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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

A Step-By-Step Guide to Long-term Furniture Storage

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Guide to Long-term Furniture Storage

In this day in age, people, companies and families require convenient mobile storage solutions for a variety of reasons. From businesses to individuals, there are a lot of scenarios where having some extra space makes sense.

If you are considering moving some of your furniture into storage for a long-term period, here is a step-by-step guide to ensure it all goes according to plan.

1. Take Time To Prep

No matter whether you are putting your furniture in storage for months or years, you want to take the time to prep the items before they go in. Make sure to give your furniture and any other belongings a thorough clean before moving them. You and the other members of your household can do this, or you can hire professionals cleaners (who know the most effective and efficient dust cleaning methods) to take care of this task for you for greater convenience.

A thorough clean entails wiping each piece down with a fresh cloth and then using the appropriate cleaner for the type of material (metal, wood, glass, etc.).

Finally, let the furniture dry in a well-ventilated area, so that no trapped moisture remains on the furniture when you wrap and prepare the piece for storage. If humidity or moisture does stay on the furniture, it can damage your belongings over time.

2. Make A Plan For Moving

Every person or family who moves underestimates how much “stuff” they have accumulated over time.

Before you jump into moving everything, make a thorough plan of action.

Figure out if you are going to hire helpers to move some of the more significant furniture pieces, or if you are going to do it yourself. It is a good idea to disassemble some of the larger pieces of furniture, such as your chests or sofas. This will make them a lot easier to transport into the storage unit.

If you do remove the legs from your tables and separate the boards from your bed frames, remember to group, wrap and label these pieces together so that you can reassemble them with ease when necessary.

Additionally, only purchase one to two box sizes for stacking and convenience purposes. When packing up the boxes, create a contents list — a numbered list that notes all the contents of each box — that you can refer to when you need to retrieve something or when it comes time to take things out of the storage unit.

3. Wrap Everything Up Appropriately

The most important aspect of long-term furniture storage is making sure you are protecting your belongings as well as you possibly can.

For your furniture, use sheets or covers to prevent dust from settling on them, while also still allowing the air to flow. However, bypass plastic package materials as they can stifle some materials such as wood and fabrics.

For your smaller, more delicate belongings, such as framed pictures and lamps, use bubble wrap for wrapping.

4.  Keep It Organized

Once you have strategically moved everything into your storage unit, it is essential that you keep it organized throughout the time you have it.

An organized storage unit will ensure not only that you can locate furniture and other items when necessary, but also that everything that is in storage remains safe and protected.

Always have an aisle down the middle of your storage unit, so that you can move throughout the space to reach boxes whenever necessary. 

However you decide to stack your belongings (boxes, shelves, etc.), just make sure there is plenty of distance between your boxes and the walls to have sufficient airflow.

If you do have to rearrange things at some point, keep the boxes that are filled with “essentials” front and center, and always put everything back where it belongs.

A Few Final Thoughts

If you follow this step-by-step guide for prepping and storing your furniture, you need not worry about keeping it in storage long-term. If you clean the pieces, pack them appropriately, disassemble them for easy transport, and keep your storage unit organized, then you will know that they are ready for you upon removal, whenever you require them again.

Have you ever moved your furniture into an onsite storage rental unit for the long-term? What tips and tricks did you learn for making it a smooth process? Let us know in the comments below! 

AUTHOR BIO: Chris Humphrey is the General Manager of Easytruck Moving & Storage. In 2013, the company combined their expertise in professional moving services & storage to create an entirely new approach to the business – and mobile storage was born! Easytruck now operates over 30,000sqft of air-conditioned facilities in three convenient locations in Dubai and is the only Mobile Storage operator in the UAE.

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Lifestyle

How To Ensure A High Quality Construction Job

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How To Ensure A High Quality Construction Job

If you work in the construction industry, then you will be aware that having quality construction materials throughout the duration of the job can result in a high-quality end product being produced. This is especially pertinent given numerous advancements in modern construction techniques as well as the various new materials that have been introduced onto the market. Indeed, to make sure that you create a quality construction job, you should make sure you get the best building materials which are available on the market. However, you should also make sure that you avoid using cheaper materials as a result of trying to save money in the short term, which can sometimes reduce the end quality of the construction job that you are working on.

Therefore, if you want to make sure that all of the construction jobs that you are working are completed to the highest quality possible, then you should follow these simple tips to make sure you choose the right materials from the correct supplier.

Modern Advancements

Given the various advancements in the construction industry over the last few decades, especially relating to the provision of quality construction materials, the cost of building has increased. This is especially pertinent given modern environmental concerns as well as other social and safety issues. However, if you want to help fight global warming, whilst creating a high-quality construction end product, then you should consider the use of modern materials and construction methods which can offer a number of advantages over more traditional techniques.

