Ways to Use Mindfulness During Your Grief

By Tonny Wandella

Mindfulness practice is not intended to alleviate pain or persuade others that everything is OK; rather, it is intended to assist you in recognising the reality of your situation in a nonjudgmental and loving manner. Mindfulness can develop into a way of life, but it takes time. Let’s look at some ways to incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine if you are grieving.

Mindful Walking

This is one of my favourite pastimes since it incorporates physical activity, which has been shown to improve mood and mental health. This activity is especially beneficial for people who are depressed or alone as a result of their bereavement. A nature walk can also be used to ponder on the natural cycle of life and death, as well as to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us.

Breathing with awareness

This may be done anywhere, at any time, and without drawing attention to yourself. Focusing your mind on your body as the breath flows in and exits is known as mindful breathing. This practice can help you relax your mind and body while also reducing anxiety.

Kindness with Love

Self-talk is used in this sort of mindfulness meditation. Loving-kindness is very beneficial for persons who are having difficulty accepting their sadness or are being self-critical of their development. This practice can also be used to express loving-kindness to the deceased person.

The goal of using mindfulness with mourning is not to make the agony of loss go away; rather, it is to acknowledge the emotion and meet it full on instead of avoiding it. Avoiding grief usually takes more energy than allowing ourselves to experience it. You can start practicing mindfulness right now by pausing to thoroughly appreciate this moment.

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Signs of Depression

Written by the Healthline

Could it be depression?

Being unhappy isn’t the same as being depressed. Depression is a term often used loosely to describe how we feel after a bad week at work or when we’re going through a breakup. But major depressive disorder — a type of depression — is much more complicated. There are specific symptoms that determine whether it’s depression or the sadness we all sometimes experience in life.

Determining if persistent, unshakable dark feelings are a result of depression can be the first step toward healing and recovery. Read through these warning signs to see if it’s time for you to see a mental health professional.

1. Hopeless outlook

Major depression is a mood disorder that affects the way you feel about life in general. Having a hopeless or helpless outlook on your life is the most common symptom of depression.

Other feelings may be worthlessness, self-hate, or inappropriate guilt. Common, recurring thoughts of depression may be vocalized as, “It’s all my fault,” or “What’s the point?

2. Lost interest

Depression can take the pleasure or enjoyment out of the things you love. A loss of interest or withdrawal from activities that you once looked forward to — sports, hobbies, or going out with friends — is yet another telltale sign of major depression.

Another area where you may lose interest is sex. Symptoms of major depression include a decreased sex drive and even impotence.

3. Increased fatigue and sleep problems

Part of the reason you might stop doing things you enjoy is because you feel very tired. Depression often comes with a lack of energy and an overwhelming feeling of fatigue, which can be among the most debilitating symptoms of depression. This could lead to excessive sleeping.

Depression is also linked with insomnia, as one might lead to the other and vice versa. They can also make each other worse. The lack of quality, restful sleep can also lead to anxiety.

Read more https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/recognizing-symptoms#fatigue

The Science and Practice of Staying Present Through Difficult Times


Research suggests that when we turn towards pain and discomfort, we can experience less of it. Plus — a guided meditation for being mindful when things get tough.

Research into mindfulness has shown the benefits of staying present, and of gently turning towards difficulty. Mindfulness-based relapse prevention (MBRP) trains people with addictive habits to manage their cravings mindfully by staying present to the sensations of craving, rather than trying to distract from them, avoid them or defeat them.

The Science of Staying Present
In a large trial of MBRP, mindfulness-trained patients drank and used drugs significantly less than those who were treated with cognitive-behavioural approaches, and a control group who attended twelve-step and psycho-education groups. The authors of the study conclude that mindfulness was the most successful approach, especially over the longer term, because it enabled patients to “monitor and skilfully cope with discomfort associated with craving or negative affect.” A similar study with smokers found that mindfulness training was more than five times as effective as a standard smoking cessation programme, as measured by abstinence from cigarettes after four months (31 per cent compared to 6 per cent). Another study has suggested that mindful people are more able to tolerate their own distress, rather than react in harmful ways.

There are benefits to staying present with physical, as well as emotional, discomfort. Fadel Zeidan and colleagues suggest that meditation practice is associated with brain changes that indicate and reflect shifts in people’s experience of, and relationship with, pain. Meditators show decreased activity in the primary somatosensory cortex (an area of the brain involved in registering pain) and increased activity in three areas involved in the regulation of pain—the anterior insula, the anterior cingulate cortex and the pre-frontal cortex. When gently turning towards pain, people report that they experience less of it, and their resistance usually decreases. They may not get so caught up in the negative stories and evasive reactions that tend to accompany pain but do nothing to stop it (and, indeed, may increase the mind’s perception of it). This may be why people with chronic conditions have reported reductions in pain after training in mindfulness, even though they still suffer from the illness.

