Building mindfulness into your day!
We are all so busy rushing round in automatic pilot doing all the things we need to do. We may feel during the daytime we have no time to be mindful, to be present, to be calm. We have got used to feeling overwhelmed, busy, anxious and fearful and now that feels like part of everyday life!
But feeling overwhelmed and anxious, feeling fearful quickly drains our emotional and physical energy. Our internal alarm bell is on constant ring mode, pumping our bodies full of the stress hormone Cortisol, keeping our heart rate and blood pressure elevated, reducing our digestive function, increasing muscle tension. Our bodies aren’t designed to always be in a state of alert and danger. Overtime high levels of Cortisol cause physical fatigue. We may suffer prolonged high blood pressure, digestive problems like IBS, weight gain and and increased waist size as a consequence. Emotionally we may feel drained, unable to concentrate, sleep, communicate well, low in mood, irritable and snappy.
Whilst our world may not change soon we can change how we react to our day. taking time to build mindfulness in whether as a micro break mid morning or mid afternoon, or taking a break inside or outside at lunchtime. A micro break is 1-3 minutes where you pause, bring your attention either to your breath or music or your sense of smell. If you choose a song, chose one that is calming that doesn’t evoke any strong emotions or memories but allows you to focus on the sounds for those few minutes. maybe you connect to a scent, using a scented candle, essential oil in a burner or on a tissue and focus on that smell for a few minutes. Being mindful of the brain wandering off, not judging, just acknowledging what the thoughts are and bringing your attention to the present. If you have the time to build in a walk outside time time to notice the sounds, feel the air on your skin, notice all the different colours you see. If you have longer in your day adding Pilates or Yoga helps to focus and be present whilst moving.
Over time and with daily practise just these little changes can make a difference to your brain. You are training your brain it is ok not to always think about doing things, it is ok to be in the moment, to be fully present. If you do this without judgement acknowledging when your mind wanders that, that’s OK too but focusing back to your senses the neural pathways in the brain begin to change. The part of the brain (pre frontal cortex) that deals with ration logical thinking becomes more active. When this part of the brain is active we are generally in a brighter mood. The pathway to the brains internal alarm bell (amygdala) that fires up every time we feel anxious, overwhelmed and fearful becomes weakened. We start to feel lees reactive to situations, events, people that may have affected our mood. In turn we feel and behave in a calmer way, feeling less anxious, less overwhelmed but still with everything around us staying the same!
We can’t change the world but we can change we react to it. If we change our reactions we become more resilient, things affect us less, we can sleep better, feel motivated to eat healthily and exercise regularly and feel both mentally and physically well.
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