Let’s Start the New Year Off Mindfully!
Hello, Lovely You!
The new year will be here in a few hours. Have you made your New Year’s resolutions yet? May I add a resolution to your list? I want you to live this next year of your life as mindfully as you can.
Mindfulness has been shown to offer numerous positive benefits for the body, mind and soul. And that’s what I wish for you in the coming year: a healing of your body, mind and soul.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is being aware, moment-by-moment, of your thoughts, feelings and sensations. Mindfulness is NOT judging those thoughts, feelings and sensations, only being aware of them, and then letting that awareness go.
Mindfulness will most likely be different than anything else you’ve ever done because there is no goal to reach and nothing to really “do.” It’s about awareness, observation and acceptance as well as exploring your own journey on this spinning globe.
The more you commit to a mindfulness meditation, the more peace you bring into your life, and the better your mood and health can be.
Here are just some of the reported benefits of a mindfulness meditation practice:
- Lowers stress
- Restores emotional balance
- Increases resilience
- Reduces anxiety
- Slows aging
- Reduces physical pain
- Reduces depression
- Improve sleep quality, reduce fatigue
- Improves concentration
Getting Started with Mindfulness
Practicing mindfulness is a lot like practicing a musical instrument. It may be painful at first, but keep at it and it gets easier and easier.
Expect your mind to wander, that’s what minds do. Don’t judge this wandering, just accept it and bring your mind back to the present moment. Treat your mind like a little puppy. Puppies will wander around. But you don’t yell at or scold a puppy, you simply and gently bring it back where it needs to be.
With this in mind, here are some tips and suggestions for getting started:
Get Some Help
There are a lot of apps on the market that contain guided mindfulness sessions. There are also videos on Youtube that do the same. You may want to purchase some of the guided meditations I have created for wellbeing, cancer healing and cancer survivorship. I find having guidance in the beginning will help you taste success much sooner. Make this year the year you find your true brilliance.
Get Comfortable – But Not Too Comfortable
The key is to make sure your body is comfortable enough that you are relaxed and that you won’t have any negative physical sensations distract you. But you don’t want to be too comfortable that you fall asleep. Most people sit in a comfortable position but they don’t lay down.
Remember to Breathe
Many people choose to focus on their breath during their meditation sessions. The breath is powerful. Life is breath. When we are born we take our first breath and when we die we take our last. Remember throughout your meditation to take nice, slow deep breaths and focus on this simple yet powerful act.
Pay Attention to Your Emotions
Your first handful of sessions will most likely be you constantly retrieving your mind as it continues to wander off. But what you will notice when you keep at it is that you will start to tap into other aspects and dimensions of yourself. When your monkey brain stops making so much noise, other things will come to the forefront. Don’t be surprised if you find strong emotions coming to the surface. That’s great. Don’t judge these emotions. Simply feel them, thank them for presenting themselves to you and guiding you and then release these emotions.
Do Everyday Tasks Mindfully
You don’t always have to “just sit there” and be mindful, you can be mindful with anything you do. Try washing the dishes or doing the laundry mindfully. What does this mean? It means to focus all of your attention on what the soap smells like and how the water feels. Being mindful in the shower is a great treat. Feel the warm water against your skin. Listen to the sounds of the water as it hits the shower floor. Become aware of your physical sensations and any emotions that come up.
You can also practice mindfulness on a walk. Buddhist monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh describes this as, ‘Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.’ When you take a walk, give your FULL attention to the experience of walking. We take it so for granted and do it automatically without enjoying the experience. When we can bring awareness to mundane everyday activities, we can find a new sense of joy and amazement in our everyday lives.
Eating is something else we do without giving it much thought. We just shove that food right in. But try and slow it down. Really look at your food. Look at all of the different colors. Smell your food and the spices. Chew your food slowly, giving each bite your full attention. Eating should be such a pleasurable part of our day, and yet many of us aren’t even paying attention.
Engage with Others Mindfully
And finally, be more mindful in your interactions with others. Really take them in. Listen to them and notice their body language.
Being mindful means being fully present in each beautiful moment of your life. May you have more beautiful moments in the New Year.