

Many of us live very fast-paced lives, and stress affects us much more than we care to admit, often causing disruption at work and in our personal lives. If you’ve been feeling overstressed recently, taking a moment to de-stress doesn’t have to be as hard as it sounds.

Technology offers a variety of ways to reduce your stress, and many tech-related tools for stress relief aren’t expensive. Even better – most are available as apps, and on gadgets, you already have such as your smartphone. Here is some of the latest technology to help you with de-stress.

 

Tuning in with technology – WellBe

Sometimes it can be difficult to determine what exactly is triggering your stress, even when you feel its aftereffects. WellBe is a bracelet that monitors your heart rate throughout the day and works in sync with your smartphone to track where you are when your stress levels are rising.

You can also let the app know who you’re with at specific times, so you can later check how your stress levels are affected. Most importantly, this app provides the tools you need to de-stress, mainly in the form of meditations. After WellBe’s recommendations, you can check if your stress levels are lower.

Meditate Me

Meditation is a great way to de-stress that has been well-researched, but it’s not always easy to quiet the mind. Guided meditations, such as those in the Meditate Me app, are a good way to start. Since the meditation recordings vary in length, the app is useful even when you don’t have a lot of time on your hands.

Meditate Me takes meditation a step further by combining binaural beats, which have been shown to affect performance and mood, with breathing techniques.

 Managing productivity, managing stress –

ExpressVPN

Technology in and of itself can be stressful. Gadgets can malfunction, connections can be lost, and you may have even experienced a data breach at some point or another. If you’re worried about your privacy when online, ExpressVPN is an app you shouldn’t go without.

It secures your internet connection and hides your IP address (which is how your location is shared online), among other things. Using it on all your internet-enabled devices will help cut down on the likelihood of being hacked, so you can browse the net stress-free!

Dropbox

A lack of organization or simply not having something when you need it can be stressful and even more so when that something happens to be a work-related document. Dropbox is a cloud-based storage service where you can organize your files. It syncs across all your devices, so you’ll never be without your data again!

Adding files to your computer from your smartphone or vice versa is another hassle that Dropbox provides a solution for. With just a few taps on your phone, you’ll have your files sent to your account, and when you’re on the computer, you can simply drag and drop files where needed. You can view files offline as well, so you can access them anytime.

Twilight

It’s hard to manage day-to-day life if you don’t get to sleep on time. Less-than-restful sleep is also a common stressor. Sticking to a routine, sleeping in a cool room and owning a comfortable mattress can all help, but did you know that avoiding blue light during the night can as well?

Blue light is present mainly on screens and LED displays. Exposure to it at night might affect your circadian rhythm, but avoiding your phone or tablet at night isn’t practical. Instead, use Twilight, which will allow you to filter out blue light on your mobile devices. It’ll also adjust your display based on the time of day and is fully customizable.

Reducing Stress with Tech

Though stress is common, it doesn’t have to get the best of you. Reducing stress is possible in more ways than you might’ve imagined. You don’t have to look far to find the help you need. Apps and other tech tools are simple and cost-effective ways to manage stress. Most of all, they can fit into just about anyone’s lifestyle.

Do you believe technology will be able to help you with your stress? Share your thoughts with us.

About the Author: Cassie is a health and wellness blogger, as well as a tech enthusiast. Given the chance, she enjoys sharing tips on how technology can improve our lifestyles.

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Joy is sustainable happiness

by Donna Torney on March 29, 2017 · 0 comments

Science tells us that practicing gratitude has many health benefits, like feeling less lonely and building a stronger immune system.  So why is it sometimes difficult for us to feel grateful?  Why do we sometimes have a hard time saying thank you, when one of the byproducts of gratitude is joy, a positive emotion that is much easier to sustain than the fleeting happiness we feel when we get what we want.

 

Click here to sign up for the May session of the gratefulness course:  The Transformative Power of Sufficiency and Gratefulness.  

As Lynne Twist says in her interview with Brother David Stiendl-Rast, “We can bring joy to anything; Happiness must be pursued.”   When viewed this way, being joyful seems much less energy intensive than the never-ending hunt for happiness.

What stops you from feeling grateful? I know I sometimes have trouble trusting in my good fortune.  If this is a struggle you share with me, try finding gratitude in “safe” things, like the feeling of holding a warm cup of coffee on a cold morning, or the fact that you were able to cuddle with a beloved pet for a few minutes.

Fear is another emotion that puts up a wall against gratitude and keeps us wanting more.   If you are feeling fearful about having enough money, losing a loved one, or the state of the environment, take a few slow, deep breaths, you are in good company, but this company that could use some relief!  Exhale completely, and take a look at where you have influence.  The smallest act of assistance to someone in need can help you feel less fearful and a bit more in control, allowing you the space to feel grateful.

I find the emerging adults I work in my private practice are sometimes hesitant to express gratitude because they are trying to establish independence.  When we are trying to make it on our own, it can feel like a failure to ask for and receive help, and expressions of gratitude can trigger shame.  If this is your situation, remember that asking for help is an important life skill.  Try you best to say thanks, then Express your gratitude by envisioning the day when you can give back.  

Make gratitude your mindfulness practice this week.  If you need help with boosting your gratitude skills, consider joining the gratefulness.org eCourse hosted by Lynne Twist and Brother David Stiendl-Rast.

Click here to sign up for the May session of the gratefulness course:  The Transformative Power of Sufficiency and Gratefulness.  

http://gratefulness.org/blog/new-ecourse-transformative-power-sufficiency-gratefulness/

We wish you twenty minutes of mindfulness every day!

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