Using Mindfulness to improve our physical activity

 

In a previous blog we spoke about Mindfulness, which is the letting go of any distractions and/or unrelated thoughts, and focusing your attention on what you may be doing in the present moment.   Our lives are made up of some many different moments, one after another. For example, today you may have woken up, turned off your alarm, got up, did some exercise, showered, dried yourself, had breakfast, dropped the kids off at school, and travelled to work. Usually, we do these activities on automatic pilot rather than doing them with a sense of awareness.  However, the more we can intentionally bring awareness to whatever we are doing, the more present we will be to every moment of our lives and the more effective we will be at whatever we are doing.

 

In particular, we can be specifically mindful of our everyday activities, particularly our physical activity so that we can start to shift any unhelpful habits associated with that activity and make lasting changes. So for the next week, pick some everyday activities and try doing them mindfully.

Here are some suggestions. Feel free to use these or come up with your own.

  • When you first wake up in the morning, before you get out of bed, tune in to your body. Notice any aches and pains or any areas of tightness.  Take a few moments to stretch these areas, and take some mindful breaths where you focus on your breathing in and out. Put any thoughts of what you have to do in the day aside for now and just stretch and breathe.
  • Throughout the day, take a few moments to bring your attention to the way you are sitting at your desk or on the couch or in the car.   Take a moment to notice your posture. Are you hunching or leaning forward? Try to be present in the moment and correct your posture.  Try to engage your core as you correct your posture and try to maintain this for a little while.
  • Throughout the day, notice your body while you walk or stand. Pay attention to the contact of the ground under your feet. Feel the air on your face, arms, and legs as you walk or stand. Are you rushing? Is your mind going a million miles an hour? Try to slow it down and notice each step and put aside your rushing thoughts for a moment.
  • Be aware of any points of tightness in your body throughout the day. See if you can do some deep breathing and, as you exhale, let go of any excess tension. Is there tension stored anywhere in your body? For example, your neck, shoulders, legs, or lower back? If possible, stretch out these areas.
  • If you are doing some exercise, be mindful of your technique.  Are you rushing the move to get it done or are you really feeling those muscles expand and contract as you move.  Try to feel the relevant muscles expand and contract so you get more out of it, and if you can’t feel it, ask your instructor where you should be feeling it.  And if you find your mind wandering while doing exercise to those negative thoughts about how much you hate doing exercise, or when is this going to end, use mindfulness to bring your thoughts back to your technique and how beneficial this movement is for your body!
  • As you go to sleep at night, bring your attention to your body and your breathing. Do a full body scan and let go of any tension in the body and feel the warmth and softness of your bed as you close your eyes for the day.

As you do any of these mindful activities, notice the effect it has on your day and your mood.  Hopefully you will feel a little more relaxed and a lot more positive about your day!! 

Have a great week.

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