All of us could try and be more mindful, considering we live in a fast paced, busy world. To be mindful means to slow down and appreciate the moment, it can help you with a number of different things. It reduces stress because you slow down your thinking when you try to be more present in the moment. It can cause you to be more grateful for every moment which can make time seem like it’s slowing down. This also helps to reduce the fear that time is running out, something that causes anxiety in all of us.
So no matter what your reasons are for wanting to be more mindful, I hope you can find at least one thing (and hopefully more than one!) that you can commit to doing in 2017.
1. Take one moment a day to experience all five senses
I love this one because it’s super easy. It sounds simple but none of us ever take the time to slow down and do it. You just have to stop at one point in your day and look around you. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? What do you feel? What do you taste? You can also think about 5 things you can see or hear or smell, etc. individually rather than thinking about each 5 separately. It’s just one simple way you can incorporate being mindful into everyday.
2. Don’t think about the past or the future
I know this sounds difficult and maybe you aren’t even aware that you think about the past or the future quite frequently. Many of us think about the past and future more than the present moment. This is what leads to anxiety and depression. There’s a famous quote by Lao Tzu that goes: “If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the moment.” I love this quote and try to think about it everyday. I try to consciously catch myself if I start to think about the past or future and redirect to the present moment.
3. Practice yoga
Yoga is a great exercise to start doing because it has so many benefits. It can help you strengthen and tone your body, but it can also put your mind at ease and help your internal organs function better. I am making a revolution to try and do yoga five times a week in 2017. But you can make a goal to do it 1X, 3X, or even be ambitious and try doing it everyday! It’s a great stress reliever and also helps to soothe common body pains. You don’t even have to join an expensive yoga studio. I am simply doing yoga videos off of YouTube in my own living room. I just searched “yoga” on YouTube and tried a few different videos until I found the ones that were right for me.
4. Try a meditation exercise
I know you’ve probably heard this many times before, but meditation is super beneficial for your mental health. And it doesn’t even have to be you just sitting in silence with your eyes closed. They have guided meditations all over the internet. So if you want to sit in silence and that’s your thing go for it, but if you would prefer to meditate with someone talking or with music just look up some guided meditations on the internet. I recommend downloading an app called Insight Timer, it has a ton of guided meditations ranging from a couple minutes to hours long. I recommend starting with the shorter ones and working your way up in length.
5. Do something for yourself everyday
You work hard and probably do things for other people all day long. But how often do you really slow down and do something for yourself? I think it’s important to incorporate your own “me” time into everyday. Just try doing something you enjoy everyday. Whether it be watching your favorite TV show, reading a book or taking a long bath. And the most important part about this is don’t feel guilty while you’re doing it! Don’t think about how you could be doing something else or you shouldn’t be doing this because you don’t have time, just be in the moment and appreciate this time for yourself.
6. Practice taking deep breaths
I know this sounds cheesy, but it really can help you be more mindful and reduce stress. So often we take breathing for granted, but it’s a major part of being alive and well. We shouldn’t take this for granted and instead we should try and find time everyday to take a deep breath in and out. Even if you just start with one, you have to start somewhere. Slowing down and taking a deep breath can help you relax and live in the moment.
7. Try a muscle relaxation exercise
You can find them all over the internet. These are great because many of us walk around with stress and tension in our muscles. When you practice one of this muscle relaxation exercises, you tense your muscles and relax them one by one which can help you release all of that tension. You don’t realize how tense your muscles are until you consciously tense and relax each and every one of them. I bet right now your jaw and eyebrow muscle are tense while reading this article!
I am going to try and incorporate each and every one of these tips into my daily routine in 2017. I hope you will at least try one and I hope even more than one into your daily routine. Here’s to a happy and healthy new year 🙂