​By Tiffany Young

Living a completely stress-free life might seem impossible, but with a little effort, having peace and tranquility is doable. Cultivating mindfulness in your life is like planting a garden — feed the good and weed out the bad.

It’s no surprise Orlando is one of the best places in America to live. With so many activities to keep your body moving and mind at rest, you’ll find it easy to cultivate mindfulness. Exercise and mental meditation are simple ways to combat stress.
Here are five ways to bring your head and body together to cultivate mindfulness.

1.  Yoga
The key to managing your world depends on how well you can clear out the cobwebs and focus on the positive. Ashtanga yoga is more than twisting and turning. It brings postures (asana or poses), meditation, concentration, and breathing together. Benefits of yoga include stronger muscles, increased flexibility, better breathing, balanced metabolism, and more stamina. Yoga also helps you control the physical and mental pain from arthritis, carpal tunnel, high blood pressure, and backaches.

There is no one-size-fits-all method of yoga. Hatha is a physical combination of many styles, focusing on breath-controlled exercises, yoga postures, and a rest period.

No matter which style you choose, yoga’s benefits go beyond the mat. It can make you a more mindful eater, enhance your cardiovascular system and even give you a better body image.

2.  Meditation
Meditation is one way to focus on the sounds and sensations around you. Take five to ten minutes each day to:

  • Breathe in deeply and exhale slowly.
  • Absorb your surroundings. Focus on sights, sounds, tastes, sensations, and aromas.
  • Enhance your five senses. Concentrate on the “feel” of things around you, like the fur of a purring cat or the roughness of tree bark. Listen to the wind.
  • Analyze your emotions. When you get angry or sad, stop and think about why these feelings are bubbling over. Articulate them into words.
  • Close your eyes and be in your own moment. Put the phone down, get away from the computer, and turn off the TV.

Take time to give yourself a “body scan.” Lay down, close your eyes and focus on each area of your body — toes, feet, shins, calves, and on up to your arms, torso, neck, and head. Feel what’s aching and breathe deeply to control the pain. Relax each muscle.

3.  Stake Your Space
Creating a personal space is important for self-care and wellness. Who should join you? No one. And it’s up to your partner and children to understand and respect your space and times when you need to be alone.

Stake your space for exercise, music, reading, crafting, or other hobbies. Whether in a bedroom, finished basement, or home office, take time to make the space comfortable. Freshen the room up with greenery! Aloe vera, spider and snake plants, English ivy, bamboo, and peace lilies absorb indoor chemicals of benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene. Lavender, gardenias, and jasmine are a few plants that emit soft fragrances.

4. Green Up That Thumb!
Your personal space can be outdoors. Gardening is a perfect way to connect with nature. Breathing fresh air, listening to birds, and absorbing sunshine (an important source of Vitamin D) help calm and declutter your mind.

Make it easy and enjoyable by planting a low-maintenance native garden. Flowering shrubs like firebush and beautyberry grow well in Orlando. They adapt to the local climate and soil conditions and provide pollen, nectar, and seeds for butterflies, birds, and other wildlife. Add a bench to the garden and take time to enjoy the wildlife.
5.  Water TherapyThe beach is just a short drive away. There’s nothing like a vast ocean to remind us of how small we are. Watching waves come in, sand blowing, sunlight dancing off the water, seagulls swooping in … it’s all a peaceful setting to help you clear your mind.

If you can’t make it to the beach, set up a water fountain inside or outside. The flowing water makes a pleasant sound to lull you into a peaceful sleep.

You can’t control unpleasant events, but you can control the way you react to them. And remember, “stressed” is just “desserts” spelled backward.

Personal trainer and yoga instructor Tiffany Young helps her clients get in touch with their bodies and souls. Need someone to teach you the downward dog or help analyze your astrological chart? Tiffany’s your gal.