I write this the day after the lockdown announcement, the start of a new year, a time that is meant to be happy, full of hope and traditionally, with resolutions to start good practices, stop doing the bad and make changes. It is however, very difficult in these challenging, uncertain and worrying times to feel positive and motivated to do anything and to quell any feelings of anxiety and stress. It is now more than ever though, that we should be focusing on looking after ourselves, building coping skills and being extra kind and compassionate to ourselves. If we are seeking to transform our habits with New Year resolutions (I prefer good intentions it’s far kinder than a resolution) eat healthier, exercise more, live a fuller life for example and to bring more peace and less stress and anxiety into our lives, mindfulness is the perfect place to start!
Mindfulness is basically being more connected to the present moment and simply involves pausing, noticing, observing, checking in with your senses, with no judgment and being kind, gentle and curious. By living mindfully, which is actually a way of life, it can positively help us change our habits, the way we feel about life and the challenges it brings.
We can make changes to our lifestyle and improve our mental well being with small steps, gentleness and patience. This can be achieved by daily practices of mindfulness where we can remind ourselves to slow down, notice and be more present. Small changes can bring us more peace, less stress and anxiety. We can also practice meditation which involves sitting in silence and paying attention to the present by noticing when your mind wanders off bringing it back to the breath, a place where we can rest and settle our minds. It is a wonderful way of training the mind to not dwell on the past or contemplate the future, it lets the mind settle in the now and allows us to see the beauty of the present.
“ The present moment is filled with joy and happiness , if you are attentive you will see it” Thich Nhat Hanh
So why not make mindfulness your New Year’s intention (I prefer that to resolution, which will probably address those areas you may wish to change or improve) and see how beneficial it can be! In my next blog I’ll be explaining how we can introduce mindfulness into our daily lives, the benefits of journaling and why practising gratitude makes you a happier person. So to start your mindful journey why not just stop for a few minutes throughout the day, pause and take notice? It can be so beneficial for good health and our mental well being and/or follow the To Do List. Happy New Year!