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5 Easy Ways to Practice Mindfulness

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Easy Ways to Practice Mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness is a great way to diminish stress, which is a constant for just about everyone. But many people find it difficult to focus on the present, which is something that mindfulness expert Jon Kabat-Zinn (an MIT graduate who has been involved with the practice for over 45 years) says is essential. He says mindfulness is about thinking “Oh yeah, brand new day and I’m still alive!” and going about the day with awareness.

So, how can you—in this multi-tasking world of ours—practice mindfulness? Here are five easy ways to find inner peace and be alone with your thoughts.

1. Start slow, grasp the true essence of mindfulness

First, get rid of the assumption that you must be some kind of Zen master or assume a certain position when the moon and your astrological sign are in synch. Practicing mindfulness is nothing like that. It is simply about focusing on one thing at a time, free of the distracting thoughts that typically plague your mind. Kabat-Zinn says, “When you’re walking, just walk. When you’re eating, just eat. Not in front of the TV, not with the newspaper.”

So, take time for self-reflection and ask yourself: am I texting while “watching” television? Am I scrolling through Facebook while I have my mom on speakerphone? If you are, you aren’t honing in on thing at a time. By physically removing all that clutters and distracts you from the one main thing that you are attempting to do, you can devote all of your thoughts to moments as they occur (rather than living in anticipation of what’s coming next or considering what happened in the past).

2. Take a simple walk

Walking is a great way to clear the mind, especially if you refrain from listening to music or using your phone. Enjoy the scenery. Look all around, even up at the sky or at the pavement beneath your feet. Think only of what you are doing, not about what you need to add to the grocery list or your child’s upcoming school project. Take everything in, allowing yourself to embrace what you otherwise don’t (when you’re caught up in the inner rumblings of your mind).

Walking need not involve hitting the gym or being active for an hour. Buddhist author and teacher John Ciancosi explains that such focus can be accomplished while walking in short bursts of time, even from just the car to the office: “If you can learn to establish awareness during walking meditation—when you are physically moving with your eyes open—then it won’t be difficult to arouse that same wakeful quality during other activities… and your meditation will begin to permeate your entire life.”

So try going for a walk, whether it’s a short stroll up and down your street, around your workplace or in a local park.

Must Read: 5 Mistakes to Avoid During Walking Exercise

3. Sit

That’s right, sit. How easy is that? Kabat-Zinn says “Sit down and take a minute to just be here. Stop, breathe, and feel. Let the past be over and done with, and let what has not yet happened to be off in the future.” He notes you may feel as though you’ve been sitting a long time when in fact you’ve only been sitting for a few minutes, but this is normal. He says, “This practice is about feeling where you are right now. Just give yourself three minutes to feel your body and mind. The goal isn’t to have any particular experience, but rather to check in on how it really is to be you.”

4. Observe your immediate surroundings

Eden Kozlowski (founder and CEO of Just Be, LLC) wrote about mindfulness as it pertains to truckers. How can they, she wondered, practice mindfulness when they are always on the road? You can take some tips from her suggestions for truckers by observing life around you wherever you are. “You don’t need incense, an exotic location or to be transported to some elevated state of being. Your truck can be your sanctuary,” she explains.

So, if you’re a trucker, notice the scenery as you drive. If you’re in an office all day, look at the plant on your desk and observe details such as new growth or the intricate designs in the leaves. You’ll find yourself achieving a state of relaxation by being more mindful of the everyday surroundings you probably rarely notice in the first place.

5. Shower

Resist the urge to use shower time as an opportunity to ponder some family conflict or rehearse a presentation. Instead, focus on your shower and nothing more. Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. even wrote a brief post titled, “Turn on Your Shower and Reduce Your Stress Today.” She says that showers are an easy way to engage in mindfulness. “Habitual rumination on regrets into the past will sap your energy and open the doors for a barrage of self-judgment that will keep you from living the life you want,” she cautions.

So, she encourages shower mindfulness, rhetorically asking, “What would happen if instead of thinking about all the plans you had to catch up on while you were in the shower, you took a pause, and then brought your nose to the smell of the soap…and again, just exploring the scent of it with your nose…?”

Resist the “more is more” mindset and instead focus on these easy ways to practice mindfulness, all of which you can do from the comfort of your own home and personal space.

