When we rush around from activity to activity, phone to computer to TV, and website to website, we miss the joys and simple pleasures of what’s right in front of us – animal- shaped clouds, running into an old friend, or a wild turkey in downtown Boston – indeed, that really happens! Rushing around all the time can also leave us feeling out of sorts, unbalanced, and can lead to health problems.
One way to quiet the mind, slow down, and embrace the present is through mindfulness. Mindfulness is being in the present moment and aware of your surroundings, while being open, attentive, and honest about your thoughts. With mindfulness, you can control your awareness and tap into your senses. You have the power to slow down and reset your body and mind so they can better serve you. Think of your mind and body like a computer. When it goes too long without a break, it slows down, and sometimes, it crashes, usually at the worst possible time. Sound familiar? Our bodies are the same way, and also need to be restarted and re-energized regularly. Mindfulness is one extremely effective and efficient way to restore the balance that all of us need to be at our best.
Stress and anxiety come mostly from thinking about the past or the future – two time periods we don’t have much control over. We do, however, have control over what happens Right Now. In this moment. While you can’t always control what’s happening around you, you do have the power to control your reactions to what’s happening. A situation could either be experienced as stressful, or an opportunity for learning and reflection, and that’s up to you.
You can also control your breathing and actually slow down your heart rate. Breathing deeply is important because it reduces stress and anxiety, increases energy, improves digestion, relieves pain, releases toxins from the body, strengthens our immune system, and elevates mood. All of those things from more intentional, deep breaths. Pretty amazing, right?
While mindfulness can certainly be practiced in the company of others, being present with ourselves alone is also important. In a loud, busy world, knowing how to regulate our emotions and find our own inner calm is necessary to be our best. Anyone can do it. Anytime, anyplace. Mindfulness can be done while sitting, standing, or walking. Plus, it’s free!
Check out some free mindfulness practices here. Wishing you peace of mind!
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Rates of flu-like illness rose slightly in the past seven days, according to the latest weekly flu report. Flu vaccination opportunities continue to be available in your community – call your health care provider or local board of health, or visit a pharmacy near you.
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