Updated: Mar 19, 2022
In today's day and age, we hear so much about how mindfulness can benefit us but is it really true, and if it is, how does it help?
If you're scientifically minded like me, and a stickler for evidence, you might be surprised to learn that YES, mindfulness has been proven to improve your life in many ways. Jill Suttie, in her article titled, 'Five ways mindfulness meditation is good for your health', suggests that mindfulness benefits our bodies, not just our minds (2018). Suttie goes on to state the 5 ways it improves our health and well-being: 1) it's good for our heart, 2) it may decrease cognitive decline, 3) it may improve immune function, 4) it may reduce cell aging, and 5) it may reduce psychological pain.
For more information, see the full article here: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/five_ways_mindfulness_meditation_is_good_for_your_health
So how can I incorporate mindfulness into my day to day life?
Since OT is always focused on function, the goal is to learn how to use mindfulness in a way that allows to perform our activities of daily living and occupations more easily!
One way to do this, is to practice mindful movement! Because the occupations we find ourselves regularly engaged in, such as working, cooking dinner, and playing outside with the kids all involve some degree of movement, it is critical that we pay attention to how we are moving (think quality over quantity) to avoid injury and burnout.
The importance of bio-mechanics: the science of movement of the living body.
I want to introduce the concept of biomechanics to you, because it relates to mindfulness in that 'proper', biomechanically safe movement doesn't always come naturally to us, however, we can benefit from being more mindful of how we are moving as mentioned above. Now, this requires 2 things: 1) an understanding of how to move safely, and 2) an effort to be mindful of how we are moving and adjust as necessary to ensure proper biomechanics!
In today's day and age, it isn't uncommon for people to be typing away on tiny laptops at the kitchen table, hopping into their vehicles quickly to run errands between work and dinner, and eating t.v. dinners on the couch, all of which typically involve awkward, static postures that put us at risk for injury if we are not careful. The hustle bustle of our modern day society has us moving quickly and mindlessly as we pay attention to our busy surroundings and minds, and in order to move in a biomechanically safe way, we must intentionally remind ourselves to pay attention to our form as we perform various movements, and the muscles we are activating (or not activating) during such movements.
Now, I know you might be thinking, "Mindfulness sure sounds like a lot of work, I don't know how I'll be able to to incorporate it into my daily life.", but I promise you it's a lot less work than it seems! It's also a lot less troublesome than having to take time off from work to rehab an injury (trust me, I've been there and it's not fun!).
This brings us to the topic of ergonomics: the science of interactions among humans and other elements of a system
Ergonomics and bio-mechanics go hand in hand as understanding ergonomic principles allows us to position ourselves next to objects in our environment in ways that optimize our well-being and improve overall system performance.
Often when we think of ergonomics, it's in the context of a desk set up at work. Pre-COVID, proper ergonomics in the workplace might not have been an issue for you, especially if your employer let you modify your desk space and/or paid for specialized equipment to help improve your comfort at your workstation. However, many of us have transitioned to working from home as a result of the pandemic, and if your employer isn't willing or able to provide you with proper equipment, you might feel at a loss for what to do! Thankfully, there are ergonomic principles you can follow to make your home set up more comfortable, and less injury-prone, that don't require you to purchase expensive equipment or re-model your kitchen!
For more information regarding ergonomic principles or to book an Ergonomic assessment, please contact and we'll be happy to help you!