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  • 3 Mindfulness Tips for Beginners: Improve Health and Happiness

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    3 Mindfulness Tips for Beginners: Improve Health and Happiness 

    Woman sitting cross legged with colorful background mindfulness motivation quote

    Do you feel weird when you're not looking at your phone or when there's no music or video playing? In today's technology-driven world, we have grown accustomed to external noise from social media, videos, music and the internet. This external noise has taken over our minds so much that we have forgotten how to hear our own thoughts. The slightest thought we have, we immediately cover it up with music or distract ourselves by browsing on the web. We have become fearful of looking inward to discover who we truly are without outside interference and programmed to constantly seek external gratification for internal happiness. Sadly, this leads to a never-ending abyss of need for other people's likes, comments, approvals or situations to feel good about ourselves when the key to true happiness is found within. So throw away the societal pressures of what should make you happy! This New Year, make plans to create your own happiness by getting "truly fit" through developing mind body synergy.

    Achieve happiness, love and health with mindfulness exercises, dietary changes and a positive mindset

    Start the New Year by understanding that what you experience in life starts with the mind. Your body is a vessel that follows what the mind believes and creates a reflection of your thoughts. Being aware of that, you will soon begin to reconnect with yourself and realize that no matter what happens around you or to you, you will always be in a state of peaceful joy. See how by simply incorporating mindfulness into workouts as a first step can transcend the benefits into your diet and mindset! 

    Woman doing yoga on beach with ProsourceFit pink foam yoga blacks

    Mindfulness Exercises 

    Whether you are just starting an exercise regimen or have worked out for years, practice being in the present as you exercise. What is staying present you ask? It is the practice of being in the moment, removing anxiety from worrying about the future or feeling regret because of the past. It is to be mindful and aware of your current state. Simply start by paying attention to your breath as you run, practice yoga or lift weights. Get attuned to how you feel as you inhale and exhale purposefully, and you will start to notice sensations or muscle movements you have never experienced before . Practicing mindfulness while exercising is similar to meditation, it calms the mind and brings a sense of peace to your overall well-being as you enter into a state of relaxation. It is a great way to start learning how it feels to connect the mind and body as one. I have experienced firsthand how different it was once I accidentally incorporated mindfulness practice into my exercise routine. I started my yoga journey at a big fancy studio where the teacher was phenomenal, but I was focused on the external world of timing, instructions and subconsciously comparing myself to others. When I started practicing alone at home, I noticed significant differences in my mental and physical states because external distractions were gone. My internal world became loud as thoughts of life concerns/worries, bodily discomforts and wanting to stop during challenging poses screamed at me. I was forced to learn to push my internal dialogue away, and the only way to calm the noise in my head was by focusing on my breath and body. I was bringing my awareness into the present without even realizing it. Over time, I noticed thoughts were slowly replaced with an awareness of how my muscles, joints and spine felt. I also started incorporating a short meditation session while in my state of relaxation, giving myself permission to feel and just "be". That short meditation session helped re-wire my mind and body to remember the state of mindfulness I was in and has now carried into other aspects of my life. I wish to encourage others to do the same and try the techniques I used myself whether it's focusing on breathing, feeling your body or simply incorporating a short meditation after your own unique mindfulness exercises. Having the right tools are also necessary during mindfulness training because it eliminates distraction, helping you concentrate on your own state as you exercise and achieve a state of mindfulness. For my yoga practice, I use a mat with grip and texture so I can eliminate any external interference, allowing me to focus on breathing and feeling each pose. I encourage you to integrate self-practice/workouts with classes to experience the peace, joy and happiness I have found through mindfulness practice during my exercise routine.

    Dietary Changes

    Once you start your own unique mindfulness practice, you will notice that the more active and in sync you are with your mind and body, food cravings will go away and letting go of bad dietary habits become easier. As you become more in tuned with your body, you will develop an acute awareness of elements that don't make you feel good. Having a mindful eating approach will transform you- your body will begin to seek healthier nutrient rich foods that fuel it instead of toxifying it. You may still want some soda, candy or pizza but there will be many more days filled with vegetables, fruits, lean meats and water. Foods you used to enjoy will now make you feel heavier or tired after consumption, whereas healthier options will uplift and give you energy. With consistent mindfulness practice in your diet, you will gain a sense of appreciation for food and eat with a purpose not emotion. You'll feel an improvement to your overall well-being and even become more energized to handle more physically. Positive dietary changes take adjustment and will happen naturally as you evolve, so go with the flow and take it as it comes!

    Man with light awakening in mind

    A Positive Mental Attitude

    Most people don't realize the importance of having a positive mindset. It is a crucial component to creating a happy and healthy life because it is the source of how you perceive what happens to you. Anything that happens to you in life is an opportunity for you to learn about and grow into who you really are, so why choose a negative perspective when you are beautiful inside and out? The next time you are faced with a situation that doesn't bring you immediate joy, refrain from going deeper into why it brought you sadness, anger or frustration.  Instead, choose to look on the brighter side of things because for every non-preferred emotion and perspective, there is an equally preferred and more pleasing one on the other side just waiting for you to focus on. Give it a try the next time someone angers you or your car breaks down and see how your world opens up!

    This post is just the tip of the iceberg on how wonderful and crucial being mindful is to achieving a lifetime of true happiness.  With these simple tips, we want to make mindfulness practice achievable and non-disruptive to your daily life.  Start slow and feel your way through as you start practicing mindfulness workouts, and witness how that will help improve what you eat and how you think. Not convinced? Here are a few more proven benefits from the Positive Psychology Program's list of 23 health benefits of mindfulness practice:

    • Decreased stress
    • Increased attention and focus
    • Increased clarity in thinking and perception
    • Enhanced ability to deal with illness
    • Aid in recovery
    • Decreased symptoms of depression

    A great book from the Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh , Peace is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life is also a great way to start your own unique mindfulness practice and discover how practicing mindfulness in your daily life can help. For additional exercises or guides to support you on your magical mindfulness journey, explore our YouTube channel or Fit & Healthy Blog!

     

    Sources:

    https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/benefits-of-mindfulness/

    https://www.mindful.org/what-is-mindfulness/

    https://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/what-is-mindfulness#1

    https://www.verywellfit.com/mindfulness-during-exercise-1230998

    https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/mindful-eating-guide#section1

     




    Kelly Ko

    Author



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