Read more https://www.mindful.org/science-practice-staying-present-difficult-times/

Rise of the Conqueror Part II (With audio version)

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Today I wish to share with you the Buddha’s teachings on desire.
Human desires are endless. It is like the thirst of a man who drinks salt water: he gets no satisfaction and his thirst is only increased.
So it is with a man who seeks to gratify his desires; he only gains increased dissatisfaction and his woes are multiplied.
The gratification of desires never satisfies; it always leaves behind unrest and irritation that can never be allayed, and then, if the gratification of his desires is thwarted, it will often drive him ‘insane’!

To satisfy their desires, people will struggle and fight with each other, king against king, vassal against vassal, parent against child, brother against brother, sister against sister, friend against friend; they will fight and even kill each other to satisfy their desires.
People often ruin their lives in the attempt to satisfy desires. They will steal and cheat and commit adultery, and then, being caught, will suffer from the disgrace of it and its punishment.
They will sin with their own bodies and words, sin with their own minds, knowing perfectly well that the gratification will ultimately bring unhappiness and suffering, so imperious is desire. And then, the various sufferings in the following world, and the agonies of falling into it, follow.

These 100 Benefits of Meditation Will Convince You Once and for All to Try It 

Erica Sweeney is a writer who covers health, wellness, nutrition, food, fitness and lots of other topics. She has written for The New York Times, HuffPost, Good Housekeeping, Business Insider, Money and more.

The benefits of meditation are plentiful in ordinary times. And amid the coronavirus pandemic, being present and finding moments of peace has never been more important. As we struggle with uncertainty and an inability to grasp what the future will hold, practicing meditation and mindfulness can help get us find a little bit of much-needed calm.

Meditation helps people hit the pause button, helping them become more present in a given moment, says Spring Washam, Meditation of “A Fierce Heart.”

“It’s like the TV is blaring, and then we turn it off for a moment, and we just take a breath,” she says. “Meditation is a way that we gain that a sort of calmness and a centeredness and we connect with ourselves in that moment.”

Whether it’s five minutes or 20 minutes, finding time to meditate throughout the day can help you feel happier and more at peace. And, your mind and body will thank you. Meditation offers a wealth of benefits to improve your physical health and well being.

Benefits of Meditation

1. It lowers cortisol levels. Research shows that mindfulness meditation lowers levels of cortisol, the hormone that causes stress. Reducing cortisol can decrease general stress, anxiety and depression.

2. You can better deal with stress. Meditation brings a sense of calm to the mind and body that can reduce stress, Washam says.

“When the mind relaxes and lets go, the body follows,” she says. “We want our adrenaline and our nervous system to take a break at times, to unplug, to recycle, to rejuvenate.”

3. It eases anxiety. “Meditation is literally the perfect, portable anti-anxiety treatment,” says health coach Traci Shoblom. Taking just a few minutes to close your eyes and do breathing exercises can turn off the mechanisms in your brain that cause anxiety.

Related: 50 Best Meditation Quotes

4. It reduces depression symptoms. Depression is a series mental health condition often triggered by stress and anxiety. Research suggests meditation can change areas of the brain, including the “me center” and “fear center,” that are linked to depression. People who meditate also show increased gray matter in the brain’s hippocampus, responsible for memory.

5. You’ll get a mood boost. Meditation helps you deal with stress, anxiety and difficult situations, which makes you happier and feel better. “We’re just able to deal with difficult things without letting it affect your mood,” Washam says.

Read more https://parade.com/969668/ericasweeney/benefits-of-meditation/



Mindfulness is not just a buzzword created for yogis and hipsters. It is a form of meditation, a practice used for treating anxiety disorders and depression, a daily exercise grounded in breath.

With its foundation in Buddhism, mindfulness focuses on being present in the moment and sitting comfortably with our thoughts, emotions, and being. In doing so, we fill ourselves with awareness and satisfaction that leads to happiness.

The morning is important for setting the tone for the rest of our day, so here are five tips to starting your day mindfully.


