Many say the two core pillars of self-care are Movement and Mindfulness. Much of how we are and what we do is a result of how we move our body and where we focus our mind.
Moving our body is critical for good health, we all know that. How you hold your body, and what you do with it dictates how well you function. Do you move enough so that your heart, muscles and joints are getting benefit? Most Americans don’t, in fact over 60% are quite sedentary. And as a result, many have health and mobility issues from lack of movement.
Really, for most of us, we just need to move more. You don’t need to call it ‘exercise’, but just MOVE! Moving more will provide more energy, burn calories and stress, and can help us feel good! Get the heart rate up, work those muscles, put more effort into your activities. Movement can be done in so many different ways. We will feel better, sleep better, our moods will be better, and, of course, over all our health is better.
Movement or exercise doesn’t have to be ‘traditional’, like you have to go to a gym, or done in a formal way. Just move your body more, in all ways!
Mindfulness is defined by Jon Kabat Zinn as awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally. It is not meditation, but meditation is a form of mindfulness. Mindfulness is a practice of minding our own mind, noticing where our thoughts go, and then bringing them back to what we want to focus on. Like exercise and movement, there is a discipline in doing it that strengthens our ability to do it more.
Most of us didn’t learn the importance of the mental discipline, or the ability to tap into conscious awareness, when we were young. But this too can be learned. Like training a muscle, continued effort around being mindful can strengthen your ability to be more fully present to your life.
Mindfulness has been shown to have enormous health benefits. Benefits could include decreased depression and anxiety, lower stress, better memory and focus, and less emotional reactivity. Being more mindful can make a huge difference in our emotional and mental wellbeing. Life becomes richer because we are paying attention more, we are more present to our lives.
Traditionally, mindful movement has been associated with yoga, Tai Chi or Qiqong. Mindful movement is a blending of slow, focused movement coordinated with breath and awareness. But this blending could apply to any movement, including your daily activities.
What if you blended mindfulness and movement? Instead of mindlessly walking, running, doing chores, etc., you can mindfully do the activity, really being present to feeling your body’s ability to move and function. Instead of complaining and resisting an activity, you mindfully pay attention to the nuances of doing it. Maybe you can tap into your other senses or look at it with appreciation, instead of resenting it and being lost in your head thinking of something else.
What would it be like if you were curious or savoring a mundane task? Instead of being stressed doing some house cleaning, you paid attention to how efficiently your body moved the vacuum or wiped away the dust while enjoying some of your favorite tunes, or you appreciate the effort it takes and the end result of having your house clean.
Incorporating Mindful Movement into Life
What joys and inspiration can you illicit by really feeling and being present to your thoughts and your movements? Maybe it’s more vigor or joy walking around the office, doing errands, projects or chores? Maybe more aliveness as you engage in your daily activities.
For me, it feels truly like a gift to really pay attention, marvel at the workings of my body and mind. I love the feeling of my body moving, and I can tap into this by being mindful. It feels good in the moment, all the parts working, I feel stronger and more capable. I am present to now! My body takes me places, I get things done important to me, I observe, appreciate and feel joy. And, bonus, I get to reap the health benefits!
That we can feel, experience and savor is truly amazing. This is the gift of ‘being present’. Consider how you can do both, be more mindful and move your body more. From here, we can really savor and bring aliveness and good health into our lives!
Wonder how coaching can help you access being more present in your life? Want to move and be mindful more, or make healthier choices? Schedule a complimentary life discovery session now! I look forward to supporting you on your journey!
To your best health and well-being,