By Nuriye Rumeli
One of the hottest topics these days is whole body person wellness. Often this is followed by the importance of mindfulness. According to professional therapist Johnathan Banks “There is growing evidence that mindfulness can alter the brain and resulting from that, the body and health of regular practitioners. It triggers the “relaxation response” that can turn sets of genes on or off.” He adds that “Mindfulness increases the connectivity between the areas in the brain that has to do with attention, visual and auditory processing. The density of the brain also increases in areas that control memory, attentiveness and empathy, while decreasing in areas that controls anxiety and nervous tension." Articles citing such promising results from top schools to reputable sites are everywhere. Yet, something stops most of us from exploring this realm.
Often people say they can't financially afford or even make time for wellness and self-care. What people may not realize is that you do not need anything or anyone to begin your wellness journey through mindfulness. Here is a great mini exercise for those of us who get overwhelmed by the thoughts of the past:
- Pull yourself to the present moment by sitting up straight and turn your awareness to your breathing.
- When you feel focused and in the moment, ask yourself: “What is happening in my life at the moment?”
- Take note of the thoughts that will stream into your mind right now. Keep your distance from the emotions you might feel by labeling your thoughts.
- Observe your thoughts and then label them. Is it a sad thought? Is it an angry thought? Is it a thought of helplessness? Labeling your thoughts will enable them to float away while you observe them objectively but neutrally. You become a witness instead of an active participant and victim.
- If you find yourself becoming involved in the emotions of your thought processes, return to focusing on your breathing.
For for those who prefer the classroom experience, nonprofit peer facilitated centers such as TOIVO have workshops and groups available. By paying a small fee or “love donation,” they do not turn anyone away for lack of funds. Many health insurance companies offer preventative care options and may pay for the first few sessions of wellness treatment at specific health and wellness centers. Many for profit centers offer low cost, mid-day retreats or workshops, and offer specials throughout the month.
Remember, you are in charge of your well-being. Jump on the wellness-through-mindfulness wagon and enjoy being and feeling well!