What does a mindful living entail? There are so many different ways to go about defining what mindful living means to you. From a health and wellness standpoint, here are my top evidence-based tips for a mindful living.
A single letter in a word can completely change its meaning – MindFUL vs. MindFULL. Modern day lifestyle includes an on-the-go living where everyone’s busy and bombarded with stress. It can be hard to stop for a second and let go of all that mental clutter. Most integrative doctors recommend mindfulness to manage stress. This concept sounds easy enough but can be quite difficult to implement into our lives.
“Are you mindFUL or mindFULL?.”
Here are my top 5 simple tips to make your day to day more mindful and stress free.
1. BREATHE WITH INTENTION
Breathing can completely change your physiology. Remember that your lungs are part of your body’s built in #detox system. Every time you inhale you want to optimize the amount of oxygen intake. #Oxygen is ESSENTIAL for cellular respiration and energy production. When you breathe out, you are letting go of stale air or detoxing via the exhale. Your nervous system is an energy demanding system and for it function well, proper breath work is crucial. If your nervous system functions well, all other biological systems function well. It really is a simple equation!
2. EAT SLOWLY
The break down process of food and digestion starts in our mouth. When we see, relish and consciously chew our food and take in the flavors, eating becomes a ritual rather than just a routine. Eating slowly builds an authentic relationship with food and our nervous system takes that into consideration when providing biochemical and physiological inputs and feedback.
3. MINDFUL MOVEMENTS
Mindfulness literally means just paying attention. Along with breath work, paying attention to the way we move helps build a better relationship with our body. Your posture matters! How do you sit? Are you slouched over most of the time? Do you sit cross legged quite a bit? All these kinds of movement habits send a specific neurological input. Doing some gentle yoga is a great way to bring mindfulness to your everyday movements. I love yoga because this movement principle marries proper breathing with neuro-muscular activity.
4. GET QUALITY SLEEP
Ever heard of autophagy? It is body’s way of clearing out damaged cells so that healthier cells can be regenerated. This happens when we are fasting. We fast daily and we 'break' said fast every morning. Quality sleep is supported by not eating after a certain time in the evening and allowing a fasting window. On a different note, in this millennial world, almost everyone goes to bed with their smartphones. I personally put my phone away from my bed. Staring at bright screens does not do us any good. I don’t need the extra EMF (electromagnetic field) radiation from my phone "toxifying" me up! Getting good quality sleep involves reducing the amount of blue light in the evening, putting the phone away after a certain time and picking up a book instead. Read something uplifting or jot down a few gratitude notes. Have a nighttime stretch/meditation routine before bed. This sets you up for a night of quality, undisturbed sleep! More importantly, our these mindfulness tips can help balance hormones like cortisol and melatonin.
5. SPEND TIME IN NATURE
One of my favorite things! - Forest bathing or Shinrin-Yoku. The sound of the outside, watching animals in action, taking in the fresh clean air is exactly what the body and mind is looking for. To add more, spending time near trees gives us exposure to phytoncides which are aromatic antimicrobial compounds released from plants. They help boost your immune system by increasing the number of natural killer cells. Studies show that even spending a little time outside (no matter what season) can improve mental health.
So, there you have it. My top science backed tips for a mindful living. Let me know if you applied any of it into your life!