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Mindful : October 2015
9. Find Small Ways to Love Yourself Sometimes it’s not so easy to play, especially when we’re out of practice. We have to learn to take it easy on ourselves and find small ways to love ourselves. When things get tough, try a self-compassion break: Take a deep breath, place your hand on your stomach or heart, take a walk, or soak for a while in the tub (and remember to bring the rubber duckies). A BOX OF SIMPLE ADVICE 10. Be a Kid Again Studies show that when you put yourself in youth- ful environments it impacts your mind and body. Fly a kite, swing on swings, play tag, throw the ball around. It may seem silly (and even uncomfortable at first) but if you surrender to the experience you might just find yourself smiling! 11. Take Time for Yourself Many of us put ourselves last on our priority list, and setting aside time to do things you enjoy can feel indulgent. But taking time each week to do something YOU enjoy—that’s just liv- ing a happy, mindful life. ● Let It Linger One thing we want to keep in mind when playing is to let the experience linger, even if just for a few seconds. Whether you’re eating a treat, engaging in your favorite crossword puzzle, or out on a walk with a friend, take in the moment fully and sense how it feels in your body. Be curious about the experience knowing that engaging novelty is one of the best drivers of neuro- plastic change. As you do this, you’re also stamping a memory of the experience that the brain can reference to bring an attitude of play into other areas of your life. As you linger in the experi- ence and emotions that arise when you play, the firing continues for a longer period of time, giving the brain a better opportunity to water the seeds of joy. Stefanie and Elisha Goldstein are clinical psychologists at the Center for Mindful Living in Los Angeles, specializing in mindfulness, with a focus on families and children. Elisha is author of The Now Effect. harvardpilgrim.org/mindfulness You may not know it, but this elephant is walking backward. (Humans welcome.) There are a million ways to walk mindfully. There are just as many ways to partner with the present moment. Find your mindful style at October 2015 mindful 27 how to live a mindful life PHOTOGRAPH©ISTOCK.COM/LJUPCO