With the endless recommendations to improve your physical health, the importance of mental health often falls to the bottom of the to-do list. However, keeping your stress levels low can be just as important for your physical health as eating right and exercising.
The practice of mindful relaxation can help manage your stress and calm your body. Mindful relaxation might also play an important role in maintaining your memory and cognitive function. In a study conducted by Harvard, practicing mindful stress relaxation over a period of eight weeks was shown to increase the density of grey matter in the hippocampus, which can have positive effects on learning and memory.
What is Mindful Relaxation?
Mindful relaxation is a form of meditation that aims to connect your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. By clearing your mind through purposeful breathing and focused calm, you can become more resistant to the stress in your life.
How Do You Practice Mindful Relaxation?
Like all healthy behaviors, you’ll see the best results from mindful relaxation if you make it a regular and consistent practice.
- First, set aside 5 to 10 minutes every morning when you wake up or before you go to sleep at night. Find a quiet area of your home where you won’t be disturbed.
- Close your eyes and focus on breathing in and out.
- Make your breathing deeper by drawing in as deep of a breath as possible and exhaling slowly.
- Allow your mind to focus only on your breathing and no additional stressors.
- Keep your eyes closed and your breathing slow and controlled for at least five minutes or until you feel the stresses of your day begin to melt away.
If you aren’t experienced with meditation, you might feel slightly silly at first, but stick with it. Clearing your mind can take practice, but gaining control over your stress is worth the effort. Staying stress free is well known to reduce your risk of a cardiovascular event, but mindful relaxation can be beneficial in staying healthy and could keep your memory strong.
To learn more about how to keep your brain healthy as you get older, check out our eBook here!