By Joan Marlow

Well, the calendar keeps moving along and even though ‘things’ are different, they are still very much the same.  It’s still 2020, COVID is still part of our lives, we’re continuing to practice ‘social distancing’ and we’re still wearing our masks.  You might be doing online school, you might be physically attending school part of the week, members of your family might still be working from home, you might have the opportunity to physically see your friends, you might be involved with a sport, you might be working…what other observations of your life can you make?  The thing we know for sure is that it’s not like the ‘good old days.’  The thing you need to remind yourself is that you get to choose to consider these observations positively or negatively…the desire is to keep things as positive as possible…sometimes we need to reset the brain to get to positive.

In the world of Mindfulness, the concept is to treat each moment as ‘this present moment is the only moment.’  It’s the conscious acknowledgement of this exact moment.  By simply reading these words, you’re ‘checking in’ with yourself.  What are you thinking, feeling and where in your body are you feeling it and what are you calling it?  Even though you feel that one hour rolls into the next; one day rolls into the next, if you stop a couple of times a day and ‘check in,’ you’ll find that the same experiences might be influencing different feelings/sensations in different parts of your body and your reaction/response to that feeling might be different.  With that knowledge, you can find things that you can control related to making the best of any situation.  That’s pretty powerful.

Most of us continue to experience sensations of stress, depression, anxiety, frustration, sadness, loneliness…for each of us the root of these sensations can be very individualized.  With tuning into Mindfulness, you’re creating for yourself a means to identify the thoughts or experiences that cause you to go down the road of acting out stress, depression, anxiety, frustration, etc., and stop yourself before you possibly hurt others with words or hurt yourself physically and emotionally by acting out.

Mindfulness improves concentration, opens the way to better communication, diffuses stress and anxiety, boosts mood.  All it takes is a desire to give it a try and then to practice.  There are many ways to ‘practice.’

One of the most common ways to ‘practice’ is through ‘meditation,’ which can be any action that provides an opportunity to quiet your mind.  Quieting your mind is to not deal with ‘what ifs’ or