Be Mindful, Activate Your Life
Mindfulness is quite the buzzword these days. It’s so easy to say, “Take some time and be mindful today” but what exactly does that mean? And how do you start?
Promoted for centuries as part of Buddhist and spiritual traditions, the application of mindfulness to psychological health for Western medical health is a recent phenomenon. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health calls mindfulness “namely awareness and nonjudgmental acceptance of one's moment-to-moment life experiences.”
One of the most important tenets of mindfulness is simply being present – choosing to focus (effortlessly) all your attention on “the now” without reacting to them in any way: To watch life unfold as an observant viewer.
Powerful Calming Practices
Like many busy people working, socializing, eating, laughing, living and moving forward at lightning speed, it’s easy to live on autopilot navigating your way through the day with specific rituals and routines. Half the time you may not even realize you are cruising on life’s autopilot until something sudden or extraordinary throws off the hectic daily routine - a fender bender, for instance.
Mindfulness – your time to slow down, concentrate and breathe into what you are doing and thinking – can be as important as eating healthfully and exercising every day to nourish your body. It’s also vital to nourish your mind and emotions in order to keep them healthy and balanced.
There are many advantages to practicing being mindful for a few minutes every day:
- Decrease stress response
- Increase immune system
- Increase capacity for compassion
- Improve ability to regulate emotions
- Enhance ability to relax
- Help soothe chronic pain
- Boost mental health
4 Easy Ways to Become More Mindful
1. Stroll outside. Take a walk alone in nature, slowing down to track your breath in and out as you walk to clear your mind. Turn on all your other senses as you walk: Just smell, see, and feel.
2. Cultivate calmness. Practice gentle yoga postures with your favorite teacher at California Family Fitness. Sometimes a guided mindfulness practice starts within a yoga class, and a guided meditation may prove the best way to embrace and adopt these practices.
3. Color me mine. Grown-up coloring books bring back joyful memories of childhood and has the power to distract you from daily stresses for a few minutes every day, giving your mind a break and allowing you to explore your creative side.
4. Download the apps. Try some of our favorite meditation apps or gratitude podcasts to help you get started! We love Headspace and Insight Timer apps. (We'd love to hear some of your favorite mindful ptractices both in and out of the gym!)
Finally, if you are having trouble starting or getting in touch with mindfulness, contact us on social media or ask one of our talented yoga teachers or gifted personal trainers in person, at your home health club, and start today!