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Last Updated on April 25, 2018

A Simple Guide to Mindfulness for Beginners

A Simple Guide to Mindfulness for Beginners

“The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth, dwelling deeply in the present moment and feeling truly alive.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Does your mind ever feel like it just won’t switch off? Thoughts are spinning around and around inside your head like a carousel out of control. And the more you try to stop them, the faster they seem to go. All you want is some peace within.

Our hearts have a tendency to lead us toward things we need. So you may have already read about mindfulness and its ability to reduce stress and create more peace. Or perhaps a friend has been singing its praises. You may even have seen a poster in the doctor’s office. It sounds like something you might want. No, it feels like something you need. But, the usual suggestion to “just sit, observing your breath for 30 minutes” is confusing at best. And so you toy with the idea for a while, not sure where to begin. Or maybe you’ve even tried it once or twice, only to give up in frustration, as your monkey mind chatters louder than ever.

If you think you aren’t the “mindfulness type,” you are giving up too soon. There is a much simpler, easier way to be mindful. And I promise you, it will work just as well.

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I know because I’ve been there.

A few years ago, I was going through a particularly difficult and sad time. I was spending a lot of time inside my own head, and even when I wanted to switch off, I couldn’t. At the end of the day, my body would be exhausted but my brain kept whirring. Sometimes I felt like I was going crazy. I was desperate to find a way, and I started reading a lot about meditation. I even took a few classes. But for some reason, I couldn’t make it work. It was too hard. It took too much time. So I gave up.

Then in 2009, I took a course called “Mindfulness: A Simpler Form of Meditation” as part of my psychiatry training, where I was introduced to a new way of living mindfully — an easier way, a way that actually worked for me. And will work for you, too. To be able to use this new method well, we need to first understand what mindfulness actually is.

So what is mindfulness?

Jon Kabt-Zinn, a world renowned expert in this subject, defines it as, “Paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non judgmentally.”

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I love this definition, because it helps us understand that your attention, or awareness, is the crucial ingredient in Mindfulness. It has to be intentional, meaning you don’t leave it up to chance; you consciously bring your awareness to rest on something. Whatever you choose to be aware of is okay, as long as it is happening in the present moment. When the mind wanders (as it invariably will, because that’s what minds do), you just bring it gently back to your current focus of awareness.

Jon Kabt Zinn also reminds us to be non-judgmental with our awareness, meaning there is no perfect way to do this, no “standard” to judge yourself against. So, don’t get upset or disappointed when your mind wanders. All you need to do is bring it back gently and repeatedly. In traditional mindfulness, we are taught to do all this while sitting with eyes closed, observing the breath. This is hard to do, especially as beginners, because as you sit observing your breath, the thoughts often seem to get louder. Plus, you still have to go back to real life once it’s done.

So here’s the easier, simpler way: instead of sitting quietly observing your breath with your eyes closed, simply learn how to do your daily routine activities mindfully.

Let me explain. Despite our misleading Facebook updates, most of us have normal, somewhat boring daily lives filled with mundane activities such as driving, doing the dishes, cooking a meal, or taking a shower, right? Well, how about learning to do these daily activities in a mindful way?

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Some benefits of this method:

Let’s think about why this might be better than the usual way, especially for beginners.

• Since these activities are already an essential part of your day, you don’t need to find a separate time for practicing mindfulness.
• You can start with small three- to five-minute activities, such as brushing your teeth.
• You can do this even if the environment around you is loud or busy.
• You can change your awareness for any urgent interruptions, and return to mindfulness mode easily.
• You can do this at work.
• It can be used a quick stress management strategy, because you will see your anxiety reduce almost immediately.
• And so many more.

So, how can you train your monkey mind in this new way of relating to every day tasks?

Practicing in real life:

Imagine you are washing the dishes. You might begin with trying to do it mindfully for just 5 minutes. Here’s how:

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• Start by bringing awareness to your senses: how does the soap feel against your skin, what does it smell like (rather than describe or think about it, just enjoy actually smelling it), what shape is the dish you are holding, how does the wash cloth feel as it moves over the dish, what sound is the water making in this moment, and so on.
• Notice how we use our senses to help keep us aware of this moment.
• You can also use your own body in this way: bringing your awareness to rest on the sensation of your hands moving as you wash, the feel of the floor against your feet, the sensation of your joints moving, etc.
• Whenever your mind wanders, just notice it and gently, with no judgment, bring it back to your senses.
• Do it for just a few minutes at a time but in those few minutes, try to get completely absorbed in your awareness of that moment.

Whatever the activity may be, and however “boring” it may seem, when you fill your awareness in this way, your mind will have no room for rumination. Rather, you will feel fully alive and present. I’m certainly not a yogi, but with constant practice, I have found it easier to include this kind of mindfulness in more and more daily activities.

Some other possible activities to combine this method with:

Use it to help you feel calm, even in the midst of a traffic jam. Use it at work, when you need a break or feel stressed out. Use it when you are eating, when you are showering, or to connect better with the person you are with in each moment. Your daily life is filled with possibilities.

Finding peace, joy, and connection doesn’t have to be just a lofty goal. And you don’t have to be Buddha. Just simply do whatever you are already doing in this very moment — in full awareness, mindfully.
Because, this moment IS your life.

