New years always bring to mind the things we want to better about ourselves. We feel we should workout more, weigh less, vacation more, work less, save more, spend less, and the list goes on. We tend to get caught up in visions of how we see ourselves in the future, which are sometimes realistic and sometimes not. Instead of striving for drastic changes that are often difficult to achieve, I'd like to propose something much simpler that has the capacity to enrich every day of this year: mindfulness and gratitude.
I wrote a bit about mindfulness back in October, but incorporating mindfulness and gratitude into a daily practice can help benefit conditions from anxiety and depression to hypertension and IBS. It is, essentially, a mind-over-matter technique of simply letting this be as they are as if you're observing like a fly on a wall. It's not about trying to change anything, but simply being aware of the present moment. This both helps our health issues as well as allows us to be happier in what we do day-to-day. Adding in gratitude by being thankful for all the little things in life that we often take for granted compounds the impact this practice can have.
Try these simple tips: when you find yourself getting lost in a moment that's affecting the way you feel, take a step back and simply observe what's happening, the environment, your emotions and behaviour, and any physical symptoms you may be experiencing. If the situation is affecting you negatively, use this time to find positivity in the situation, a lesson to be learned, compassion to be exercised, or something that you're grateful for. If the situation is a positive one, use this time to ground yourself in that moment and really soak up all it has to offer.
Also, at least once a day, express gratitude for opportunities that arise, the person you are, the person you're with, the car that you drive, the food that you eat or anything you're thankful for. It will help you to appreciate these components of your life more and those around you will know it.