Nine tips for a Mindful New Year
Everyone desires to live peacefully free from the perplexities of life. With the help of mindful meditation you can achieve high levels of awareness, stress-less living and a greater level of ease in your mind and body. If you already have the habit of meditation – wonderful! If not, consider some daily quiet meditation time to your everyday routine and make a healthy start in the coming year. Here are easy tips to achieve greater mindfulness this year.
- Silent and peaceful time:
This is the best tip I can offer. Try to spend some silent time with yourself. Practice this in a regular basis – at least 10 minutes a day. You may often lose your concentration, but with regular practice you’ll begin to feel a bit more focused and centred. Daily meditation will allow you to be more comfortable and calm in your own skin, with time. Ultimately you will find a healing power of making friends with your mind.
- Mindfulness of breath everywhere
Feel your breath sensation whenever you remember. You can accompany such activity with yoga or just sit calmly in your green garden. Look at the green tress; hear the chirping of the birds. Greenery makes your eyes relaxed. Begin your work with a cup of warm drink and take some deep breaths between sips.
- Shower mindfully
Most people end up thinking about work or other problems whilst in the shower. Instead, practise mindfulness. Feel the warm water against your skin. Enjoy the scent of the soap. Listen to the sound of the water washing you clean. You’ll come out feeling refreshed, inside and out.
- Do not force yourself too much
Try and enjoy your mindfulness practice as best you can. If you really hate meditating, maybe you need to have a break and practise some yoga or mindful swimming (see Mindfulness for Dummies if you don’t know how to exercise mindfully). Experiment to see what works for you.
- Mindful travelling
If you are too busy and unable to maintain a fixed time schedule, practice mindfulness on the train, bus or whilst walking. Use an mp3 or CD player to listen to some guided mindfulness meditations as you travel to work – a great way to start the day.
- Walk Mindfully:
A mindful walk is nothing but a walk keeping your mind and senses alert. Do not indulge your mind into unnecessary thoughts or worries. Such a walk if done for few minutes can make you fresh, calm and increase your concentration. Consequently, you will be able to concentrate on your work or studies or
family more easily. Start with a slow walk, feeling the change in movement of your feet. Keep walking slowly and calmly for as long as you desire. You don’t need to do anything forcibly. Walking in this way can increase your power of mindfulness when walking normally too. Taking a few deep mindful breaths before and after the walk can be immensely enjoyable and refreshing too.
- Mindful relationships
This is a big one. The heart of a good quality relationship is communication. And the heart of communication is mindfulness. If you wish to have deeper, satisfying relationships, you need to learn the art of mindful listening and speaking. Daily meditation will help in this skill. Additionally, when someone is speaking to you, practise letting go of your judgment and thoughts, and simply listen with your ears and eyes. Listen to both the content of what they say and the tone of voice, to pick up on their emotion. Also, notice their body language. All this is mindful listening – listening with compassion, curiosity, acceptance and openness.
- Shopping mindfully
Yes, even shopping can be done in a mindful way. If you shop on automatic pilot, you can end up buying things for the wrong reason. Next time you go shopping ask yourself: ‘Do I really need this, or am I just escaping an emotion?’ Most people shop to escape a feeling of sadness, boredom, anger or loneliness. A bit of mindless shopping isn’t harmful – but if you do it regularly, it’s time to find other ways of managing your emotions – like mindfulness!
- Be mindful with your pet
Do you have a dog, cat or other pet. Research shows that sitting down and stroking your cat everyday can help you to relax. The repetitive stroking motion, connecting with your sense of touch, tunes you into a mindful state of mind. The non-judgmental attitudes of pets are great too! There’s nothing like coming home to a dog wagging his tail and happy to see you.
- Deep breathing
I think deep breathing is under-rated. So many people say ‘take a deep breath’ that it’s almost cast aside as too easy and insignificant. That couldn’t be further from the truth. When you take a deep, slowly and mindfully in and out, you activate your parasympathetic nervous system (the relaxation response). This can quickly lower blood pressure and your heart rate, making you feel calmer and healthier too. Take ten, slow deep breaths right now, if you have time, and you’ll see what I mean.
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