Mindfulness. Why You Need It + 6 Ways To Add It Into Your Lifestyle
Does your mind feel like an open browser with 100 tabs open? Or are you always feeling stressed, overwhelmed, maybe you have a never-ending to-do list, chores to do at home, friends to call and catch up with, plus a family to run, or are you worried about your health, losing weight or have so much on your mind you can’t fall asleep at night? If you answered yes to any of the above then it may be time to consider incorporating some mindfulness practice into your lifestyle.
Mindfulness has become a bit of a buzzword in recent years, and all for good reasons! Study after study has shown that adopting a regular mindfulness practice can significantly reduce levels of stress, and can make a positive impact on mental and physical well-being.
So what is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is learning to focus our attention in the present moment.
Benefits of mindfulness:
- Reduced stress and anxiety levels
- Increased focus and concentration
- You learn to be more aware of your senses
- You’re able to react more calmly to stressful, unforeseen situations
- You begin to be more present by living in the now
- Increased happiness
- Become more self-aware
- Boost in working memory
- Increased empathy and compassion
I’ll be the first to admit that when I started meditating and incorporating mindfulness into my lifestyle 8 years ago it was a challenge. It’s like anything in life, it takes time, practice and patience, but over time we gain many benefits.
Mindfulness is something I talk about with all my clients. I see many clients trying to lose weight, improve their digestive system, sleep habits, increase their energy levels. Many of them have an amazing diet and exercise regularly but often their stress levels are so high and they are constantly feeling overwhelmed, that this is the main causative factor in them not being able to reach their health goals.
When you’re stressed your body isn’t able to break down food effectively, often leading to bloating, constipation, which can lead to irritability, anxiety, weight gain, even hormonal imbalances. An overactive mind can lead to troubles falling asleep at night. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of mindfulness in our daily lives.
Here are 6 ways you can incorporate mindfulness practices into your week.
Give yourself a challenge and see if you can do one of these over the next week.
- Put your legs up against the wall for 15 minutes – this is my personal fave! It’s a great way to slow down and shift your nervous system from the ‘fight or flight’ mode into the ‘rest and digest’ mode. I like to do this before bed. I simply put on a 15-minute guided meditation track on youtube and focus on my breath.
- Have a bath – heck why not add 1 cup of Epsom salts for an extra cleansing and detox ritual. You could do this 2-3x a week, light some candles, read a book, listen to some soothing music or just sit in silence.
- Go for a walk outside in nature for 30 minutes – without headphones, just be present with yourself and your surroundings.
- Read a book in bed before you go to sleep – dim the lights and put on a candle so eventually, you can nod off and go into a deep restful sleep.
- Breath diaphragmatically (from your belly) – letting your belly rise and fall for 5 minutes, focus on your breath (breathing in, hold for a couple of counts, breathe out, repeat this over and over).
- Go to a yin yoga class – or practice one at home.
Let me know what your favourite way to relax, unwind and re-center yourself is in the comments below.
Hi I’m Natalie, a Registered Clinical Nutritionist, health influencer, blog writer & recipe creator. My own health complications prompted me to make positive diet & lifestyle changes, revitalize my health leading to a career change from the corporate world to nutritional medicine. I believe in a wholefoods approach to good health, focusing on simple strategies for modern, busy people.