I never used to do this. And I pretty much had the flexibility of concrete. I also didn’t consider the relationship between fitness and mental wellness until I started eating different and partaking in yoga at least 3 times a week. What I learned is that physical wellness is a springboard (or ‘catalyst’ for the proud, nerdy types out there) for mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Once I started seeing results in my body, the rest seemed to follow suit. Now I can easily touch my toes and my head even hits my knees when I am properly warmed up.
Don’t beat yourself up if you are saying to yourself, “I know I should workout more often but….”. It is hard to get the momentum going. There were days when I forced myself to move, and having a ‘workout buddy’ really helped. I promise, though, once you get moving, and are consistent, you will see changes in your body. This will then provide all the motivation you need to keep going. Now, I don’t even need a workout buddy, albeit nice because it makes for more fun, but it doesn’t make or break my fitness routine. But this post really isn’t about a workout session.
So where exactly are you going with this, and what does all this have to do with my focus and concentration, you ask?
One super easy way to improve your ability to focus and concentrate on tasks (and to jump start your physical fitness) is to stretch every morning. It takes less than 10 minutes. But not just any stretching; there is a secret type of stretching.
Ok, well, maybe I am exaggerating a bit….(Iv’e just come off the Golden Globe Awards red carpet, where everything is embellished, back into the reality of my living room.)
The body contains several meridians (think expressways) that connect certain organs and parts of the body. We are an energy system, and electrical currents travel through the body. You know you are made of electrical currents if you have every ‘electrocuted’ yourself in dry, cold weather when touching a light switch or kissing your spouse (the latter being the most fun). The body is a continuous circuit of flowing chi (energy), and this is a founding principle of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture.
However, sometimes there is a 50 car pileup on one of the expressways, and the chi gets stuck. This affects whatever organs are connected to that expressway, and can create some unbalance in the form of aches and pains, difficulty focusing, and sometimes illness.
To keep your chi flowing, do the below meridian stretches every morning before you head out the door. Your body has been at rest all night, and needs some help getting the energy flowing. Again, if you do this consistently, you will notice a difference in how your body feels and your mental clarity.
Make it part of your morning routine. Do your stretching and reward yourself with your aromatic cup of coffee or tea or a hot, ‘wake-me-up shower’. Combine it with some ‘quiet’ time to hear yourself think. Sometimes during my stretching routine I get my best ideas! Also, don’t forget to breathe deeply as it will help you relax into the stretch.
Regardless of how you do it, just do it!
Here are a few examples of meridian exercises:
The stretching images are from the book, Reading the Body by Ohashi, a good read if you are more interested in the topic of meridians.
I would love to hear from you! In the comments below tell me:
What is your best kept secret to mental clarity?