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Wellness Wednesday: Mindful in May Challenge – Week 2

May 16, 2018
Mindful in May Challenge - Week 2

Mindful in May Challenge - Week 2

Mindful in May Challenge Week 2 is done and dusted but again many more learnings and mindfulness tips.  The challenge still remains to achieve a daily meditation which I am doing but I’m struggling to keep up with the interviews.  There seems to be an ‘information overload’ and I don’t seem to be able to concentrate to take in all the information provided – especially when they become scientific.  I know I will want to revisit them in my own time.

Many of the interviews cannot be given the justice they deserve in a ‘wrap up’ report.  Over the next few months I will be reviewing the interviews and presenting them in more detail.  If you wanted to read about my Week 1 wrap you can read it here.

Wellness Wednesday: Mindful in May Challenge – Week 2

Day 8 – Tools and tips for making meditation a lasting habit


Dr. BJ Fogg, pyschologist and innovator directs the Persuasive Tech Lab at Stanford University. During the interview he discussed how to create new habits.  He also has a FREE 5 day program (40 minutes in total) available at

My takeaway:

  • Start small when creating new habit don’t try to take on a big project.
  • Use a Creative approach redesign the way you are doing something.
  • Recognise You haven’t failed you just need to redesign your approach.
  • Make it playful
  • Change Habits slowly one at a time into place
  • If you don’t want the habit don’t waste your time on it.  Move on to one you want to change.
  • Tap into motivation you already have
  • Start small and build on it as a habit – for example, If you can’t on one day do 10 minutes of meditation sit for 1 minute or 5 mins to keep the habit alive.Be happy that you did it for the shorter time recognise you did the behaviour rather than beating yourself up for not doing the 10 minutes
  • Common obstacle to behaviour change is when you are first motivated you feel like you can achieve big things immediately.  Motivation ebbs and flows so you need to take smaller steps to change rather than one dramatic change which may not last.

Guided Meditation

A deep yogic relaxation meditation with Lauren Tober.  A 17 minute meditation which focused on every part of the body slowly and with awareness.  This included timed breathing – counting in for 4 then out for 4,  then in for 4 and out for 5 and finally in for 4 and out for 6.  This really helped to keep my mind clear and focused.  I felt like falling asleep at the end I was so relaxed.

Day 9 – Deepen Your Mindfulness

Today was a 10 minute meditation to deepen your mindfulness by Kate James.  This meditation brought our awareness to different areas :

  • Awareness to experience of listening
  • Awareness of the body and how it is feeling,
  • Awareness of the breath – how the body moves to the breath
  • Awareness of the thoughts – if mind is busy allow it to be as it is
  • Awareness of emotions
  • Awareness of all your experience being in your body, breathing and thoughts and feelings
  • Saying to yourself: I am here, I am present, I am mindfully aware of this moment

Day 10 – Train your brain and reach your fullest potential


Dr. Michael Merzenich is the pioneer of neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to change and adapt. I found this interview fascinating and would recommend that you check out his website Brain HQ.  This website is a brain training program with online exercises that help attention, processing speed and memory.  It has free exercises and are all scientifically based designed by experts in neuroplasticity.

My takeaway:

  • Use it or lose it – we need to exercise our brain just as we exercise our body
  • We can all improve ourselves at any stage of life by exercising and using our brain
  • Be mindful – look for the surprises in each day in your surroundings – this is ‘brain food’
  • Improve your sense of joy and generosity of spirit.  Studies show that the brain reacts positively when we give just as much as when we receive.
  • Technology is good but it can stop us from using our brain and working it to solve problems rather than ‘googling the answer’.
  • Never too old to improve the speed of brain function.

Guided meditation

Relaxing back into presence (12 mins) by Tara Brach.  This involved scanning your body of where tension is in your body, then untangling them through awareness and relaxing back.

Day 11 – Coming home to the breath and cultivating compassion

Elise Bialylew guided us through 25 minute meditation.  First settling the body and bringing our awareness to the body with a deep breath then letting it go. We were trying to train the brain to focus and find greater emotional balance and learn to respond with wisdom and clarity.

This was hard to lay still for that long, especially when I didn’t realise the video had stopped and I was laying in silence for an extra 10 minutes!

Day 12 – Attitudes and antidotes to support greater emotional balance and wisdom

Timothea Goddard, is an Australian and is recognised as a pioneer in bringing MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) to Australia over the past 14 years and is certified with the Center for Mindfulness, UMass.  She discussed her own personal journey of mindfulness and recommended attending retreats.

