Mindfulness Matters: 5 Simple Ways to Own Your Life and Health

  1. If You Can Breathe, You Can Do Anything!

Try this: for 2-3 minutes, inhale to the count of 4, exhale to the count of 8. Breathing in this way helps to calm the nervous system and lower anxiety. Bonus super tip: while breathing place one hand on the chest or on your belly to make you more aware of your breath and how it supports your body. And in general, we breathe more fully when our posture is good, so don’t slouch! Whether you are sitting or walking, try and pull your belly in and straighten your spine and stand or sit tall, that will help you breathe more deeply which in turn will nourish your body with more oxygen and give you more energy.

  1. Spend Time in Nature:

Research shows that even looking at a photo of nature improves one’s mood and well-being. Imagine then what spending at least 10-15 minutes outside each day could do for your health? Our school is located at a very beautiful spot at the New Westminster Quay – in between classes, rain or shine, you can take a quick walk by the river and let the stress melt away as you observe the water and the seals or the large fish that occasionally pop out of it.

  1. Practice Digital Detox:

Try putting your phone away and not checking it for one whole hour and see if you feel a bit more relaxed afterwards.

  1. Face to Face Contact Still Matters!

We know that it’s impossible to always spend time in person with your loved ones when you are here in Canada to study, and they are generally far away. We know that the only way to contact them is using technology. However, make sure that talking to friends and family on Whatsapp or Wechat is not your own form of social contact! Take some time, at least once a week, to hang out with a friend who lives here, even if they are not your best buddy. Neuroscientists know that we are wired to spend time in person, and our brain gets lonely and confused with too much digital contact where we can not see the person’s body language nor have them share the space with us.

  1. Sleep Is the New Cool:

Have you heard of big cities like New York being described as the ‘city that never sleeps’? Well a city may very well afford to skip sleep, but human beings can’t. Getting enough quality sleep is one of the biggest contributors to being healthy! Different people need different amounts of sleep, but generally 8 hours are recommended, as well as going to bed at least two hours before midnight! Scientists have learned that the hours of sleep we get before 12 am can not be replaced! For example, if you sleep from 10 pm – 6 am you will be healthier than if you sleep from 1-9 am even though you slept for the same amount in both! Also, did you know that sleeping helps lower your cortisol (stress hormone) levels, and therefore helps you maintain a healthy weight as well? And your brain needs good sleep to reset itself and to be healthy, therefore sleeping well helps reduce your risk of emotional and mental health issues like depression and anxiety.

 

By Sonja Grgar

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