Finding Time for Stillness: Meditations for a Busy Season
The start of September brings new milestones – while children return to school, many adults find their workloads stack up as companies race to the yearend finish line. All the while, we’ll be navigating the peak holiday season. Ahead of these often-hectic fall and winter months, The Related Life reached out to Julie Wald, founder of Golden, for advice on staying resilient. With over 20 years of experience in wellness, Golden is known as the “self-care experts,” having developed numerous programs to improve mental, emotional and physical well-being.
The author of Inner Wealth: How Wellness Heals, Nurtures and Optimizes Ultra-Successful People, Julie built Golden around the principles of Inner Wealth, following her “Four Pillars” wellness philosophy: Movement, Stillness, Nourishment and Connection. Each program Golden creates is based on building a well-rounded healthy lifestyle using the Four Pillars.
Keep reading to learn more about the healing power of stillness and see Julie’s top meditation tips.
Being Still, Being Mindful
“Mindfulness practices like meditation and breathwork have been around for thousands of years–and there’s a reason we still use these practices today,” Julie explained. “Mindfulness helps us to cope with daily stressors and can be a great supplement in treatments for things like anxiety and depression.”
In one example, an NIH analysis of over 12,000 participants found that for treating anxiety and depression, mindfulness-based approaches were better than no treatment at all and worked as well as the evidence-based therapies.
Beyond treating anxiety and depression, mindfulness can actually improve your brain’s ability to focus and sustain attention, Julie added. She pointed to a recent study at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia. It found that older adults in a mindfulness intervention showed improvements in two brain processes known as the bottom-up and top-down processes.
“The bottom-up process refers to the way the brain understands information coming from the senses. Likewise, the top-down process is the brain's ability to focus attention on the information of interest,” Julie explained. “The study shows that practicing mindfulness boosts attention, therefore allowing you to physically see information more accurately. Mindfulness also improves your ability to better direct attention to the task at hand while ignoring distractions.”
Enjoy these 3 meditation and mindfulness tips to help you stay calm under pressure:
Between being the mom of three and running a business, it’s easy to get stressed out and feel overwhelmed. However instead of freaking out, I use what I call my 'self-care toolbox.' This 'toolbox' is filled with tools I can call on in times of stress. I’d love to share with you a few mindfulness tools I use to prepare myself for a busy day and a way I hit the 'reset' button.
- First thought, best thought
The moment I wake up, especially on days I know will be extra busy, I try to prepare myself using mindfulness. As I wake up, I might just sit there and notice how I feel, if I’m anxious, or stressed or maybe I’m content. Then I think of something I’m grateful for. This helps me to stay grounded throughout the day.
- Nourish your body
Another way to weave mindfulness into a stressful day is to practice mindful eating. When you have your breakfast, lunch or dinner, eat slowly. Think about each of your senses–how does the food taste? How does it feel on your tongue? What does it smell like? Notice how nourishing your body with good foods makes you feel. Changing your mindset from 'Let me eat quickly and get back to work,' to 'I’m going to use this meal as a moment to calm my nervous system and reset,' can truly impact how you feel the rest of the day.
- The 4-7-8 breathing technique
The 4-7-8 breathing technique, known as the 'natural tranquilizer,' is adopted from the yoga practice pranayama. It is designed to reduce stress and foster balance in your body. The technique does this by increasing the amount of oxygen reaching your organs and tissues. That’s why it’s great for insomnia and can help you through an upsetting situation.
Here’s how to do it:
- Inhale through your nose for a count of four.
- Next, hold your breath for a count of seven.
- Exhale through your mouth to make the whooshing sound for a count of eight.
Repeat three more times, for a total of four breaths.
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