Have you ever heard of ‘mindfulness’?  Well, mindfulness is essentially the practice of living in the present moment; being present here and now, so that when life gets hectic you don’t lose direction.  It is a movement that promotes being aware of our bodies and the things surrounding us.

Mindfulness can be hard to define and describe to others, so the people at Aetna spoke with Cheryl Jones, a wellness program strategy lead who is an expert on mindfulness, and who has completed the Teacher Development Intensive in Mindfulness-Based-Stress-Reduction (MBSR).

Read the transcript below of the interview with Cheryl Jones and hear what she has to say on what mindfulness is, why we should practice it and how we should go about doing so:

What is mindfulness?

Cheryl Jones: Mindfulness is paying attention or noting whatever is happening in the moment with a gentle and open mind. It involves being present in the moment, the one you’re in right now. Mindfulness doesn’t involve chanting, bowing, sitting cross-legged, or burning incense.

How do we practice mindfulness?

CJ: Mindfulness can be practiced formally through meditation where we pause and notice breathing, thoughts, feelings, sensations and surroundings. It can also be practiced informally while driving, during conversations, while exercising, and as you’re eating.

What are the benefits to practicing mindfulness?

CJ: Mindfulness can help lower stress and builds resilience so you can meet the demands of your day with more ease. It allows you to have more clarity to solve problems. Mindfulness can help you be patient with yourself and others. And it can make you more effective and feel happier.

What would you say to people who feel like they’re too busy to practice mindfulness?

CJ: Even five minutes of mindfulness practice can have a powerful impact on your day. If that seems like too much, you can simply pause and pay attention to your breathing a few times as you do the tasks of your day. You can try doing just one task at a time.

What are some introductory mindfulness techniques anyone can practice?

CJ: You can start by trying to come off of “autopilot” and beginning to be more present throughout your day.

For example:

  • When you wake up, take a few minutes to lie in bed and stretch your body. Notice any sensations.
  • Drive to work with the radio off. Notice your thoughts and feelings as you drive. If someone cuts you off or if you are sitting in traffic, take a breath.
  • As you walk to the office, pay attention to your feet connecting with the ground, even for just a few steps.
  • Take a breath between phone calls and meetings.
  • Try to sit down and relax when you eat your lunch, even if it’s just for five minutes. Avoid eating while driving or working. Take a breath. Notice the color, the texture and the smell of your food. When you think you’re done chewing, chew it five more times.
  • As you talk to people, notice the impact they have on you. Be aware of how your words and attitudes are impacting others, too.
  • Notice if your bedtime routine is relaxing or busy and what your state of mind is when you get into bed.

Is there anything people should be aware of before beginning a routine?

CJ: As you start to practice mindfulness you will begin to see things as they are rather than how you wish they were. You may notice some things you want to change. It’s important to be patient with yourself and make one small change at a time.

For people who are interested in a deeper dive into mindfulness, where would you recommend they go?

CJ: Check out yoga or retreat centers in your community to see if they offer mindfulness meditation or group classes to learn about and practice mindfulness.

For more information about mindfulness and more tips for practicing mindfulness every day, visitAetnamindfulness.com.

This content is sponsored by Aetna. It is for general informational purposes only, and is not meant to replace the advice, diagnosis, or treatment of a physician or other health care professional.

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This Unique Spanish Home Was Built Under a Rolling Hill and Is Completely Eco-Friendly

You wouldn’t know there was a home resting inside of this rolling hillside were it not for the roof sloping downward over a parked car and bicycles. Known as the Live Garden House, this vaulted home was built into a hillside and features traditional construction techniques practiced in Zaragoza, Spain.

Spanish designers sought to create a fully sustainable home that used locally-sourced materials for its construction. They achieve their vision with this zero-energy structure that lets in natural sunlight, has a natural ventilation system and features a rainwater collection system.

All of its sustainable features are made even better by placing them underneath an undulating green roof (which has plants and vegetation growing on top of it). Not only does the home look beautiful inside, it fits in perfectly with the surrounding landscape.

