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Food for the Soul

Let’s talk about nourishment: Nourishment for the mind, body, and soul! 


If you are doing the Best Life Dry January Challenge, your week ahead is going to be all about nourishing your body.  This post will show you how to nourish your mind, body, and soul through creating small mindful practices.


Six things to remember when creating your mindful practices:


1.     Start small and stick with it for at least three weeks.

2.     A regular practice is considered three times a week.

3.     Reframing your approach to how you develop new brain function is a good place to start.

4.     Create ritual or routine around your practices.

5.     You don’t have to do a full practice every day, just do something.

6.     Simplicity is your friend.


·      Start small and stick with it for at least three weeks.

As we age, it is true that is becomes harder to form new neural pathways, and subsequently new habits, in fact after the age of 25 according to scientists, however new science also tells us that you can form new habits and new neural pathways until the day we die!  What is the secret I hear you whisper…?  Repetition!  Think of a well walked path, the more you walk it the easier and clearer it becomes.  It is the same for retraining or developing new habits through new neural pathways.  Coupled with the fact that it takes an average of three weeks to form these new neural pathways, if you stick with something for at least three weeks you are golden.  So, start small and do it often.  Don’t set yourself up for failure by trying to climb a mountain on the first day, take a walk daily and before you know it you will be “climbing mountains”.


·      A regular practice is considered three times a week.

Now I know I have also said that you should do it often or daily however for those who just don’t see that as a possibility, a minimum of three times a week will get you on the road to a regular practice.  Honestly, if you do it daily, the habit will form quicker and more easily.  Really it isn’t about duration but rather frequency.  It is better to do a 10 min walk daily then a 30 min walk less often but different things work for different people so don’t beat yourself up either way, just get started.  Honest advice: Start small and daily to begin with and then after you feel you have this “well walked pathway”, settle into a regular practice three times a week for a bit longer. Explore what works for you.


·      Reframing your approach to how you develop new brain function is a good place to start.

Interestingly enough the more you put your brain outside its comfort zone, the more flexible and resilient your brain becomes at switching tasks and focusing.  The easiest way to “exercise” your brain is to take two or three small habits you already have and change them slightly for a month. 


o   Start a task with your non-dominant hand.

Examples: * I am right-handed, when painting my nails, I start with painting my right hand with my left.  It has become easier to do the entire task. 

*Journal or free-write for one minute with your non-dominant hand or if you are really into a challenge, brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand!

o   Sit down when putting on your shoes (or stand up… whichever is opposite of your norm). Have a little fun with this and please do feel free to share what small daily habits you have slightly changed to give others’ ideas.  Your small simple changes could have a profoundly effect on someone else’s life, and how wonderful would that be!


·      Create ritual or routine around your practices.

Ritual and routine are buzz words for me, they make me happy, ha, I am easy to please!  I just love creating routine wherever and whenever.  Even when I travel for a few days, I’ll create a little ritual or routine while there.  It usually ends with me having a moment of gratitude because I enjoy it so much. Your brain knows that if XY happens then you will feel Z so use this to your advantage and create positive habits with healthy outcomes. Create ritual or routine around your daily practices to make them a mindful practice.



·      You don’t have to do a full practice every day, you just have to do something.

This next reminder really reiterates the idea of the “well walked Path”.  Routine and a daily practice, no matter how small is going to be what forms the new neural pathway and subsequent habit so remember, it doesn’t need to be a full practice, just do something!  Think about a ship’s course, if you adjust the heading ever so slightly, even by half a degree, your destination will be an entirely different place then it was on the original course.


·      Simplicity is your friend.

Finally, simplicity is your friend.  Don’t be fooled, a low skill mindful practice has the same impact as a “high” skill practice so keep it simple to begin your journey.  Simple yet spectacular!  So, this next week when you are nourishing your body through healthy meals, the hydration hustle or tasty mocktails why not create a little routine or ritual around your Dry January Challenge by lighting a candle before you do your task (don’t forget to blow it out!) or have a moment of appreciation before and after the task or write on a post-it one thing you are grateful for and pop it in your gratitude jar.  Keep it simple and have fun!


I hope I have opened your mind or at least got you thinking about new  neural pathways that can lead you to mindful-based tools that will improve the quality of what you do.


Finally, you don’t find mindfulness, you create it, give yourself permission to create a mindful practice that works for you.

Blog post written for the sobriety community within Best Life - Sobriety through connection and featured in the Mindfulness and Meditation Group within the App. Download the app here:

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