Sources:
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/mindfulness-anderson-cooper-60-minutes/
http://www.pbs.org/thisemotionallife/blogs/practicing-mindfulness
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eden-kozlowski/why-truckers-need-meditation_b_7204732.html
http://blogs.psychcentral.com/mindfulness/2009/02/turn-on-the-shower-and-reduce-your-stress-today/

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Lifestyle

7 Ways To Create a Cosy Home

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Cozy home decor, How to make your home cozy and inviting

When winter time comes around, all anyone wants to do is snuggle up beneath a sheepskin rug by the fire. But what if you don’t have a sheepskin rug? Or a fire? Not to worry, as there are many innovative ways in which you can create a cosy space without having to live on the front cover of a Christmas card. Coming home to a warm and inviting space is one of the most rewarding things when it’s cold and miserable outside. Here are 5 ways to help you achieve a cosy home:

1. Blankets

If you want to keep warm without cranking up the heating or putting on every sweater you own, then invest in some cosy blankets which you can throw over your sofa. If you pick the right pattern or colour to go with your room, they can look great when they’re not being used, too. Creams, subtle patterns and tartan are great all-rounders that can fit in almost any setting.

2. Cushions

Another way to make your sofa warmer and more inviting is to go big on the cushions. Oversized pillows can really create a space which you can sink into which will feel a million miles from the cold outdoors.

3. Carpet

Carpeting not only looks cosy, it is also the best way to help insulate your home. Whereas floor boards let a lot of heat escape, carpet holds it all in, which makes your home warmer and in turn reduces your heating bills – it’s a win-win!

4. Lighting

Warm, soft lighting can make a world of difference when it comes to creating a cosy feel. Whereas cold daylight bulbs may be great during the summer, warm, golden lighting is best in the winter months. If you want the best of both, then use colder lighting offset by warm lamps, which can be used to create pockets of rosy light on a winter’s evening.

5. Heating

Heating is obviously one of the easiest ways in which to make your home warm and cosy. Why not go a step further and install under floor heating in your bathrooms? It certainly makes getting out of the warm shower on a cold night a whole lot easier. Heated towel rails are another great way to bring heat into your bathrooms, while electric blankets can give your bed an ultra-cosy feel.

6. Colours

The colours used in your home can also make a big difference to how cosy it feels. By opting for warmer creams or even yellows and oranges, you can make a space feel warm and inviting. Likewise, pops of gold and rose gold can really help to deepen the warmth of a space. If you have light walls, then opt for warm-coloured furnishings and accessories to create a warmer feel.

7. Photos

Using family photos to decorate your walls and shelves is another great way to make a room feel homely and inviting. Plus, the happy memories this brings will certainly help you to make it through the cold, grey winter.

There are so many small touches you can add to prepare your home for winter, so don’t wait till it’s too late – get prepping now!

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Lifestyle

What to Do When Your External Drive Is Broken

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We capture and store a lot of digital files these days. Over 70% of our lives, from the photos we capture with our phones to the vacation videos from a couple of years ago, are stored digitally. Having a reliable storage solution is a must and many of us rely on external USB hard drives as a solution.

Even the most reliable hard drive can fail. If you have had one of your storage media or external drives fail you before, you know how dreadful – and stressful – the situation can be. Worry not, because you have more options than you realize in this type of circumstance.

Spot the Signs Early

You can actually recognize signs that your hard drive is failing early. When you do, you may still have the option to back up your files to another, newer external drive for safekeeping. This is obviously the easiest way to go, so knowing the signs and how to spot them is important.

One of the major signs that your hard drive is failing is a much slower read and write speed. While a slow drive doesn’t always mean that it is failing, a difference in read and write speed (a noticeable one nonetheless) should prompt you to make an additional backup of the drive immediately.

Other signs are more physical and apparent. You may hear a knocking sound coming from the drive when it is reading or writing data. The drive may even make a louder noise than usual or emit more heat than usual. These too are signs to watch out for.

In a worst-case scenario, your drive may be unreadable all of a sudden. If you are using a Windows computer, Windows usually asks you to format the drive before you can use it. Don’t format the drive just yet. In this case, unplug the drive safely and take it offline.

Data Recovery Options

Your drive fails and there is a serious risk that your files may be gone forever; what should you do next? It is time to take a look at your options.

You want to start by testing the cable you use to connect your drive. Sometimes, the cable is the culprit and replacing it is all you need to do to get the drive working again.

If it isn’t the cable, then you need to start weighing some data recovery options. There are software programs that enable you to do it yourself, but the best way to go is by getting the assistance of professional and secure data recovery service provider.

Sending the Drive for Recovery

Here’s the good news: the best recovery service providers can restore most – if not all – of your files without an issue in most cases. The files aren’t accessible with the drive being broken, but they are still there and can be moved to another drive.

Package the drive with bubble wrap and make sure it will stay protected as you send the drive for recovery. Either ship the device yourself or call the recovery service provider to schedule an on-site pick-up for the drive. Wait for the recovery process to be completed and you should have your files back and safe.

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4 Reasons Why Microfiber Cloths are Better for Cleaning

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Microfiber cloths for cleaning, Is microfiber cloth good for dusting

There are many products that claim to do a better job than the original, like exercise machines that promise to burn more calories or shoes that claim to be better for your posture. Indeed, many have fallen for these promises and ended up disappointed. 

Microfiber cloths are in a league of their own, however, because they really ARE better than rags and other cleaning implements. Don’t believe it? Here are a few reasons why you should buy microfiber cleaning cloths and towels for your home. 

They are Better for Dry Dusting

The physical structure of microfiber cloths is what makes them different and more effective: the tiny fibers of this synthetic fabric are split into even thinner, tinier “hooks,” which pick up and hold on to the dirt and grime. Other materials like cotton or cotton blends simply don’t have this property, and that’s why you end up just scattering dust or transferring it onto another surface. 

Another benefit of microfiber is that it leaves no residues that often end up attracting more dust. You can even use the same cloth as a surface polisher; just flip over the cloth and buff the surface for a lint-free shine. 

They Do a Better Job Removing Grime

Sometimes, you really have to use a wet cloth to get out some stubborn grime, like grease stains or soap spots. The good thing about microfiber is that you don’t need to use special cleaners to do the job — most of the time, a little bit of water will do. If you need more environment-friendly cleaning power, white vinegar will do just fine. Simply moisten one end of your microfiber cloth, scrub the grime away, then use the other end to dry and shine the surface your cleaned. 

Microfiber also has another edge over other materials: where other cloths leave lint behind, whether you use them wet or dry, microfiber doesn’t have this problem; it cleans without any lint and streaks. If you’ve ever experienced cleaning something that ended up looking dirtier than before, because of all the streaks and smudges, you’ll certainly appreciate a high-quality microfiber cloth. It’s especially wonderful to use on glass and mirrored surfaces!  


‘Calibri’,’sans-serif’; mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri;”>It’s Better for the Environment

Because there is no need for chemicals and other harsh cleaners, microfiber cloths are safer for the environment. Even the washing process of microfiber is a lot more ecologically friendly — no need for bleach and fabric softeners, just some mild detergent. 

What’s more, high quality microfiber doesn’t degrade as easily. As long as you follow the proper care instructions, one piece of microfiber cloth can last for about 300 to 500 washings! This means you also reduce the waste you generate while cleaning. Less waste also means less expenses, so it really is a win-win situation. 

It’s Better for Your Health

Apart from the reduced exposure to harmful chemicals, microfiber cleaning cloths can also protect you from physical strain. Why? It’s a lot lighter than cotton even if it absorbs so much more moisture. This saves you from neck, wrist, and back injuries that may be caused by carrying heavy, water-soaked mops. 

Microfiber has also been scientifically proven to be able to remove 93 percent of viruses and up to 98 percent of bacteria from surfaces. And because it dries much faster than cotton, it’s a lot harder for bacteria to grow in the cloth; this also drastically reduces that chances of cross-contamination. 

Finally, using microfiber cloths and cleaning implements like dusters and mops cuts down your cleaning time. You therefore have more time to rest or do other things like your hobbies, which is definitely better for your overall health. 

Over the years, many revolutionary products have come and gone. They may actually do as they promise, but they could be complicated to use or a bit too expensive for many people to access. Microfiber cloths, however, have truly changed our lives for the better. Although not as technological when compared to smartphones and computers, microfiber cloths have definitely made our lives easier, healthier, and more comfortable.

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