Being mindful can help you change your behavior, take care of yourself, break the cycle of procrastination, be present and live in the moment. Various challenges or unexpected events, such as the pandemic, may pull us in multiple directions, and we may feel unsafe or lose confidence. Some people may feel anxious because they have been in isolation for some time, while others may feel depressed because they have spent the last few years indoors as we navigate the pandemic.
Practicing mindfulness allows you to be conscious of what's happening in the present moment and not worry about things in the future or dread things that occurred in the past.
But how do you become more mindful?
Nutrition and exercise can help you with that! We'll cover the best strategies to get you started in this post.
What is mindfulness?
Although mindfulness is a buzzword in Western culture, it is an ancient practice that refers to being aware of your feelings, thoughts, and actions. Many people associate mindfulness with meditation. But in fact, you can practice mindfulness without ever sitting down to close your eyes or cross your legs. Instead, you can start applying it when you brush your teeth in the morning, wash dishes, or walk your dog on a cold winter day.
Meditation is one form of mindfulness, but there are many others. And while not all types of meditation are created equal—and some are much more relaxing than others—all forms are beneficial for stress relief and overall health because they help teach us how to be present in our lives and accept ourselves just as we are.
Check out three strategies to start being more mindful today.
It is well documented in the literature that regular physical activity can positively impact your overall health. No surprise there, right? Researchers at Stanford University report that people who exercise regularly—even just for 30 minutes each day—are more likely to feel positive emotions during and after their workout. The study participants were asked to detail how they felt physically and mentally over an average week. Those who engaged in frequent physical activity reported higher enthusiasm, optimism, attentiveness, confidence, and energy.
Aside from making you feel good, working out also has long-term health benefits. A study recorded in The Lancet revealed just 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week—which breaks down to 30 minutes every day—can help improve your cognitive function and keep your brain sharp as you age. Start slowly and gradually build up if beginning an exercise routine or have been sedentary for a while.
Meditation is a powerful tool for cultivating happiness, improving concentration, and reducing stress. Researchers are also finding that it could be valuable for weight loss. According to a recent study in Obesity, researchers found that people who practiced mindful eating lost about five pounds more than their non-meditating counterparts over 12 weeks.
Another study suggests that meditating improves physical performance among people who are already fit—impressive considering how difficult it is to lose weight while simultaneously increasing your athletic abilities.
Regardless of why it works, meditation can help you stay healthy by helping you pay attention to making what (and how much) you're eating while teaching you to focus on eating mindfully rather than automatically or out of habit.
Mindful eating can help to change the way we think about our food consumption and set the stage for better nutritional intake. Being conscious about what we eat means "being fully attentive to your food — as you buy, prepare, serve, and consume it." According to Harvard Health Publishing, there are eight steps to mindful eating. Some of the steps are familiar: avoid skipping meals, start with small portions, eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and take small bites. Some less common tips contributing to mindful eating include being attentive to the shopping list, appreciating your food, and bringing all your senses to the meal.
A mindful eating practice can also be helpful for conscious living. Our nutritional intake can impact how physically active we can be every day. For example, a diet incorporating vegetables, whole grains, and other healthy foods will increase your energy levels and prevent feeling sluggish. This improved energy may help you to focus better at work or school. On the other hand, overeating junk food and not getting enough vegetables in your diet means you're likely to have less energy throughout your day, so it's harder to exercise. But eating well-balanced meals throughout your day helps keep your energy levels high to meet your daily exercise goals.
If you want to experience health and wellness in your life, there are several ways that mindfulness and nutrition can help. We've compiled some great tips on maintaining a healthier lifestyle for yourself or your loved ones from meditation, exercise and eating healthy foods.
Contact us for additional information about these practices or any other services! We're happy to chat with new clients who want to improve their lives through mindful living. What do you think? Let us know if you have tried any of the techniques mentioned in this post or are aware of other strategies that promote mindfulness.