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We live in an incredibly busy and fast paced world. In an effort to stay on top of our schedule, we multitask – folding laundry and ironing while watching tv, dropping the kids to school. Or should it be taking business calls, cooking the dinner or checking social media. This ongoing flurry of activity never stops and it also means you risk losing the key connection to the present moment. When is the last time you focused on yourself or taken notice of how you were feeling? Mindful Living – is there really a room for that in our busy schedule?
What is Mindful Living?
Mindful living is about the present moment whereby you focus your attention on the here and now. An ancient practice, dating as far back as 1500 BC, meditation and mindfulness is practised globally in many cultures today. It is actually easier than you might think. There is no ‘one-way-rule’ to practising mindfulness, but all methods focus on one specific goals; to become present, alert and focused on your thoughts and sensations in that very moment.
Benefits of embracing mindful living?
Practising mindful living can improve your overall physical health by:
- Lowering blood pressure
- Managing your resilience to stress and anxiety
- Help relieve stress
- Supporting your cardiovascular system
- Improving sleep
- Improving digestion
3 Simple Ways to make life more mindful:
The following tips are intended to be practical. The intent is that you realise just how simple it can be to add a little more ‘present’ into your routine.
Exercise is often viewed as something to do out of necessity or even to just lose weight. However, it can actually be a useful tool to help with mindful living. Think about how often you hear people talk about going running to help with stress! Regular exercise helps to boost your memory, focus and improve mood by reducing stress and anxiety. Doing exercise that your enjoy can be a powerful tool to help you ‘switch off’ and be ‘in the moment’, away from the distractions of everyday life.
What can you do? Make room in your diary for exercises you enjoy. It can be a gym class or simply going to the park to ‘play’ or contemplate on the stillness. Anywhere you don’t have to think, but can just enjoy the act itself and the fun you are having. If you like running, why not check out Nike Run Club to help you destress in a fun environment! Every week, Nike stores around London run a run club that focuses on getting you fit and have fun at the same time.
Given its deep connection to mindful living, it’s no surprise we mention yoga as a key part of mindful living.
What can you do? To get started, while you can find a host of free yoga videos online, the practice of a real class can be very beneficial for a beginner where the instructor will make sure you are working through the movements correctly. If you’re up to the challenge, iRaw has done some research, Fierce Grace Yoga studios can put you to the test! Check out their introductory offer of 30 days unlimited classes for 39 pounds.
Mantras are a fantastic way to bring yourself back to the present. A really simple technique, known as journalling, by which you take five minutes each day to note a mantra to focus on for the day. Some examples include:
- Action conquers fear
- I am enough
- Excellence doesn’t require perfection
- Trust in the process of life
To take this up a notch, you can try Kundalini Yoga, a physical and meditative discipline that combines postures, breath, and the chanting of mantras. iRaw founder and yogi, Asa, recently led the team through the ‘Har Mantra of Abundance’. ‘Har’ means seed (from seed to sprout to flower) and so the focus was on generating the notion of abundance, blossoming from inside and bringing that into your daily activities and action. All especially relevant in today’s busy world.
Of course abundance can mean many things and throughout the mantra Asa encouraged the team to focus the mantra towards some personal aspects – money, love, happiness, iRaw, personal relationships etc. However, she also reminded us that first and foremost we have to focus on the ‘self’ because if you don’t take care of your body (mind and spirit), where will you live?
Overall a great success and a fantastic way to start the day – calm, centred and blooming with abundance! Check out this video tutorial to give it a try.
We spend so much time looking at what we’re eating that we neglect what might arguably be even more important: how you eat. There’s barely enough hours in the day to get your work done so no surprise you eat your meals on the go. But your body doesn’t think like that. The body requires you to be in a relaxed (parasympathetic) state in order to digest your food properly. On the contrary, all the rushing and stress (sympathetic or what we call ‘fight or flight’) hits the ‘pause’ button on your digestion. It makes logical sense; when you are in ‘fight or flight’, the body focuses all attention on dealing with this ‘danger’. Unfortunately, this tool was not ongoing worries like debt, bills and work deadlines.
So what can you do? Make lunch break a non-negotiable. Step away from your computer and enjoy your meal with family/work colleagues. Eat slowly and try to chew each mouthful at least 15 times.
The Perfect Post Exercise Stress Reducing Snack:
The Pepper n’Mint Raw Chocolate Cookie is full of nutrients that both support your body’s post exercise, provide a stable source of energy and also help with stress. Specifically, one key nutrients found in oats, Avena Sativa, is an excellent source of B vitamins, supporting energy production and mood stabilisation. Furthermore, the added peppermint, with its host of benefits, is particularly beneficial to soothe the gut and encourage proper motility.
The Story Of Pepper n’Mint
“The idea was to create something delicious with rolled oats as they are a fantastic source of soluble fibres and their active ingredient has a great soothing effect on our stressful life. Chocolate and Mint just work well together, it’s a tried and tested combination. It was by ‘accident’ that iRaw realised how fantastic the black pepper was in sharpening the mint flavour and giving the chocolate an extra punch. We stretch ourselves in this recipe and must make an almond butter first which really makes these little goodies an addictive bunch!”
Star ingredient: oats, mint and almond butter