Mindfulness techniques might seem like a rarity or a luxury, but they don’t have to be. Actually, they can (and should) be implemented into your daily routine. Don’t think you need them? Well, have you ever just felt the need to take a “mental health day” off work and away from your daily duties, even if that meant just taking a scenic drive for a few hours? As women, we’re in charge of everyone else’s health and wellbeing, but more often than not, this comes at the expense of our own physical and mental health.
If you’re like most women, this yearning probably sounds all too familiar, especially if you find yourself constantly busy taking care of others in your life. But who has the spare time to just disappear for a couple of days at a time? Just thinking about all the work to come back to makes us wonder if it’s even worth it. If this reminds you of yourself, it might be appropriate to schedule a little time out of your daily schedule and improve your overall health with these simple, powerful, and integrative mindfulness techniques.
An Integrative Approach to Health and Wellness
When most people think of fitness, the physical aspect of the word is likely the first thing that comes to mind. That’s mostly where the western ideal of “wellness” shines. Aside from images of dumbbells, marathon running, and a healthy, colorful meal, your health, and wellness also encompasses your mental state of being. Enter, an Eastern philosophy of wellness that includes stress levels, and your ability to unwind, recharge and relax. If you’re focusing on one without the other, you’re missing half of the equation.
Exercise is an all-natural treatment to fight depression and curb anxiety, but it’s not always a complete solution. Taking an integrative approach to your health, then, means combining both aspects (mental and physical) into one comprehensive strategy. In short, don’t ditch your physical efforts regarding regular exercise and eating healthy foods, but rather combine them with mental “exercises” like meditation, yoga, and some good old fashioned relaxation to benefit your entire body, including your brain.
The Health Benefits of Meditation
Countless studies on the benefits of meditation reveal findings that are really quite impressive. Whether you struggle with chronic pain, memory loss, high blood pressure, certain digestive disorders, weight control, insomnia, or anxiety and depression, meditation might just be your best path of healing.
What makes this practice so beneficial to your health? Meditation is all about mindfulness, or being present in the moment and not worrying about the past or the future. These are the things that keep us awake at night with worry, and the things that make our minds wander throughout the day and slow us down. Meditation can address a wide range of health concerns by reducing stress, strengthening the immune system, and improving cognitive function. For many people, spending time in the beauty of nature while being hyper-aware of their present surroundings and state of being is one of the most relaxing and recharging “exercises” possible.
Other Mindfulness Techniques to Use Throughout the Day
Okay, so maybe meditation seems intimidating or time-consuming to you and that’s okay! There are other simple mindfulness techniques you can use anywhere to help “turn inwards” and focus on your present health. The first is to simply pay attention. What do you see right now? What are the details? What do you smell? What temperature is it? Where is your mind right now? Asking ourselves these types of questions helps us to slow down and appreciate all the things we take for granted. During your next sip of coffee, sip it slowly. Appreciate all the flavors, the texture, the warmth of the mug, and the rich smell.
When you start to get overwhelmed, try focusing on your breathing. Control the speed, feel your chest rise and fall, close your eyes, and focus on the fullness of your chest as it fills with air. It’s so easy and so soothing to get lost in the simple act of breathing and controlling your body. It gives you the mental space and clarity you need to realign your mind and move with purpose throughout the day.
If being at home isn’t doing it for you anymore and you need a way to escape physically, there are great options for that as well.
Treat Yourself (and Your Health) to a Relaxing Getaway
Meditation isn’t the only way to implement mindfulness techniques in your life. You can practice mindful meditation, take nature walks, and develop other mental health exercises right from the comfort of your own home and free of charge. But sometimes, the four walls of our homes just aren’t enough to reap maximum benefits and help us feel rejuvenated, especially if our health is in need of a major overhaul.
That’s exactly where health spas like Canyon Ranch, the world’s recognized leader in healthy living and luxury spa vacations, come in. Canyon Ranch has been providing world-class health and wellness getaways for women and men from all over the world since 1979. It has truly been at the forefront of an innovative, integrative approach to health and fitness ever since.
Canyon Ranch is centered on the idea of immersing you in a world of natural beauty. It also boasts a team of professionals who are experts in their fields, including registered dietitians, board-certified physicians, exercise physiologists, and licensed therapists. Whether you’re meditating in the sandy deserts of Tucson or are aboard a cruise ship taking in the salty air and exhaling your worries away, nature’s ability to positively impact your overall health can’t be denied. In fact, a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science found a direct link between spending time in nature and a significant decrease in the signs of chronic depression. Studies have not found urban settings to be as therapeutic.
The Bottom Line
It’s easy to get wrapped up in caring for those you love. When crafting your own life goals, keep in mind that if your own health is compromised, you won’t be able to fully care for others. Taking time to address what’s going on with you and your body is always a good investment. Take control of your physical and mental health by routinely giving yourself a time-out to be mindful, enjoy nature, and even kick your feet up and recharge. Your mind and body, and maybe even your loved ones, will thank you for it!