Going into a new year can be daunting. We want to change, but don’t always know where to start. Here are five attainable ways to become more mindful this year and make that change, hopefully, a little bit easier.
This is the perfect example of how simple mindfulness can be. Being mindful of your breathing means listening to and noticing your breath. This can range from sensations of how cold the air is against the throat, or noticing the in and out flow of air you breathe. This might seem a bit silly, after all you’re always breathing, but think about it – how often do you notice your breath? It’s one of those actions our body does entirely on auto-pilot. Yet, our constant breathing is the basis of our day-to-day life. So, take a few minutes and focus on it; become intimately curious with the breath. Fill the lungs and forget about the distractions of work, life, and stress for a moment. Just breathe.
This is another good example of a simple mindfulness exercise. In the case of mindful eating, deliberately slow the pace of eating, drinking, or preparing foods. Take a moment to consider where the ingredients came from. Indulge in the smell or feeling your food or drink gives off. Is it hot? How does that feel on a cold, January day? Stall your motions while you cook and savor the minutiae of each task. Listen to the sound of simmering sauce, notice the smell garlic emanates as it cooks. Be disciplined through the cooking experience and refrain from wolfing down your food, rather try to engage with it.
Sit With Nature
Right now, in the dead of winter this might seem a bit mad, but it’s still possible. Perhaps, you prefer not to sit, but instead to walk in nature. If there’s a park or a walkway through some trees or foliage around you, wander around a bit. You might be the only other person there, but you aren’t alone. It might not be as pretty as spring or warm as summer, but there is still life going on all around you. Slow down and bring your attention to your listening. Can you hear the first bird song of the year?
Recharge Fully Each Night
This may not sound like mindfulness, but as the Dalai Lama says, “sleep is the best form of meditation”. Sleeping is an important aspect of our lives. It affects our mood, focus, health, and more. A critical aspect of mindfulness is taking note of how parts of life interweave with one another to create what we experience. Sleep is a key catalyst to foster this relationship. Keeping to a consistent and full sleep schedule is a perfect way to help brighten your days and add a positive thread to your life. Staying up later doesn’t make you smarter, only more fatigued the next day.
Take A Break
Meditation is often perceived as a scary word, something only monks can do. Yet, it is wholly possible for us all to meditate, even for a few minutes. The point of meditation is not to shut down, but to tune in to the present moment. Let the thoughts of how busy the day is, or the person who cut you off on your commute float by like clouds in the sky. Step away from the humdrum of life and take note of yourself. Even a mere five minutes can lead to a renewed excitement, or may reveal more clearly just what has been causing you so much stress today. If you’re worried about not knowing how to do this or where to start, come stop by your local recharj® studio.
Being mindful doesn’t need to take hours of your time, nor do you need to become a monk to practice. These five simple and attainable mindfulness options are accessible to all of us with minimal effort. The results can leave you not only with a real sense of accomplishment, but also a clearer mind, balanced mood, and a more peaceful year.