Mindful in May kicks off in less than ten days. This month long challenge urges people to spend ten minutes a day meditating, while also raising funds for clean water in developing countries.
“Science is supporting the fact that just two months of regular mindfulness meditation can have a significant benefits,” explains Mindful in May founder, Dr Elise Bialylew. “When regularly practised, meditation has been shown to increase our immune function, restructure of our prefrontal cortex (required for strategic thinking and problem solving), and possibly even protect against DNA damage caused by ageing (through increasing a protective enzyme, Telomerase).”
To get some tips on how we can be more mindful, I recently caught up with Lola Berry, a Mindful in May Ambassador and leading Australian nutritionist who is passionate about sharing the message that eating and living well is easy and fun.
Lola Berry’s Mindfulness Tips
I’m really passionate about this topic. If sounds all hippy and woo-woo but it just makes sense. It’s all about appreciating the moment, slowing down and really being present not just when you eat but in life. Really experience it, we are pretty blessed to be living these lives so get out there and live, do more than just exist. Try new things, travel, get outside your comfort zone. That’s where the magic happens.
When it comes to food, you want to taste the flavours, feel the textures, smell the different notes of the meal. Smile before you eat. Take a moment to be super grateful for your meal, how lucky you are to be healthy enough to have created this meal. I know it sounds like a long process. But once you feel really grateful for food, then really chew it rather then just gulping it down, you’ll find that you get fuller faster.
Food is here to nourish you and to share with the people you love, simple. Mindfulness helps us to practise this.
Sounds weird to be writing about breath I know, but you breath about 21,600 times per day and we seem to take it a bit for granted. Did you know you could control your whole mental state just by playing with your breath? Think about it, when you’re anxious your breath is much more rapid and shallow and when you’re calm and centred your breath is slow and steady and often much deeper. If you ever get some stressful news, a negative phone call or something like that try, simply take 10 deep long slow breaths. If you want to take it to the next step, take these 10 breaths in a forward fold, so keep your knees bent and fold your body in half so you hands are dangling near the ground. Then take 10 breaths. This will help to calm the sympathetic nervous system and activate the calmness of the parasympathetic nervous system.
There’s so many different types and ways, it’s about trying them on and finding out what works for you. I’ve done a course in Vedic meditation and studied a fair bit of it in yoga teacher training but I am far from a mediation golden girl. And I don’t believe one size fits all so to speak, mantras may work for you, or visualisations, or guided mediations. So for me I love to mediate out in mother nature, I get my hippie nerd on. I talk to the ocean and make wishes on trees, but that’s pretty extreme to some!
For you meditating might be finding a quiet spot at home, shutting your eyes, taking deep breaths and just being there. Simple. Make it work for you. You feel clear when you’ve been meditating, have perspective and it helps to make you more on you’re a-game. As my meditation teacher, Lee used to always say to me, “Lola, follow the charm.”
Meditation helps you to tap into your intuition and trust it. It’s always 70% bang on, but when you’re meditating, that gut instinct goes through the roof.
Taking just a few moments to be more mindful in the way you live and experience things, your experiences will become richer. I notice that I become much more grateful for simple things and thankful when things really fall into place when I’m practising mindfulness. It’s a really awesome way to live.
Join The Checks and Spots Mindful in May Team!
When you join Mindful in May, you get access to a month long meditation program that’s delivered daily to your inbox. You’ll receive simple tips, coaching, audio guided meditations and video interviews with global experts.
You can also get your friends and family to sponsor you in the challenge. All funds that you help raise go to support Charity Water, a not-for-profit organisation that donates 100% of funds to water projects in developing countries.
Registering to take part in Mindful in May costs $30, but I’m looking for four people who would to join my team. Mindful in May is shouting us, so it won’t cost you anything to get started. I think doing things like this are always better when you share the experience with others, so I can’t wait to have a crack at Mindful in May with you!
If you’d like to join my team, just be one of the first four people to leave a comment below.
PS // If you’re interested in reading a little more on mindfulness, then you might like to check out this post I recently published, The Most Important Daily Habit From Steve Jobs’ Success.