It’s all well and good keeping your body healthy, but only if you keep your mind healthy too.
Both are intrinsically linked, so if you fail to look after one of them, it’s likely to have an adverse effect on the other. It’s for this reason that mental exercises, such as mindfulness, can seriously enhance your workout.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is an awareness of your thoughts, feelings, sensations and environment in the present moment. It could be focusing on the flavour of the food you’re eating, the smell of a meadow you’re passing, or even how you’re breathing when you’re practising yoga.
What are the benefits?
Being mindful may sound complex, but it’s easy once you get the hang of it and can have a hugely positive effect on your mental wellbeing.
Concentrating on the here and now, so you’re not raking over the past or worrying about the future, increases positive emotions, decreases negative thoughts and reduces anxiety and stress.
Mindfulness is also useful for dealing with obstacles you face throughout the day. Such as a disagreement you’re having with you partner or the pain barrier you’re struggling to breakthrough when you’re exercising.
Focusing on the simple things around you, such as raindrops splashing on the window or the changing colour of the leaves outside. This makes it easier to clear your mind, collect your emotions and deal with the situation with greater clarity or compassion.
Making time to be more mindful
The beauty of mindfulness is that you can do it almost any time you want. You can practise being more mindful when you’re having your morning coffee, walking the dog or taking a shower after a stressful day at work.
Think mindfully whilst doing these activities. Does the coffee smell? What colour is the sky outside? Does the warm water feel pleasant on your skin?
Being aware of your feelings and senses during your everyday routine is a simple way to train your mind to be more mindful, so you can practise mindfulness in more complex situations.
Mindfulness for exercise
Exercise is a whole lot easier when you’re focused on what you’re doing, rather than distracted by other things. If you can’t wait for your workout be over and done with, you’re less likely to concentrate on your technique and get the best out of your workout.
Breathing is a brilliant way to help you concentrate on the moment when you’re working out. Focus on the air moving in and out of your body as you breathe. If your mind does wander, don’t judge yourself and dwell on it. Stay calm and return to your breathing instead.
This is the technique is similar to the breathing technique used when you’re doing yoga. If you can teach your mind to be more mindful through the use of breathing techniques, you’re likely to find practising yoga a damn sight easier.
We hope our tips we’ve given you a clearer understanding of mindfulness and how it can benefit your workout. Now put it into practise and make sure you practise every day.
Need workout motivation? Check out our blog post on How To Motivate Yourself To Exercise.
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