We hope you follow along, try at least one activity we speak on each day, and let us know what you thought about it.
For our first set of activities this week we will be talking about Exercise, Meditation, and Yoga!
While exercise has been known to benefit ones physical wellbeing there are also mental benefits to exercise as well. The ADAA has found that by following federal recommended guidelines of exercise a person can help to improve and reduce anxiety and stress.
Some recommended exercises and tips include:
- Jog, walk, bike, or dance three to five times a week for 30 minutes.
- Walk every day for 15-20 minutes
- Find forms of exercise that are fun or enjoyable. People who are more out going might like to go to classes or do group activities. People who are more introverted may want to do these activities on their own.
- Listen to music while exercising
- Exercise with a friend, find someone to help stay committed to your routine
- Be patient when you start a new exercise program. For many it may take about four to eight weeks to get in the groove and make exercising feel easier.
Meditation is another way to help with anxiety because it can activate the anterior cingulate cortex, the area that governs thinking and emotion. One way you can meditate is by finding a quiet place to sit, set a timer, feeling your breathing, and monitor your mind for when it begins to wander.
When you have a place to meditate try remembering some of these thoughts:
- Thank yourself for being here— take the time to be present.
- Connect with your mind and body— feel any sensations, any tightness in the body, feel your mood, and just let yourself be.
- Take a moment to watch your thoughts— Begin to observe your mind and even the thoughts of fear. As we become aware of thoughts and the traps we find ourselves in, we can become free.
- Now gently coming back to the breath— Just be mindful, breathing in and breathing out.
Yoga is another activity that can help calm your body and mind to help to reduce anxiety and stress. Some beginner poses you can try for yourself include Mountain Pose, Tree Pose, and Triangle.
Mountain Pose is a simple pose that anyone can do and here's how:
- Stand with the feel parallel, a few inches apart.
- Lift and spread your toes and the balls of your feet, then lay them softly back down on the floor. Rock gently back and forth and side to side. Gradually reduce this swaying to a standstill, with your weight balanced evenly across your feet. Feel the energy draw from your feet up through your core.
- Without pushing your lower front ribs forward, lift the top of your sternum straight toward the ceiling. Widen your collarbones. Allow your shoulder blades to draw toward each other and down the back, away from the ears.
- Let your arms relax beside your torso, palms facing in or forward.
- Balance the crown of your head directly over the center of your pelvis, with the underside of your chin parallel to the floor, throat soft, and tongue wide and flat on the floor of your mouth. Soften your eyes. Breathe.
Another great pose to use is the tree pose:
- Stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Spread your toes, press your feet into the mat and firm your leg muscles. Raise your front hip points toward your lower ribs to gently lift in your lower belly.
- Inhale deeply, lifting your chest, and exhale as you draw your shoulder blades down your back. Look straight ahead at a steady gazing spot.
- Place your hands on your hips and raise your right foot high onto your left thigh or shin. Avoid making contact with the knee.
- Press your right foot and left leg into each other.
- Check that your pelvis is level and squared to the front.
- When you feel steady, place your hands into anjali mudra at the heart or stretch your arms overhead like branches reaching into the sun.
- Hold for several breaths, then step back into Mountain Pose and repeat on the other side.
Finally we have the triangle pose:
- Begin standing, then lightly jump your feet apart to a wide position about three to four feet apart. Turn your left foot out and turn to face that direction. Take a slight bend in your left leg and raise your arms out on your sides, forming a “T” shape.
- Straighten through your left leg, then hinge and reach your torso over your left leg as your hips jut back. Rotate your left palm so it faces the ceiling, and gaze out over your left arm.
- Maintain a long, straight spine as you reach your left hand to the mat, placing it in front of your left foot. If you feel off balance, bring in your back leg closer to shorten your stance. Gaze towards your right arm, which should be extended overhead. Hold and repeat on the other side.
Check back in tomorrow, 1/11/22 to learn more about the next topic we are bringing awareness to - stress.