- Resources & Research
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How many times a day do you find yourself caught up in thoughts of the past; thinking about uncompleted tasks, unresolved issues, words you wished you could take back, or words left unspoken? Or do you find yourself fantasizing about the future, focused on events that may or may not happen, wishing for a different present?
How often are you bombarded with information, ideas, and messages that excite or overload you with a longing for the past, or you become dissatisfied with your present and long for a utopian future? Throughout a typical day, our thoughts and feelings fluctuate, often leaving us feeling overwhelmed, dissatisfied, or stressed. When our thoughts are in the past or future, we miss being in the present.
A few years ago, a colleague presented me with the book, Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life, by Jon Kabat Zinn. It was the right book at the right time for me. Practicing mindfulness did not take away stress, but now I am quick to recognize when I need to stop, breathe, and focus on the present moment, bringing me to a place of calmness.
One of the ways we can strengthen our focus on living in the present is practicing mindfulness through breathing and sensory exercises. The exercises, in the attachment, could be practiced any time of the day and any time you feel yourself becoming stressed from thoughts of the past or worries about the future. Bringing yourself to the present, will help bring peace and calm into your mind and body.
Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Peace be with you!
If you are interested in learning more, please download the additional exercises resource, “A Tranquil State of Mind” by Barbara Volpe.
Barbara Volpe, M.Ed. is Leadership Academy Manager for the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership at National Louis University. In this role she coordinates and facilitates leadership and quality improvement training for early childhood administrators, teachers, and technical assistance providers. Barb has over 20 years of leadership and management experience. Barb enjoys developing trainings and has made many local, statewide, and national presentations. Barb obtained her master’s degree from National Louis University in early childhood administration and her baccalaureate degree in child and family development from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.