With so much focus placed upon our external appearance, how often do we think about how beautiful our brains are?
Taking time to declutter, destress and detox the mind is equally – if not more – important than the quest to attain perfect, youthful skin – especially as we know now that the two are intrinsically linked. Stress isn’t called “the silent killer” for nothing. Pervasive psychological stress can wreak havoc on our bodies, resulting in chronic immune dysfunction, increased oxidative stress and even DNA damage. It’s wise, then, to take time to look after our strongest muscle and place as much importance on it’s care and maintenance as we do on our skin.
But how do we begin? With over 50% of us now living in urban settings with barely a spare moment to dedicate to anything restful as we navigate our modern lives, finding time to nurture the mind can seem daunting. Great news: it’s easier than it sounds. Carving out small niches during our busy days to dedicate to mindfulness is incredibly simple. During your subway commute, or while waiting in traffic sit quietly while taking deep, slow breaths, and make a mental list of all the positives in your life – whether health or success, or even to simply appreciate an enjoyable lunch or productive meeting. Let impending deadlines slip away, upcoming appointments fall to the back of the mind, and pressing to-do lists drop. Studies have shown that five minutes of deep breathing increases the state of interoception – or mindfulness of what is happening inside ourselves. The body is incredibly intelligent as a whole, and while consciousness is normally associated with the brain only, this consciousness can exist in all of our cells. Practice using the small moments in your day to focus on yourself and note how you feel refreshed and reinvigorated after a few moments. Aim to do this daily, and observe how you feel better prepared to handle the stresses of modern life.
Taking time to practice interoception can increase your own mind-body connection – but also make you more empathic towards others as well – something increasingly rare in today’s world. By approaching your own life with more mindfulness and empathy, perhaps we can inspire others to do the same. After all, what is more beautiful than kindness?
For more in-depth reading, check out Dr. Claudia Aguirre’s enlightening guide to the mind-skin connection fast living/slow aging.