By Hanna Kim - July 19, 2018
How to Keep Your Mind Healthy
Our busy schedules can make us sometimes feel like there’s barely even time to breathe. Being constantly “on,” and available for work or friends 24-7 can leave us feeling rushed and mentally fatigued. An amazing weekly massage sounds like the perfect way to destress but most of us don’t have the time or money to indulge in one nearly that often. Our minds do require attention and care just as our physical bodies do in order to stay healthy, and we can start with a few simple steps.
Create a Daily Mindfulness Ritual
Wake up and start your day off on the right foot by creating a morning ritual. It doesn’t have to be anything long or overly complicated. If you always feel pressed for time in the morning, try starting with something as simple as making your bed and notice how you feel instantly decluttered.
Being constantly “on,” and available for work or friends 24-7 can leave us feeling rushed and mentally fatigued.
When you feel like you can forgo one last hit of the snooze button, try a short meditation. Focus on your breath. One technique you can try is square breathing. Square breathing is especially great for those of us that feel like there’s always a running monologue in our heads.
Start with big breath in and yawn it out. Take another breath in through your nose as you count to four, and hold it in for another four counts. Exhale through your nose for four more counts, then count to four with empty lungs before repeating with your next inhale. Try this for 5 minutes while you’re waiting for your morning tea or coffee to brew. This exercise can also be done anytime throughout the day you feel like you need a moment for yourself.
The Art of Mindfulness
Dan Harris, a bestselling author on mindfulness describes it as “the skill of knowing what’s happening in your head at any given moment without getting carried away by it.” As human beings, we are creatures who have the ability to think about our thinking and just the implantation of that notion starts you on your way to a healthier mindset.
Yesterday, I came across this FiveThirtyEight podcast about two data visualization specialists who created a data drawing project where they would each collect and record their personal data based on one particular topic each week. For Week 3, the two women counted up how many times they each said thank you to someone, and on Week 4, they recorded anytime they complained about anything.
As human beings, we are creatures who have the ability to think about our thinking and just the implantation of that notion starts you on your way to a healthier mindset.
Just listening to these two describe their own recorded habits made me think of just how many times throughout the week I’d also gotten riled up, sometimes about something silly and out of my control, like not being able to find parking downtown during a Rockies game, or how I seem to be the only one ever emptying the dishwasher. I began to think I could be grateful instead, for having fun things to go do in downtown Denver, and for not having to hand-wash dishes.
Mindfulness is a skill we develop and grow, just like anything else we learn. You might not feel a feel a dramatic change the first time you try a brief meditation, but over time and with regular practice, you’ll feel pleasantly surprised by the shift towards a more positive and healthy mind.