My 3 favorite mindfulness techniques that may help lower blood pressure

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had an awesome weekend. I was able to work, technically light duty because I was not allowed to lift or pull, but I was grateful to work. I think sometimes we take for granted the importance of work and how it plays into our mindset. That doesn’t mean I think people should work themselves to death, just that it does have purpose other than to make money. This post may contain affiliate links.

This whole month I have been discussing Blood Pressure Awareness. You can see all of the posts in the series in the archives. As you may know, if you read here a lot, I have completed my Mindfulness Certificate course. I think people interpret Mindfulness in different ways and that is fine. Mindfulness is being in the present, being aware of your surroundings and how you feel about your surroundings. It is not an escape, or ignoring of what is going on around you. It is a way to become stronger, and more resilient in dealing with negative experiences and the way you react to them. It can help you relieve Stress and relax.

There was a study done that shows that Mindfulness may be able to help lower blood pressure or avoid it. Remember, that Stress is a huge driver of blood pressure. So, it would make sense that learning Mindfulness, may help lower or even prevent High Blood Pressure. As I always say, please do not ever stop taking medication on the advice of someone online. Talk to your doctor that you would like to try Mindfulness to see if it can help you. Hopefully your doctor will say, awesome and lets monitor you while you do it to see if it helps or not.

There are many different Mindfulness techniques. A lot of people use Meditation. But, to me Meditation is more about removing yourself from your thoughts and feelings, not exploring or noticing them. Don’t get me wrong Meditation super awesome and I love it, but just not really Mindful to me. A lot of people like controlled breathing patterns. This is also an awesome technique and is particularly helpful when the moment can not be escaped or left for a few minutes. Such as excusing yourself to take a few minutes to reflect and gather your thoughts. Counting to 5 before you speak so you can think of a good response instead of a hasty one is another great technique. You can read the article here.

So, what are my 3 favorite techniques for minding my emotions and being in the present moment?

  1. Mindful Meditation. To me Mindful Meditation is a type of self reflection of my day or how I reacted to certain circumstances. Since I tend to Ruminate, or go over things again and again, especially when it is time for sleep, Mindful Meditation helps me to finalize all my thoughts on the day so I can fall asleep. There are obviously several ways that you can do this. My favorite way is to hook up my Bluetooth headphones and play the video below on low, while wearing this eye warming mask. My son gave me money for Mother’s Day and I bought one. It isn’t that exact brand but pretty much the same. The mask stays warm for exactly 20 minutes, and during that 20 minutes I reflect on the events of the day, noticing how I reacted to those events. If I think I could have had a better reaction I make a note of that in my mind so hopefully the next time I will remember to notice how I am feeling and better control the situation. I find this technique not only helpful for me to fall asleep faster but to learn more about myself and the ways that I respond to situations. If you don’t like the idea of the eye mask, using a journal to reflect on your day is another option. Not only do I fall asleep faster, but the warming mask also helps my dry eyes. You can read about my dry eye saga, here.
  2. Body Scans. Body scanning is a very easy technique to learn. You can do it in a restroom, or just sitting quietly and no one will even know you are doing it. I use Self Reiki for my body scan. I can’t really do it in public, because people will definitely notice. But, I could do it in a restroom or quiet office space. This is especially helpful if you are noticing that you are having a negative response to a situation, or feeling stressed. You are in the present moment and noticing how you are feeling. You may not like the feeling, body scanning may help to reduced that stressor and eliminate it.
  3. Mindful Exercise. This will be different for everyone. Whatever type of exercise and music format will allow you to reflect on your emotions related to situations is what you are looking for. For me, and I have talked about this probably 100 times, walking in nature is my thing. Even if I am on the treadmill I tend to put on nature sounds while I walk. It allows my mind to wander and concentrate on situations, reactions and how I can reduce that stressor thereby possibly reducing blood pressure. Yoga, Pilates, Kickboxing perhaps, or jumping around to Hard Rock may be more your thing. Whatever allows you to be present in a moment, evaluate it, feel it, and then change it if need be. Mindfulness is not always about changing how you behave in a situation. Through your reflection you may find that you behaved just fine and you are OK with it. So, store it and let it be.

No matter which Mindfulness topic you may want to try, it is important to use your senses to notice your surroundings. Touch, Smell, Sight, Sound, and Taste are the 5 senses. Try to notice them in your everyday life it will help you to become more mindfully aware.

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If you would like to learn more about Mindfulness and how it can help you in your every day life, please use the contact form at the end of this post to message me with your questions. If you are interested in a Distance Reiki session, a 20 minute session is 50 dollars. Use the contact form to message me for details.

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10 ways to be happy for an hour!

Happy Self Care Saturday! Today is also International Earth Day. There is an old Chinese Proverb about being happy. I have adapted parts of it to suit my self care needs. Below are 10 ways you can be happy for an hour. Happiness is key to Self Care though everyone may have their own definition of what it means to be happy and whether it is achievable. To me happiness is a state of feeling free of stress, burdens, worry, strife, work, demands, etc.

