This is the time of year when we think about what we care about most and how we want to live. I’d like to share an activity that will help you get clear on what you want to create this year.

You can start by giving yourself some time to retreat even if it’s just for a few hours. Try going for a long walk outdoors or taking a yoga and meditation class. Bring a journal with you.

Imagine yourself one year from now. You’re living your most vibrant life possible. Imagine in detail and be specific. Reflect upon the following.

What are you doing more of? Less of? Who are you doing this with? Why is this important to you? What’s your motivation? Where are you? How do you feel?

Write this down in the form of a letter to someone who cares deeply about your well-being. Craft your letter as though it’s already happened, as if you’re now living your happiest, healthiest, most purposeful life.

Dear [So and So],
An amazing thing has happened…

When your letter is complete put it someplace where you’ll see it every day. If you want to take this activity a step further, you can create a collage with pictures of everything in your letter. Now you’ll have a visual reminder of how you want to live.

Do one small thing every day that will move your closer to living your vision. Mindfulness can help you make whatever changes you wish to make.

Sharing my recent article on BuzzFeed and hoping it will help you create more of what you want in 2016!

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The fall equinox arrives on Wednesday, September 23rd. Autumn is the season for letting go.

Most of us will spend one-third of our adult lives working. We all want to feel a sense of meaning and purpose about the work we do. Mindfulness can help us achieve this.

As you approach the last quarter of the year I’d like to invite you to think about how you approach your work life.

We’ve been trained to multitask, to work long hours, and to live in a state of stress reactivity. We’ve been taught to force, jam and strive our way to the finish line. We’ve been conditioned to admire people who run around totally stressed out.

What if you could enjoy your work and avoid the burnout that comes from chronic stress? What if you could work less and get more done? What if at the end of the workday you had energy to do something you love? All this is possible!

Learn to let go of business practices that no longer serve you. Join me for a two-day training where you can learn mindfulness skills and practices that will re-energize your work life.

If this venue doesn’t work, I’d be happy to bring this training to your organization. Just contact Cheryl@themindfulpath.com

Happy Autumn!

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One way to get a good night’s sleep is to manage your stress level during the day. If you’re like most people you’re racing from one task to another all day long.

Heart rate and blood pressure increases. The blood rushes to the arms and legs preparing you to fight or flee. This is how we’re wired and this is a good thing when we’re in danger.

The problem is that while the body is intelligent, it doesn’t know whether we’re being chased by a saber-toothed tiger or if some just cut us off on the highway. Living in a chronic state of stress reactivity is harmful.

The solution? Pause and pay attention to your breathing several times throughout the day. This will help slow the rate at which stress hormones, known as adrenaline and cortisol, pump through the body and get you back to “rest and digest”, a calmer state.

Doing this as you go about your day will make it easier to ‘come down from the day’ and fall asleep at night.

When you get into bed you can do a simple mindfulness practice to help you sleep.

Bringing your attention to breathing. Following the air as it moves in and out of the body. Noticing if your breath is shallow or deep. There’s no correct way to breathe. Aware of where you feel yourself breathing; at the nostrils, chest, or abdomen. Letting your attention rest there. Noticing any thoughts that may be going through your mind now. Observing one thought at a time as it passes through the mind without judgment. Like leaves floating down a stream. When a thought comes into the mind— notice it, let it go, and bring the attention back to your breathing. Back to home base. You can do this over and over even if you have 100 thoughts.

Like a muscle that gets exercised, eventually you will train your mind. And be able to get a good night’s sleep.

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What causes you to feel stressed or even overwhelmed?

Start by making a list of all your stressors. (This might be stressful!)

Look at your list. Take a few breaths. Put a “C” next to all the stressors you have control of.

Take a few more breaths. Try to let go of what you don’t have control of. Focus on what you do have control of.

Pick the top five things you’d like to address in the next sixth months. What feels most important to address now? What’s screaming at you?

Set a goal. Determine one thing you will do today, tomorrow, and for the next week. This should be a minuscule goal, something so easy that it feels silly to even be considered a goal.

It’s about being aware that you’re taking a tiny step every day towards alleviating the stress or solving the problem. This awareness is critical.

When we’re overwhelmed we freeze. We don’t see clearly. We don’t access our inner or outer resources. Instead of getting overwhelmed we can focus on the one step we are taking each day to move in the direction we wish to move in.

It is possible to create an authentic life one moment, one step, and one breath at a time.

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Mindfulness in the workplace has become a hot topic these days as organizations strive to achieve business excellence, drive employee engagement, and manage constant change. The challenge is that the very use of mindfulness to accomplish anything goes against the teachings of the practice.

Mindfulness involves bringing your attention to the moment you’re in right now with a gentle, open mind. You’re aware of breathing, thoughts, feelings, sensations, sounds, and surroundings. You note whatever’s happening with compassion for self, others, and the circumstance.

Here’s the million-dollar question. How do we translate the benefits of this ancient practice to transform modern workplace culture and develop sustainable business practices?

You don’t need to be sitting on top of the conference table with your legs crossed and eyes closed, chanting, bowing, and burning incense. There are basically two ways to practice mindfulness: formally and informally.

Mindfulness practice helps us build resilience, have more energy, focus on what’s important, stay calm and avoid reacting, improve relationships, sleep better, be patient, feel compassion, and be effective. Mindfulness helps us feel a sense of work-life, web-life balance.

I hope you’ll join me November 16-17 at Copper Beech Institute where I’ll be facilitating The Mindful Path to Leadership training.

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