What is Mindfulness
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
— Viktor Frankl
Mindfulness is a non-judgmental way of paying attention in the present moment, with kindness and curiosity. It is a practice that cultivates our ability to notice our own habitual perceptions and reactions. This helps us relate differently to life experiences and impacts how we show up for the challenges and joys of life.
Mindfulness practice is a shift from autopilot into intentional, present awareness. It is not so much about making stress go away; it’s about changing our relationship to stress. It opens us to the possibility for change, breaking habitual patterns and living from a place of response rather than reaction.
Mindfulness actually re-wires the brain and strengthens the neural pathways for resilience. It dampens activity in the amygdala and increases its connection to the prefrontal cortex. This helps us to be less reactive to stressors and to recover more effectively and sustainably from stress.
Mindfulness is beneficial only when experienced through practice. Simply knowing about mindfulness does not count as practice, just as reading about weightlifting doesn’t build muscle; we need to actually lift weights to enjoy the benefits. Just like with exercise, mindfulness needs to be practiced, and the more we do it, the greater the benefit.
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At Whole Family Health we use mind body medicine and the relaxation response to help our patients relax and lower their stress levels, in order to take control of their health and initiate self care and self healing.
The “Relaxation Response” is different physiologically from being in a state of sleep or rest. The relaxation response is a state of deep relaxation in which the heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate decrease. Muscle tension relaxes, stress hormone levels fall, and the mind becomes tranquil.
The relaxation response was first defined by Dr. Herbert Benson of the Harvard Mind/Body Medical Institute. Whole Family Health uses the relaxation response for patients with issues ranging from infertility to pain and stress related issues, we ask that you incorporate the use of the relaxation response on a daily basis to help reduce the stress and anxiety related to infertility, pain and whatever health issue you are experiencing.
Research has proven the effectiveness of mind/body medicine in helping thousands of men and women reduce the stress that can cause or exacerbate conditions such as heart disease, infertility, gastrointestinal disorders, chronic pain, and more.
Lifestyle and Stress Management
Stress management is important to your overall health and well-being and can help relax the mind, enhance fertility, help with chronic pain and helps you to enjoy your life.
Life today is busy, and most of us are in a constant state of stress. Our bodies respond by reducing the amount of blood flowing to our organs and by flooding the body with hormones that can negatively impact our health.
Acupuncture, massage, and nutrition help you manage stress, and your Whole Family Health expert can recommend other lifestyle changes and stress management techniques. Depending on your needs, we may recommend exercise, mindfulness, yoga, qigong breathing, getting outside more, or all of the above.
The following are a few stress management tips that you can begin using today:
Exercise regularly. Exercise releases endorphins and gets your blood flowing to your organs. If you are overweight and struggling with unexplained infertility, losing weight through exercise and nutrition can increase your chances of conceiving. Exercise improves moods, decreases pain and enhances joy.
Take care of your mind & emotions. Trying to improve health, whether you are trying to conceive or decrease pain and depression can be emotionally draining. It’s important to get take good care of challenging and unwanted thoughts and emotions. It’s normal to have stressful thoughts and emotions in life, consider exploring ways to cultivate resilience so that you are not taken over by them. Consider talking to someone about your feelings. Journaling your thoughts and feelings has been shown to be beneficial.
Take time for yourself. If you are doing too much, try to schedule some time to do nothing. Don’t feel guilty about saying no if you need to.
Go to bed earlier. Most people today aren’t getting enough rest, which has a stressful impact on the mind and body. Take care of your body by getting the sleep you need.
Gratitude. Please enjoy the many conditions of happiness that you already have in your life now. Daily meditation on the positive aspects of your life gives you time and space to feel joy and gratitude. Research shows the many benefits of cultivating a gratitude practice.