Who’s the most important person in your life?
Think about this for a minute. I mean, really think about it before you read on. Got your answer?
I’m going to guess that you didn’t say “myself.”
You. You are the Most Important Person in your life because without you, none of the love, care and wisdom you share with others would exist.
Knowing you’re the MIP, how often do you give yourself permission to act like it? The answer lies in your stress level. Most of us know we need to take care of ourselves first, but that doesn’t always happen. And worse yet, when it does happen we sometimes feel guilty or unproductive, further adding to our stress.
When it comes to whomever you love most (including animals), we’re willing to drop nearly everything. Drive them around town, feed or bathe them and give them the last bite of dessert (well, depending on the dessert).
It’s so easy to say “yes” to others and harder to say “yes” to ourselves. It’s the parent who’s burnt out; the yoga teacher who hasn’t practiced in weeks; the lover who is trying so hard to solve his or her partners’ problems.
It’s you when you feel detached, worried, constantly behind, and physically and emotionally exhausted. When you find yourself desperately needing to reduce stress.
Take back your power
A typical knee-jerk reaction to being burned out: You blame. You make excuses. Schedules are too busy. Work is too demanding. Friends and family will judge me. There’s not enough money.
I don’t blame you for blaming. We all do it. But here’s the thing about blaming everything around you: You lose your power to make a change.
Ten minutes spent fretting over what needs to stay or go in the schedule could have been 10 minutes of meditation. The 20 minutes spent driving to the next event could be a time to breathe deeply.
Don’t leave yourself stranded outside the heartbeat of your life because it seems like that’s what everyone else does. Your life doesn’t need to be incessantly busy. You don’t need to speak or eat faster just to cram more in.
You just need to ask yourself: Do I like the way I’m living?
Your 10 mindful minutes
When you ask yourself this, you will become brave. Do you know how many people never ask themselves this question? As far as I’m concerned you should be inducted into the Mindfulness Hall of Fame because you paused your life just enough to consider your surroundings. That takes courage.
All it takes is one pause, and then another, and then another, and over time your mind won’t be ruled by endless to-do lists and self-imposed obligations.
Through no more than staying curious, you’ve begun to rearrange your reality. (It’s science!)
Mindfulness is key to managing stress. Once you disrupt your inner hamster wheel, your outer world will flow with more ease.
Edit your life just like you’d edit a sentence. Erase all unnecessary words. Breathe all the deep breaths. Enjoy the whitespace of being present.
To make it all possible, meditate. As the Most Important Person in your life, you owe it to yourself to try. Get started right now by clicking the play button below.
Practice: Four-Footed Pose, Chatush Padasana
When you distribute your weight evenly in your life, as in this yoga pose, your life unfolds with ease. That’s the key to Four-Footed Pose: even weight on feet and shoulders to soothe your back and bring clarity and calm to the mind.
Don’t worry if you look a little silly in this pose. Willow already did that for you in the first photo! This pose is an excellent heart opener, which comes in handy during seated meditation.
- Lie down with your knees bent. Plant the feet parallel and hip distance apart. Scoot your feet closer to the glutes so that you can grasp your ankles, wrapping your fingers around the front of the ankle. (Use a belt or strap around the front of the ankles if you can’t quite reach.)
- Inhale and lift your hips a few inches off the mat. Broaden your collarbones by energetically moving the inner upper arms away from the chest. Press down into the upper arms to engage shoulders in holding this posture.
- Now inhale again, press down through the heels of the feet and send the thighs, hips and back ribs up higher. Gently squeeze the inner thighs toward one another without touching. Allow the chin to rest in toward the chest, broadening the neck.
- Relax the throat and breathe deeply to expand the chest on each inhale and exhale. Move the shins toward the chest to deepen the posture.
- Stay for six deep breaths. To come out, exhale and release the hands, rolling the spine back down to the mat. Pause to notice the effects of the pose.