4 Mindful Resolutions We All Desperately Need This Year
From winter hurricanes on the East Coast to sexual assault protests at the Golden Globes, 2018 has seen a turbulent start. And of course many of us have additional turbulence in our personal lives, whether from a difficult relationship or a problem at work or any other cause. The practice of mindfulness offers one method for finding peace in the midst of these storms. Although we shouldn’t ignore every problem, we should recognize our limits. By learning how to be more present in each given moment, you can avoid the temptation to let your mind dwell too much on events and problems outside your control. Additionally, mindfulness reduces stress and improves sleep quality to benefit your overall health.
In that vein, consider adopting these resolutions centered on mindfulness and meditation:
Set aside 10 minutes each day to practice mindfulness.
Don’t feel like you have to sit cross-legged on a mat and chant “om” for an hour to practice mindfulness. That’s what one person’s practice might look like, but someone else might choose to listen to calming music in the car before work. And someone else could practice mindfulness through mindful eating. Choose a method that feels natural to you—the most important principle is that you spend some time focused on the present moment rather than letting your thoughts spiral.
Stop filling empty time with your cell phone.
Do you constantly catch yourself checking your phone in spare moments at work? Do you check it when you walk to the break room, when you head to your next meeting, when you wait for the elevator to arrive? There’s nothing wrong with occasionally glancing at social media or texting someone back, but often when you check your phone, you’re only doing it because you feel bored. You might feel the need to fill every gap in your day rather than sit or walk in silence and observe what’s happening around you.
Take mindful walks at a local park or in your neighborhood.
Nature can help you feel more grounded. Even if you live in a bustling city, you are likely surrounded by signs of nature that you forget to notice during your daily routine. Start taking regular walks around the block to breathe in fresh outside air and to take note of nature. You might want to collect leaves that have fallen on the sidewalk, count the potted flowers on doorsteps, or even just watch for blades of green grass that have grown through the cracks in concrete. Seeking out those tiny details can help you hone your focus.
Turn off the electronics before bedtime.
You will sleep better if you can avoid blue light for an hour or two before you go to sleep. While you can always implement blue light filters on your mobile devices or buy a pair of blue light glasses, I suggest taking the opportunity to press the power button on your TV, cell phone, and laptop. Instead of watching one more TV show or scrolling past one more Instagram post, devote your last hour of the day to reading, writing, or just reflecting. Turning off the media consumption will immediately slow down the pace of your evening as well as quiet the chaos in your mind.
No need to start with all four of these suggestions at once, especially if you are new to the practice of mindfulness. Select one habit at a time and try to implement it in your life before adding another. As you practice more, you will see the benefits that come with appreciating and observing the present moment rather than letting your worries consume you.