STRETCH & REST CARE for the wellness warrior
Let’s pretend for a moment you are a detective. How would you behave?
You would most likely be calm, present, and observant. You wouldn’t be thinking about your past or future. You would be so focused that things would slow down as you are aware of everything going on in your surroundings. You are looking for clues and totally in the moment.
That’s a lot like practicing mindfulness.
Mindfulness is moment to moment awareness without judgment. You are intentionally training your mind to be present with your experiences. You can start with something as simple as your breathing, a particular emotion you are feeling or during an activity you are involved in such as eating.
The practice of mindfulness helps us get into alignment, calmness, clarity and improves our emotional regulation so we can be productive, focused and ready to work/learn/communicate better. It improves optimism, a healthy stress response and a positive attitude by increasing activity in our left prefrontal cortex of our brain.
You don't need any work out equipment or a gym membership to do it. You were born with everything you need. You just need to practice being intentional about bringing it into your daily activities. The key is consistency.
Do you make regular visits to yourself? Rumi
One of the easiest ways to start your mindfulness practice is to sit with your eyes closed and breathe for 3-5 minutes. Stay focused on your breath and when you get distracted just return your focus to your breathing. This simple activity will improve your happy hormones and produce chemicals to help you relax.
Not sure you can sit still? You can practice being mindful when you are moving or doing activities you already do each day.
How? Become aware of what you are hearing, seeing, feeling, smelling during any activity- exercising, driving, cleaning, cooking, or drinking your coffee or tea each morning.
You can do mindful walking by noticing each step or become aware of the nature around you as you walk. Look at the blue sky, listen to the birds chirping, feel the wind on your skin.
Mindful eating is simple to do as well. Pay attention to the colors and smells of your food and to the crunchiness, creaminess and flavor of what you are eating. Put your fork down between bites and take 3 breaths. Pause to check in with your belly. Are you full? Are you thirsty? Is this food satisfying to you? How does the food affect your mood and energy?
Enjoying what you are doing while you are doing it is also a form of mindfulness. Are you enjoying what you are eating? Where you are exercising? Who you are talking to?
If you are still struggling to get calm and present, find a green space to start your mindfulness practice as it has been proven to help you focus and relax. Keep your eyes open and take deep belly breaths. Try some mindful walking as mentioned before.
Fortunately, it doesn’t take long to see results. You can start with as little as 10 minutes a day and will notice your ability to focus, make decisions and control your emotions has improved.
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to make regular visits to yourself.
I challenge you to make it a daily practice to be a Joy Detective. How much joy can you find around you each day?
Lot’s of Joy,
P.S. Want more fitness tips for your mind & body? Click here to take a FREE Fit Quiz + get bonus tips to boost your score!
Mollie Miller, PT