If you need an alarm to wake up in the morning, invest in an app or device that allows you to wake up using your normal circadian rhythm. For example, Sleep Cycle lets you set a period of time in the morning that you’d like to be woken up during (say, for example, 30 minutes from 7:00-7:30 AM) and wakes you up gently using a pre-selected sound or song of your choice during the point in your sleep cycle that you are most awake. This app also measures your sleep cycle through the night and lets you rate how you feel in the morning along with making notes about what you did that day (drank alcohol, exercised, ate late, etc.). Many different options are out there, so find the one that works best for you.


Give yourself a bit of you time in the morning before starting with your day. Contrary to traditional forms of meditation, you can practice mindfulness no matter where you are, so find a space where you can be alone, whether still lying in bed, sitting on your yoga mat, or in the bathroom. Set a timer (start with one minute, then slowly increase the amount of time to as much as you desire for your morning meditation, say 15-30 minutes) and practice grounding yourself in your breath, observing how your body feels, how you feel, and focusing on being in the present.


A very important part of mindfulness is being present, but also learning to let things go. Holding on to memories, painful feelings, and thoughts can be exhausting and a waste of energy. You may experience an increase in energy and happiness as you learn to let things go. One way to practice this during meditation is learning what to do if your mind starts to wander. If you find yourself losing focus or ruminating on thoughts, focus on a scene, like a slow flowing river. Visualizing that there are leaves floating down. When a random thought pops up in your mind, acknowledge it, attach it to a leaf, and allow it to float down the river away from you. Now, practice the same behavior towards other thoughts that pop up during the day that could disrupt you.


Once you master sitting and breathing mindfully, mindfulness can be brought into all your daily activities, including taking a shower, brushing your teeth, and eating your breakfast. To eat mindfully, start with grounding yourself in your breath and being grateful for the meal you’re about to eat. Look at your food and take note of the color, flavor, and texture of your food. Then, begin to eat, chewing slowly. Try to concentrate and appreciate each of the components of taste and texture. It may take a while for you to finish your meal, but you may find that when you sit down and take the time to savor your food, you won’t need to eat as much to feel full and satisfied. If breakfast is a bit complicated, try starting out by practicing eating a piece of chocolate mindfully or drinking your morning cup of coffee.


Stuck at a red light, missed the train, or have to wait for someone else to get out of the bathroom? Make use of the time when you would usually be frustrated or impatient and practice your mindfulness, checking in with how you feel, where your breath is, and see every pause in your day as an opportunity to ground yourself in the moment. Understand that everything is temporary and it will all pass in due time.

As you begin practicing mindfulness, remember to start slow and be easy on yourself. We are often our own worst critics. Part of mindfulness is not just letting go of things around you, but also learning to observe without judgment. This includes being okay with your mind wandering while you are beginning to meditate and practice mindfulness, not criticizing yourself when you’ve done something differently to what you had planned, and not judging ourselves when something negative happens around us.

Most importantly, make sure to get enough sleep and give yourself a realistic timeframe in which to wake up in the morning and complete your start of the day ritual. With every breath, focus on the positive and let go of the negative.

source: https://globein.com


By ACHIEVE CONCIERGE, learn how to support our family and friends.

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Suicide ranks as the tenth-leading cause of death in the United States, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) reports, and an estimated 1.4 million suicide attempts took place in 2017. Yet there are many ways to promote suicide education and prevention, and to support suicide loss survivors around the world, such as:


A survivor of suicide loss is susceptible to a wide range of powerful emotions, including shock, anger, guilt, despair, and confusion, and these emotions may continue for weeks or months after the loss of a loved one to suicide. It is important to realize that the aforementioned emotions are only temporary, but self-care activities may help a person move past them.

There are many ways to practice self-care, such as going for a walk outdoors, getting a massage, and volunteering in your community. If you’re coping with the loss of a loved one to suicide, try different self-care options that make you feel good. You can also encourage someone struggling with the loss of a loved one to do the same.


The loss of a loved one to suicide often raises questions and concerns that can be virtually impossible to answer, but resources are available to help you cope.

For example, you can read a book or watch a film from the AFSP’s book and film recommendations for suicide loss survivors. You can also contact the National Suicide Prevention Line for additional guidance and support.  


Losing a loved one to suicide can be a difficult topic to discuss, but engaging with others in a group discussion about this subject may be helpful. With a group discussion, you and others coping with the loss of a loved one can share your thoughts and feelings with one another, without blame, shame, or guilt.

Use the AFSP’s group discussion guidelines to create a dialogue with family members, friends, and others around suicide loss. AFSP also offers suicide loss support groups in cities and towns across the United States.


