Have you got a New Year's resolution?
If you do, that’s great! But how often have you found that your good intentions come to nothing or dwindle out in a few weeks after you have set them? The no-more-chocolate diet is going to pot at the first encounter with stress, the new exercise regime is becoming more and more irregular?
So, if this is what happens to you, or if you have not even bothered making a New Year's resolution because of this, here is a suggestion:
Make learning to be mindful your New Year's resolution this year!
Why? Because mindfulness is the one thing that can help you to stick with all your other good intentions. It is also a wonderful way of learning how to appreciate life more and live it to the full.
So how does this work? And what is mindfulness anyway?
Mindfulness is very simple but not necessarily easy. It is an ancient practice to enhance mental health and well-being in general.
There are two aspects to mindfulness.
The first aspect is that of focusing awareness to what is in the here and now. This can range from observing the environment we are in, to our body and its sensations, our thoughts, behaviours and feelings.
The second aspect is that of adopting a particular attitude toward our experiences in the present moment. This attitude is characterised by curiosity, openness, and acceptance as well as compassion.
One of the reasons why our New Year's resolutions do not stick is because we are not sufficiently present to remember our intentions. Most of the time we are living our lives in a sort of trance. In our day-to-day lives we do things automatically, never thinking about it. We find ourselves doing things without having consciously chosen to do them, or we remember at the end of the day that we did not do what we planned to do. Old habits die hard, because they are part of our daily routines, emotional responses and thought processes.
When we try to bring a new habit into our life or stop some old behaviours from happening we need to bring a lot more attention to what we are doing than usual. We need to break through the force of our routines and the best way to do it is by being present. Mindfulness is the ideal method to do just that. When you practice it, it will give you an opportunity to wake up out of your trance. It allows you to become more conscious about what choices you are making and why. It gives you the space to examine what is happening at every moment in your life. When we are mindful we have a chance to understand more fully what is driving us and then on the basis of this we can set intentions that empower us and do not defeat us.
Are you intrigued yet, are you interested?
Here are a few more reasons why you might want to start learning about mindfulness.
Mindfulness is particularly helpful with any form of obsessive thinking or behaviour, and for people who suffer from stress, anxiety or excessive worrying. It has been used successfully with depression, chronic pain issues and addiction.
But more importantly, through mindfulness you learn how to just be and rest in the moment. It gives you room and inner space. It frees you up to notice what went unnoticed. It brings you back to yourself and the only point in time where anything ever happens: here and now! Because of this it is a powerful tool for healing, transformation and growth.
So, make learning to be mindful your New Year's resolution!
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