Weekly Column

Mindfulness is the practice of bringing our attention to our body, mind and thoughts without judgement. Increasing awareness of our thoughts and emotions can be helpful in coping with life’s stresses.

WHY BE MINDFUL?

Stress can affect our bodies and minds in powerful ways; from raising our heart rate and blood pressure to causing muscle tightness and pain. Stress can also allow negative emotions and self-talk to spiral out of control, potentially prompting unhealthy ways of coping. Stress or tightness in the body begins gradually; though we often don’t notice how stress can affect our body until we are in pain. A good way to identify tightness in muscles is with a body scan.

HOW TO BODY SCAN

While seated or lying down, slowly focus on one part of your body at a time for several moments. Bringing attention to that part of your body, like the top of your head or neck, will help you release tension. You can start by focusing on your toes then gradually move your attention to the soles of your feet, then up your legs and body. Remember to try to keep your focus only on that body part, and as other thoughts creep into your head, acknowledge them but then return to your breath and body.

Try to notice and stop yourself from using negative self-talk. If words from others can impact us negatively then they will. To encourage yourself to be kind to yourself, think of someone for which you have unconditional love and limitless patience. Then address yourself as if you were talking to that person. You will begin addressing yourself with kinder words.

Hope that you can use this information to relax.

For more information, contact me, Priya Nagireddy, Smith County Extension Agent for Family and Community Health at 903-590-2980 or email at priya.nagireddy@ag.tamu.edu. Like our Facebook page: Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Smith County.

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