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Tips to become more Mindful by Harmony Yoga Student Alexa O'Rourke!

Mindful Moments

Simple Shifts to Transform Daily Life


Listen to Music That Will Soothe The Soul Music has the power to create change inside of ourselves. The vibrations of sound have an impact on our thoughts, moods and actions. Listening to music that empowers energy and heightens awareness can provoke happiness within us. It can also open our minds to see other perspectives and, ultimately, awakens our consciousness. Music has the ability to stimulate various aspects within ourselves. For instance, listening to soft instrumental music can calm our inner self and produce healing effects. Different vibrations can also be felt in different parts of the body. Whether alone with headphones or jamming out in the car, hearing the positive vibrations of music can shift our focus and open the door for an abundance of light to flood in.

Keep a Gratitude Journal In the moment or during nightly reflection, list three things to be grateful for. The journal will allow us to see the magic that takes place during our daily routine. It only takes a few minutes, but it has lasting effects. The journal can serve as an amazing reflection piece down the road. The key to happiness is to be content and thankful for what is going on today in our lives. The gratitude journal is a tool that will keep us in the present.

Stand Up and Shake It Out The exercise of jiggling is meant to move the body; it’s especially important for those who sit at a desk all day. As Carol Shwidock, owner of Stamford’s Harmony Yoga, says, “Get up a few times a day and shake it out. Stand up in your office or take a break outside and give everything a little shake. It is so, so good for your body to move around. The energy in the body can get stuck, so the shaking of your limbs, will allow for the chi to move exactly where it needs to be.” Feel the energy in the body and the difference before and after the movements take place. This exercise brings greater awareness to the physical body and a greater sense of connection to us.

Breathe There is no better way to center ourselves than to focus our intentions on the breath. Even if we don’t have time to sit in meditation for hours, the 16-pointed breath is a great tool to use that can stop negative thinking in 16 seconds. “Breathe in for four, observing the air as it moves into your nostrils and to the back of your throat. Feel your breath as it moves down into your chest and feel your belly expand. Hold your breath in for four, observing your belly. Exhale for four, witnessing as it moves into your chest, throat and out though your nostrils. Hold your breath out for four while observing, watching and witnessing the present moment. Be sure you are following your breath, the key to the process is observing all along the way,” says Shwidock. This exercise can be used time and time again to interrupt feelings of negativity.

Set Intentions Beginning in the morning, set intentions for the day and repeat those positive affirmations to bring yourself back to center. This practice will set the tone for the day, calling to the universe and uncovering the power of manifestation. Start with saying “I am”; follow it with whatever you feel you need to call into your day. It could be the same affirmation each morning or it can change. A few examples are “I am love, I am light, I am strong, I am joy.” If moments of uncertainty present themselves throughout the day, bring those affirmations to the front of mind. Repeat the affirmation for as long as it takes to feel relief and be brought back to the present moment. The art of setting affirmations is all about shifting intentions for greater opportunity.

Connect This is a relatively simple shift that can also have lasting effects in the community. Reaching out to family members, friends or even strangers can increase joy in others and in us. Smiling is a small gift that can be given to one another. It may be the best present that individual has received all day. Smiling opens the door to greater connection and union. If you like what someone is wearing, pay them a compliment. Life is about connection, wholeness and spreading love. In the end, we are all here for the same purpose. We are loving beings, and extending a helping hand, a smile or a compliment can ignite positive change all around.

Take Care of the Planet While walking to and from destinations throughout the day, pick up any trash that may be visible. Feel warmth in knowing it is helping our planet and cleaning up the community. Mother Nature is our home; we can all contribute in small ways to make it a better place to live. This simple act will put us more in touch with nature and opens our eyes to the similarities we collectively share with nature.

Gift a Hand-Written Note A hand-written note is a personal way to show caring. It has so much more impact than an email or text message. It doesn’t matter if the note has a purpose or not; sometimes the best notes have no real reason. Letters can be left for loved ones to simply say hello or it can be a thank you note sent for an act of kindness. The handwriting from a personal note brings the message alive and sends the reader our positive energy and intentions.

Ask a Powerful Question Questioning has the power to open us up to greater possibility and ultimately allows us to uncover deeper meaning. The right question can create a shift and further the journey of personal development. For this reason, if we find ourselves stuck or experiencing low energy, we can ask what we need to do to shift our energy or what opportunities were have not taken advantage of yet. By silently contemplating questions and taking our time with the response, we can find answers to these questions in order to help guide us along on the path of self-development.

Disconnect from Technology Technology is amazing and allows us to do many great things during our day-to-day lives. However, it also has the ability to take us away from the present moment. It is easy to get caught up in mindless Facebook scrolling and judgmental behavior via social media. Disconnect to feel the calming effects of a nightly cup of hot tea before bed rather than scrolling through TV channels. Enjoy reading a book. Transform the usual screen time for practices of self-discovery. This fall provides an ideal time for self-reflection. It is an opportunity to look into the mirror that Mother Nature has gifted humankind and study our reflection. What else can we do to be the best version of ourselves? Implementing these 10 simple shifts can lead to greater self-discovery. Since fall is a time when school is back in session, emulate the attributes of an educator and teach others about these shifts. Teaching these lessons to our family, friends and co-workers will create a greater impact on us while guiding others on this journey too. Set an example for those around and be a witness as we transform our lives and the community that surrounds us. Alexa O’Rourke, a life coach and aspiring holistic practitioner, also graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a degree in public relations and communications. Connect at 203-554-1324 or

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