#ygkChallenge: Slow Down!

ease into your day, wake up slowlyWelcome to Kingstonist’s weekly challenge, dare, resolution or whatever you prefer to call it. Each week we establish a new and ambitious community goal, encouraging our readers, followers, friends and families to step out of their comfort zones and do something great, and hopefully a little out of the ordinary. Consider this your official and personal invitation to join us in completing a small but meaningful achievement. By taking part in this community-wide initiative, we hope to make Kingston a slightly better place to live, work and play. And of course, we also hope that you will feel proud of your contribution and achievement.

This week’s challenge encourages you to:

Slow Down! It’s early morning. You’re lying comfortably in your bed and are awakened by the glimpse of sunshine peaking through your window. As you hear the birds chirping outside you think: “I feel so rested and am completely ready to face the day”. Does this sound like you? If so, you are in the minority. Many people are awakened by the disturbing sound of their alarm clock instantly sending them into “fight or flight” mode followed by a rush of thoughts about the days to-do lists all before their feet hit the floor. It’s estimated that we have between 25,000 to 50,000 thoughts per day. No wonder people have trouble relaxing, there’s too much to think about! This week, I challenge you to slow down. Take a deep breath and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. Researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital studied the effects of participating in an eight-week mindfulness meditation program. They found that people who reported less stress due to the program also had a significant decrease in the density of their amygdala on MR images; a part of the brain that is associated with anxiety and stress. Each day for five to ten minutes sit in a quiet room and be still. Sitting with your feet on the floor, become aware of your body. Wiggle your toes around and take long deep breaths in and out through your nose. With each breath you will become more relaxed. So, this week: breathe, relax, and most of all slow down!

Sign up and commit to completing this week’s challenge by commenting below with an “I’m in“, “challenge accepted“, “en garde” or something along those lines. Further, help us spread the word via Twitter and Facebook by using the hashtag: #ygkchallenge. As you work towards completing this week’s task, please feel free to lend others a helping hand by providing tips on how you achieved success.

Thanks to Tim for today’s photo.

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Alanna Kuhn

Alanna Kuhn has retired as a contributor to Kingstonist. She is a Naturopathic Doctor and co-owner of Kingston Natural Route Health. She regularly contributed to Kingstonist's weekly #ygkchallenge, encouraging Kingstonians to explore healthier lifestyle options.

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