The Power of Mindfulness

The more you practice being mindful, the more you will reap the health benefits, including a lower stress level.

This article was made possible through the financial support of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, which has partnered with Qcitymetro since 2010.


Ayesha Qureshi
Ayesha Qureshi, MPH

With all the hustle and bustle in our lives, it’s easy to lose focus. Our thoughts wander as we get caught up thinking about things we have to deal with, causing unnecessary stress. This is why mindfulness is so important.

Being mindful simply means being in the present moment, focusing on what you are doing and how you are feeling right now.

Mindfulness is often used as a stress-management technique, but it can also prove useful in aiding weight loss and improving overall health. I know that trying to turn off your thoughts and staying focused in the present is easier said than done, but with practice and persistence, it can become like second nature.

Here are some tips that will help you incorporate mindfulness in various aspects of your health.

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EXERCISE

Mindfulness not only helps you get more out of your exercise routine, but exercising can actually help you become more mindful. Focus on your workout and the good feeling you get from it afterwards. You will have more satisfaction and stay motivated to continue. When you pay attention to the movement of your muscles while lifting weights, you will automatically think about your body frame and position. This benefits you because you will improve your body’s movement and reduce your risk of injury.

How to get started: Plan your workouts, focus on the movements of various muscles during cardio and strength-training routines. Notice and feel how you improve with each workout. During your cool down, add deep breathing and meditation to feel fully relaxed.

NUTRITION

Being mindful about the food you eat can prevent overeating. It is even used to treat binge eating. When you focus on what you eat, you get more satisfaction from the food. Eating too quickly does not allow the brain to realize that the stomach is full. Mindful eating slows you down, allowing your body to properly digest your meal.

How to get started: Take small bites, chew well, and think about what you are eating. Focus on the taste. You will find meals more enjoyable with mindful eating.

STRESS

Stress affects us all and can have a big impact on our health. By staying mindful, we can reduce that stress. This results in lower blood pressure and relief of gastrointestinal issues. Mindfulness exercises are a great way to calm and relax you.

How to get started: Yoga is a good form of physical activity and a great way to practice mindfulness because you focus on breathing. Deep breathing, meditation, listening to music, and journaling are other great ways to stay in the moment and relax.

The more you practice being mindful, the more it will start to become a habit. You will start to notice the benefits of staying focused in the present and how calming it can be. You are truly living in the moment.