Why: Mindfulness

Why: Mindfulness

Think outside. No box required.

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How do you relax and how often? For some, relaxing consists of watching Netflix at the end of a busy day, others reconnect with friends on the weekend, and some take a trip outside and lounge on the beach.

We all look forward to it — that moment you can finally kick off your shoes and unwind. But what if you kept your shoes on the next time you want to relax? Chilling in the great outdoors is intrinsically more satisfying than staying indoors and can help you reconnect with yourself and the world around you. It will enhance your interpersonal relationships and emotional well-being, sharpen your senses, and help you cultivate new skills.

When you fall into a state of relaxation, you can reap such benefits as:

• Feeling calm, internally still, and connected
• Increased awareness, attention, and focus
• Increased clarity in thinking and perception
• Higher brain functioning and immune function
• Lowered blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety

Experiencing these benefits can be as simple as closing your eyes and being silent for a few minutes a day. It’s a practice that is so easy, anyone can do it.

Feel the sun against your skin, take in the aroma of the natural landscape around you, and breathe in the fresh air as you reflect on your week, your month, your year, or whatever period of time makes sense to you in the moment. What is one thing you can see? One thing you can touch? One thing you can smell? And one thing you can hear? These practices will help you gain self-control, objectivity, improved concentration and mental clarity, emotional intelligence, and the ability to relate to others and one's self with kindness, acceptance, and compassion.

The following are some reflective questions you can ask yourself on your mindfulness journey:

• What are my strengths?
• What are my weaknesses?
• What skills do I have and what am I good at?
• What problems are there at work/home that may affect me?
• What have I achieved?
• Are there things that I am unhappy with or disappointed about? What makes me happy?
• What could I do to improve in these areas?

Taking time to reflect outside is an easy way to practice self-care. So put your phone on silent and find somewhere with a nice view to chill for a while. Maybe it’s sitting on the park bench, walking down the pier at the beach, or laying on a blanket in a field somewhere. Take a few moments out of your week to do this, and there’s no doubt you’ll thank yourself later.