The Mind Matters
Allison Worley, Personal Trainer
Aging positively starts with mindfulness. Our mental outlook truly sets our attitude towards what we can achieve in our lives and how much we enjoy the journey. The right mindful approach to each day is more important than both exercise and medication combined.
Everybody’s positive attitude has taken a beating in the last couple of years. Just listening to the evening news is stressful, but in this crazy technologically advanced world, we are constantly being distracted by an almost unending sensory onslaught, giving our minds no time to reprogram and rest. Many people feel stressed at the mere thought of having to relax. Giving ourselves permission to let go of the external world and to see only ourselves is hard when we have been subtly trained throughout our lives to be "ON."
When we are taken up with sensory stress, we forget to be mindful of our personal wellbeing. We lose our sense of self and can easily sink into feelings of loneliness, depression and anger. However, when we chose to be mindful instead of mind full, we are nicer to ourselves, we see the good in others, and we can find the extraordinary in our ordinary days.
Mindfulness is a deliberate intention to focus on yourself. Your brain, your body and your breath - just those things and nothing else. To momentarily disconnect from both the past and the future, and to be aware only of the present moment. Without feelings of guilt or fear, just an appreciation of yourself and your space in the world.
Adding mindful practice to an existing habit or chore is an effective way to introduce the benefits of mindfulness to your day. How you begin your morning is how you set up your day, so maybe choose one morning routine and turn it into a mindfulness ritual. Simply taking the time to be aware of your breath, posture and thoughts while making your morning coffee, brushing your teeth, or walking your dog is an easy place to start. The more you isolate moments of deliberate mindfulness, the easier it becomes to integrate mindfulness throughout your daily life and to recognize when you need to pry yourself away from constant stressful distractions, to breathe and allow the power of your mind to reduce your anxiety levels and enhance your feelings of wellbeing.
So before reaching for your remote control, computer or phone, try infusing some part of your morning ritual with a moment of peace, and contentment. No judgements, just self-awareness. Give yourself a break to appreciate silence and stillness in a world that never stops.
Inhale, smile, exhale and repeat.