Lucky Enough to be Mindful
Are you one of the oodles of people who made a New Year’s Resolution and have already broken that resolve? It is much easier to fail when our goals are too broad or not logically attainable.
Happiness: If you resolved to be a happier person, mindfulness makes it easier. Instead of focusing on the negative, break the situation down into small bits. Ask yourself what tiny thing could you appreciate about the situation.
If you are in the frozen north, enduring record breaking snowfall, appreciate the uniqueness of each snowflake. Make angels in the snow and appreciate how soft the snow is. Instead of bemoaning the cold and snow, think about how shoveling can help keep you in shape. Pay it forward. Decide to be kind to a neighbor and shovel their driveway. Bake cookies for a homeless shelter or volunteer .
If you are fortunate enough to be on a beach, (You should already be happy!) enjoy the feel of the sun kissing your skin. Use the texture of the sand to exfoliate your skin. Appreciate the geometry and symmetry found in seashells.
Rest: If making snow angels is not for you, take advantage of the inclement weather and give yourself permission to be a sinful sloth. Use this time to rest, watch movies, read books, etc. Recharge your batteries. Appreciate this found time and thank your god, Buddha or deity. Oh, and eat that bit of chocolate, delighting in the flavour and smoothness.
Not to rub salt (or snow) in the wound but I am very mindful and appreciative that I live in a sunny, warm climate most of the year. However, every once in a while, I tell my husband I need a snow day. To clean, to recharge, to reorganize closets, to delutter, etc.
Decluttering is another tool that promotes mindfulness and happiness. A review of the web show many advantages of decluttering. Clutter affects your emotional and physical well-being. We become frustrated and irritated when we can’t find something. If we are surrounded by more items than we can handle, we become stressed. An organized, decluttered home frees up more time as we are not looking for items or moving things around to find more space, not to mention dusting and washing unused and unnecessary items. Use your newly found free time to achieve other new year resolutions such as spending more time with family, reading more, or trying out new activities.
Don’t forget to declutter your digital life as well. Unsubscribe from sites that no longer interest you. Delete apps you no longer use. Organize email files. Perhaps you also want to think about decluttering negative people from your life.
Weightloss: You can use mindfulness to ease your way to achieving a goal. Like many people, your goal might be weightloss. Sure, many of us would like to lose some weight by a certain date but sticking to a diet is hard (not to mention that most diets aren’t scientifically proven.) Yet, there are things you can do to help you reach success.
Set achievable goals. I once went to Weight Watchers and was actually fairly successful But the journey wasn’t always a joy ride. Sometimes, my friend would lose 2 or 3 pounds a week and I would lose a quarter of a pound. But hey, the needle was on the plus side and I was mindful of that.
Be mindful of what you are eating. A web search will highlight studies that show food journaling helps achieve more weight loss. This helps keep one mindful of what one has eaten, helps identify triggers and also shows the time of day when one is likely to overeat. There are also many apps that help record calories, food intake and exercise. I am attending a wedding in Hawaii three months from now. This has turned me into a woman on a shape-up mission. MyFitnessPal is a free app that I am using to help keep me mindful of my caloric intake and food choices. Other studies suggest slowing down and mindfully chewing, savouring the various tastes and textures of the food. Also, think about whether you are hungry or thirsty. Many of us confuse hunger with thirst.
How will you use mindfulness in the new year?