Save Costs

In addition, if you are looking to save money, but also to ensure a high-quality construction job, then you should look for new materials which can give you both cost savings as well as other benefits which the building owner can enjoy at the end of the project. Specifically, it should be noted that looking for new techniques as well as advanced materials which have a number of environmental as well as financial benefits should be one of the main tasks if you are working on any number of construction jobs.

Appropriate Materials

Some construction materials have recently been found to be dangerous; especially a number of volatile compounds including asbestos which can create increased health risks. However, by choosing a company which offers quality construction materials that are free of such contaminants, it is possible to complete the construction job you are working on to the highest quality, whilst also ensuring the health and the well-being of both the construction workers and the end users of the building.

Choose The Right Company

Lastly, by carrying out a quick search online, you can find the various companies which supply such materials to the construction industry in your area. In addition, if you are looking for reviews or testimonials about these companies, then a simple search can allow you to understand whether the materials that they provide are of the highest quality available.

Therefore, in order to make sure you complete a construction job to the best quality possible, you should always think about finding a company which can provide you with the highest quality construction materials which are available on the market.

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Health

How to Support a Loved One Who’s Struggling with Addiction

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It’s impossible to talk about physical and mental health without also addressing the fact that more than 20 million people over the age of 12 are suffering from some kind of addiction.

Addiction is a serious problem throughout the United States — and the rest of the world, for that matter — and the chances are very high that someone you know and love is struggling or will struggle in the future. Because of this, it’s important to know how to provide support and encourage loved ones to get the help they need.

Not sure where to begin?

Listed below are some easy-to-apply steps that will help you show support to a loved one who is struggling with an addiction.

Know the Signs

One of the most important steps you can take is making sure you’re aware of the signs of addiction. It’s not always easy to spot, but if you’re loved one starts exhibiting any of the following behaviors, they could be struggling.

  • Appearing intoxicated more often than usual
  • Developing memory and cognition issues
  • Feeling lethargic or sleeping more often than usual
  • Having trouble at school or work
  • Only attend social events where drugs or alcohol will be available
  • Isolating themselves and skipping activities they used to enjoy
  • Stealing money or other valuables to fund their habit
  • Lying about how much of a particular substance they’re using
  • Getting angry or defensive when questioned about their substance use
  • Neglecting their appearance or personal hygiene

Speak Up Early

When you start noticing signs that could indicate your loved one is struggling with an addiction, be sure to speak up early and express your concern. Don’t wait until they hit rock bottom to offer help.

Letting them know early on that you’re there for them and want to help them could be the push they need to start to turn things around. Addiction is just like any other disease — the sooner it is treated, the better.

Avoid Common Communication Pitfalls

When it comes to addressing your loved one’s behavior and expressing your concern, it’s important to communicate effectively and avoid common pitfalls that can cause them to become angry or defensive.

Remember, they might not realize yet themselves that they have a problem, so it’s important to avoid coming on too strong and making them feel as though they’re being attacked.

Some common mistakes to avoid when talking to your loved one include:

  • Avoid preaching, lecturing, bribing, threatening, or moralizing
  • Don’t be a martyr — this means avoiding emotional appeals that make them feel guilty or ashamed for how they’re affecting you
  • Don’t argue when they’re clearly under the influence — they won’t be in the right state of mind to hear what you have to say

Make Sure You’re Not Enabling Them

It’s very easy to fall into the habit of enabling an addict when you’re trying to help them get better. Be sure to avoid these enabling behaviors:

  • Covering up, lying, or making excuses for them and their behavior
  • Taking over responsibilities to protect them from consequences
  • Giving them money or access to their substance of choice
  • Driving them to meet with a dealer or to purchase their substance of choice so they’re not driving under the influence
  • Spending time with them while they’re using so they’re not alone

You may think you’re doing the right thing by practicing these behaviors, but remember that they don’t actually benefit your loved one — they only make it harder for them to see why their behavior is a problem.

Consult a Professional

Remember, too, that you don’t have to go at this alone. In fact, you probably shouldn’t.

Supporting a loved one with an addiction is incredibly difficult. Working with a professional — someone who has experience working with addicts — will make it easier for you to stop enabling behaviors and make sure your loved one is getting the help they need.

Whether you hold an intervention or simply get advice from a specialist, consulting a professional throughout this process will increase the likelihood that you’ll be successful in helping your loved one overcome their addiction.

A professional can even help you write letters or practice communicating with your loved one in a more effective way.

Be Patient

No matter how hard you work, some people just aren’t ready when you are to give up their addictions.

Remember that you may need to have several conversations before your loved one accepts that they have a problem. Even if they’re not receptive the first time around, be patient and let them know that you love them and are there for them.

At the same time, make sure you’re giving them space to experience consequences. It’s also important for you to have space from your loved one so that you can continue to care for yourself — you can’t help them if you’re neglecting your own needs.

Final Thoughts

Supporting a loved one with an addiction is difficult, but there are ways to effectively communicate and let them know that you want to help them.

Keep these tips in mind as you start navigating the waters of working with a loved one who’s currently struggling and — most importantly — remember that there’s always hope.

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