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A Simple Guide to Mindfulness for Beginners

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Haircare 101: Hairstyling Tricks for Both Men and Women

Haircare 101: Hairstyling Tricks for Both Men and Women

Do you have a hairstyle routine? How does it look like? How often do you go to get your hair done, and how much do you spend on it? For basic hair care, most people use shampoos and moisturizers. Yet, many would like to have the hair like those people in shampoo commercials. Is that only a production trick, or can it be achieved in real life?

Turns out that it can, and it includes a plethora of products and an intensive hair care routine. You can use a hair mask, wax, mousse, gel, spray, volumizer, misc, pomade. As you can guess, this is a neverending list, which costs a significant amount, and it takes a lot of hustle. And we can all agree that we’re too busy with our daily lives to concentrate on hair that much. Still, when you see a pretty guy or a girl, you can’t help yourself but look with your eyes wide open.

The goal is to achieve that look without going bonkers and spend a ton of money.

How to do it?

First of all, you need to know yourself and your style, and then to follow it. One of the fundamental mistakes people make regarding hairstyles is the wrong choice of hairstyle. You need to choose based on your head shape and your type of hair.

You simply can’t have a particular hairstyle if your head and hair aren’t compatible with it. Guys – check here. Girls – here. When you’ve picked the perfect one, you should get into the process of mastering it.  Ladies first.

Hair defines your femininity

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    Through the history, the hair was a symbol of femininity. The average woman, during her lifetime, spends approximately $50,000 on her hair and almost two hours a week, washing and styling it. It is believed that our hair represents our thoughts, personality, and beliefs.

    There are dozens and dozens of hairstyles available today. The most popular hairstyles for women for short, medium and long hair are curls, waves, and straight hairstyles. Let’s get into those styles in depth, so you can make them easier.

    Curls

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      Curls give you a bit of glamorous look ideal for every occasion. If you weren’t blessed with them naturally, there are easy ways to get them. The easiest way is to do it with a curling iron. The first and the most important step is to choose a high-quality curling iron. If you are going to use it on the daily or weekly basis, it is crucial to choose one that is not going to damage your hair.

      Using heat protection hairsprays before curling your hair is necessary. For short hair, it’s recommended to use a ¾ “barrel curling iron; for medium hair, the 1“barrel is recommended, and for long hair, you should use 1¼ “barrel curling iron. Then, it’s all about the usage of this product. It might make your hair stunning, or burn your hair. Here’s a detailed guide on how to do it.

      Waves

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        Wavy hair is perfect for the casual and romantic look. The process of making them is same as creating curls, but the secret is in curling iron size. For short hair, you should use 1“barrel, 1 ¼ “barrel for medium hair, and 1 ½ “barrel for long hair.

        If you want to have loose waves, after using a curling iron just brush out the lower half of your hair or shake your head until you get the look you want. To master the curling iron, check out the ultra-useful article from BuzzFeed.

        Straight

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          Straight hair gives you classic look and classic is always fashionable. Girls with natural curls or waves need to spend more time to get this look because they need to use a flat iron, but this process is very easy and quick. Straightening irons are very dangerous to your hair, and you should be careful while choosing the best straightening iron for yourself.

          Before using the iron, apply the heat protection hairspray and divide the hair into sections. The thickness of your hair determines the number of sections – more thick hair, more small sections. Wash, dry and brush your hair carefully before using a flat iron. Make sure to set your straightener to the lowest heat if your hair is particularly thin and brittle.

          With these styles covered, you are one step closer to getting a perfect hairstyle/haircut.

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          What about guys?

          close-up of a man checking his hair in the mirror

            Since the beginning of time, it is well known that a good man takes care of himself. Remember, the single most important element of grooming, aside from basic washing and scrubbing, is your hairstyle.

            Besides making you look neat and handsome, your hairstyle tells a lot about you. Men’s grooming has reached a whole new level, and more and more people have been breaking out with their personal style. Here are some useful steps to get your personal hairstyle started:

            Everyday hair due on the go

            When it comes to choosing an everyday hairstyle, it is best to keep the details about your life in mind. Regardless of the style you want, it should work with your personality, and you’ll need to be comfortable with it. Consider all your needs, how much time you spend to style your hair, and how much effort you are willing to put in your daily look.

            First of all, decide how you want your hair to look. For the most part, you’ll want to keep it pretty much the same you usually wear. It all starts with the right tools.

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            hairstyle equipment

              Of course, you won’t get very far without a quality hair clipper with different guards and blades. Hair clippers are perfect for a casual maintaining at home. As a bonus, you can trim your beard and your intimate parts as well. You’ll be able to save a lot of money by trimming your hair yourself, so it might be a good idea to spend more upfront to get good and long-lasting equipment. Check out this hair clippers buying guide to get informed and buy the best one for yourself.

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                The purchase of the right model might seem pricey at the first glance, but think of it as an investment. Using the hair clipper on yourself might seem strange or uncomfortable, but you’ll get used to. Now you’re one step closer to a great haircut.

                Styling

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                  Styling your hair is the next important thing, especially if you go with the longer hair. Your hair might require styling every day, but when you get used to it, you won’t even notice the process. On the other hand, you’ll be rewarded with a perfect hairstyle every day. For that form and performance, you’ll need some products to help you out.

                  Products

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                    Select styling products that fit you and your hairstyle the most such as gel, pomade, hair wax or hair spray. Unfortunately, most of us will need more than water and a comb to get the desirable hairstyle.

                    Depending on the product and hairstyle, you’ll have several options to apply the styling product. Setting up your hair with the product before you comb your hair is a good practice, for most types of products, except spray.

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