Mindfulness in the Busyness
The holidays are coming and so is the season of stress! What are we going to do about the gifts, the parties, the family coming into town and, and, and. . .? It seems like by the time Halloween finally comes, I look up to find it is already the next year and I have to try to make my brain write the new number.
This year, let’s try something new to maybe have less stress! If I told you that being mindful and meditating could make dramatic physical improvements, would you do it?
Let’s define what I mean by ‘being mindful and meditating.’ Mindfulness is being completely aware of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis. Meditation is spending time in quiet thought. We can be mindful this holiday season in many ways. One way is through mindful breathing or abdominal breathing. Sit in a relaxed position and close your eyes. Inhale through your nose for a count of four (allowing your abdomen to expand), then hold that breath for a count of four, but no longer than seven counts. Then, exhale the same breath through your mouth slowly for a count of eight. Do this for 5-10 cycles, or until you feel relaxed. This is also considered a form of meditation. Studies show that mindful breathing can positively affect our mood and decrease our stress level, therefore lowering inflammation in the body and the risk for diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
As holiday sweets and goodies come around, don’t forget to mindfully eat! When we take time in the moment to recognize what we put in our mouth, we truly taste the food instead of eating in a rush and losing track of all those extra calories. If you want the sweet, ok! But really taste it and enjoy it. Ultimately, those who are mindful when they eat tend to choose healthier options and avoid the temptation to overeat.
Our bodies have a tremendous power to heal themselves if we just provide the opportunity. By putting good food (by ‘good’ I mean healthy) into our bodies, that food can send the correct signals to decrease our metabolic inflammation. Mindful eating is a way to start that process. Then, we can send more messages to decrease inflammation to our body with mindful breathing/meditation. Don’t forget yourself this time of year!