Health and Wellness

06/19/2018

Mindfulness for Beginners: Tips from a Health and Wellness Coach

The only things that are consistent in life are death, taxes, and my brain experiencing complete chaos 99% of the time.

Welcome to the mindfulness article written by a guy with ADD, anxiety, and a really cute puppy, who is now a health and wellness coach.
Dog Image

After closing my business in 2017, I experienced first hand a lesson in self-care and, more specifically, mindfulness.

I spent 2 months unemployed and hustling to make every dollar followed by landing a great job at one of the top gyms in Boston.

Life was good, right?

Not quite. For some reason, I felt like I couldn’t slow down. Literally, like I couldn’t slow down.

Regardless of what was happening in front of me, my brain was too focused on what I had to do later that day, week, or month.

When my girlfriend and I decided to adopt our furry son, Louie, I ended up going to the hospital thinking that my heart was about to beat out of my chest.

Thankfully, everything was alright and I was just experiencing my first ever severe panic attack.

It’s moments like this that you realize something’s got to change.

There comes a point where you learn that pushing through pain isn’t always a good thing, and sometimes changing the course can be exactly what you need.

I began to learn more about meditation and mindfulness, which as a very fidgety, caffeinated guy was pretty hard to implement at first.

Believe it or not, meditation is a lot like exercising. Simply practicing basic mindfulness techniques made a huge difference in my well-being.

The practice began with small little things like taking a few breaths or trying to pay attention to food while I ate it (try NOT to check your phone while you’re eating lunch… I dare you), and it eventually turned into things like meditation and journaling.

Ironically, one of the best things that you can do when you feel like things are out of control is simply take a pause. [1]

Enough about me, though. Let’s talk about how you can practice mindfulness in your daily life.

1. Mindful Breathing

You can do this any time, anywhere….well, maybe not if you’re operating heavy machinery. Personally, I like to use a Navy Seal technique called ‘Box Breathing.’

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Close your eyes, inhale for 3 seconds
  2. Hold the inhale for 3 seconds
  3. Exhale for 3 seconds
  4. Hold the exhale for 3 seconds (this is the hard part)

The only thing that you need to be focused on during this time is breath, not your next task at work or the sh*t show that will be your family reunion this weekend.

Welcome to mindfulness.

2. Mindful Eating

As a health and wellness coach at Ladder, this is one of my favorite things to prescribe to clients that want to lose weight. Not surprisingly, most of us are very tuned out while we eat. Whether we’re watching television during dinner or checking our phone while eating lunch. Taking a moment to actually focus on your meal, and experience it with your 5 senses can do wonders for creating a mindful experience.

Try this:

  1. Turn off the tv, and put your phone away.
  2. Focus on how your meal smells, tastes, what the texture feels like and even what it looks like.
  3. Focus on how full you feel, and stop at 70-80%.

3. Mindful Listening

I got this idea from www.pocketmindfulness.com, and if you’re a big music fan, you’re going to love this.

Try throwing on some headphones, closing your eyes and actually experiencing the music; bonus points if you don’t know the song(s).

  1. What instruments do you hear?
  2. How does this song make you feel?
  3. Hear the vocals, listen to the range and tones.

Put simply, practicing mindfulness doesn’t have to be all about lighting candles and coloring mandalas. It’s about getting mentally out of the future, out of the past and into right now.

If you’re looking for a little extra push, try joining Ladder. Your health and wellness coach can prescribe you things like meditation and other mindfulness practices so you can stay consistent!

Download Ladder


Sources:

Hofmann, Stefan G., et al. “The Effect of Mindfulness-Based Therapy on Anxiety and Depression: A Meta-Analytic Review.” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, vol. 78, no. 2, 2010, pp. 169–183., doi:10.1037/a0018555.

Taylor, Sandy, et al. “6 Mindfulness Exercises You Can Try Today.” Pocket Mindfulness, 27 Oct. 2017, www.pocketmindfulness.com/6-mindfulness-exercises-you-can-try-today/.

Stan Dutton

Stan Dutton

Stan Dutton is a Boston based fitness expert who has worked with celebrities, professional athletes, helped multiple individuals lose over 100lbs and is a 4x world record holding powerlifter. His philosophy is simple: Move well, move often, and eat pizza.

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