Most of you know the merits of meditation and mindfulness. Enabling quiet pause, reflection and steadiness in the here and now. Allowing worrying thoughts to pass you on by in those precious moments. But what if you could somehow adopt these practices for more than the 10–20 mins you perhaps do it each day? What if you could do it more continuously? What might that look like?
I’ve learnt with my health condition that too much of a bad thing causes my body to react badly. And unfortunately too much of a good thing does the same thing too. If I can’t balance my day, to operate in what I call ‘the middle zone’, my body has a really bad time.
For some, the answer to achieving calm in this sort of scenario is meditation and relaxation. But I have to watch how much I do of that. 30 mins of meditation, massage or stillness unfortunately triggers a blood pressure related episode for me.
As a result, I’ve had to learn new methods of settling my body to achieve its own balance. So I practice living with mindfulness. An on-going form of conscious self awareness and self regulation.
Whilst I recognise my physiology puts me at the super sensitive end of the spectrum, there are things I do that perhaps everyone can benefit from.
Here are the 8 things I do that help me live a healthier existence:
I rise slowly in the mornings.
I have at least a 30 minute lie in every morning. It allows my medications to work before I get up but it also allows a slower, less hasty start to the day. My body rhythm starts to get in check from the moment I open my eyes.
I make time to eat.
At the start of my day, I have a good breakfast. This settles my propensity for adrenaline surges by ensuring my body is nourished and my sugar levels balanced for the first half of my day. The rest of my day diet wise is currently a work in progress! But I do take time out to allow myself to eat and digest properly. I at least do that.
I space my day.
I try not to schedule any business meetings in until 10am to allow myself space to breathe and be still after the enslaught that is a busy house getting ready for their day. I also do a maximum of 2 meetings per day. The rest is quiet work time, family time or relax time. I consciously manage my days and weeks to ensure I don’t overload my body with that which is life.
I rest a lot.
Meetings and school drop offs/pick ups have to be interpersed with gaps for recovery from talking and being upright too long. Quite often you will find me reclined in my car meditating between appointments or sitting somewhere quiet where I allow my body to settle back down from the adrenaline assault it has just managed. I make it a priority to sit in positions my body likes and I breathe more consciously.
I read and write.
Mostly blog posts and articles from those in similar predicaments. I avoid reading the news. The calm, from the stillness but also the subjects I read/write about, allows me to stay connected to the here and now. Writing is incredibly cathartic. For me, reading and writing, allows quiet reflection about life and reinforces the vision I have for myself.
I interact quietly.
I try not to allow myself to get carried away with exciting conversations opting for more gentle, considered responses instead. I also try not to occupy airtime and prefer to allow others to speak. This is another work in progress for me. It’s not natural for me not to talk much. I’m working on it.
I conserve my energy.
I’ve learnt I have a good deal less energy these days so I have purposely adapted my life to suit. I also take short sleeps in the afternoons when I can. I could be described as semi retired at 45 if you wanted to label me. Instead I choose to say this is just me. Who I am. How I operate best.
Overall, I listen to my body and practice mindful restraint.
In doing so, I feel calmer than I have felt in years. My days have slowed down and I am enjoying my life more despite it’s challenges. My body is certainly thankful of new, considered living circumstances. It is no longer pushed to its limits. And I’ve learnt all this through taking the time to listen to what it needs and enacting some changes.
So what about you?
What does your body need to be its best?
How can you get more present in the here and now to provide your body with the support it needs and adjust how you live?
How can you live your life with a mindful lense? Can it be more for you than a 10–20 minute meditation per day?
A steady body and a relaxed state of mind are entirely possible if you just listen out for the cues your body gives you.
It sounds very simplistic to say but the answers are all in you.
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Originally published at medium.com