Rural Mindfulness - a fresh perspective
I am passionate about Rural Health and believe that part of the secret of coping with the up’s and down’s of farming is to practice mindfulness. This is learning how to be present. As simple as it sounds, noticing the small details in each day doesn’t always feel possible or even as important as thinking about the future or the past. We can find ourselves anticipating the coming months and everything there is to do, or reflecting on yesterday’s issues all the time. This constant stream of thought can leave us with very few quiet moments of peace and inner contentment.
When these ongoing thoughts turn into worry and anxiety over the many things we cannot control in life; sleeping can become difficult, the body can feel tense and the mental chatter can lead to exhaustion. It’s so important to have the ability to choose where our attention settles and make sure our thoughts are a help not a hindrance for our work and home life. Mindfulness makes all the difference. It builds mental resilience.
Do you have a question for Narelle about Rural Mindfulness? Send your questions on our Active Farmers contact page and the answers will be published next week.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is choosing to notice something that is happening right now; for example paying attention to your body, your breath, sounds, sights, aromas, textures, temperatures or flavour’s. We are so lucky in our rural environments to have these wide-open spaces to enjoy. Mindfulness awakens us to the detail that can almost be taken for granted and the physical and mental benefits are huge. The body stops feeling like it’s being chased by something and it has a chance to calm and recalibrate itself.
When we are practicing mindfulness and noticing the view in front of us or different parts of the body or breath, we are in the pre-frontal cortex of the brain and it is here that we have a greater ability to self regulate which is very important during periods of stress. If you are snowed under with a long list of responsibilities and feeling there is very little time for self-care, then simply noticing the body and relaxing a little throughout the day, calms the nervous system, improves memory function, digestion, immune function and stress levels.
Thousands of scientific papers now offer clear proof that mindfulness can assist with pain management, anxiety, depression, insomnia and nervous tension. It’s so important to remember that you are one of the most important assets in your business and your long-term health is the best superannuation of all. Investing a little time each day to focus on rural mindfulness can actually be an important part of your fitness plan.
How to be mindful?
So take a fresh new look at today and all the detail around you. What can you hear? How many colours’ can you see? What haven’t you noticed in a while in your environment? How is your body feeling?
You can still be busy and mindful. Start by simply noticing your breath. The breath is directly linked to our thoughts and feelings and it will change throughout the day. Sometimes the breath is shallow and in the chest, other times its deeper and moving the abdomen. Without straining or changing the breath too much, just notice it while you go about your daily activities or when lying in bed at night. Relax as you exhale, feel the cool air as you inhale, be a witness to the breath for a moment or two and enjoy the subtle benefits.
There is more information to come about breath awareness and a great daily practice you can try in my next blog. Have a terrific week and let me know what you discover when practicing mindfulness.
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