And the inside is just as welcoming and serene as the outside. Take a look for yourself!

h/t Inhabitat

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The REAL Reason Barns Are Usually Red

Almost every barn I’ve ever seen has been red, and I never knew why. I mean, I love red as a color, but it never really made any sense why every single barn I’ve ever come across had to be red. There are so many other colors to choose from!

The real reason barns are painted red actually has nothing to do with color preference, and everything to do with practicality.

When the very first New England settlers were building farms, many of them lacked the necessary funds to paint their buildings. However, they still needed a way to protect their barns’ wood from the elements, so they came up with their own solution to the problem: by mixing skim milk, lime, and red iron oxide, they successfully created a plastic-like substance that they could coat their farm buildings with to protect them.

Eventually, paint manufacturers would mix in chemical pigment and red was the favorite due to how cheap it was. And, as with many things in this world, people never sought to change it. So, red was how it began and red is how it has stayed.

h/t Business Insider

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Professor Who Predicted Donald Trump Becoming President Has a New Prediction: Impeachment

Image via: Max Goldberg from USA - Trump CAUCUS

Allan Lichtman, a professor at American University, has gained quite a bit of notoriety over the years as he’s successfully predicted the outcome of every presidential election to date, starting in 1984. He correctly predicted the Donald Trump would win the 2016 election and is now making another prediction: Donald Trump will be impeached.

"Now, he focuses on the 45th President of the United States and his next forecast, that it is not a question of if President Trump will be impeached, but a question of when," said Shelby Meizlik, spokesperson for HarperCollins.

In fact, Lichtman has written a book stating his argument for why Trump should be impeached. The Case for Impeachment is being published by Dey Street Books and will release to the public on April 18th.

Lichtman made the prediction that Trump would be impeached alongside his prediction that he would be elected and his book will go into detail as to why.

Lichtman told the Washington Post this past September:

"I'm going to make another prediction. This one is not based on a system; it's just my gut. They don't want Trump as president, because they can't control him. He's unpredictable. They'd love to have Pence — an absolutely down-the-line, conservative, controllable Republican. And I'm quite certain Trump will give someone grounds for impeachment, either by doing something that endangers national security or because it helps his pocketbook."

It certainly seems as though there is a strong case for impeachment, especially when considering Trump's Russian connections and the multitude of conflicts of interests surrounding his businesses, as Lichtman argues.

Do you think Lichtman’s fortune-telling capabilities will ring true once again?

h/t Time

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6 Bizarrely Beautiful Houseplants You've Probably Never Heard Of

Houseplants are a great addition to any home as not only do they bring a clean, fresh aesthetic to the space, they also help improve air quality. If you’ve ever wanted to bring plants into your home, but think that they’re kind of boring or not worth the effort, try out one of these bizarre houseplants that are anything but boring.

Mix it up a little with these six houseplants that are beautiful, but also a little strange.

Euphorbia Caput-Medusae
Succulents a great option for everyone who’s looking for a low-maintenance plant. They only need watering about once a week and even just once a month during the winter months. The type of succulent shown here is referred to as “Medusa’s Head,” a moniker taken on because of its likeness to the Greek monster with snakes for hair. It is native to South Africa.

The Trachyandra also looks as if it’s some type of snake plant, or maybe silly-string growing out of the ground. This plant is real and you can find it in Eastern and Southern Africa.

If you’ve ever wanted a plant that looks somewhat like it has antlers, grab a Platycerium. This plant, which is often called the “Staghorn Fern”, can even grow on the side of things, such as trees or walls.

Gentiana Urnula
These beautifully-patterned succulents are known as “Starfish Succulents” and are at home in the rocks. These are also a perfect option for those seeking low-maintenance plants.

Sedum Morganianum
These crazy looking plant is often called “Donkey Tail” and its stems regularly grow up to two feet in length. Its leaves are normally a bluish-green and it is native to Mexico and Honduras.

Haworthia Cooperi
This plant looks like some type of glass flower or maybe even some type of gelatin, but these clumps you see here are actually green leaves that simply look as though they’re something else.

h/t Woman's Day

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