So many reasons to be active in this phase of life, and especially this time of year and lots of ways to do it. This is the 2nd in a 4-post series where I will share my favorite ways to stay active as well as some of my goals for this new season of life! My second focus of being active is mental health and how it affects your brain.
Did you know that your brain literally gets stronger and healthier when you exercise? Blood flow increases as your heart rate rises and increases blood exchange in your brain, bringing nutrients and releasing dopamine and all those feel good hormones. Additional blood flow to your brain can also help improve your memory, your creativity and overall brain function. In addition, regular exercise can help you sleep better! When we sleep, our body repairs itself from the day - that’s when all the real work is happening, so a good night’s sleep is crucial! Amazing what a little blood flow can do!
Of course being MINDful also includes our self-talk and is a direct correlation to our confidence. I like to think of self-talk as the exact same way I talk to my daughter (or any other woman in my life for that matter). Am I saying something I would say to her? Would I tell her she’s not good enough? Would I tell her her body can’t do something or doesn’t look right? Would I tell her she needs to be better without giving tools or suggestions? Would I speak to her in that tone? Running my self-talk through those filters helps me to know if it’s simply my own insecurity or fear coming out and allows me to move forward confidently.
Finally, by switching your brain to finding the positive, finding the good, finding the reasons to be grateful, you’re giving yourself a boost. Your physical health improves when you practice gratitude along with your relationships, your optimism and you’ll radiate that energy. My favorite way to practice this, especially when I’m feeling less than my best, by writing down 5 quick things that I’m grateful for in that moment. It usually includes these, in no particular order… 1) my hot cup of coffee, 2) my kids being in a great school, that allows me some time to myself and 3) the opportunity to run my own business.
When you can take a moment to be MINDful about your movement, your self-talk and your gratitude everything improves.