Published on: May 27, 2017
by Vitina Blumenthal for Women’s Brain Health Initiative:
Stress is an inevitable part of life, but can be detrimental to your health when it is at chronic levels for long periods of time. The good news is that there is never a bad time to start learning new techniques to help put your mind at ease.
What is mindfulness practice?
A mindfulness practice doesn’t necessarily mean that life is full of blissful moments. The concept involves practicing mindful techniques to help you navigate through your life in a more fluid way, rather than resisting or dwelling on negative situations. There are many benefits to incorporating this into your lifestyle, including regulating mood, reducing depressive symptoms, improving focus and attention, and reducing your stress and anxiety.
5 Tips to Begin Mindfulness Practice:
Journaling is a great ritual to start or end your day. Your journal is a place to run free with your thoughts. There are no right or wrong topics to write about. Here are a few ideas if you are unsure of how or where to start:
Ask yourself how you are feeling in the moment. Is there a current situation that is consuming your
Keep notes and write down any self-sabotaging thoughts, no matter how silly you think they are (for example, “I am not good at ____”, “I can’t do _____”).
If you are stressed about making a decision, write down a list of your life’s desires. Seeing how your choice aligns with this list tends to make the decision much easier. Reflect on what you are grateful for in life.
Flowing refers to a style of yoga where the practitioner moves gracefully from one pose to the next and the practice becomes almost like a dance. Generally, each movement in to or out of a posture is made on an inhalation or exhalation, so the yoga unites the breath with the movement in a choreographed sequence. There is a lot to learn about yourself in the physical practice of yoga. The process of connecting to your body is a great tool to help you focus on the present moment. Not only will you see physical benefits, but also there are many emotional and mental perks as well. What happens on the yoga mat is often a reflection of what happens in your everyday life.
Some realizations include overcoming fears, being patient with yourself, letting go of expectations, recognizing when you are comparing yourself to others around you.
Keep in mind that the success of yoga is not in performing poses; rather, the success of yoga lies in how it positively changes your life and relationships.
There are many different types of yoga. If you have never tried a class, or you have attended one class but decided that it wasn’t for you, take more than one class to try various styles.
Think about when you are scared or when you are running late for work. Your breathing is quite fast. Your heart races. Now, imagine yourself at the spa. Your breathing usually consists of a shorter inhale and a longer exhale. Controlled breathing can calm the nervous system, increase focus, and reduce stress.
Do you tend to live life in the past or in the future? A very simple technique to help bring yourself back to the present moment is focusing on the senses.
“What do I see? What do I feel? What do I smell? What do I taste? What do I hear?”
Anchors such as mantras, sound and breath, as well as focusing on what is happening around you, are helpful tools to bring you back to the present moment. You can incorporate and practice this technique in your daily routine, whether you are brushing your teeth, eating, or going for a walk and enjoying the nature around you.
Much like adopting a healthy physical lifestyle, meditation is a healthy habit to incorporate into your everyday life. Just like any habit or routine, the mind can be trained. Think of meditation as push-ups for the brain.
Similar to setting goals for your physical practice, it is beneficial to know why you are meditating. It may be to connect to yourself, ground yourself, calm your mind, or manage your emotions better. Use the benefits that are most important to you as a motivator.
The best piece of advice that I have received about practicing meditation is that it is better to meditate for two minutes everyday than for thirty minutes once a week.
Find time in your daily routine, perhaps after you brush your teeth or while sitting in your parked car before heading to work, to practice just two minutes of meditation. You will reap the benefits of this simple, yet powerful, daily habit.
Be consistent and have fun playing with mindfulness. Different techniques and tools may work better than others for you, so just keep exploring and see where it takes you.
Mindfulness is being patient, calm, letting go of expectations, and being present. It’s all about being grateful for the path that you are on and enjoying the journey!
Practicing balancing poses, such as Tree Pose (Vrksasana), is a great way to regain focus and bring yourself back to the present moment.
2-1-4: Stress Relief Breathing | Step-by-step instructions
Source: MIND OVER MATTER
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