Now that the business of Christmas is over and the New Year is approaching, it is traditional to reflect on our lives and to resolve to make changes in the year to come. Often we choose big daunting changes that are hard to keep to and can be abandoned and forgotten, even by the end of January, as we become lost again in our busy lives.
So this New Year I would like to encourage you to take small baby steps towards living a calmer, more mindful life. Choose just one or two resolutions from the list below to integrate gently into the ritual of your daily life.
Meditate for just 10 Minutes a Day.
A ritual of daily meditation is one of the most beneficial things you can do to help you live more mindfully throughout the day. It can be difficult to stick to for most of us, especially as our lives get busy and out of routine. However resolving to sit for just 10 minutes a day will make a difference to the way you use your brain. This can bring more focus, less anxiety and a greater sense of inner calm to every single day. And once you have sat for just 10 minutes, you may begin to find it easier to sit for longer too.
Take Notice on your Journey To and From Work.
This can make a real difference to the way we arrive at and perform at work and the way we let go of our working day and relax at home with our family. For many of us there is a real temptation on our journey to and from a stressful job to spend time in our heads. We plan, analyse and brood about what has already happened and worry about what might happen today, tomorrow or next week. Instead practice being present and taking notice, enjoying aspects of your daily commute. Look at the changing sky, watch and listen to birds, notice the trees changing, smile at the people you see, really spend time looking around and noticing all the good and pleasant things around. Doing this daily will ensure you arrive at work more relaxed and ready to focus on your days work and arrive home having transitioned from your working day, ready to spend quality time at home with your family. Try it for a month and see if you can turn it into a small life changing ritual.
Take a Daily Walk.
A daily walk gives you exercise and an opportunity to breathe outside. It provides the opportunity to remove yourself from your daily tasks, particularly important if you spend long periods at a desk. It also gives you the opportunity to practice mindfulness. Observe your body sensations as you walk. Notice how you are today. Are stress and tension beginning to build? Are you overthinking events in your day? It is also a time to practice taking notice of your surroundings and let in the pleasant as discussed in taking notice above.
Take a Weekly Break from Social Media.
Regular use of social media becomes a habit which can consume hours of our life every day, taking us away from the present moment and building anxiety, insecurity and envy which can be quite irrational and unjustified. Resolve to tap into social media less throughout your day and dedicate one day a week to totally detox and notice how this makes you feel.
Listen Better to Family and Friends.
Many of us think we are good listeners but in reality we are rarely really listening. Our minds are active, often thinking about totally different things we need to do. Or they are busy analysing the things we are being told, comparing them to our own experiences and thinking about what we are going to say next. Practice letting go of all this, and really listening. Being totally present with someone and hearing every word they say without judgement. This can make the person we are listening to feel really heard and provide us with with a new, non-judgemental understanding of what motivates and troubles them. In the depth of this deep listening, a new and deeper understanding can begin to open up between you. Deep, present listening is skill that we need to develop over time, so why not resolve to make 2019 the year that you really work on your listening skills? It will reward you with more mindfulness and a deeper sense of connection with the people in your life.
Integrate ‘Joy’ Activities into your Daily Life.
When life gets busy and demands on our time increase there is a natural temptation to drop the things that we enjoy. Our lives become full of the things we perceive we have to do and often those things bring us a feeling of drudgery or tedium. Spend sometime identifying the things that bring you joy. Reading a novel, yoga, a bath, a family meal, meeting a friend, a walk in nature? Or something completely different – this is very personal! But when you have your list, resolve to incorporate some of your joy activities into your week, bringing a new sense of fun and better balance in your life.
Mindfulness Lessons in Chorley and Sabden
If these resolutions have inspired you to introduce more mindfulness into your life in 2019, I have 3 mindfulness courses starting in January. I will be teaching 2 Mindfulness for Stress 8 Week courses, one in Chorley and one in Sabden (close to Whalley and Clitheroe). I am also teaching a 4 week Introduction to Mindfulness at David Lloyd in Chorley. For full details of the courses and how to book MORE INFORMATION Please feel free to get in touch with any questions at all firstname.lastname@example.org