Spring is a beautiful time of the year, favourite for many, with longer days, more sun on our skin; it’s a time of rejuvenation and renewal. The trees are in bud and the yellow daffodils are out in abundance and it’s lovely to see the ducks on the lake building their nests.
Time maybe for spring cleaning in the home too, but how about finding time to focus on rejuvenation and renewal of yourself, perhaps a spring clean of habits and thoughts as well.
Maybe there is something weighing you down, or you dwell on the negative, or react to situations in a stress full way. Maybe you feel anxious or just not feel fully satisfied.
Sometimes it is difficult to make changes to our lives, but we can change the way we think and feel about situations, putting ourselves back in control, bringing peace and calm.
There are many ways to do that, I have spent the last four weeks completing a spring clean of my mind and developing new daily patterns to reduce anxiety and increase my mental wellbeing
I now complete these three actions daily
- Find three things to be thankful for
- Meditate for 10- 15 minutes
- Do one thing that makes me feel good and nurtures myself. – like time out for a bubble bath or enjoy a peaceful walk
I have found that my positive energy has really increased and I find more things to be positive about, and I am now ensuring I plan that time into daily nurture myself, even in small ways on busy days.
My favourite activity that reduces any anxiety and stress is getting out for a walk. But not just any walk, I really enjoy the practice of walking ‘mindfully’. Mindfulness is about being in the present moment and gaining the depth and richness of that moment can improve your peace and happiness. Rather than worrying about the future or dwelling on the past, it is lovely to spend that time being present in the beautiful surroundings and take in the glory of spring and all the colours of the flowers, the varying depths of green. Where I walk often at the Grange, I love to listen to the sound of the babbling brook, noticing how the sound changes with the depths and the array of rocks. It’s great to feel the air on my skin and notice how fresh and renewing this is. All the while my breathing is calm and deep and I feel very relaxed and in the moment.
Mindfulness research* has demonstrated that it can have a positive impact on reducing stress & depression and aids in healing or coping of many physical illnesses and can even lengthen your life expectancy. Mindfulness practices, including meditation, walking, exercising and eating encompass the seven attitude of mindfulness:-
- Non judging
- Beginners mind
- Non striving
- Letting go
The practice of focussing on the breath during these activities does many things including reducing cortisol production in the body. (The fight flight response) So breathing effectively can improve our ability to reduce our blood pressure, improve our immune systems and reduce stress.
So, what spring clean can you do for your health right now? Maybe, aim to bring into your life some daily nurturing or really live in the moment on that walk, notice with richness – sounds, sights, smells; and notice how you feel, notice your breath and the depth of your breath. Enjoy.
Download my free ‘Relaxation recording’
Mindfulness Manifesto Dr Jonty Heaversedge & Ed Halliwell
J Kabat-Zinn et al (1992), ‘Effectiveness of a meditation-based stress reduction programme in the treatment of anxiety disorders’ American journal of Psychiatry
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