Mindfulness: The Pathway to Enjoying Life
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I’m fortunate to work for a large employer that sees preventive health care and wellness as something to invest in. There are four areas of “lifestyle management” they promote;
- massage therapist
Over the past few years, I encountered therapists at employment health fairs who provided biofeedback and it intrigued me, but I just never made an appointment. But now I get reimbursed for all but $20 for each appointment up to $500 per service per year. I am taking full advantage of each one.
I found that biofeedback is fundamental
in living a holistic lifestyle.
What is biofeedback?
Simply put, it’s learning to self-regulate based on physical functions.
During the appointment, a therapist may use several types of methods to track heart rate, temperature, or breathing rate. Finger or earlobe sensors can track heart rate while you complete deep breathing exercises. This is all in an effort for you to learn to slow your breathing, slow your heart rate and relax.
We need to relearn how to R.E.L.A.X. Tension in the shoulders, neck and lower back are so common we think it’s normal. Sitting at the computer, caring heavy purses or carrying grandkids takes a toll. It takes conscious effort to pull the shoulders down and relax.
A helpful exercise is to lie down and, beginning from the top of your head to the tips of your toes, contract and release each muscle group one a time. Include deep breathing and as you exhale, release the muscle completely.
If you suffer from any type of muscle cramp, you can skip the contraction and just focus on releasing the muscle and relaxing. You heart rate will slow, your breathing will become deep and full. Remember to breathe from the belly and not from the chest.
I wish I wouldn’t have waited so long to learn this important tool.
Mindfulness is being present in the now.
We live in a over-stimulated world. Social media, instant news, advertising, all bombard our senses and demand our attention. Add the typical worry, stress, and emotional turmoil of life and it’s easy to see why our minds wonder and we don’t fully live in the present moment.
I find mindfulness different than meditation, which is typically tuning into the thoughts within. With mindfulness, you may need to tell yourself to “stay here” if your mind wonders…and it will. Gently bring your mind back to the place where you are. Listen for the ticking clock, singing birds, humming fridge, anything that will bring you to a place of total concentration.
Take time to sit quietly for several minutes, close your eyes and gently make yourself stay in the moment. You may only be able to do it for 1-2 minutes before sliding back into the frenzied thoughts.
I add deep breathing to slow the heart rate and calm the nervous system and find that my senses are heightened. I’m able to notice the smells, sights and sounds that make the scene around me more alive. And what I have found is that the more I practice this, the more moments in the day I experience where I am fully aware of the people and the scene around me.
This will take practice.
Our minds race in a hundred different directions. At the same time our heart rate is faster and our breathing is shallower, causing even more tension. We have to learn to bring ourselves into the present.
Make a concerted effort to learn about and incorporate biofeedback into your life.
- Find resources about mindfulness from others who have incorporated it into their lives.
- Find biofeedback therapists in your area. Ask for a free consultation so you can see their techniques and determine if they are a right fit for you.
- Watch this video to gain a better understanding:
Discover the joy and peace that mindfulness brings.
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Kristy Klenk has reached the 55 (and counting) birthday and finds this stage of life and aging an interesting adventure. Over the past 20 years she has been on a journey of living a holistic lifestyle and continues to research its positive effects on aging.
Disclaimer: Information found on this website or links to other websites are for informational purposes only and not intended for medical advice. You know your body and your physical, emotional and mental situation. Consult your physician before making any changes.