Mentoring Emerging Adults with Mindfulness

by Donna Torney on October 4, 2017 · 0 comments

What is an emerging adult?  Most adult development experts agree that emerging adulthood is the life period between the late teen years and the early thirties.  Undoubtedly, some of us reach the stage of “established adulthood” much sooner.  But the current cohort of young adults- those brave souls on the frontier of the digital age – have many hurdles to jump, both social and financial, on their way to becoming established adults.

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

Are you an emerging adult, a mentor, or both?  In some ways, we are all continuously emerging, or at least we have the potential for continuous development.  In the twentieth century, the pioneering psychologist Erik Erikson outlined stages of psychosocial development that promoted the idea of continual social and emotional growth throughout life.  In the twenty-first century, advances in neuroscience enable us to actually see physical changes in the brain brought on by changes in behavior.

What a relief it is to know that change is always possible!

Off to college?  Take mindfulness with you!

Are you the best mentor for the job?  Even if we are still in the process of refining our own adult experience, we can become mentors.  We don’t need to be perfect, we just need to be a few steps ahead of the people we are trying to help.    Mindfulness practices have certainly helped me keep perspective when I’m helping the young adults in my life, including my own offspring.  By practicing and modeling mindfulness in my own imperfect way, I can encourage emerging adults to see contemplative practices as an important life skill, especially in an age of accelerated change and 24/7 distraction.

Here are just some of the skills that mindfulness can foster in both mentor and mentee:

  • Self-efficacy – the belief in one’s competency and effectiveness  ( “I got this, even though it’s stressful”)
  • Open-mindedness – being curious about a situation as opposed to jumping to conclusions (“tell me more about why you feel this way, so I’m sure I understand.”)
  • Non-attachment – staying unattached to an outcome (“This job doesn’t define me.”)
  • Equanimity – evenness of mind, especially under pressure (“I can think before I react”)
  • Right speech – using non-hurtful language (“I can wait until I feel more even-minded before I offer my thoughts”)
  • Impermanence – fostering acceptance of change (“Friend groups and families are always changing”)
  • Compassion – Concern for the struggles of others (“I can sit with your suffering without becoming overwhelmed.”)

Mentors plant seeds – learn about planting seeds in Mindfulness for Emerging Adults.

In Mindfulness for Emerging Adults, both mentors and young adults will find tools to help gain balance, belonging, focus, and meaning through practical contemplative exercises created for busy adults.

Sitting still, meditating, even practicing gentle yoga may not be priorities for energetic young adults.  However, making and keeping social connections and feeling a sense of mastery in daily life tasks (as opposed to being overwhelmed and isolated) are indeed high priorities for emerging adults.  Through contemplative practices specifically designed for modern-day emerging adults who are often trying to find a balance between the digital world and actual reality,  Mindfulness for Emerging Adults will help young adults embark on the path of their own unique “good life” and create a holistic way of living.

Here’s an excerpt from Mindfulness for Emerging Adults

This indispensable workbook contains over forty exercises to incorporate calm into your busy life pre-order now!

Thoughts for Mentors – When you think of your own young adulthood (when you were in your late teens and twenties, even your early thirties) remember the urgency of your needs: to connect or to disengage from a relationship, to figure out what kind of work you wanted to do, or to simply figure out how to pay your bills. If you could go back in time and be your own mentor, what three seeds of wisdom would you plant? What three pieces of advice and encouragement would you give to your younger self to think about?

Mentors plant seeds. Notice the examples above focus on shared, universal emerging adult experiences like wanting to belong or wanting to be independent. Planting seeds often involves:

  • Listening and refraining from judgment
  • Being more of a compassionate consultant, and less of a savior
  • Dropping assumptions and keeping an open mind
  • Practicing equanimity – staying calm and avoiding strong reactions
  • Practicing compassion – managing your own distress in the presence of another’s distress

Planting seeds may sound like this:

“It’s okay to feel lonely sometimes. I remember feeling that way at your age. It is painful but it will pass.”

“Although loneliness can be uncomfortable, being in an unhealthy relationship can be even more uncomfortable. Be mindful of your craving for a relationship. Don’t let it take over your decision-making and put you in an unhealthy situation.”

“you could choose any career what would it be? Right now is a good time for you to try out a few different options.”

For more on mentoring emerging adults, Pre-order Mindfulness for Emerging Adults today!

 Wishing you the energy of a young spirit, the wisdom of an old soul 
…. and twenty minutes of mindfulness every day!

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Well-being, right now

by Donna Torney on October 8, 2017 · 0 comments

Just for now – want nothing

Don’t wish to be someplace else

Be where you are

Don’t wish for more energy, or less

Watch your breath rise and fall and watch your energy

settle to where it needs to be

Stop planning and remembering

let thought disperse

Like autumn leaves falling

Until all that is left is the calm, clear seeing

of your branch-like mind

Yearn for nothing, no one

Pain or pleasure

Peace or war

Take a break from feeling incomplete

Let the calmness in your mind grow

Plant the seeds of contentment and joy

Don’t look for revenge or seek forgiveness

Just for now

Offer compassion to yourself

Just for now, want nothing

and through this practice

Ease will come

Insight will come

Compassion will grow

We wish you twenty minutes of mindfulness every day!

Click here to access our free worksheet to that will help you grow your mindfulness practice.

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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?

May 9, 2017 Anxiety, Depression, Stress & Trauma

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 […]

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