insideKENT Magazine Issue 61 - April 2017 - Page 123

HEALTH+WELLNESS CHANNEL YOUR INNER ZEN cont. Be mindful A mind-body approach used to help shake off any stressful thoughts and feeling, mindfulness is big news these days – they’ve even started getting teeny weenys to practice it in primary schools. Essentially, it involves paying greater attention to the present moment through awareness of your thoughts, emotions and senses, the theory being that the more you’re aware of them, the better you can manage them and prevent becoming overwhelmed. If you catch yourself getting worked up about something that happened in the past or that you’re worried might happen in the future, try bringing yourself back into the present moment by using sound, sight and touch. Steady your breathing rate while listening to something you can hear, be that a clock or the traffic outside; something you can see like a picture hanging on the wall; and something you can touch – your sleeve, or the rug under your feet. You’ll be calmer and more focused in no time. Meditation Tarred with an outdated brush that paints a picture of ‘omming’ hippies sitting cross-legged in the forest, the idea of meditation might be a bit daunting to some, but actually its power to keep you emotionally grounded is pretty undeniable, and it’s even been known to help ward off recurring physical ailments like common colds. Plus, it’s been modernised by way of apps and podcasts and become alluring enough to persuade millions of people to find 10 minutes a day to give it a bash, so there’s got to be something in it far beyond fad. Essentially a handy reorganising of the mind through deep breathing and focus, to meditate effectively, you must be present (see ‘Be mindful’ for a wider explanation) – if you can keep calm and stay focused, it can help you transform a negative mindset to a positive and cultivate constructive thoughts along the way. Try this App: RELAX AND REST GUIDED MEDITATIONS Listen to people Having a good think about why you’re annoyed with someone or at a situation, will only strengthen your awareness of those around you, most importantly those you’re in danger of clashing with. Listening to how people feel instead of simply reacting to what is being said in the moment will help stop misunderstandings in their tracks before they develop into anything more serious – acknowledge other people’s feeling and focus on communicating your own feelings more clearly. Unwind before you sleep Good sleep is just wonderful and helps us to maintain a positive sense of wellbeing in both body and mind, but it’s essential to unwind before bed and set the tone for a restful, unbroken slumber. The hour and a half before you go to bed is considered the ‘golden 90 minutes’ to ensure that we all get the sleep we need, but it involves switching off – physically as well as mentally. Make sure you turn off all your devices that emit blue light, including your phone, tablet, or e-reader, all of which tell your brain it’s still daytime, thus inhibiting the production of melatonin. It’s best to turn off the box too, as yes, you guessed it, light from the television suppresses melatonin, plus many programmes are more stimulating than they are relaxing. Read a book, listen to some relaxing music, or have a warm bath instead. 123