Winter weather, holidays, and pandemic lockdown can make routines difficult, but mindfulness practice can offer a solution, and it can be done in very simple ways.
The year has been a true milestone for some and a tragedy for others, and using mindfulness, direct mental effort to be present in each passing moment, can help remind many of us why the holidays are a favorite time. of the year.
If one collects enough psychological information, using mindfulness during the week, throughout the season, we could become more resistant to whatever life comes our way.
Even though the thermometers are reading low, not only is walking a great way to practice mindfulness, but it also allows you to get outside, which any self-respecting psychologist would explain is great for your mental health.
During the holiday season and winter, it is even more important for several reasons.
- Reducing the hours of daylight leads to a reduction in the natural absorption of vitamin D from UV light. Vitamin D is one of the most important biochemicals for the immune system and the fight against viruses.
- Exposure to cold increases brain production of norepinephrine, a behavioral chemical that can make you feel euphoric and excited.
- Exposure to trees, sky, stars and nature. It has been shown over and over to help improve mental well-being.
Walking this holiday season allows you to capture all of these benefits, as well as offering a great opportunity to practice mindfulness. In Europe, it is quite common for married couples, friends or dog mums / dads to go for a walk after a meal, especially dinner.
Several studies have looked at the effects of a post-dinner walk on things like nocturnal blood glucose, type 2 diabetesY gastro reflux. All found that these various symptoms improved even with a 20-minute moderate intensity walk after dinner.
“Concentrate on the air as you fill your lungs and expel yourself into the atmosphere. Observe that the breath of your exhalation becomes one with its surroundings. ” advise Veronika Tait, Ph.D. writing for Psychology Today.
Veronica adds that studies have shown Walking in forests or in the presence of trees has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety levels.
“Imagine yourself expanding into the vastness and reflect on the changes of season. Reflect on what it means to be at the mercy of heaven every day, recognizing our powerlessness over Mother Nature ”, he adds.
There is no better time than December and winter to recognize our helplessness over nature.
If you’re not the type of person who likes the cold, a new attitude about winter might just be a matter of how you frame it. Kari Leibowitz is an American psychologist who studies the attitudes of Norwegians towards their long, sunless winter over the Arctic Circle.
“Most people don’t realize that their beliefs about winter are subjective,” Leibowitz tells guardian. “They feel like they’re just someone who hates winter and there’s nothing they can do about it… But once you tell people that the mindset exists and you have control over your mindset, I think that’s tremendously powerful. “
After accumulating all those benefits, there is even more waiting for you when you finish your walk.
To ward off the cold winter
Another good time to practice mindfulness is after your walk.
Slow down as you approach your door and say out loud how grateful you are for the shelter that keeps you safe from the cold. Once inside, take a moment to feel the warmth of the air in your home reaching the coldest parts, such as the nose, lips and ears.
You know that stinging sensation when a very cold body part heats up quickly? Focus on that while pouring yourself a cup of herbal tea, and try to pay attention to the smell and steam of the water as it enters your mug.
Sit back and drink your tea without moving until it’s done. This is why:
- Many herbal teas have therapeutic effects that can be very beneficial in warding off illness, improving sleep quality, and helping to de-stress after a long day.
- A cup of tea is what it takes to finish a short mindfulness routine. It has been proven, and the HeadSpace app has made a fortune out of it, that just 5-8 minutes of mindfulness or meditation is enough to start experiencing the beneficial effects.
- Use your fancier cups, saucers, and other tea paraphernalia. Social psychologist Dan Ariely demonstrated, once again in agreement with Veronika Tait, that “when the atmosphere of the cafe seemed exclusive … the coffee tasted unique.” “Participants rated the taste of their coffee better if the seasonings were presented in fancy containers than in paper cups,” Tait added.
Whatever your winter, lockdowns, or vacation this year, don’t let stress get in the way of a nice brisk walk and a hot cup of tea, all with 8-10 minutes of focus on your place in nature and things to do. you are grateful.
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