Our planet is so beautiful...
It is so easy to get caught up in the fast-paced environment that we live in, and forget to take time to relax and enjoy the beauty of life. Our minds are constantly on overdrive, repeating thoughts, deadlines, fears and to-do lists over, and over again. Taking time out to think about something else for a little while can have a huge impact on our physical and mental wellbeing. Stress can leave us feeling tired, anxious and foggy. A little strategic relaxation, meditation, mindfulness, zen (whatever you want to call it) can make us more present, able to concentrate and able to make better decisions.
Suggesting people meditate or practice mindfulness often gets a strange response, people aren't quite sure what it means and afraid that they aren't able to do it. In fact we all can, and you probably do it on a regular basis without even knowing! I will admit that being told to think of nothing, absolutely nothing, is almost impossible! Being given a subject, or one thing to focus on is much easier. Many relaxation practices focus on breathing because it encourages us to tune in to our bodies, slow our natural breathing rate, and has the bonus effect of relaxing our nervous system. There are other methods that include focusing on how parts of the body feel - for example a body scan starting at the feet and moving up to the head and neck. This takes your awareness away from negative or stressful thoughts and allows the body to calm down.
Meditation comes in many different forms. Going to the gym is one form of meditation - not only is exercise great for our physical health, but it can massively improve our mental health too. Taking time out to focus on something else, and get fit is a two-in-one! When our thoughts are persistent we must remind ourselves that we have the power to choose one thought over another. 'Grounding' is a really good way of doing this. It involves looking at, smelling, tasting or feeling something relaxing e.g. lavender essential oil, trees and rolling hills, creamy silk or iced water. Something this simple can actually turn our bodies from a state of stress to our 'rest and digest' parasympathetic nervous functions. Our breathing rate slows, our pulse rate drops, blood returns to organs for important digestion and hormone functions imperative for good health.
Next time you are sitting on the train back from work staring absently out the window remember to congratulate yourself - you are meditating! You are letting your mind rest, and not leaving it to burn out by checking Facebook, emails and stressing your body beyond capabilities.
Our planet is beautiful so take time to appreciate it, enjoy it and see it. Your body and mind will thank you.