MBSR weeks 7 & 8: Nourishing Body & Mind
Today I write about nourishing body and mind. I decided to combine the last two weeks of the mindfulness based stress reduction course into this one post, because the past two weeks I have mainly focused on this same topic. The daily meditation has already become a routine for me, and during these weeks I have tried to expand mindful living in not only into my daily meditation practices but into my daily life in general.
Mindfulness increases awareness, which brings us towards the topic of self-care and wellbeing. What I have learnt once becoming more connected with my body and mind, I have started to recognize more clearly what I need and do not need into my daily life. That leads to the question I want to discuss today: how to nourish our body and mind and let go of doing things that overwhelm?
How we spend our days?
First question we should ask ourselves once becoming aware of our habits is how do I spend my days? I suggest you to do this simple practice and write down about your daily routines, thoughts and emotions for a week, without analyzing anything. Then, after the week you can look back into your notes and try to recognize, whether those things made you feel good or bad. This is partly similar than the journal of pleasant and unpleasant, but here the purpose is not to focus on whether the thing you do is pleasant or unpleasant once doing it, but how it affects your wellbeing, either immediately or after a while.
At first, this might seem an easy task and might think you already know what you should or shouldn’t do to increase your wellbeing and happiness. But I still encourage you to take a deeper look. You might be surprised and become aware of something that you have been doing in autopilot for your whole life and haven’t even realized it has been harmful for your wellbeing. As an example, you can be very hard on yourself (while looking yourself in the mirror or when you have made a mistake etc). These little, daily automatic thoughts or behaviors overwhelm and add unnecessary stress into our lives.
Another very good example of an overwhelming behavior is the usage of social media, especially during times when you are already feeling a bit down. Social media is a place from where you can get inspiration from others and connect with whoever you want, but as we all know, it can also make you compare yourself to others, add stress and fear of missing out and in worst case lead to some serious mental health issues. Take a deep look at what overwhelms you. Next, I will give you some ideas on how we can add aspects that nourish our body and mind, further increasing your wellbeing.
First, let’s discuss how we can nourish our body. Well, isn’t it just to have enough sleep, healthy food and enough physical exercise? Yes, those are the very basics. But let’s go here a bit deeper as well. In mindfulness, one of the greatest thing is that you become more aware of your body sensations. You start to recognize more deeply what your body needs in different occasions. You might have a gym program you very strictly want to follow. But what if one day your body is telling you that you should rest instead of going to the gym? Would it be wise to listen to those body signals and be more kind towards yourself? Your body knows what you need, you just need to raise the awareness and learn to listen to it.
Here are some examples how you can nourish your body:
– Do not force yourself to follow a strict workout program (i.e. change a run into a walk if your body is telling you to do so)
– Get some fresh air on a daily basis
– Find your own way of exercising (do whatever you like to do, not what is trendy or what others think you should do)
– Take breaks during your workday moving your body (a walk, some stretching etc.)
– Allow yourself to eat the kind of food you enjoy and makes you feel good (healthy is good, but don’t be too hard on yourself)
– Prioritize sleep over watching the TV or social media
– Learn to rest (no, you are not lazy if you decide to do nothing for one day)
– Meditate and try out yin yoga
Finally, let’s discuss on how we can nourish our minds. First of all, what is nourishing mind? Well, simply this means doing things that increase our wellbeing. When we talk about mind, we go into the thoughts and emotions. How a certain thing we do, make us feel or what kind of thoughts they produce? Again, mindfulness makes us more aware of what is going on in terms of different thoughts and emotions. Little by little you start to recognize what are the things that make you feel bad, sad, anxious or frustrated. Also, you start to recognize what are those habits that make you think bad about yourself or others.
Here are some examples on how you can nourish your mind:
– Turn off your phone (do this whenever possible, you don’t need to be available 24/7)
– Limit your social media usage and screen time (set time limits and do not open it when you feel bored)
– Walk daily in the nature (woods, by the sea etc.)
– Give a hug to your partner, dog, friend, family member
– Read a book
– Add mindful routines into your day
– Practice active listening
– Make time to yourself and your thoughts
– Slow down, meditate and try out yin yoga
Did you find these tips helpful? Leave a comment down below!