Education plays a key role in suicide prevention. If you feel comfortable, you can speak out about suicide and share your story with others. This allows you to educate others about the dangers associated with suicide.

If you decide to express your thoughts and feelings about suicide, follow the advice in AFSP’s speak out about suicide guide to share your suicide loss story or encourage others to share their stories.


Complicated grief can make it difficult for a person coping with suicide loss to function. If grief continues beyond 12 months after this loss, an individual may want to pursue professional help.

Psychotherapy may be a good option for an individual dealing with the loss of a loved one to suicide. This form of therapy can help an individual develop coping strategies to manage his or her emotions.

In addition to psychotherapy, antidepressant medications may be used to help a person manage his or her complicated grief symptoms. Medications may be prescribed on their own, or used in combination with psychotherapy, to help a person cope with the loss of a loved one to suicide.

Suicide loss survivors may cope with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) that causes fatigue, body aches, and other physical symptoms, as well as anxiety, stress, and various emotional symptoms. Thus, different coping strategies and treatment methods are often needed to help survivors of suicide loss manage these symptoms.

source: https://achieveconcierge.com

The Science of Gratitude

This is an article form Mindful, exploring the power behind gratitude.

Taking a moment to be thankful for the good things in life can help you cultivate a healthy work lifemanage stress and develop a deeper connection to people, especially in tough situations. Researchers at the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley have even commissioned a three-year project, Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude, to dig deeper into the health benefits behind the art of appreciation.

What are the effects of practicing gratitude?

  1. It boosts your mental health.  Those who write letters of gratitude reported significantly better mental health four weeks and 12 weeks after their writing exercise ended. While not conclusive, this finding suggests that practicing gratitude may help train the brain to be more sensitive to the experience of gratitude down the line, and this could contribute to improved mental health over time.
  2. It helps you accept change. When we are comfortable with the way things already are, it can be difficult to accept when things change—let alone feel grateful for that difference. But when we make it a habit to notice the good change brings, we can become more flexible and accepting. Here are four ways to practice gratitude when change arises. 
  3. It can relieve stress. The regions associated with gratitude are part of the neural networks that light up when we socialize and experience pleasure. These regions are also heavily connected to the parts of the brain that control basic emotion regulation, such as heart rate, and are associated with stress relief and thus pain reduction. Feeling grateful and recognizing help from others creates a more relaxed body state and allows the subsequent benefits of lowered stress to wash over us.

People who practice gratitude report:

  • Fewer physical symptoms of illness
  • More optimism
  • Greater goal attainment
  • Decreased anxiety and depression, among other health benefits.

Gratitude also positively impacts our brains. 

Practicing gratitude lights up the brain’s reward center. One study found that practicing gratitude by keeping a gratitude journal lights up the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, a key brain region associated with reward processing in the brain.

source: https://www.mindful.org

5 Tips for Developing Deep, Relaxed Concentration

This is an article on productivity and mindfulness by Radhika Cosley

Here are five simple exercises that will help you get a feel for the art of concentration. Remember to stay relaxed. Yes, you may have to tear your attention away from alluring distractions. But you’re sure to find that the state of deep, relaxed concentration is soothing, renewing, and can even be blissful.

Ananda’s founder, Swami Kriyananda, was able to remember a phone number hours later after just glancing at it. He said that all it takes is concentrating with enough energy. When he would put his mind to something, he usually wasn’t even aware of what was going on around him.

1. Find a peaceful setting
If possible, set aside a room or a corner of your living space that is quiet and free from distractions, where your TV and computer aren’t visible, your phone is silent, and other distractions are beyond arm’s reach.

If you don’t have a free space, hang a curtain or place a screen in a corner of a room, so you won’t be able to see the busy world outside. If need be, you can simply sit facing a blank wall, where you can’t see anything immediately distracting.

2. Set a goal
Close your eyes for a moment. Think of a reasonable expectation for what you’ll be able to accomplish. A good way to decide what’s reasonable is to estimate how long the task will take – and double it, because unforeseen delays will be unavoidable.

Write down your goal, so you can refer to it if you become distracted. Think of the many reasons the task is worth investing your time and concentration and write them down. The founder of the San Francisco Bay Area’s most successful woman-owned business says she finds it a lot easier to achieve her goals if she writes them down as soon as she thinks of them. A Chinese saying is: “The best memory is not half so firm as faded ink.”

3. Do one thing at a time
If you try to do two or more things at once you won’t get either of them done more effectively – you’ll simply ruin your concentration by dividing it, so you’ll take longer to get both tasks done, and you’ll make more mistakes. A study at Stanford University  found that “chronic multi-taskers” had poorer memories, were more easily distracted, and were less able to switch easily between tasks.

