Exercise comes in all different shapes and sizes. There’s yoga for more meditative and flexibility-focused individuals, Zumba for the dancers at heart and those that just love to move and grove to good music, HIIT for people who love to sweat their bums off and get the quickest bang for your buck, and the list goes on and on…
However, something that many of us tend to forget, is that your physical body (arms, legs, core, etc.) is not the only thing that needs to be exercised. Correction – I don’t think we forget this, I think we remind our students of this daily, but forget to practice what we preach. Think you know what I’m referring to yet??
Get ready for it…
YOUR MIND! That’s right – your brain, your noggin, your good old think tank. Your brain is ESSENTIAL to your daily life. College is prime time to exercise your noggin, which is why we consistently remember to encourage our students to think, think, think – but what about YOU? What do YOU do to workout that mind of yours?? It’s not just college students who need this, so below are three main ideas for anyone to workout the think tank without cramping your already busy and overwhelming schedule.
1. READ, READ, READ
Read for pleasure, read for knowledge… read novels, read journal articles, read magazines… read as a group or read on your own… It doesn’t really matter what, why or with whom you do it, it matters that you do it!
In the Student Affairs realm I often fall into the trap of collecting tons and tons of scholarly journal articles, names of books and authors that have written highly suggested books to help in our line of work, and even names of tons of books suggested by coworkers, supervisors, students and more. So, what’s the trap? The trap is… I never find time… correction – MAKE time … to actually sit down and read. My challenge to you — make the time.
Need a few suggestions? Join Goodreads.com and connect with friends, coworkers, and family to not only track what you read, but see what everyone else is reading so you can get suggestions, encouragement and much more.
I’ve learned that meditation is one of those things that right away someone either says they love or they hate. What I’ve come to realize is it’s more like some have tried it and it’s helped, others have tried it, got frustrated and gave up, and others have never tried it and just don’t like the sound of it.
No, you do not have to be a zen-minded yogi to practice meditation. No, meditation does not have to require you to sit and listen to ocean music for an uncomfortable amount of time. Meditation is simply you taking a few minutes (or more if you are a seasoned meditator or simply a natural) to sit comfortably, sit silently, and focus on thinking about nothing.
New to meditation and need some guidance? Check out this quick 5-minute guided meditation for beginners on YouTube.
3. Reflection and Gratitude Practices
Feel like you don’t have enough happy go lucky feelings in your life? Do you find your mind immediately going to negative thoughts when something not so great happens in your day? Wish you could see the positive in all things? The first step to a more positive outlook on your daily life is to take five minutes every day to reflect and practice gratitude.
Martin Seligman, the founder of positive psychology, has tons of suggestions for activities to help you reach a more positive life. One that I default to and have found to be extremely effective is keeping a gratitude journal, by recording five things (big or small) that happened in your day that you are grateful for/ about. The key here, consistency! Make it a habit! Once this is a habit, your mindset could shift from feeling negative about small life events, to seeing the gratitude within them.