Five Minutes of Mindfulness
Mindfulness : Your Provider Takes her Own Integrative Medicine
Happy February! While January tends to be the month of making resolutions, I find February a great time to reflect and reevaluate progress on these goals. One of my personal resolutions was to establish a daily mind body practice. As with most change and formation of a new habit, it was challenging. However, I am already seeing the benefits of 5 minutes of mindfulness a day.
As an integrative medicine nurse practitioner, I have studied the clinical data and know the vast physical and emotional benefits of a mind body practice. Mindfulness, mediation, prayer, yoga are all alternative medicine modalities that activate the parasympathetic nervous system response or relaxation response. The relaxation response decreases heart rate and blood pressure, boosts the immune system and decreases cortisol levels in the body. As an added bonus, mind body practices increase memory, focus and productivity. In fact, many corporations are sending their CEOs and leaders to mindfulness courses!
Despite knowing all the benefits, as a busy mom I had a difficult time adding this holistic practice to my daily routine. I started with the idea that I would do my practice at the same time everyday- just 5 minutes. This is great in theory and if your life lends itself to this then by all means it is a great way to incorporate the practice. Unfortunately, 3 year olds tend to laugh at the notion of a schedule or routine and I found myself missing days due to early wake ups or late bedtimes. After a week of growing frustration, I reframed my focus and decided to practice my mindfulness any 5 minutes of the day I could. Somedays I listen to the Calm phone app 5 minute body scan before bed, other days I practice my 4-7-8 breathing while I’m sitting in my daughters room trying to get her to sleep and once a week I take my yoga class. I made it work for my life and every day I feel a little sharper and a little more relaxed.
It is my hope that in sharing my journey with mind body medicine that it may inspire you to give it a try! This month’s group class will explore the Science and Practice of Mind Body Medicine and provide several different practice experiences. We would love to see you there February 10th!