I learned the hard way that your mind has as much of an influence, if not a greater influence, on your health and well-being than your body.
Not to mention that what goes on in your mind manifests in your body.
Many of us exercise, eat healthily (or make a conscious effort to), stay hydrated, and whilst these do make an enormous impact on your mind, it still isn't going to cut it.
You can have the best diet in the world, workout 6 days a week, keep a healthy stable weight, stay optimally hydrated...
But if you do not mange stress and your mental state, you will never truly be healthy.
If you can workout 6 days a week for an hour, what's 10 minutes of meditation a day?
If you can go out of your way to buy balanced nutritious foods, prep them at home, maybe even carry them around with you... why not carve out 15 minutes to journal or organise your mind?
If you can carry a water bottle around with you and keep a tally on your phone of how many you've drunk every day, what's 5 minutes of breath-work before you go to bed?
It's not about having enough time, it's about shifting your priorities. (This is one of the biggest lessons I'm learning in my wider life)
If you viewed these practices on the same level as exercise or the food you eat, you'd make time.
Thus, practices for your mind need to be viewed on the same level as practices for your body.
The three practices that I mentioned are a great start and can be implemented from this very moment. Here's how...
Sit comfortably (crossed legged or otherwise), close your eyes, and take 10 deeps breathes - counting each one in your head.
Allow your breath to settle, then work your way from your head to your feet trying to connect with each individual part of your body - how the weight feels, any stiffness, maybe even twitching the muscles... just intensely connect with them.
When thoughts enter your mind, become consciously aware of the thought and bring yourself back to the body part that you're connecting with.
Once you've gone through each body part, see how long you can not think for. Sounds simple, but test yourself and try to extend the time every practice.
Either practice morning pages where you fill a specific amount of pages with whatever is on your mind, or follow this template:
- Your focus for the day (the primary thing you'd like to achieve)
- What you're grateful for today
- What you're going to let go of today (past event, mistake, etc.)
- 2 affirmations, repeat them in your head 3 times
- Your 3-5 primary goals, visualising achieving them and the road to get there
This combines a lot of important practices: Gratitude, affirmations, coping with internal trauma, affirmations, goal setting, and visualisation - and can take you a matter of minutes.
a) Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds, hold for 7, then out through your mouth for 8 [repeat up to 10 times]
b) Take a long deep breath in through your nose, and once you feel like you can't breathe in any more, take one last short-sharp breath in - then take a long, slow, full exhale out of your mouth [repeat up to 10 times]
Start here, stick to the basics, then develop your practices with time.