  1. I think lots of people will agree with this. If you want to be happy for an hour, take a nap. I am not a good napper, especially for only an hour, but just lying quietly with my eyes closed and resting is wonderful. I don’t have to actually fall asleep. That generally just makes me feel icky.
  2. Take a walk in nature for an hour. Not a sweaty, heavy breathing exercise kind of walk. A peaceful, slow, gentle walk someplace you find beautiful and quiet. This could be anywhere. You also don’t have to walk the whole time. You can sit and appreciate your 5 senses, sight, hearing, smells, touch, and taste. Be sure you are not on your phone, and it is silenced, and that you are either walking with someone who is quiet and not talkative, or take your dog.
  3. Volunteer for an hour. We volunteer once a week at a dog rescue. Helping dogs rescued from shelters that may be kill shelters, or have been abandoned and unloved is so rewarding. If we lived closer I am sure we would do it more often.
  4. If you are more of a sociable person make sure to set aside an hour at least weekly to be with family or friends. If it can’t be in person then do a video chat, or talk on the phone. If you are more of an introvert this may not be your best option.
  5. Get a massage or mani pedi.
  6. Do gardening. If you have not learned the art of gardening and how wonderfully happy it can make you, then you are missing out. Getting your hands dirty and learning to grow your own food or beautiful flowers makes me very happy. Plus today is Earth Day.
  7. Treat yourself to a meal out, order in, or have someone else cook for a meal. You may not do this daily, but at least weekly. Check out Meals With Melissa.
  8. If you can afford this hire a maid for an hour a day, or even an hour a week. I know that would make me happy.
  9. I know this one is weird but I am really quite happy cleaning my pool. Maybe it is because I get the warm sun on my skin, no one is bothering me, no phone, no kids, no husband, just me and the pool. During the Summer months I clean my pool everyday.
  10. Try being crafty. I know people say they are not crafty or artistic, but you may surprise yourself. An hour a week, or daily if you can, may make your very happy. Some things you may not have considered as crafty are: learn to play an instrument, paint, draw, crochet, knit, pottery, photography, writing, learn a new language, learn sign language, computer graphics such as create an app, glass etching, and so many more I may not have thought of.

I am sure there are others that I didn’t include, exercise or going for a motorcycle ride comes to mind. What is your favorite way to be happy for an hour? Share in the comments.

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Mindful Walking in Nature

Edited 3/29/2021 Mindful Walking is not Fitness Walking.  It is a walking Mindfully.  What does that mean, exactly?

Obviously, if you are walking you are still getting exercise.  But, Mindful Walking will not focus on the exercise but rather experiencing everything about the walk, in the moment.  If you think of who, what, where, when, why and how it can be better understood.

Who?  Who is walking with you?  If I am walking mindfully I would rather be alone.  However, that doesn’t mean anyone else has to do it that way.

What?  What are you doing while you walk?  For me, I listen to relaxing piano music on my phone, when I walk mindfully.  I also experience the things I hear, see, smell and feel.  How do those things make me feel emotionally, hopefully happy, but maybe scared if for say I come across a snake, or not so friendly dog?  Are you noticing your breathing, any pain, feeling your feet hit the ground appropriately?

Where?  Where are you walking mindfully?  Most of the time I am in nature, but mindful walking can be done anywhere as long as you are experiencing all things in the moment.

When:  When are you walking mindfully?  I walk mindfully for pleasure and relaxation, so I am going to be where I love to be.  However, maybe you would want to walk mindfully when it is raining, or snowing to experience different experiences in the moment.

Why?  Why are you walking mindfully?  I do it mostly to relax, but could also be for stress relief, anxiety, work out some anger or frustration, etc.  The important thing here is that you would be in the moment experiencing whatever is going on.  You are not trying to escape life or feelings, but rather experience them and learn to cope in the moment.

How?  How are you walking mindfully?  Are you flailing your arms, breathing heavy, heart racing, maybe cursing, or just a nice gentle walk.  Experiencing all of this in the moment will help you to learn more about yourself, learn possible triggers and how to avoid or cope with them.

Mindful Walking is not reliving the past.  It is now and in the moment.  It is a great coping mechanism to learn.  If you would like to learn more about Mindfulness or Mindful Walking, use the contact form below to message me for a free meet and greet.

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Health Tip on Tuesday

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Walking is a great way to get in some exercise. Plus, it helps to relieve stress, improve balance, strengthens muscles, and so much more. Mindful Walking, ie being in the moment is a great way to stimulate your senses. Notice what you see, hear, smell, feel and taste. Pay attention to your breathing, and how you are feeling as your feet hit the ground.

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Mindful Monday: Experience Life

What does experience, mean, in the context of this post?  It means to encounter or undergo something.   When we experience life, we are not just trudging through it.  We encounter it.  When we are mindful of that we won’t run away from the hard parts of life.  Instead, we will experience them and then grow from them. When you practice Mindfulness you learn to be in the moment, recognizing how you are reacting and responding to these moments. You can then train yourself to respond, or react in a way that is healthier and loving to yourself. You can later self reflect to learn from the experience and how you may like to respond differently the next time if needed. Through exercises that will help you be grounded, self aware, alert, calm, positive, and relaxed.

I know full well how hard this is, experiencing the uglier side of life.  It is challenging and hard.  But, I am learning.  You can too.  If you would like to learn more information about Mindfulness, use the contact form at the bottom of this post to let me know you are interested in learning more about Mindfulness and how it can help you in everyday life situations. The short video below will help explain Mindfulness.

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