In case you missed it last week, we looked at the growing trend of "mindfulness." In part 1 of this two-part series, I made the following statement:
Mindfulness is the attention or awareness you bring to the present moment. Seems simple enough, right?
Re-read part 1 if you need to, because my simple answer back is: it's not that simple. BUT, we can learn to become more mindful by following some very easy-to-do steps. You ready for the next 5?
Day 6: Journal for 20 minutes.I like journaling the morning after I “made” myself turn off my devices at night. I feel like I have a clearer mind and have become more in-tune with my inner thoughts and emotions. This will totally help me express myself in writing. Moreover, according to a study published in the US National Library of Medicine & National Institute of Health journaling can facilitate learning, promote mental and physical health, decrease stress response in the mind and body and improve negative emotions. So grab a pen and some paper, and begin writing anything and everything that comes to mind!Day 7: Sit in total Silence for 20 minutes.Your spouse has the tv on; the kids are running around; the pets are moaning for dinner; the dryer is tumbling in the background. You are under constant sensory overload, and if you are anything like me, you have already asked “what is silence?” Well as a quick reminder, it is the complete (or almost complete in this case) absence of sound. A rarity in our daily lives, I know. But with such rare occasions for stillness comes anxiety, stress, depression and other mental health illnesses, which is why carving out just 20 minutes to sit in silence can work wonders. So find a spot in your house, office or car (so long as you are not driving) to just lay in total undisrupted silence.TIP: Your brain may wander. That is normal. Let in your thoughts, and simply exhale them out so not to hold onto them in this moment.Day 8: Throw away your TO-DO LIST.What I ask you to do on this day may seem absolutely crazy, but trust me it is totally worth it. I have to begin by confessing that I keep a list of things I need to accomplish everyday beside me almost every second of the day. But this constant stimulation and pressure to always have to perform can leave me lingering more in the past and in the future than in the here and now. So pick up that to do list, and THROW IT AWAY! Once your 20 minutes is up, you can always make a new one, but try to go without it if at all possible.
Day 9: You have 20 minutes to mix up your routine!Let’s face it. As humans, we are creatures of habit. We drive the same way to work. We sit in the same spot in the break room. We even have the mid-day lull at the same time of the day everyday. STOP!!!! It is time to think outside the box and switch it up! When we break up our normal routine, we open our world to new opportunities and experiences that could potentially shape or enhance our lives. So try driving a new way to or from work today, go outside to eat your lunch instead of in the break room or go for a walk during your mid-day lull. Take just twenty minutes to try something you wouldn’t normally do.Day 10: Just Breathe!Do you feel stressed or burnt-out? That is a sign that you need to slow down a bit and take a breather! Practicing deep breathing techniques such as Diaphragmatic, Retention and Alternate-Nostril Breathing is a great way to center yourself and has been shown to improve Blood Pressure and hormonal imbalances in the body.
The PRESENT is a PRESENT so live more MINDFULLY in it!
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– CASEY EDMONDS, CHC
Health Advisor | Email Casey