We chatted with MNDFL instructor and life coach Ameerah Omar to understand how she stays grounded in stressful times.
What exercises would you suggest for someone who wants to meditate but hasn't tried it before?
For someone who is new to meditation, I suggest starting small with a short concentration practice that's only around 5-7 min long, doing it at the same time and in the same place, every day. Consistency is key to building any new habit.
What are your favorite breathing exercises to calm down during a moment of stress?
Box Breathing is my favorite exercise to support a state of calm during moments of stress. The basic principle is to inhale for a specific count, hold at the top for the same count. exhale for the same count, and hold at the bottom for the same count. Then repeat.
How does meditation help relieve stress in the body?
Meditation can help relieve stress in the body by neutralizing the central nervous system. It also helps to calm a wandering mind so we begin to experience greater levels of clarity and relaxation. Focusing one's attention in a mindful way on a specific object centers us in the present moment and moves us away from stories of the past or fantasies of the future where much of our stressors can stem from.
What is your go-to daily health routine, and why are healthy habits important to you?
Meditation and Movement. I have been a runner nearly all of my life and it is my go-to for exercise. I have yet to go on a run that I've regretted. Not only does it encourage incredible physical health benefits it also is a great tool for my mental health as well. Habits and routines are super important because they provide structure and accountability within my life. They give me something to look forward to and are especially helpful on the days where I may be feeling less motivated.
What does supporting your immune system mean to you? Supporting my immune system means incorporating a healthy diet, exercise, and rest into my lifestyle so that I can show up to the world as my best self. It means longevity for the things I LOVE to do.
Who in your life has had the greatest impact on your health and why?
My mother! She was a healthcare professional for over 40 years and health and wellness have always been a top priority on her list. As an African American, sadly there are great disparities one faces within the healthcare system of the United States. Therefore, it has always been her mission to make sure our family was proactive in the way we took care of ourselves.
How has your attitude towards your health and wellness evolved over time?
My attitude toward health and wellness has always been positive. The one thing I will say about time is that the older I get the more in tune with my body I become which makes the journey to stay the course much more rewarding.
What is your favorite natural ingredient and why?
GARLIC! One, because it makes everything taste good and two, because it has an insurmountable amount of health benefits. I.e. Lowers blood pressure, helps fight the common cold, improves cholesterol, improves memory, etc...