The Magic of Mindfulness and Meditation

This post comes to us from our Head of Adult Services, Bill:

“Slow down, you move too fast You got to make the morning last Just kicking down the cobblestones Looking for fun and feelin’ groovy” ~ from The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy) by Paul Simon (1966)

Our world in 2020 indeed moves too fast for many of us! This can have negative effects on our mental and physical well-being. What can we do to counteract these negative effects? Maybe try a little mindfulness…

Mindfulness is a form of meditation and its magic comes in the form of improved concentration and happiness, and physiological improvements that often include lower heart and blood pressure rates. It can also reduce stress and chronic pain as well as improve sleep.

A few years ago, Forbes Magazine published and article detailing  6 Scientifically Proven Benefits Of Mindfulness And Meditation:

  1. Mindfulness reduces anxiety
  2. Mindfulness meditation reduces implicit age and race bias
  3. Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) may prevent and treat depression
  4. Mindfulness meditation helps increase body satisfaction
  5. Mindfulness meditation improves cognition
  6. Mindfulness meditation helps the brain reduce distractions

Though the practices of mindfulness and meditation have been around for centuries, the science behind it has only recently become more understood. Health practitioners, and even the  business world, have begun taking the concept of mindfulness quite seriously as more and more evidence comes to light on how the practice can actually change the “wiring” of our brains.

Want to learn more about the practice of mindfulness and what it can do for you? This month Cheshire Library is presenting a 3-part Mindfulness Series:

Check out these books for even more information:

Mindfulness and Meditation : Your Questions Answered by Blaise Aguirre

Aware : The Science and Practice of Presence by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D

Bliss More : How to Succeed in Meditation Without Really Trying by Light Watkins

Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics by Dan Harris and Jeff Warren, with Carlye Adler

 

What’s Happening at Cheshire Library in July

We’re deep into summer, but if you think summer programming is just about kids, think again! We’ve got lots of grown-up programs on the calendar, take a look:

Movie Matinees

Tuesdays, 1:00 – 3:00pm

Escape the heat with different movie every Tuesday afternoon in July.  Drop in, no registration required.

Travel Meetups

Monday, July 8, 2019, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Going on vacation soon? Chat with others before you go? Share your own travel experiences, photos from around the world and meet other travel enthusiasts. Registration is appreciated.

Open Art Studio in the Library Loft

Fridays, 1:00 – 3:00pm

Bring your works in progress and supplies (no turpentine, please! to this drop-in art program. This is an opportunity to create in a collaborative environment with other artists. No formal instruction will be provided, but informal critiquing for those who want it is encouraged. Table covers will be provided. There is a sink in the room for basic cleanup. No registration required.

Mindful Meditation

Tuesdays, July 16, 23, 30, 6:30 – 8:00pm

This meditation class is presented by local meditation teacher Bill Lynch and consists of deep breathing exercises followed by mindful meditation, which trains the mind to be in the present moment.  Mindful meditation helps you to live in the present and makes life easier by not allowing anxiety, depression and other emotions to control you.  Registration required.

Cat Tales – Writers Group

Thursday, July 18, 2019, 6:00 – 8:00pm

Join us at the library for an open writing group that can help answer your questions on writing, editing, grammar, and publishing. Read a selection of your work to the group for general constructive feedback, or discuss a book you’ve read that might help someone else. Join us once, join us every month! . Adults only, Registration required.

Apollo 11 ~ Documentary

Thursday, July 18, 2019, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Never-before-seen footage and audio recordings take you straight into the heart of NASA’s most celebrated mission as astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin embark on a historic trip to the moon. Immersed in the perspectives of the astronauts, the team in Mission Control, and the millions of spectators on the ground, we vividly experience those momentous days and hours in 1969 when humankind took a giant leap into the future. Rated G. Registration required.

The Bald Eagle

Monday, July 22, 2019, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Bald eagles were once so endangered that many considered whether to replace them as America’s national symbol. The ongoing story of their recovery as a species and CT’s healthy eagle population is a comeback story worth hearing. Join Ginny Apple, a Master Wildlife Conservationist with the State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, for a talk about these magnificent birds of prey. Registration required.

That’s Weird!

Thursday, July 25, 2019, 6:30 – 8:00pm

An ordinary-looking map with a sinister surprise. Earrings made of human hair. A piece of a revered Connecticut tree carved in the shape of a….ham? Museums are full of objects that make staff and visitors say, “Huh?”. This presentation explores some of the Connecticut Historical Society’s strangest items. You will learn how even the oddest artifacts can be gateways into a deeper understanding and appreciation of our state’s history. Registration required.

New Science From Mars

Monday, July 29, 2019, 6:30 – 8:00pm

This presentation will focus on the recent results from the rovers and orbiters that have been exploring Mars in the last decade and how these missions have changed how we see the Red Planet. Registration required.

Books Over Coffee: November Road

Wednesday, July 31, 12:00 – 1:30pm

Join us for our adult lunchtime book club program.  On the last Wednesday of every month we’ll meet to discuss the selected title. November Road by Lou Berney is our July selection. Books are available each month ahead of time, and will be available in audio & ebook format. You bring your lunch, we’ll provide the coffee and tea. Registration required.

