By SAND Member: Kristina Arslain
When it comes to improving your health, exercising more or eating a balanced diet might come to mind. Adequate physical activity and healthy eating are very important aspects of health, but people often forget about taking care of their mental health. People’s lifestyles are so hectic now, leaving many people feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, and anxious. This is why it is ever so important that today’s society practice mindfulness.
Last week, Miami University’s Kinesiology and Health Department hosted a series of events to educate people about mindfulness. Mindfulness is about living in the present moment without making judgments. People tend to go about their day in a semi-conscious state; their mind is caught up in thinking about past or future events, instead of taking in the diverse beauty that is happening all around them. Practicing mindfulness comes with many benefits, all of which can help improve performance in areas such as work, school, and relationships!
A common way to practice mindfulness is by focusing on your breathing during mindfulness meditation. Focusing on your breath helps to keep your mind in the present moment. This simple practice should be done daily for at least 20 minutes. If you are new to meditation I encourage you meditate every day for 5-15 minutes and gradually increase the length of time as you improve.
1. Sit cross-legged or upright in a chair in a quiet area
2. Relax, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing. Think about the sound your breath makes, how the air feels as it goes through your nostrils, or the expansion of your abdominal made from each inhale and exhale. The external noises will start to fade and your internal voice will begin to go silent.
3. It is very normal if you find your mind wandering and getting distracted! When this happens, it is important that you do not judge these thoughts. Instead, acknowledge that the distraction occurred and focus your mind back to your breathing.
Incorporating mindfulness meditation into your daily life will help you better experience the benefits of becoming more mindful. The benefits, of course, do not all come right away, so be patient and continue practicing. If you stop meditating for a while you may notice changes in yourself, such as feeling more irritable, stressed out, and anxious. If this happens, applaud yourself for noticing the difference and get back in the regimen of practicing mindfulness meditation every day.
Another way you can practice mindfulness during your daily life is through mindful eating. To learn more about mindful eating, the KNH Department recently shared a link on their Facebook page: http://fractalenlightenment.com/35462/life/how-to-start-eating-mindfully
· Decreased Anxiety/Stress
· Increased Happiness
· Better Emotional Stability
· Improved Concentration
· Greater sense of Calmness
· Lowers blood pressure
· Helps with heart disease
· Stimulates brain growth and development
· Improves immunity
· Increased energy levels
· Greater sense of connection
· More empathetic
· Reduces feeling of loneliness
· Increased desire to be more helpful