One of my resolutions for 2018 is to practice mindfulness. I want to make mindfulness a habit so I will practice it without having to condition myself. If you ask me, mindfulness is being aware- being aware of the conversation I am having at that moment, aware of what I am eating, how it tastes, aware of my breath, aware of the work I am doing.
Easier said than done. There is so much disturbance, emotions, information, too much stimuli all the time. I mean, don’t tell me you have never put someone on the speakerphone while checking work emails and having lunch all at the same time! But I am determined. I decided to practice mindfulness step by step. One practice at a time. As usual, I’m telling myself that if I fall down, I will come back up, and start again from where I have left. My assumption is that once mindfulness becomes a habit, that’s it. I can bring it to every. single. day. It becomes a part of me, without much effort.
So in this process, there are tools I have been benefiting from. Most of these tools are known to be helpful to cope with stress, anxiety, nervousness. Overall they help me to feel better. How might they help you? Last night you might have indulged, or lost track of time while working, or got angry at yourself (or someone you love) for no reason which made you feel guilty afterwards. You might have been stressed at work, worried about money, anxious before an exam an so on. The habits I list below will help remind yourself that tomorrow is another day. You always get another chance to treat yourself like the wonderful person that you are.
Shoot me an email please if you have tried any of these, what you think about them, and how they have made you feel like. Do also let me know if there are other great tools we can benefit from- perhaps we can include them here. Again, everybody is different, and your body might have other suggestions <3
- Start the day with lemon water or rose water. I especially love a little bit of rose in my water. I don’t know why but it really beautifies my entire morning, instantly! Another habit, especially if you do not like the rose scent in your water, is to put a few mint leaves in a glass of water overnight. Until you wake up, the water absorbs the beautiful taste and the scent of the mint leaves, and I would be surprised if that does not refresh you right away.
- Add a teaspoon of turmeric to your day. Only a teaspoon a day, and you see the difference in a few weeks. As far as I know, more than a teaspoon is not advised anyway, but I add that teaspoon to smoothies, protein drinks, teas…It also gives a delicious kick to meals made with cauliflower and yellow lentils. Ah, and also there is that wonderful “golden tea” you might have heard about. You can find the recipe here.
- Stretch when you wake up. Do not overforce yourself, but do go out of your comfort zone. Some days this is so tough, I almost sweat because it feels like a proper exercise! But stretching in the morning prepares your body for the day by giving you energy, and increasing the blood flow. Think about it: You are resting your body for 6+ hours. Doesn’t it make sense to slowly adjust yourself to the idea of waking up, before jump-starting your day?
- Affirmations. People swear by them! And it does make sense to me. If you are a rational person, like I am, it might sound hokey, to say the least. But after having read much about these, I have decided to make my version of them. So instead of saying, say, “I attract best people to my life”, I say something like “I give my best, so I only accept the best”. This version makes more sense and sounds more reasonable to me. So I can actually believe it and feel better about myself, instead of letting my mind focus on the obvious irrationalities! There is another reason why I think affirmations work: Cognitive Dissonance. We find it difficult to have inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes. So when we repeat something positive about ourselves, we do believe it. And this, in turn, encourages us to behave just like the person we believe we are!
- Adaptogens. Now, before you take anything, I highly recommend doing your own research. The thing is, some of these adaptogens might change the way your body reacts to a medication, they might affect you differently because of our hormonal differences, etc etc. I am only talking about what has helped me. That said, I can easily say that ashwagandha has increased the quality of my life so much that I don’t want to ever stop taking it. That, along with tulsi tea cured my sleep problem which had been making me miserable for years- for at least 10 years! So I will always take ashwagandha in either pill form or powder form, and try to drink a “latte” with it every night, an hour or so before sleep. I truly believe ashwagandha has helped me gain that mindfulness I have been trying to reach for a while. ***If you have tendencies for depression, I don’t think you should take ashwagandha. It is more of a “grounding” substance. It helped me with my anxiety, with my mind “wandering about”, if you will. Another adaptogen that I take daily is maca. I add a couple of teaspoons to cakes, cookies, protein balls and so on. It has this great earthy taste to it. I also add a cacao, chaga and cordyceps mixture to a cup of warm almond milk every day. It almost tastes like hot chocolate, it’s that yummy! Again, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, or are on medication, please do your own research before giving a try to any of these. I stopped taking ashwagandha during my pregnancy, but started again while breastfeeding. If you do decide to try, you can find my favourite, yummy and adaptogenic recipes here. Please please let me know if you like the recipes, it brings me such joy to hear about one of my recipes ending up in another beautiful kitchen!