Cindy Hoard

Inspirational Author and Psychologist

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Self-assessment is a constant reflection that helps my awareness of what I am experiencing and what I may need personally in each moment.

Some specific benefits of self-check in
For me, it is a combination of making sure I give myself credit for what I am dealing with on a day-to-day basis. Maintaining healthy awareness of how I am feeling and what I personally need for my own well-being is very important.

Mindfulness and meditation practices can be a gift
Mindfulness and meditation are wonderful ways to bring myself into the now and reflect on the present moment and increase personal awareness. There are any number of aspects of my life worth considering and reminding myself to focus my attention. Breathing is always a great starting point. At least 3 very slow deep breaths with slow exhalations can really open my awareness. Physical sensations are another source of information as I scan my body for positive and/or negative sensations. There may be places I am holding tension that I do not even realize.

Awareness of my thoughts can help
What thoughts am I aware of? What is the subject of the thoughts, are there feelings related to those thoughts? How am I treating or disregarding myself with my thoughts? There is always the option for me to shift to what I am grateful for today. What can I let go of today, to lighten my mental load?

Making a regular practice of mindfulness and/or meditation
When just starting out or returning to mindfulness practice I know I need to create a simple routine for myself. What is the best time of day for me to be sure I take a few moments for contemplation? (e.g., first thing in the morning, at bedtime, going for a walk, journaling for a few minutes, a time for prayer, brushing my teeth, exercise time and so many more). It is creating a consistent predictable routine for self-care.

There are any number of free meditations and mindfulness exercises on the internet and various apps I can get on my phone to guide my process. I find these really helpful when I am reestablishing my daily routine. I know that my daily practice is vital for my well-being. There are many scientific studies that have documented the positive impact of mindfulness and meditation on a number of conditions including: depression, anxiety, stress, sleep problems, various addictions, psychosis, pain, high blood pressure and weight control. Insight Timer is one good example of practices that are free.

Elements to consider in establishing a routine. Hopefully you have identified a specific time of day that you are most likely to consistently practice. You might include personal time at home, as well as quick moments during your work day to at least take 3 deep, relaxing breaths. Choose a specific amount of time to commit anywhere from a couple of minutes and up to longer periods of time (e.g., 30 minutes). Starting out with only 3 to 5 minutes is a good point of initiation. Incorporate at least 3 deep cleansing breaths at least once during your practice. You might do a body scan before and after your mindfulness activities.

Try out one of the ideas I have suggested, even if it is the 3 deep cleansing breaths a couple of times per day.

Photo credit: Laurenz Kleinheider (Unsplash.com)