By focusing on just one thing in small matters, you’ll find it becomes easier to concentrate while facing big challenges.

4. Take a break – and drink a glass of water
At first glance, taking time off would seem to be counterintuitive. If you plan to work longer than an hour,  though, it will actually help your concentration to get up and walk around for 5-10 minutes, preferably outdoors. This will increase the blood flow to your brain, which will help you think more clearly, and will relieve the frustration of working past the point where your brain gets tired and wants to rebel.

Drinking water will prevent dehydration, which leads to dizziness and tiredness. A study of athletes found that those who were dehydrated lost up to 40 percent of their strength.

5. Meditate
Many meditation techniques are based on focusing the mind on a single thought, mantra, or object, which can noticeably improve your concentration, even if you only practice it 10 minutes a day. Here is a simple technique you can try.

It’s good to remember that the most important thing in concentration is not, in fact, to force the mind to concentrate, but to become deeply relaxed and intensely interested in whatever you hold your attention on.

Swami Kriyananda often said that the mind tends to follow whatever feelings are uppermost in the heart. By cultivating positive, expansive feelings such as love, compassion, and kindness we find that the mind becomes easily focused.

Try This
For a day, or a week, try doing one thing at a time. When you sit down to a meal, focus entirely on the meal, and even avoid talking if possible.

Whatever you do, put your full attention on it. At the end of the day or week, check how you feel. Are you more relaxed, more peaceful? Did you accomplish more than you expected? If you make one-pointed concentration a habit, you’ll notice that you find your activities more enjoyable. Instead of seeing concentration as a strain, you’ll find that it becomes a very fulfilling part of your day.

source: https://www.ananda.org/blog

How to take care of your mental health: 10 effective tips

There can be no denying that the year or so has been incredibly difficult for just about everyone. The stress and worry caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has been amplified for many by the restrictions and loneliness of lockdown. At such times, and as we move forward, it’s more essential than ever to take care of your mental health.

We take a look at why it’s such an important topic, how events such as Mental Health Awareness Week can help, and some proven methods for helping you take care of your own mental health.

What is mental health?

Let’s get things started with a mental health definition. The term mental health refers to an individual’s emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing. The World Health Organisation further defines it as “a state of wellbeing in which the individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”.

What are mental health issues?

So, when we talk about mental health, we’re talking about both internal and external factors that impact an individual and their emotional health and wellbeing. And when we use terms such as ‘mental health issues/disorders/problems’, we’re talking about conditions that affect a person’s mood, way of thinking, and ability to cope.

There is a range of mental health problems that can impact us, and many of these are more common than you might think. A UK-wide study in 2014 found that 1 in 6 people in England reported experiencing a common mental health problem each week. Similarly, data from the US show’s that around 18.1% of the population experience anxiety disorders every year.

The list of mental health issues that can affect people is quite long and varied. What’s more, such diagnoses can only be made by a medical or mental health practitioner. However, some common examples include:

Mood disorders, such as depression and bipolar disorder
Anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorders
Eating disorders
Personality disorders
Within each of these categories are often multiple conditions. Usually, medical professionals will classify these issues using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) or the International Classification for Diseases (ICD).

Why is your mental health important?

So why is it important to care for your mental health? As we saw from our definition, it’s a subject that can have far-reaching implications. Taking care of your mental health can impact your personal wellbeing, relationships, resilience, and various other factors. Let’s explore a couple of these areas in more detail:


Many studies have shown the link between positive mental health and overall wellbeing. In fact, the two concepts are closely tied together, and many suggest that physical and mental health should often be addressed simultaneously.

There are several examples where this link between mental and physical health are seen, some of which are outlined in our open step on diet and mental health:

Those with serious mental disorders have a significantly increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and even some cancers.
People suffering from depression are also at an increased risk for cardiometabolic disorders, such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Those disorders – in turn – increase the risk of depression.
Individuals with gastrointestinal disorders are much more likely to have a higher prevalence of adverse mental symptoms, such as depression and anxiety.
Those with depression commonly report gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhoea, constipation and bloating.


The people around us and our place in society play a significant role in our mental health. Studies show that those who are more socially connected are generally happier, healthier, and live longer than those who are less connected.

Those who struggle with their mental health may, at times, find it hard to maintain these relationships, which can often make matters worse. Again, this proves why mental health is important.

Source: https://www.futurelearn.com