My takeaways:

  • Retreats – attending a retreat offers the opportunity to meet and work with your own mind for longer periods and immerse yourself with a teacher and teachings.
  • There are different styles of retreat so you should look and discuss with those organising the various retreats to determine which one is right for you.
  • Need to spend time learning about your mind like you would learning any other subject.  We need to spend as much time that we surf the net, surfing our own mind as a priority.
  • Beating addiction to social media and takes more effort to practice meditation
  • Pleasure or pain is all transient. Real calm and relaxation comes when you realise this and accept that whatever you are feeling at the moment will pass.

Guided Meditation

The Gravity is Your Friend Meditation 10 mins by Timothea Goddard

This was a 10 minute giving time to be present with yourself using gravity as a point of focus, concentrating on the experience of gravity and the weight of the body. We were reminded that this moment is a moment of potential.

Day 13

Christopher Germer, PhD is a clinical psychologist specializing in mindfulness and compassion-based psychotherapy.  He has always had a problem with public speaking and discussed how we need to have self-compassion when we meditate to allow us to live our lives more mindfully.

My takeaways:

  • Self-compassion is made up of 3 components

#1 – mindfulness knowing what you are experiencing while you are experiencing it and to accept that experience, even if it is one of suffering.

#2 – find a common humanity feeling connected with others

#3  -focus on self kindness rather than self criticism

  • We need to treat ourselves with the same kindness and understanding when we suffer,the same as we would someone we love. 78% of us are kinder to others than ourselves 6% vice versa 14% even
  • Mindfulness awareness of present moment experience with acceptance
  • Compassion is loving awareness of the experiencer.
  • Together Mindfulness and Compassion is a powerful combination

Guided Meditation – 12 minutes

Chris took us through a guided meditation focusing on allowing thoughts of kindness towards ourselves to flow through our minds.

Day 14 – A day for reflection and integration

I made it to the end of Week 2 and Elise asked us three questions to reflect on and also reminded us that if we miss a day or so, that is no big deal.  We need to give ourselves a break and that is okay. We are human and doing our best.

What was the biggest challenge of your week and were you able to bring mindfulness into that moment?

I was MC and Guest Speaker at the Co.As.It Mother’s Day High Tea.  We all get nervous public speaking and there were 110 in the audience.  I used the mindfulness techniques I had learned to reduce my nerves and be in the moment.  I felt great during the event because I had found my self-belief.

Take a moment and revisit a challenge in your week. If you weren’t able to be mindful in that moment, can you take a moment now and actively bring compassion to yourself? Notice how it feels to actively bring compassion to yourself – is that a familiar feeling or more unfamiliar?

My biggest challenge this week was putting pressure on myself to make the time during a busy week to listen to the interviews.  I know realise that the ‘world won’t end’ if I miss a day or an interview.  I need to be kinder to myself.  This brings a sense of relief. I am someone who does put pressure on myself to achieve my goals so I need to be kinder to myself.

I actually wrote about this on the MiM Facebook page and found that many people were experiencing the same difficulty in concentrating on the ‘information overload’.  That made me feel so much better to know that I can say to myself ‘this is my best for today and that is all I have’.

What are your three most important values in life? What is one thing you can do today to get more aligned with one of your values

I gave this some thought and believe:

  • Love and compassion and showing kindness to others is very important to me. Self-love is equally important and is always a WIP for me.
  • Integrity is another value in life that I try to live by.  That means being honest not just with others but myself.
  • Gratitude – focusing on what I have in my life rather than what I don’t have increases my sense of contentment and happiness.

Perhaps you might like to think about the 3 questions and your values in life and how they can relate to your life?

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  • Reply prabhu May 16, 2018 at 18:26

    i appreciate your work and skills. Few tips you mentioned that is great. Thanks for sharing with us.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 17, 2018 at 07:40

      I’m so pleased you enjoyed reading about my challenge. Have a great day! x

  • Reply heatherericksonauthor May 17, 2018 at 01:22

    One of the ways I integrate new habits into my life (one at a time) is to combine a habit with something I already do on a regular basis. For example, about a year and a half ago, my husband and I decided to read one chapter of the Bible, together, each night. We have a show we watch each night on Netflix. But before we do, we read the chapter. At first, we occasionally forgot, but within a month it had become a regular habit. I think it also helped to have two of us working on this together. If one of us forgot, the other would usually remember.

