By Anri van Rooyen
Mindfulness is becoming in tune with your internal world and starting to listen to your body and its needs again.’Anri van Rooyen
– Being fully present in the moment.
– An intentional act and non-judgmental (i.e. you don’t judge yourself, you just become aware of where you are at).
– Part of all of us and we possess this gift naturally. Like all things: practice makes perfect and it is more readily available to us if done daily.
– Bringing awareness to what you are experiencing via your senses and/or thoughts and emotions (i.e. your state of mind). The ability of becoming aware of where you are and what you are doing and not being overly reactive or overwhelmed by what is going on around you.
Research shows that when training your brain to be more mindful, you are actually forming new neural networks and you are remodelling the physical structure of your brain (known as neuroplasticity).
Mindfulness is a broad term and can be applied to all eight dimensions of wellness (physical, spiritual, mental-emotional, social, financial, environmental, intellectual, occupational). Each dimension contributes to our own sense of wellbeing or quality of life, and each affects, influences and overlaps the other dimensions. At times one may be more prominent than others, but neglect of any one dimension for any length of time has adverse effects on overall health. For optimal health, you need balance in all eight dimensions.
The goal of mindfulness is to wake up to the inner workings of our mental, emotional, and physical processes.mindful.org
In this article, I will be focusing on mindfulness applied to physical wellness. It is important to note that I am merely focusing on physical wellness for explanation purposes, but remember it does influence and affects the other dimensions as well.
Physical wellness focuses on the physical factors (proper nutrition, exercise, good health practices, health check-ups, adequate rest and relaxation) that can enhance health and wellbeing. Physical wellness is generally the easiest place to start for most of us.
At Ariani Health Solutions we focus on a mindful and holistic approach to health and long term weight loss. We incorporate all eight dimensions of wellness to help you on your journey of obtaining optimal health and happiness.
My ‘Mindful Movement & Munchies’ Guide
Mindfulness becomes a state of mind and being. Bring mindfulness into your daily life to improve your quality of life, mental-, emotional– and physical wellbeing. I am gifting you with my ‘Top 5 Mindful Movement & Munchies Tips’, that you can start incorporating into your life immediately, for a more fulfilled life.
Click here for ‘My Mindful Movement & Munchies Worksheet’ and use it with this Guide. Keep your journal with you and jot down what comes up for you and do the activities on the worksheet.
Gratitude for Your Magnificent Being (or Vessel)
We focus too much on our negative aspects. It is time to focus on how grateful you are for your beyond amazing and wonderful body. It is called SELF-LOVE, not selfishness. It is a miracle to be alive, happy and healthy. Gratitude lifts our spirits and puts us in a high vibration frequency.
Movement – thank your body for keeping you alive and allowing you to move. Our bodies were created to move. If you don’t move it, you will become stiff, be at risk for injuries and have a reduced rate of recovery after injury or surgery. Regular movement improves the functioning of all your body systems (incl. heart, liver, bone, muscle, brain, skin, lymph, hormones, organs, lungs, digestive and urinary). It also improves energy levels, sleep, metabolism (burning more calories), strength, power, endurance, flexibility and much more.
If you are not exercising, what are your reasons? Really contemplate your answers here…Are they valid? Maybe priorities need some shifting?. Time need not be an issue – you can exercise 5 minutes every time you boil the kettle or longer when you wait for your food in the oven. Click here for practical ways to incorporate exercise into your life.
Munchies – thank your body for digesting and absorbing your food effortlessly, without you even noticing it. Bless and thank your food for its healing and nourishing powers. This is what happens when you pray before eating, you actually bless your food. If you don’t pray, it is no problem, then bless your food by thanking mother earth for providing for your needs.
The Power of Now
Movement – be in the moment while exercising. Move slowly and controlled, no matter what exercise you are doing. Enjoy the experience and the moment. Your body is loving the movement and your soul is craving this moment and connection to your body and mind! My motto is: ‘Find your Fun Fitness’. What do you enjoy? Our bodies were created to move, therefore find an exercise type that you enjoy. It shouldn’t feel like a punishment. Some examples: yoga, dancing, boxing, swimming, hikes, anything that makes your body move and that you enjoy.
Munchies – be in the moment by eating slowly and involve all your senses by really tasting and smelling your food. You can even eat with your hands and listen to the different sounds the foods are making when you eat it. Enjoy your food, it is the fuel for life!
Listen to Your Body
Movement – listen to your body while exercising. If you experience pain, then STOP, your technique is wrong. Adjust posture, form and technique; then continue. Don’t push your body into a painful range. Your body will tell you when you are pushing it too far.
Munchies – your body knows when to stop eating, but it takes time for your brain to register that you are satisfied. Therefore, eat slowly. Start noticing feelings and emotions when you want to eat, when you are eating and after you eat. This will give you an indication if you eat to feel better (aka emotional eating) or perhaps to relieve stress (stress eating).
Intuitive eating is the key to a healthy and happy body. It is an eating style that promotes a healthy attitude toward food and body image. It is based on physical hunger, not emotional hunger (like emotional eating and stress eating) and should not cause guilt. The idea is that you should eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. This should be an intuitive process, but for many people, it’s not.
Become Silent: Breathe and Relax
Make time for yourself to recover, refresh, revitalise and replenish. This is known as self-love and it is crucial in order for you to give more time and energy to others. Start exploring what makes you feel re-energised and relaxed. It is often believed that if you relax, you will not be able to do anything or take any action. This is a myth! When you make time to relax and unwind, you actually improve your concentration, memory and productivity – meaning you get more things done, in less time.
Movement – Take deep breaths while exercising. Follow the breaths. Incorporate balance and flexibility stretches into your workout routines. Don’t know what to do? Do a yoga session! Yoga incorporates strength, balance and flexibility (3 of the 4 Basic Exercise Categories. The 4th being aerobic exercise, aka ‘cardio’). Yoga is also great as a mindfulness practice, to relax and revitalise the body, soul and mind; after a hectic day.
Breathing practices are crucial not only for mindfulness exercises (like yoga), but also if you are a runner or weight lifter. Breathing and intention increases the effectiveness of your workouts.
Munchies – Take a few deep (5 to 10) breaths before each meal. Your body can only digest and absorb food properly in a rested state (when the relaxation/parasympathetic nervous system is active; that is responsible for rest, digest and recovery). So relax, breathe and taste your food. Eating quickly and in a rushed state is one of the major causes of indigestion, bloating, stomach aches and pains.
Here it becomes very interesting, especially when we look at digestive problems. Stress is the number 1 reason for most intestinal issues (actually all health challenges, depending on your genetic weakness). By breathing and relaxing you are allowing your body to enter a calm parasympathetic state.
Mix It Up
Movement – keep things interesting by incorporating different workouts and fun exercises. Explore yourself, find your fun fitness! Some examples include dancing, boxing, hiking, belly dancing, cross-training, exercise classes etc. (the sky is the limit). If you make it fun and interesting, you will enjoy the experience as well. Exercise is not a punishment, your body craves movement! Try to incorporate all 4 categories of exercise, for optimal fitness.
Munchies – Start exploring with your food, get creative in the kitchen. I call it creative cooking. Try new things, mix it up and allow your taste buds to explore a little. Make your food taste delicious by adding herbs and spices. Don’t make your food boring and bland. Remember your body needs food and fuel, it is not evil! Food is Life!journaling Start looking at your relationship with food. Most of our Weight Control Clinic patients have a limiting belief around food and weight.
For more information on how Ariani Health Solutions’ holistic approach can help you go to: