Today’s blog is actually a recommendation…
Most people who know me know that I view health and fitness as much more than just exercise and nutrition. I’m passionate about wellness, and wellness for me extends beyond the four walls of the gym and what we put into our bodies. It is of course about improving ourselves physically, doing something that we find fun and challenging while ensuring we’re fuelled appropriately with nutritious, real foods that keep us healthy from a clinical perspective and allow us to reach our physical potential. Beyond that though, my beliefs around wellness include three other factors.
In addition to exercise and nutrition the third factor of wellness revolves around the community we immerse ourselves in. By this I mean the relationships we build and the support we give and receive through those. This plays a huge role in determining the level of enjoyment we experience through our day to day endeavours and being able to share experiences with others, both positive and negative is a fundamental part of being human, and being healthy.
The fourth factor involves our surroundings. Specifically experiencing nature, travelling, exploring new places and getting outside and changing your perspective. The benefits of sunlight are indisputable anyway, but beyond this changing the scenery and getting fresh air, whether it’s a park in London at lunchtime or jumping on a train/plane and really experiencing nature for a few days is fundamental to wellness and health.
With this said, my blog today is actually focussed on the fifth factor that I believe makes up wellness, and that is mindfulness. The ability to stay present, calm, non-reactive and non-judgemental. It’s a mind-set that can be achieved through meditation and like any skill, regular practice is important. This is where my recommendation comes in…
I was recently pointed towards an app called Calm. Calm is a simple mindfulness meditation app that offers several guided mediation practices. Examples of these include; 21 days of calm, 7 days of focus, 7 days of calming anxiety, 7 days of gratitude and many more. Each course takes an increasingly deeper look at the skill of meditation and the benefits of each practice. As someone who has a real tendency to over think things, dwell on the what-ifs or what-might-have-beens and get dragged away from the present, the app has been a simple and brilliant way to bring me back to the present. I sleep better, feel less anxious or stressed, have increased levels of concentration and have gained a real appreciation of just how important it is to regularly bring myself back to the present and be mindful.
The app is free to begin with, with a ‘7 days of calm’ trial which offers an introduction to meditation and plenty of education on the benefits. From then on the deeper looks at meditation and courses cost a yearly subscription of around £25.
If you’re someone who regularly feels a little stressed, has trouble sleeping or is just interested in this aspect of wellness I strongly recommend giving it a look. Go in with an open mind, practice it regularly and at the very least enjoy the fact that its an excuse each day to spend 10 minutes switching off, relaxing and calming your mind.
There’s not much to lose.