When was the last time, if any, that you stood in your outside area (your yard or even your front stoop) and closed your eyes for even five minutes? What do you remember hearing? If you closed your eyes at your next free five minutes, what would you hear? Are there birds in surroundings trees? Can you see them in your mind? My favorite is our back porch where we feed the birds. I have even gotten to the point of knowing the voices of a variety of the bird’s sounds such as the cardinals, the tufted titmouse and the white-breasted nuthatch. At one point, when we had more frequent visits from the hummingbirds, I even knew the sound of their voices when I stopped and listened close enough, And that’s without looking!
Is the air crisp or warm? Now that Fall is upon us we have days that start out crisp and warm up without getting hot. Maybe that’s why so many people choose Fall as their favorite season. What do you smell? There are scents in the air that can bring me back to first grade when we gathered leaves to iron between two sheets of wax paper that we hung around the class. It amazes me that throughout the fifty-plus years the same scents can be noticed in the air. Are there any that you can relate to? Looking at the answers to these questions would bring to life your other senses to slow your mind down.
Meditation, which is the definition of taking that five minutes, has been around for centuries and can be as simple as a few minutes of pause, to a multi-step training program. There’s even an app called Calm to help you relax and focus. No matter which variety you choose, the health benefits are enormous. The body has an underappreciated ability to heal itself when given the right tools, and meditation is an important one. Taking the time to be aware of your surroundings can give your body a sense of being grounded. It will also give you a clearer head. Have you ever tried to change your frame of mind and then the solution to an issue came to you?
In the fast-paced world we live in, few people take the time to pause. As a result, health issues are on the rise from the never ending pressure of the rat race we find ourselves sucked into. The stress caused by this rat race literally causes your brain to emit hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline that when chronically produced are harmful to your entire body. High blood pressure, heart disease, chronic inflammation, and a weakened immune system are just some examples of chronic stress issues. Unfortunately we very rarely can just quit running the rat race before it kills us. Many turn to multiple medications for physical ailments that result, and each one has it’s own side effects and consequences. Before you know it, you’re looking back at the days when your health didn’t get in your way and you enjoyed life more, but there are steps you can take to change that.
Meditation pauses can literally change the chemical production healing chemical to healing chemical such as DHEA, serotonin, and gamma aminobutyric acid, or GABA. DHEA hormones have a direct impact on your lifespan. Doctors can even use your DHEA levels to determine your physiological age that is a more accurate health age than just your “years”, and the higher the reading, the better. Meditation can boost your production of DHEA. Every one of us has the ability to utilize that by spending five minutes (which may seem long) any chance we get. Your outlook tends to be more positive and your physical being responds in a healing mode. Tension and anxiety are reduced and as a result, your mind clears and becomes sharper.
The feel of the air, sounds and scents will hold in your memory for years to come. Nature has a way of healing your body and calming your mind and we are lucky enough to live in an area with plenty of nature’s riches. Here in New England we have the benefit of the four seasons that have their own unique beauty. Our scenic calendars can attest to that. Just taking a slow breath of air through your nose can even tell you what season it is. Are we in your favorite season now? What does your favorite season sound or smell like? Just contemplating those things can use up your five minutes. If you start your day with this, time won’t seem as limiting. Open your eyes and your on a more positive footing. Reboot before you try to be productive. Now that you’ve invested the time it took to read this, why don’t you give it a try.