While out walking the other day, it seemed like I had just stepped into the perfect day. The sun was shining, a gentle breeze was blowing and birds were singing as my thoughts wandered to the topic of mindfulness as a path to self-care. While self-care and mindfulness are not new topics, both still offer a greater shift in perspective when we choose to dive deeper into the practice of caring for our mind, body and spirit.
Many times, self-care only captures our attentions while we are on vacation or out of town on some far away trip, miles away from the typical stresses of everyday life. Self-care is often placed at the very bottom of a never-ending list of things to do. Meanwhile, busy work and being overly connected take center stage in our lives, drowning out our body’s cry for some major tender loving care.
But how important is it to devote time to ourselves? Can we really find moments in our already overbooked schedules and hectic lives to develop a solid routine of self-care?
When the topic of mindfulness finally does surface above the daily noise, it is often thought we need to have a serene place, void of distractions to develop a state of awareness with everything around us and, most importantly, with ourselves. However, cultivating mindfulness as part of a self-care regimen can take place anywhere, regardless of what is going on around you. The advantages of this practice can be immense.
Science has now proven the wide range of benefits derived from practicing a state of mindfulness as a path to self-care. These benefits include…
- Reduction in anxiety and stress
- Improved cognition
- Elevated happiness, contentment and gratitude
- Increased immune function
- Boost in memory
- Improved moods
- Slowing of neurodegenerative diseases
- Increased creativity
- Lowered blood pressure
I would like to share with you a very simple mindfulness exercise that I use on a daily basis which only takes a couple of minutes. It doesn’t matter if you are at your desk, just got off a phone call with a difficult client or you’re feeling generally overwhelmed. This practice can bring you back to center allowing you to focus on what is truly important — your inner peace.
Close your eyes (not while driving) and focus on your breathing. Feel the expansion of your body with each inhalation and rhythmic flow as each exhalation leaves the body. Clear your mind. When thoughts arise without judgement, gently allow those thoughts to drift away while bringing your attention back to your breathing.
Initially, it might seem like a battle to win over the quiet moments of your mind, but with each practice it gets easier and the times that you experience peacefulness will last longer. In time, you’ll find that it’s extremely easy to drop into a mindfulness state and that those few moments allow you to recharge quickly.
This simple mindfulness tool has allowed me to remain centered and focused over the years even during a bustling workday. You see, it’s not about finding the perfectly quiet and serene place to refocus and find your peace. It’s about finding the mindfulness practice that is the perfect fit for you, plus getting in the habit of using that practice to improve your self-care if even for a moment.
Our minds, bodies and souls are always working hard, so show yourself some love and take a deep breath. Kick off your shoes. Find your center. I hope it brings you peace like it has for me.
Make Every Moment Count!