Pacifica Mindfulness Updates

We’re delighted to announce the recent renovation of Pacifica’s relaxation and meditation section. Some of the changes we’ve made to this section of the app:

New Design
Perhaps the most obvious change, we’ve shifted from a list to a more visually appealing format, with images that provide some information about the nature of the activity. We’ve also simplified the display of the meditation lengths and updated some meditation names.

 

Daily FREE Meditation
Each day, a different Premium meditation/relaxation activity will be featured and will be available for free. 

New Meditations
These new activities will help you to build new coping skills and think differently.

  • Building PositivityUse mindfulness to identify wins, focus on the upside, and savor moments of joy.
  • Getting Motivated: Use this meditation to build initiative and move towards your goals.
  • Eating Mindfully: Be fully present while eating to savor the experience.
  • Coping with Physical Pain: Use mindfulness to help you manage pain.
  • Defusing Anger: Use mindfulness strategies to cope with frustration.
  • Falling Asleep: Release your stress from the day while relaxing into sleep.

Updates to Existing Meditations
We’ve improved and updated our existing meditations, particularly those designed to help you coping with anxiety-provoking situations, like taking a flight or being in social groups. Be sure to give these a listen!

Meditation Reminders
You can now set up daily reminder notifications for meditations, to help you build a mindfulness habit.

Do you have suggestions or requests for meditations you’d like to see in the future? Send us an email at info@thinkpacifica.com with your ideas!

Meditation and Mindfulness for Beginners: Getting your Mind in Shape

Starting a daily meditation and mindfulness practice is a lot like starting a fitness program for your mind. You know you want to do something good for your mind, but might not know where to get started. This simple guide will help explain meditation and mindfulness in plain English so you can find what works best for you.

Meditation vs. Mindfulness vs. Mindfulness Meditation: What’s the difference?

Meditation is a more overarching term that includes a broad range of activities, but generally involves engaging in concentrated thought, focus, or reflection. Mindfulness is the act of consciously directing your attention to the present moment, with non-judgmental awareness of your emotional state, thoughts, and physical sensations. You can be mindful without meditating (e.g. “everyday mindfulness” or simple mindfulness exercises you can do during day to day tasks). However, individuals often practice Mindfulness Meditation, which is designed to cultivate mindfulness. When practicing Mindfulness Meditation, you set aside time to purposefully focus yourself on the present moment, with awareness, and without judgment.

Meditation vs. Mindfulness vs. Mindfulness Meditation

How is mindfulness meditation helpful?

The practice of cultivating mindfulness can be helpful for a variety of mental and physical conditions. Many studies have demonstrated that the practice of mindfulness can actually change our brains and our emotional reactions to different experiences, particularly difficult emotions. We also become better at regulating our emotions. One key thing to consider is that while mindfulness won’t get rid of our problems, it allows us to react differently to them. Mindfulness allows us to step out of our tendency to be on auto-pilot and make more conscious decisions about how we want to respond. We are able to see our thoughts as thoughts and not become stuck on them. Additionally, mindfulness has been shown to improve our ability to focus and to relax. A regular mindfulness practice has even been shown to strengthen the immune system. In short, almost everyone will find some benefit from practicing mindfulness.

Meditation can be helpful wherever you are.

Tips for Getting Started

  1. Find Time: This might be the most challenging part of the process. Not surprisingly, it’s also one of the most helpful. People often get started with mindfulness meditation because they feel stressed or feel like their own self-care needs are being neglected. Therefore, the process of simply making time in your day for your own needs can often be the biggest hump to get over.

    Acknowledging that you are feeling run down, or wound up, or simply in need of some time to reflect is a big step.You’re making a declaration that your needs matter, and recognizing that until you take care of yourself, you won’t be able to be the best, healthiest, or happiest, version of yourself. Even if it’s only 5 minutes, deciding that you matter and that you need to just stop and breathe, is a big deal. Thank yourself for finding the time and making your own health and wellness a priority. Many people find it helpful to set a standard time each day to meditate, such as right when they wake up. Really, the best time to meditate is whatever time you can find that works for you.