    I love your 3 most important values, Sue. I can’t come up with better ones!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 17, 2018 at 07:47

      Oh this is a great idea Heather because at first we really need to work at changing our habits. What show do you watch on Netflix by the way? I’m pleased you liked my values it was a little difficult to come up with the top 3 but that was another learning to make me think! Have a great week xx

  • Reply Debbie Harris May 17, 2018 at 04:12

    This sounds like a very in depth course Sue and you’re doing well to keep up with it all amongst your busy life. Good on you for tackling it and for sharing your thoughts with us along the way.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 17, 2018 at 07:48

      It is much more than I thought it would be Deb and have been struggling to fit it all in. Of course, my nature is such that I won’t let it beat me but I have learned that on any given day if I know I’ve done my best that is enough. It is hard to write a wrap up that isn’t as long as a book because there is so much information. I will be writing longer posts about certain topics in the future. So much great information xx

  • Reply Retirement Reflections May 17, 2018 at 04:12

    Hi, Sue – Congratulations on persevering with the Mindfulness in May Challenge…and taking the time to write about it. I found your tips to be very useful, not only for Mindfulness and Meditation, but also for adopting any new habit. I also liked Heather’s tip to combine a new habit with an old one.
    My favourite expression in “Use it or Lose it”, so I also greatly appreciated that take-away!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 17, 2018 at 07:50

      Hi Donna, it definitely is stretching me but then I do love a challenge 🙂 I’m so pleased you found the tips useful as it is difficult to condense a week of learning into one post. I intend to expand on some of the points that I have found valuable to me but after the challenge is finished. Have a great week, my friend. xx

  • Reply Jo May 17, 2018 at 08:25

    Reading both yours and Min’s posts, there is so much to this. I like the take away of small bite-sized habits. I tend to be a rush in and all or nothing girl & then wonder why I burn out. I definitely couldn’t find the time to listen to all teh interviews, so am learning vicariously through you two! As for my 3 deal breakers…I’m going to need to think on that.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 17, 2018 at 08:27

      Hi Jo I’m a rush in and all or nothing girl so that has been a real challenge for me. Even trying to write the wrap up posts without them become the length of a novel has been hard! Have a great day!

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee May 17, 2018 at 08:31

    I need to exercise my brain a bit more. Getting so vague!! Nice post.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 17, 2018 at 15:22

      I think we can all exercise our brains a little more Lydia x

  • Reply Candi Randolph May 17, 2018 at 09:33

    So much information and opportunity to experience meditation and mindfulness…I can see where it may be a bit too much to process in a short period of time! I think it’s really great, though, that you used some of the techniques you learned to calm your nerves before your talk at the Mother’s Day Tea.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 17, 2018 at 15:24

      Yes something must have sunk in over the two weeks so far Candi but it has been full on that is for sure. x

  • Reply writeofthemiddle May 17, 2018 at 11:41

    Great wrap up Sue! I agree that it is very hard to do the interviews justice in a wrap up post. I know I’ve missed big chunks of info in my wrap up posts but if I included everything the post would turn into a thesis. As it is I struggled to keep the wrap up to a minimum. As I said in my response to your comment on my post, I too fell behind this week and got a bit stressed about it. I’m still trying to catch up. We’ve added extra pressure to ourselves by doing these posts because we need to take notes and have to stick to a timeframe. It’ll be worth it though to have these as a resource to go back to. I would like to revisit some of the interviews but not sure how long we will have access. Did you notice there are ‘bonus’ interviews? I haven’t even had a chance to look at those at all. Elise speaks of a follow up program being announced soon but I guess my involvement in that will depend on if costs are involved etc. #TeamLovinLife

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 17, 2018 at 15:26

      I’m so glad I wrote the comment on FB Min because so many are experiencing the same problem so I don’t feel quite so bad. It is hard as you say because we want to blog about it and that means taking lots of notes. I’m not sure I can continue after the MiM due to finances but will wait and see. I certainly wish we could have had the opportunity to download and save the interviews because there is just so much to take in. I loved that we both wrote about our experiences and can compare notes. xx

  • Reply leannelc May 17, 2018 at 12:13

    You and Min seem to be learning a lot from this Sue – and I’ve enjoyed the little snippets you’ve shared on your FB group page. The three values were quite challenging – mine seem to chop and change depending on what is impacting on my world. I guess the other take away from it is to not be reactive to those impacting factors, but to mindfully navigate them.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 17, 2018 at 15:29

      It really is much more than I expected Leanne and yes I’m struggling. I found the three values challenging as well but it is all a learning experience isn’t it?

  • Reply Sydney Shop Girl May 17, 2018 at 14:06

    I’m starting small with a gratitude journal. It’s actually worked out to be an exercise in both gratitude and mindfulness! Win win!