Help for New Years Resolutions

new-years-resolutionsEveryone has good intentions at the start of a new year, and why not? A new year is a great time for a new beginning. If you need help with some of your New Year resolutions, it’s the perfect time to take a look at lynda.com.

lynda.com is an online learning site with over 3,000 courses that’s available to all Cheshire Library cardholders. Login from the library’s website!

Here are some suggested courses to get you started on your new year! To view the courses in-depth, grab your library card and head over to our eLearning page where you can login to lynda.com.

smileHappiness Tips: (Weekly Tips)
Get a new happiness tip every Monday to help you live a happier life. Learn practical, actionable techniques for finding more time for the things you love and maximizing your day-to-day happiness.

moneyPersonal Finance Tips: (Weekly Tips)
Each week, receive a new tip, designed to help you make smart decisions about your money.

5 Personal Finance Tips: 9 minutes, 18 seconds.
This short course provides time-tested tips on managing your spending, managing your fixed costs (regular monthly expenses), creating a budget, investing, and saving money.

face-sad-sweatingManaging Stress: 21 minutes, 2 seconds.
With the right techniques, you can reduce the amount of stress in your life. In this short course, author and retired MBA professor Dr. Todd Dewett shares his tips for managing stress, including identifying your triggers, managing responses, and making positive personal choices.

thumbs_upDisrupting Yourself: 24 minutes, 28 seconds.
Disrupting yourself is the secret to breaking into a new field, never settling for less, and achieving more. In this course, author, Harvard Business Review blogger, and consultant Whitney Johnson walks you through her seven-step model to disrupt yourself and move to the next level in your career.

power_fist_Powerless to Powerful: Taking Control: 60 minutes.
In this course, executive coach and LinkedIn’s head of organizational development Fred Kofman helps you make the choice to embrace life’s challenges, to go from victim to hero, and shows how to help others do the same through support and coaching.

push_back_timeManaging Your Time: 11 minutes, 11 seconds.
Learn four time-management tips that help everyone from busy executives to new employees get more out of their work day.

Time Management Tips: 43 minutes, 1 second.
Learn about everything from managing emails and calendars to setting priorities, reducing interruptions, crafting a “productivity mindset,” and creating a more comfortable and effective work environment.

chakra-meditationMindfulness: 1 hour, 16 minutes.
UCLA professor and executive coach John Ullmen, PhD, explains the fundamentals of mindfulness and provides step-by-step methods that anyone can use.

aide-memoireImproving Your Memory: 1 hour, 29 minutes.
This fascinating course explains how and when to employ tricks such as mnemonic devices, rhymes, stories, and alliteration. And it explains the best methods for different situations, like remembering names, important dates, passwords, to-do lists, quotes, and more.

Mindfulness, Meditation, and More

Looking into ourselves using meditation and mindfulness is the big new trend. However, I know many people that use other things to center themselves and meditate. I know people who use  yoga, running, cooking, painting, photography, gardening, knitting, or other endeavors. Anything can be meditation, if done in a way that makes you more aware of yourself and soothes you.

mindfultop1I crochet to meditate. There is something about the rhythm, the textures of the yarn, counting, and so on that help me center myself and slow my mind down after a busy day, or to get me ready to face a busy day. The simple act of using a hook to shape yarn to create something soothes me in a way that can only be matched with how lost I can get in a fantastic book or singing a song that I know so well I do not need to actually think about the notes or words anymore.

mindfultopI have also tried traditional meditation and guided mindfulness exercises. While some have served to soothe and calm my mind, I much prefer using a tactile focus rather than sound or breathing based techniques. I think it is important for everyone to find a way to meditate; whether it with with the expected breathing and mental focus of meditation and mindfulness exercises, the rhythm of running or working with yarn, or the process of sifting flour and kneading dough for the perfect bread. There have been recent studies about how coloring is a wonderful form of meditation.

mindful2Here are some of the best books that have come my way that might come in handy if you are looking to learn about meditation, or to turn one of your favorite activities into a form of mediation or mindfulness.

How to Train a Wild Elephant: and Other Adventures in Mindfulness by Jan Chozen Bays

One Zentangle a Day: a 6-Week mindful3Course in Creative Drawing for Relaxation, Inspiration, and Fun by Beckah Krahula

Moving into Meditation: a 12-Week Mindfulness Program for Yoga Practitioners by Anne Cushman

The Mindful Mandala Coloring Book: Inspiring Designs for Contemplation, Meditation and Healing by Lisa Tenzin-Dolmamindful1

Crochet Master Class: Lessons and Projects from Today’s Top Crocheters by Jean Leinhauser and Rita Weiss

In Search of the Perfect Loaf: a Home Baker’s Odyssey by Samuel Fromartz

Turning the Mind into an Ally by Sakyong Miphammindful

Wherever you Go, There You are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn

Take a Deep Breath: the Haiku Way to Inner Peace by Sylvia Forges-Ryan, Edward Ryan

Meditation for Dummies by Stephen Bodian

If you would like a free class in mindfulness come to our Hypnosis Works! Hypnosis for Stress Reduction & Relaxation program on November 5th at 6:30pm.