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April 11, 2016

Mindful Mondays: Being present, not perfect

Three simple steps to a better you

Wellness Mindful Mondays
Meditation File Art /for PhillyVoice

The intentional practice of entering silence, calming the tumultuous ocean of everyday thoughts and feelings, and intuiting a deeper source of wisdom within is very much rooted in our collective human experience.

Each week, on Mindful Mondays, Christie shares three tips toward a healthier lifestyle. She proposes something healthy to think about, something healthy to eat, and something healthy to do. Give these tips a try to improve your health, wellness and quality of life!

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MINDFUL THOUGHT: “Perfectionism is Counterproductive to Change”

If you are striving to be perfect, it is time to reevaluate. When the goal is perfection the outcome is inevitably failure because perfection does not exist in real life. The idea that it does manifests unhealthy thoughts and unrealistic expectations that can lead people to abandon their health goals entirely.

This week, remember that nobody is perfect and failing is actually a very important part of life. Being mindful of your own strengths and weaknesses will only make you a stronger, more self-aware person. Everybody fails, it’s the ability to keep standing back up and moving forward that sets people apart.


MINDFUL EATING: Almond Butter & Fruit for Dessert

In order to set yourself up for success, it is important to explore what the barriers to change may be. Be prepared for moments of weakness because we all have them.

In these times, some people turn to candy, cookies, ice cream and other traditional desserts that are packed with additives and artificial sweeteners. Tapering unnatural sugars out of our diet is at the top of the list of things we can do to improve our health.

Christie Honigman/for PhillyVoice

Healthy fruit display with almond butter

That being said, everyone needs a treat sometimes. My recommendation for a sweet treat this week is natural almond butter. You can eat it straight from the spoon or with fresh fruit like apples, strawberries or blueberries. Almond butter is a solid swap because while it is delicious, it is packed with protein, fiber and mostly unsaturated fats, which aid in cardiovascular health. Stick to two teaspoons per serving; almond butter can be hard to stop eating and portion control is key.


MINDFUL ACTIVITY: Listen to Your Body

This week, your active challenge is to take a few minutes to listen to your body. This can be a foreign concept to most. You can sit, stand or lay on a mat for this exercise.

Take a few deep breaths and allow yourself to just be. Begin at your feet. How do they feel? Roll your ankles and point your toes. Remember to breathe. In your mind, trace a path up the back of your calves, knees, thighs, and hips. Bend at the waist. Move however your body tells you to move. Continue up the spine and into the shoulders, arms and neck. Make arm circles, neck circles, do what feels right.

How does your body feel overall? Do some areas feel better than others? What would you like to work on? Taking inventory of your body is the first step toward achieving optimum health. Realizing where you are helps you identify where you want to be. Staying in tune is even more powerful. Record in your notes if you would like to refer back and track progress. (Adapted from Duke IM’s Body Scan Technique)

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