The end of one year and the transition into the next offers time for reflection as well as hope for what the future holds. However, the holiday season, traveling, projects, and other demands for your time may seem overwhelming. The good news is that something as easy as being mindful can help you trudge your way through. Mindfulness can be described as a process of active, open, nonjudgmental awareness. According to mindfulness educator, Chris Frasz, an increasing body of research shows the benefits of mindfulness to our physical, mental, and emotional lives.
The mind can play an important role when it comes to healing the body. Here a few examples of how you can use your mind to promote health. First, increase your self-awareness. Being “in the now” will help prevent you from worrying about the future, but it may also benefit your health. That back or neck pain you’ve been experiencing- ask yourself what could be the cause of it? Perhaps it’s simply bad posture when sitting at your desk. Second, evaluate your diet. Know what foods may lead to more severe health problems. Make changes to eat the right types of foods and maintain a healthy weight. Third, be cognizant of what is possible. If you’ve received a diagnosis, learn everything you can about it. Acceptance of the diagnosis and/or researching alternative treatments may lead to less anxiety and fear.
An easy way to remember and practice mindfulness is with the Five R’s. As Frasz outlines, these include:
- Recognize: Have self-awareness. Know your thoughts and recognize when you find yourself feeling worrisome or experiencing fearful thinking.
- Relax: Slow down, breathe, and let your body relax. Consider meditation or other breathing exercises.
- Review: Think about what options you have and how you may navigate a difficult situation. Ask yourself the question, “what can I control, change, and do I even have the choice?”
- Respond: Practice responding from deep within yourself, all the while, dismissing any fears and worries.
- Return: Check in with yourself, circling back to a mindfulness state, and having awareness of the present moment.