Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on the moment. We often focus so hard on the health of the body that we forget to consider the health of our minds. Mindfulness helps us to accept the moment for what it is, not what it was or what it might become. Why is this important to fitness? Mindfulness is an exercise of the brain, helping to control emotions and maintain awareness of the present. Because of the impact on the mind and spirit, mindfulness helps relieve the physical pain of anxiety and stress, and can help you refocus on fitness or other goals - whatever those goals may be! Here are a few quick mindfulness practices you can fit into your daily routine:

Coloring-By now, we’ve all probably heard of or seen the adult coloring books that have swept the nation. These actually have a purpose! Try sitting down with a handful of colored pencils, crayons, or markers, and color for ten minutes. Focusing only on the picture in front of you, concentrate on the colors and how they interact with one another on the page. After ten minutes, you may experience a calmer, more aware state of mind!

Breathing-Deep breathing sounds simple, right? When breathing with intention, we may begin to influence our internal bodily functions, decreasing heart rate and blood pressure. Take ten minutes (or as long as you like), and go somewhere quiet. Try walking outside of the office or into an empty room of your house. Close your eyes and breathe in, expanding your lungs fully. Slowly breathe the oxygen back out. Imagine the positivity flowing in and negativity leaving your body. Intentionally breathe deep and slow, concentrating only on the sensations you feel while breathing. The point of this is to decrease the clutter in your brain and calm your body. Whether you are feeling emotional or you are calm, this activity can help keep you centered!

Meditation-Meditation is a practice that can take some time to master, but simple and short practice creates a sense of mindfulness even for beginners! To begin a short, simple meditation, try breathing in while counting to five, hold the breath while counting to three, and let the breath out slowly while counting to five again. Concentrate on breathing deep into your belly, notice your stomach expand with the healthy breath in, and notice it deflate as you exhale. Repeat this process for five to ten minutes, only focusing on your physical sensations in order to clear your mind and reset your body!

Awareness-Sometimes finding a quiet space for breathing or meditation is not possible. Sometimes our lives are so chaotic or hectic, we just do not have space in our schedule to take ten minutes away from everything. Why not try mindfulness right where you are? Whether you are at work, taking care of household chores, at the gym, or jogging through the neighborhood, practicing awareness in the moment is possible. It is as easy as taking note of your five senses! Focus on only the sensory elements, and not on your thoughts. What do you feel through touch? What do you smell? Taste? See? Hear? Continue this process to take note of first one of each sense, and then repeat to identify two, then three. Keep repeating until you are no longer focusing on the commotion of your busy brain!

Mindfulness is a long-used practice that encourages a healthy mindset. At Yes.Fit, health and wellness in everyday life are priorities. With a healthy mind, body, and spirit we can all reach our goals!

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