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Prof. Sky Alton

Task 1: Magical Mindfulness

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  It’s possible to take a break and prioritise wellbeing without even having to leave your chair. Mindfulness techniques are designed to help us re-centre ourselves, calm down and focus on the present. There are many, many different techniques you can use. These include breathing exercises, harnessing your senses, meditating, visualising something or even just sitting quietly. You probably also have tasks or things you do that relax you and help you feel calmer that are unique to you.

  For this task, we’d like you to try out a mindfulness technique and tell us about how you got on in 80 words or more. How did you do it? Did it work? (It’s absolutely fine if it didn’t - any responses are valid even if your attempt was a total bust).

  Here are some suggestions for simple techniques to try out:

https://psychcentral.com/blog/1-minute-mindfulness-exercises#6

https://www.pocketmindfulness.com/6-mindfulness-exercises-you-can-try-today/

  Alternatively, you could tell us about something you do to relax and unwind in 80 words or more. Even better if you actually go do that thing before reporting back.

  You’ll earn 10 rubies if you post below by April 30th, 11:59 PM HOL-time.

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To relax during activities that I find stressful, I practice one of two techniques. The first technique I use consists of focusing my thoughts inwards and going through a kata, or several depending on the situation. I do this by visualizing the kata from beginning to end, and focusing on the stances, movements, strikes, and blocks. The second technique I use consists of focusing on taking deep breaths and expelling the air slowly, and focusing on the feeling of breathing and trying to relax.

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To relax, I take a car ride and look at the pretty trees and take photos. I take photos of everything I can see for HOL. I like to be curled up in a blanket. I especially like my sloth blanket, my pink baby blanket, or my pizza blanket. I might have my drawing stuff sitting next to me. I love to draw people and clothes and everything. I like it to be perfectly quiet so I can concentrate on everything. I probably also bring my craft box. I enjoy drawing but I also like crafts. And that's why I love the art department at HOL so much!

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to relax, i sit with my dog or go to my friends house. i draw sometimes to. i really like to read to relax, that helps me alot.  i sometimes go on walks, exercise and / or sleep. that really helps me. Because of my stress , talking to people helps me relax to. to be completely honest, going outside helps alot as well. just doing anything pretty much helps me. Skateboarding is fun, that helps me to.  BUT HOL HELPS ME THE MOST RN! <3 its just so much fun to hang out and make friends while talking about something i love

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One relaxation technique I use is to 'turn inward' (or as my husband calls it, 'zone out').  It can be done anywhere, really, but if I really want to focus I will go to a quiet spot by myself.  Basically, I close my eyes and consciously slow my breathing down and just concentrate on that..breathing.  I block out (as best I can) the sounds around me and focus solely on my body breathing..how it feels, the pattern, etc.  I don't repeat a mantra, but I will try to visualize 'calm'.  It's not necessarily a place (like a babbling brook, etc), but rather a feeling.  Just hone in on 'being calm'.  I can almost feel myself drifting; it's basically just getting in touch with your core being and forget the world around you.  It sounds a lot more complicated than it is :)

Oddly, the other thing I do to relax is cooking.  The simple act of prepping ingredients and cooking soothes my soul.  

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A thing I do to attain awareness of stillness, of quiet, is to 'go in' and allow myself to become consciously aware of the life force of the body, my life force, which is very intelligent. This life force, while uniquely 'mine', is also one with all the life of the beings on the planet and if I go deep enough and still enough, I become consciously aware of the oneness of all that is, and more, I feel it. This uses a different sort of consciousness than what is usually used in the brain, the intellect; it is like a whole-minded awareness of life.  This same conscious awareness can be attained, arrived at, by the methods described above by different people. 

 

When it seems the thing to do, either because I love the music and want to listen to it, or because it's been that kind of day and I'm finding it difficult to be still and quiet, I put on a CD Music to Quiet the Mind, and it invariably helps. The CD includes renditions of:  Incantation by Deva Premal, Heaven's Door by Jeff Johnson,  Joyful Spirit by David Sun, Om Hraum Mitraya by Deva Premal, Clair De Lune by Martin Jones  and Let It Be by Maneesh De Moor.

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One thing I do at night before bed when I need to 'turn off' for the evening begins with laying flat (in a comfy position), taking a deep breath, and leave my eyes closed. From there, I focus on individual muscle groups, starting at my feet. I visualize the my muscles 'turning off' or becoming heavy, just letting all of the tension go. I just shift my focus from my feet, to my calves, to my thighs, etc., until I'm all the way up to my eyes. It just leaves me feeling heavy at the end, like I've really sunk into the bed. Sometimes I'll purposely tense up and then relax, instead of just visualizing the relaxation. When I focus my energy into purposely tensing up muscles before releasing them, I feel the release that much more strongly. 

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