Spring steps to mindfulness and stress reduction!
Take a Spring(mental) Break or How to Add Mindfulness to Your Training Regimen this Spring!
Breath-work, mindfulness, and meditation are becoming a much more mainstream form of fitness as mindfulness training has been shown to have significant therapeutic effects for those experiencing stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, depression, chronic pain, migraines and burnout. So, if you are experiencing any of these ailments or really want to learn how to become more centered and calm this spring, here are a few tips on how to get started:
Tip 1 -- Get Rid of Negative Self-Thought & Speech:
My dad used to always challenge me to never say ‘I can’t’, and with good reason! Negative self-talk robs you of your mental strength and sense of grounding. It also puts us in a state of stress, whereas positive thinking and speech dramatically reduces stress and anxiety.
This spring, try to replace thoughts and words like ‘I can’t’ with things like, ‘I can, I’m capable, I'm going to do my best.’
Tip 2 – Spring Forward and Journal:
For some of us, we wake up and immediately start thinking about the tasks at hand, which can cause us serious stress. Before springing forward and reaching for your smartphone, grab a notebook and write upon waking up. It doesn't matter what you write - it could be a to-do list, a reflection, an intention for the day - just write. Doing this ‘brain dump’ first thing in the morning will help clear your mental plate so you are more present the rest of the day.
In the evening, write at least one thing that happened during the day that you are grateful for. Laying down with a spirit of gratitude versus a spirit of worry will help you transition into a peaceful sleep state. And as an added bonus, you can go back and look at your list during times of stress, anxiety or depression as gentle reminder of things to be grateful for.
Tip 3 – Get out in Nature:
Spring is a great time to practice mindfulness! Since mindfulness is present-moment awareness, one could practice simply by taking a walk outside, shifting their attention to their surroundings and observing the birds, flowers and trees around you. Next time you find yourself outside, take notice of the warm sun on your skin, the scent of greenery in the air, and the various sounds of the outdoors.
Tip 4 – Exercise Stress Reduction:
Activities like coloring, sound therapy (ITSR), or meditation and breathwork, which are shown to have significant therapeutic effects, are great ways to move you from your sympathetic nervous system (stress) to parasympathetic nervous system (rest & relaxation). Here is an example of a quick breathing exercise you can do during the day to help relieve stress and feel more balanced and centered:
· Find a comfortable spot
· Sit still and close your eyes
· Begin breathing in through your nose and out through your nose
· Focusing on your inhale and exhale
Be sure to set a timer and breathe this way for at least five minutes. You will notice a difference in your mood at the end of your session.
We all know stress won’t disappear in one day, but taking these steps to mindfulness and stress reduction can be great tools to help you manage your stress, get rid of negative thoughts and gear up for spring!