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Back to Basics Series: The Myth of Having it All

Live Mindfully

There's never enough time. You need more than 24 hours in a day to get everything done. Your to-do list is unending, and your calendar is booked solid for the next six months. With the combined demands of work, family and friends, life is very, very full. Congratulations, you have it all. Now what?

Mindfulness. This focus on the present moment can help you enjoy the things in your life, rather than quickly ticking tasks off a never-ending list. By employing mindfulness, you can learn to stay calm, and this state of calm can help you deal more effectively with the busyness of the day-to-day. And this in turn can generate better health and wellness.

At the heart of mindfulness and mindful movement is the importance of breath awareness. Breathing regulates all the systems of the body and is a stress reducer for the nervous system. The entire respiratory system affects our body physically, emotionally and cognitively. Breathing practice can increase our metabolic rate and creates more inner awareness both physically and mentally.

Focusing on and being aware of your movement educates and focuses the mind on what the body is doing, how it operates and the quality of the movement. Research has shown that what you program in your mind will have an effect on how well your mind and body function.

When moving with awareness and purpose, you create a closer connection to ones' whole self. The type of exercise does not necessarily need to be a mind/body program such as yoga, STOTT PILATES® or ZEN•GA. Any approach to movement, from CORE to bodyweight training or running can be done with a mindful approach, and all the benefits that entails. The more you employ mindfulness in your workouts, the more you will learn how to employ it in your everyday life.

Being mindful during any movement not only assists with self-motivation, but can also prevent injury. When walking to the subway or work, stop, take notice, be aware of yourself physically and mentally. Am I breathing easily or am I tense? Are my shoes comfortable or are they affecting the way I walk? The bag hanging off one shoulder or the backpack, how much is in there that really needs to be? Be aware and then use the awareness as a prompt to make a change, lighten the load, organize and clean out your backpack or purse. Be proactive, take action instead of repeating the same pattern over and over again, which can lead to tension, pain, and eventual injury.

Mindfulness in what you eat can be a major contributor in the battle to a healthier body and mind. Take time and be cognizant of when and what you are eating. Think about the quality of your food and the speed at which you are eating. Standing and eating as you multi-task is a sure way to not notice how much you have consumed, how quickly you consumed it, whether you enjoyed it or to even notice you are full.

By paying attention to these small details and moving mindfully, you'll find yourself slowing down and enjoying what is in your life, with less stress, and more health and happiness. So the next time you're feeling overwhelmed by what you need to get done, stop. Concentrate on your breathing, and begin to move mindfully into the next moment.