We can pretty much all admit that our new year’s resolutions can get a little cliché. We all want to start working out (after the Christmas cookies run out, of course.) Or wake up earlier, be on time, or maybe we set the bar a little lower and just want to impress our dentist with a little consistent flossing. But after a few frigid days in January have we already forgotten these self-made promises, or were they just too challenging … or boring?
Let’s take a moment to mourn the loss of those resolutions, because really, there’s something better. It’s called mindfulness. It’s a cute catchphrase thrown around the office, a trendy word tossed around by celebrities. And it sure sounds awesome, but what does it really mean? More importantly, how can it change your life in 2016?
When Oprah (admit it, we ALL love Oprah) interviews Thich Nhat Hanh (a teacher, author, poet, and Buddhist monk) he explains that:
“Mindfulness helps you go home to the present. And every time you go there and recognize a condition of happiness that you have, happiness comes.”
Doesn’t going home to the present sound so much better than going to the gym? I mean, we’re not knocking the gym (Except for leg day; nobody likes leg day). So there’s the “what” of mindfulness, but what about the “how?”
Mindfulness, by nature, is simple. It’s simply being there.
- It’s asking a question and listening to the answer. So often we ask, and already have our own retort on the tip of our tongue before the speaker has even answered. Be simple. Be a listener.
- Watch a sunrise, watch a sunset. Watch the little things in between the sunrise and the sunset. You’ll be surprised at the tiny things you notice. The tiny joyful things.
- Have a cell phone basket before dinner. Everyone deposits their device in the basket, and after an engaging meal, pick it back up again.
- Read a book to a child, or to yourself.
- Set out a birdfeeder and watch the attentive way the birds eat their food.
Consider this quote as your guide to a slower life:
“Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).” – James Baraz
Move leisurely, think clearer, and with a few deep breaths now and then remind yourself that this moment, the one right now, is the only one shaping your life. Now go ring in 2016 for a sweeter, more meaningful life!