  2. Find a Place: Ideally you will find somewhere quiet and calm to practice your meditation. It’s not necessary to have a dedicated space, though some people find it helpful. The most important thing is that you are able to disconnect from the hustle and busy-ness of the day. That might mean softer light or a location away from distractions. Some people like to get a meditation pillow or bench, while others simply use a comfortable chair.
  3. Set a Goal: identify why you want to start meditating, what you hope to get out of your practice, and why you think it might be helpful. You will feel motivated to continue your practice and stick with it if you have an idea of why you want to do it. You might find it helpful to write it down, or you might want to verbalize your goals to a friend.
  4. Strength in Numbers: When you start a physical fitness program, sometimes joining a class or finding a gym partner can make it easier to stay committed. Similarly, it can be helpful to have a meditation buddy or group. Such partnerships can help with accountability and sticking with your practice, and many people find it helpful to talk to someone about some of their experiences when starting a mindfulness routine. Having someone to ask questions, discuss successes, and exchange encouragement can be helpful.
  5. Be Kind with Yourself: There may be times you struggle to meditate, and sometimes you’ll have a better experience than others. That’s OK. Remember that having a nonjudgmental stance is a cornerstone of the practice, and that includes being nonjudgmental of yourself and your own successes and shortcomings.

You can find basic meditation instructions, guided meditations, and daily mindfulness exercises in the “Relax Now” section of Pacifica.

 

4 Lessons on Anxiety: The Only Way Out is Through

21-only-way-out-is-through
It sounds counter-intuitive, but as someone who has dealt with anxiety, I’ve found this statement to be true. It’s natural to avoid anxiety or to deny its existence all together, but recovery comes in accepting it. Using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, relaxation, and wellness, I’ve been able to address my anxiety head-on this past year. While I’m not sure it can ever be completely “cured”, a holistic approach can certainly help manage and reduce it. Here’s my advice:

  1. Educate yourself: Learn the physiological causes and effects of anxiety. Your symptoms/feelings stem from your fears, your thoughts, and your body’s own fight-or-flight response (an antiquated alarm system left over from our cavemen ancestors). Though the adrenaline rush is uncomfortable, these feelings aren’t harmful and can’t actually last very long. So, though your heart may be racing, that’s okay. You’re safe and in no real danger. Think about this: If you’ve had an anxiety attack, you’ve likely already experienced the worst your body can feel. Don’t be bluffed by physical feelings.
  2. Relax & take care of yourself: Learn to recognize when you’re feeling anxious and take the necessary steps to relax and take care of yourself (this includes identifying common triggers like alcohol, sleep, and caffeine). To reduce anxiety in the moment, try deep belly breathing or mindfulness meditation. Both of these help calm the adrenal response. To relieve more long-term tension, try progressive muscle relaxation or vigorous exercise. The main idea is to acquire tools to calm yourself whenever anxiety strikes, so you can more easily cope. Think about this:Your body is a machine like any other. If you take care of it, it’ll take care of you.
  3. Question your thoughts: Learn to judge your thoughts critically instead of accepting them as facts. Your thoughts, more than anything, affect how you feel and ultimately your perspective of the world. People with anxiety often have an intensely negative view. They overestimate the likelihood of something bad happening, exaggerate the consequences, and underestimate their ability to cope. So check your thoughts. What evidence do you have? What are the odds of this happening? What would a friend say to you? Think about this: Just because you think something does not make it true. You’re not a fortune teller, a mind-reader or the center of the universe. Try to see things in a more balanced way and you’ll feel better.
  4. Behave courageously: Learn to face your anxiety despite the fear. This is obviously the hardest part, but it’s also the way out. Anxiety has a way of chipping away at self-esteem. It’ll make you think you can’t do THIS or you can’t do THAT. It’s easy to get stuck in this cycle of fear. But you can face your fears a little each day, and eventually, work toward your bigger goals. It doesn’t matter how small the initial steps are. Instead of dread, try being curious in these new scenarios and use your coping skills. It’s not about being free of anxiety in these early moments, but enduring despite the anxious feelings. This is how real change happens. Think about this: By taking small steps each day, you can rebuild your confidence. You’re a lot stronger than you think you are. Don’t let anxiety dictate your life.

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