    SSG xxx

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 17, 2018 at 15:28

      Good for you SSG a gratitude journal is something I’ve never been able to get into but a wonderful way to keep a record. Have a great week xx

  • Reply Jennifer Jones May 17, 2018 at 15:04

    Sir o appreciate how time consuming writing about Mindful In May is, and appreciate you making the extra effort for us. I’m sure I would find MiM a challenge, which is probably all the more reason I should consider doing it next year. And here was I thinking MiM would be relaxing for you after AtoZ!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 17, 2018 at 15:21

      Yes I thought it would be relaxing Jen but also I’ve heard from many others that they are just using the guided meditations and that is just enough for them. I am getting benefit out of the exercise and probably am putting the pressure on myself. x

  • Reply Johanna May 17, 2018 at 16:00

    So much to take in, and I’m so inspired by you for sharing snippets with us. Having guided meditations is one thing and fairly time consuming but to find time to dissect and share the important bits is also a huge time consuming operation I’m sure. I hope you have benefited though and look forward to see how you continue to use this knowledge. Well done Sue, you’re amazine 🙂

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 17, 2018 at 16:40

      Hi Jo, yes it is difficult to actually write the wrap up because there is just so much good information. I’ve learned this week though that my best is enough so taking the pressure off a little. Have a great week! 🙂

  • Reply Kathy Marris May 17, 2018 at 18:20

    This challenge certainly involves a lot of listening and taking in new information. I’m not sure I would find time to do this, but I think it’s great that you and Min are doing it. I’m flat out trying to read a book at the moment! I would certainly like to become more mindful. Apart from my one hour in the morning walking alone, I don’t find any spare time to put these tips into practice. Maybe one day! #TeamLovinLife

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 18, 2018 at 05:56

      It has been very challenging Kathy and yes difficult to fit it all into the day. I wanted to share each week what I have learned but adding the wrap up post wasn’t as easy as I thought. Never mind, halfway through another experience so that can’t be all bad. Have a great week! xx

  • Reply Karen Hume May 17, 2018 at 19:48

    The meditations all sound great, Sue. I’m a big fan of Tara Brach’s meditations which are available free of charge on her website.

    The information, though, does sound very heavy and a bit too much of a contrast to the meditations – covering too much information and taking you away from the calm mindfulness of the moment. I think you’re smart to stop beating yourself up if you miss the info sessions. You already know a lot of what they are telling you. Why not save the rest of the month’s info for later and really focus in enjoying the meditations and feeling the difference that doing those makes to your body, mind and spirit.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 18, 2018 at 05:55

      Yes I suppose the only negative about the course was that it was really clear that the interviews etc were optional. Perhaps I didn’t read the information correctly. I’m enjoying it more now that I can stop trying to do everything. Unfortunately, the interviews are only available for a limited time. Some I would find very useful so I’m trying to listen to them.

      • Reply Karen Hume May 20, 2018 at 20:11

        The approach you’re taking makes a lot of sense, Sue. I was being critical of the organizers of the challenge. This is my background so I can say with certainty that they aren’t providing good course design. They should be thinking through what they want you to take away from the course – understandings and feelings – and then focus on delivering those, not toss in everything they can get their hands on!

      • Reply Karen Hume May 20, 2018 at 20:17

        Hi Sue,
        Second attempt at leaving another comment here. Although I clicked reply to you from our comment stream above, the system booted me to a new comment space under Mara’s comment. Let’s see what happens when I hit post.

        • Reply Sue Loncaric May 20, 2018 at 22:07

          Thanks so much Karen. I hope you receive this reply x

  • Reply maraardelean May 17, 2018 at 23:01

    Super inspirational, thanks for posting. Currently, I’m training for a race with SportMe half marathon app and on a strict diet, in my attempt to switch to a healthier life. Things are going in the right direction!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 20, 2018 at 22:16

      Oh good for you Mara. When is your half marathon?

  • Reply Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit May 23, 2018 at 10:00

    This is all so much more in depth than the mindfulness I’d practice 10 years ago in my “life achievement” and personal development training. Gratitude is a big part of all of it, that’s for sure

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 23, 2018 at 16:23

      I didn’t realise how in-depth it was Leanne and have really struggled. I’m being kinder to myself for Weeks 4 & 5 that is for sure. x

  • Reply Victoria Melo June 2, 2018 at 23:23

    Your thoughts are really inspirational, you seem like a really good motivational speaker as well 🙂 No one really understands how important self-development is until they start working on themselves.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 3, 2018 at 12:37

      So true Victoria we can learn and then impart our knowledge and experiences to others. Thanks for stopping by to comment and enjoy your weekend.

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