Fitness for Your Mind

Think of all the time you spend attending to your body—working out, taking a shower, doing your nails, eating the right foods—whatever you do to look and feel physically fit. But how much time do you spend keeping your mind fit? You probably spend more time fixing your hair than your mind.

But since your mind is really the source of your wellbeing—the source which determines the quality of your life—shouldn’t you be sure it’s in tip-top shape? Shouldn’t you take some time out to attend to it?

The Slow Movement

In a culture like ours, where ‘time is of the essence,’ and ‘time is money,’ you are painfully aware that time is finite. There are only 24 hours in a day. Since you cannot expand time you try to compress your activity, cramming more and more into every hour of every day until you’re exhausted. You multitask with alacrity, or at least you think you do. But the truth is, you can really only do one thing well at a time. There has been such a pushback against speed media, speed dating, and even speed yoga, that some people are deliberately opting to take things slower.

“These days, instant gratification takes too long.” – Carrie Fisher

Because when you operate most of the time at top speed, and especially when you multitask, you get distracted. You miss out on what’s going on in your own life. You are no longer mindful in the present moment. You need to slow down and pay attention to the source of your wellbeing—your mind. What is going on inside your head? You can find out if you quiet down and listen to yourself.

Transformation through Mindful Meditation

Many of us who have been taught to be productive as much as possible may find it a challenge to sit still and ‘do nothing.’ We feel lazy. Anxious. We feel like time is passing without us using it well. But, in fact, the opposite is true. If you take time every day to sit quietly, you are not doing nothing. You are resting your mind. You are preparing to tune up your brain. If you can sit still for just ten minutes a day and focus on your thoughts and emotions, you can be more in touch with yourself. This is mindful meditation.

Don’t Try to Empty Your Mind

Many people think meditation involves emptying your mind of all thought. But in fact, the opposite is true of mindful meditation. The object is not to clear your mind, but to clarify your mind. To bring yourself from the past or the future to the present. To notice what’s going on with yourself at this very moment, and to notice without judgment. To simply pay attention to what’s happening in the present. When you practice mindful meditation, you bring yourself to a calm place that can alleviate stress, reduce symptoms of depression and mitigate anxiety.

So take some time to slow down and consider practicing mindful meditation. Think of it as keeping your mind fit—a workout for your emotional wellbeing.

Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: