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Gratitude Mindfulness exercises

Janette

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Gratitude mindfulness exercises

by Janette Grant 30th November 2017

Why should we practise gratitude mindfulness exercises?

Studies have shown that practicing gratitude can increase our happiness levels by 25% and the more gratitude we feel the more we will find things to be grateful for; more to be thankful for; and more to appreciate. Research has shown that gratitude can have such a positive emotional effect because it connects individuals together. However, to experience the greatest impact of this connection with others through gratitude it must be heartfelt and genuine – just ‘going through the motions’ is less effective. Therefore we should all aim to practise heartfelt gratitude mindfulness exercises every day if possible.

‘A little gratitude can go a long way’

How many of us go through life not really noticing everything around us? When we do this we also fail to notice all the things to be grateful for. Instead, we should pause from our busy lives to notice when our partner has done something thoughtful or when our child is being loving. But when we practise gratitude mindfulness exercises we open our eyes to the world and look at ourself and others with curiosity, non-judgment and acceptance, which allows us to cultivate gratitude, by becoming aware of everything for which we are grateful. Those of us who experience and express sincere gratitude feel more alert, interested and enthusiastic and feel less anger, resentment and regret.

‘A noble person is mindful and thankful for the favours he receives from others’  – Buddha

8 Gratitude mindfulness exercises to practise:

  1. First think of something for which we are ungrateful – maybe a job, relationship, financial situation etc, which would normally cause us to feel anger, resentment, frustration etc. Now we should think  of as many things as possible that are good about it – things that are hidden lessons or silver linings. For example, the job we dislike gives us the money to support our family. The trick is to develop increased awareness of the lessons to be learned and to Gratitude is the best Attitudefind our personal strengths hidden within life’s challenges. This will help us to develop gratitude even within our difficulties. We all experience challenges during our life and if we can recognise these as opportunities to learn valuable lessons, it will make us stronger. It can be difficult at times to find something in our challenges to be grateful for, but the reward when we do is invaluable, since the expression of gratitude builds exponentially. Actively and mindfully strengthening our gratitude ‘muscle’ means it will become increasingly easier over time, until we will begin to naturally look at challenges with a fresh perspective. We will naturally think about what hidden opportunities are within a challenge. We will then find our whole life looking and feeling very different.

‘What if we wake up tomorrow with only what we are grateful for today?’

2. Imagine what it would be like if we lost all the things we take for granted, such as our home, our family, even our ability to see and hear or being able to walk? Not a pleasant thought is it? Now imagine getting all these back, one by one, and feel how grateful we would be for each and every thing. It’s like starring in our own Christmas Carol or It’s a Wonderful Life!

gratitude - what fills your heart?

3. ‘Grace’ before meals – I know this sounds old-fashioned and maybe too religious, but it doesn’t need to be. Practising gratitude mindfulness just means that giving thanks before each meal recognises all those people who worked hard for us to have that food on our table – the farmers, the delivery men, the grocery assistants and the person who cooked the meal! It’s just a moment to pause and remember how blessed we are to have all the food we need. We can say something along the lines of:

‘We are grateful for the meal we are about to eat, for those that made it possible, and for those with whom we are about to share it’

Picture of a gratitude journal4. Gratitude journal – pick a time for every day which suits, maybe before going to bed each night and write a list of 5 things about the day for which we are grateful. Some days will have exciting things to write about and other days will have more simple joys. But as the months go by and our journals begin to fill with blessings we will discover how happy and hopeful Gratitude journal being written inwe are feeling!

5. Gratitude letter/visit – we could write a letter to a person who has made a positive impact on our life, but whom we have not properly thanked. It could be a teacher, a mentor, a grandparent, a friend, or someone else who has helped us along the way. The letter doesn’t need to be long, but we should ensure that we are specific in what way the person has helped us and affected us. We could even take it further with the gratitude letter by visiting the person and reading them the letter in person.

6.  Gratitude Charm bracelet – we could buy a charm bracelet and choose some charms or trinkets which have meaning for us, such as;

  • A heart to symbolise our loved one/ones
  • Figurines to represent various members of our family
  • An apple to represent health
  • A £/$/€ sign to symbolise financial security
  • A charm to represent our current profession
  • A house to represent our home
  • And a charm that makes us laugh to represent joy and laughter

Then every time we see the bracelet or hear it jingle jangle we’ll remember how much we have to feel gratitude for.

Piglet and pooh bear

Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of gratitude

7.  Through the eyes of another – we often become so used to the good things in our life that we frequently begin to take them for granted. When we do this, we should enlist a friend to see the things, people or places we love in a new way through their eyes. Such as; taking them to our favourite coffee shop; take them to see our favourite film; introduce them to our loved ones etc. This will open our eyes to a fresh view of our life and rekindle our appreciation and gratitude.

8. The Thankful tree – this is a lovely gratitude mindfulness exercise which can be used for Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year;

  • We should arrange tree branches in a decorated, colourful planter
  • Cut out paper leaves in different colours, shapes and sizes
  • Put the leaves in a bowl, along with pens/pencils, next to the tree branches
  • Ask each guest/visitor to pick a leaf, write down something that they’re grateful for and hang the leaf on the branches.

 

 

 

 

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Mindfulness in our relationships

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How Mindfulness transformed my relationships

Mindfulness in our relationships

by Janette Grant 14th February 2018

Today seems the perfect day for looking at how mindfulness in our relationships can help us gain better connections with all our loved ones! And who wouldn’t want that! Mindfulness practise not only improves our own well-being; studies have now shown how it can also have an enormous effect on our interpersonal relationships. Couples who practise mindfulness experience reduced levels of relationship stress, as well as overall stress, thus experiencing an increase in their relationship happiness.mindfulness

Mindfulness helps us in being more open, compassionate and self-aware, giving us a skill that enables us to calm ourself down when we feel stressed. It helps us to switch out of autopilot so that we can be more present and connect with the moment and recognise when we have negative, judging thoughts. As a consequence it’s easy to see how being more mindful can make us better relationship partners and recent studies show that higher levels of mindfulness produce happier, more satisfying relationships.

How practising mindfulness can give us happier and more fulfilling relationships: 

mindfulness

  1. Mindfulness teaches us to be more present and attentive – how often have we been frustrated when we are trying to talk to someone whose attention is elsewhere – looking at their phone or watching tv etc? Practising mindfulness can change the part of our brain related to attention and focus, which enables us to recognise when we are in autopilot and instead pay attention to what our partner is saying and what they may be feeling and needing. Being more present in our relationships will help us become more loving, which builds intimacy and makes for happier and more connected relationships.
  2. Mindfulness reduces negative emotional reactivity – studies have shown that practising mindfulness can change the emotion regulation part of our brain. The amygdala is the part of our brain controlling our fight, flight or freeze impulse and this is what causes us to feel threatened during arguments with our partners. This can then cause us to shut down emotionally or start an attack on them with angry words. Mindfulness effectively shrinks the capacity of our amygdala by reducing its ability to seize control and put us into threat mode, thus helping us to escape from the negative cycle of destructive arguments  or emotional distance.

    mindfulness quote

    The big enemy of relationships is running your brain on autopilot. MINDFULNESS REWIRES YOUR BRAIN so autopilot isn’t running – and ruining – your relationships

  3. Mindfulness enhances emotion regulation – studies have shown that practising mindfulness also strengthens our prefrontal cortex, which is the thinking part of our brain. Mindfulness can help it to take earlier control of our amygdala to stop the fight, flight or freeze response, thereby enabling us to recognise that losing our temper or walking away when our partners are talking is not helpful. It will help us resolve conflict instead of exacerbating it and be less reactive to relationship stressors,  mindfulnessthus preventing us from heading into a relationship minefield. We have all had moments when we feel our anger rising and we feel intense distress, but what if we could just merely recognise those emotions without allowing them to take control and thus be able to keep our emotional balance? Mindfulness gives us this ability; it allows us to think how we would like to respond instead of reacting impulsively. It enables us to observe our thoughts and stay connected to our feelings without acting on impulse based on our past issues.
  4. Mindfulness improves self-awareness – practising mindfulness can also show changes to our anterior cingulate cortex (ACC); this part of our brain controls our sense of self-regulation, self-perception, emotions and impulses. It helps us to view problems from a different perspective, allowing us to adapt instead of holding on to fixed ideas of ourself and our partner. It also helps us to recognise when we are acting destructively and impulsively mindfulnessand brings our attention back to how we believe we should react – reminding us of our core values. So that when we are about to check our partner’s messages for example, it nudges us to leave it alone and move on. It’s very easy to get stuck in a negative cycle resulting from childhood attachment issues and past traumas; and romantic relationships are particularly susceptible to opening us up to our insecurities and distrust. How often, in a distressing moment, do we find ourselves saying something that we later regret? Why is it always those with whom we are closest?! It is those closest relationships which challenge us most by reminding us of feelings from our past and our fears of being hurt. This vulnerable state can cause us to be more reactive and we then risk self-sabotaging by not behaving our best when dealing with those we love. Mindfulness helps us to be calmer and reduces the automatic negative behaviours such as trying to control our partner or avoiding intimacy. Enabling us to change ourselves and, as a result, our relationships.

    mindfulness quote

    Let go of what was and focus on what is

  5. Mindfulness increases our empathy – mindful practise also changes our insula, which is the part of our brain connected with empathy and compassion. This helps us in being more understanding of our partners’ perspective and emotions and thereby helps us in feeling more compassion towards them. When we interact with compassion, instead of anger, our communication becomes much more positive.  Compassion also helps us in expressing our love and warmth for our partner, which in turn builds more intimacy. Mindfulness can help us change  from an avoidance mindset to a more open, accepting and empathic approach. Most of us occasionally find ourself fixated on our partner’s flaws, but mindfulness helps us to change track and instead, focus on their positive attributes. When we can recognise and understand that their behaviour is affected by their past (and present) life it is easier to forgive negative behaviour. Becoming more aware of our own emotions also helps us to reduce the likelihood of our own stress affecting how we connect with our partners. mindfulness

Practising mindfulness in our relationships gives us an incalculable aid for the everyday challenges of staying close to our loved ones, enabling us to become more centred and calm, so that instead of reacting and ending up shouting at each other, we learn to talk things through. When we are feeling defensive, we overreact to what is being said, which means we fail to really hear what is upsetting them. What are they experiencing? Why are they upset? What is really being said or asked of us? When we are more mindful we are able to take a moment before responding, recognise that we are feeling angry and make a decision to take a break and calm down – maybe by taking a few deep breaths or taking a walk.

mindfulness

Every relationship obstacle is an opportunity to practice unconditional love.

Once we’ve had time to reflect on our feelings, we can choose how we deal with them and select better actions which will not hurt our partner. Once we’ve calmed down we will communicate more clearly from the heart, rather than from anger. Mindfulness isn’t about denying our emotions, but rather choosing a different way to deal with them. If we imagine our feelings being a train roaring through a station, then only we can choose whether to get on board.

‘What mindfulness does is it creates this space; it takes us out of the catastrophe. And as a couple working together in a mindfulness way…there’s a lot more heart available. There’s a lot more understanding possible than this need to defend’ – Dr Donna Rockwell

How to develop mindfulness in our relationships

Mindful meditation helps us to get to know our thoughts by teaching us to slow down and pay attention, helping us to become more familiar with our minds. It enables us to recognise our many critical inner voices that rule our lives subconsciously. Once we begin to recognise these voices we can start to act against them and prevent them from affecting our perceptions of ourselves and our partner. When we can do this, we will be stronger in our relationships. We mindful meditationknow that mindfulness is all about paying attention to the present moment without judgment and if we can stay in the moment with our partners, it is much easier to stop fixating on their flaws or turn against them. Instead, we welcome each moment and nourish empathy, insight, and morality within ourselves, and in turn extend the same compassionate approach to our loved ones.

We all desire happier relationships and mindfulness can be the key to relationship satisfaction, so instead of focusing our energy on complaining about our partner we could re-focus that energy into practising mindfulness. Even better, if we want to be more successful in our relationships we should try learning mindfulness together! This will help us be more present, loving and emotionally mature and surely that’s what we all want!

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‘The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers’ Thich Nhat Hanh

 

 

 

 

 

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24 hours of Daily Mindfulness

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24 hours of Daily Mindfulness

by Janette Grant 28th January 2018

Daily Mindfulness

Practice Mindfulness Daily

So many of us just spend our days rushing around, dashing from one situation to another, and this constant hectic activity can put a huge strain on our mind and body.  Instead, when we begin to practise 24 hours of daily Mindfulness we will learn to recognise and enjoy the present moment, rather than spend our life distracted by past regrets and future worries.

mindfulness quote

‘There is no alignment outside of daily life’ Thich Nhat Hanh

Mindfulness, originating from Buddhism, is about paying deliberate and non-judgmental attention to each moment of our life. Feeling gratitude for the moment generates happiness and the significant benefits of practising daily mindfulness are experienced through a reduction in stress, anxiety, depression, and even pain; an improvement in sleep; and lower blood pressure. This all gives an improved physical and emotional well-being and more focus and intuition.

24 hours of Daily Mindfulness activities 

Whatever we are doing in our day to day life these calming strategies will help us through in a mindful way so we can enjoy the moment.

mindfulness quote

Daily Mindfulness Check-ins…Take a deep breath. How am I feeling physically. How am I feeling emotionally. Fully accept how you are feeling without judgment.

First thing in the morning – instead of just reluctantly dragging ourself out of bed we should try setting our alarm 10 minutes earlier, sitting somewhere comfortable, with our eyes closed and focus on how we feel in our mind and body. Allow our thoughts to drift along, just noticing if we feel any tension, and letting go. We can then focus on our breathing and its rhythm for a few minutes and relax. This will set our intention for the day ahead.

Journey into work – when driving in to work try to park 10 minutes further away than normal, or if we are catching the bus, we should get off a couple of stops before, so that we can incorporate an outdoor walk in our daily routine. Whilst walking, pay attention to mindfulness quotethe surroundings, including what we can see and hear and how the wind feels against our cheeks. Notice how our feet feel on the ground, the shifting of our weight and our pace. Connecting with nature in this way will help to ground us, making us feel part of something greater and allowing us to gain perspective.

Whilst at work – a basic mindfulness exercise is to focus on our breathing and we can use this when we feel our mind wandering, by bringing our attention back to our breath. This can work in the same way when we notice our attention straying from our task – when we become distracted we should just take a deep breath and bring our attention back to the task. And if we make a point of smiling at people it will immediately increase our positivity and level of happiness.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner etc – whilst preparing and eating our meals we can use the time to practise some mindfulness meditation. We should focus on our breath whilst inhaling and exhaling and when our mind wanders we should just gently bring our attention mindful eatingback to our breath. When we sit down to eat we should notice how our food looks and smells and how it tastes and feels in our mouth. When we purposely think about our body’s needs and appreciate every mouthful it will help us to ensure we only eat what we need, which will help to maintain a healthy weight.

Random acts of kindness – try fetching a coffee for a colleague, Mindfulness at workgiving flowers to a friend or saying thank you to the bus driver. These small acts of kindness are psychologically proven to help us feel better about ourselves, whilst also making the other person feel valued as well – a win/win situation!

Waiting in line – when we find ourself queueing at the bank, or stuck in a traffic jam, try to view it as an opportunity to be still and focus on how we are feeling, whilst we take some deep, calming breaths. Take notice of the people around and cultivate feelings of compassion and positivity towards them – we will be surprised at how much more joyful we feel in response.

mindfulness

Catching up with friends – when spending some time with friends try a simple exercise whereby each person says 3 positive events that happened in their day. It will foster an awareness of the positive moments in our lives and this will make us become more aware that even in bad days we can find something to appreciate.

Digital detox – How many times have we said we are too busy, but then spent time scrolling through social media sites wasting precious moments we could be spending more productively? Try to switch off and put away all our technology for 10 minutes at least! Even better, leave the phone at work during lunch to give us some real space and down-time, which will allow us to feel more present in the moment.

Use this extra time for ourselves – we must make time to listen to ourself. When we feel a negative emotion we should listen to whatmindfulness it’s trying to teach us. Our emotions are there to show us what we need to know and prompt us to take appropriate action; even when it’s uncomfortable, we must ensure we pay attention.

When we are afraid, we are being told to be courageous. When we feel trapped, we are being prompted to take down the obstacles to obtain the freedom we crave. Paying attention to difficult emotions allows us to more easily process the discomfort we are feeling.

mindfulness quote

mindfulness creates gratitude

Count our blessings – at the end of every day we should write down three things for which we are grateful and one thing with which we have struggled, but learnt from. Writing it down helps us to appreciate it more and if we prefer, we can use an actual gratitude jar. This will help us notice all the little things that make our life wonderful!

And so to bed – just as recommended for our children, we should also endeavour to have a bedtime ritual which will help to calm us and quieten our busy minds to prepare us for sleep. Try to switch off from our phones and lap-tops etc – we can hardly expect to fall asleep easily when we are sitting in bed looking through our socialmindfulness bath media sites just before lights out! Instead, we need to pamper our minds and bodies by using candles, aromatherapy and bubblebath – this will allow our emotional self to relax along with our physical self. We can even spend the time we are cleaning our teeth in an informal, mindful contemplation. We will then be ready for bed feeling clean and relaxed.

Once in bed, before we go to sleep, we should practise mindful breathing. Take a deep breath in through our nose for 3 seconds, hold our breath for 2 seconds and then a long breath out through our mouth for 4 seconds. Notice each breath without trying to adjust it, observe the rise and fall of our chest and the sensation through our nostrils as we breathe. We may find that our mind wanders, but just be aware when this happens and gently bring our attention back to our breath. As we lie there, bring awareness to all the physical sensations in our body beginning with our toes and slowly move upward. Hopefully, by the time we reach our head we’ll be ready for the Land of Nod!

If we can practise these 24 hours of daily mindfulness regularly we will reconnect with ourselves and become healthier in mind, body and spirit, now in the present and in the future. It all starts by changing one habit at a time – give it a try – practising these activities will change our life for the better!

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‘Be mindful 24 hours a day not just the one hour you may allot for formal meditation or reading scripture and reciting prayers. Each act must be carried out in mindfulness’ Thich Nhat Hanh

 

 

 

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Make Mindfulness our New Year’s Resolution!

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Make Mindfulness our New Year’s Resolution!

by Janette Grant 10th January 2018

mindfulness quote

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream – C.S.Lewis

Ok…hands up those of you who made New Year’s resolutions and who are already struggling to keep to them? We know that New Year’s resolutions have a powerful effect on our psyche with the promise of new beginnings, a new chapter, and hopefully the chance to achieve all those things we desire. But don’t beat yourself up when you falter…it’s a fact that over 90% of people fail to achieve their resolutions!

new year's quote

Dear New Year’s Resolution. Well, it was fun while it lasted. Sincerely, January 2nd

Clearly then, most of us are going about this in the wrong way! A  much better idea would be to make Mindfulness our New Year’s Resolution and then instead of resolving to Lose weight, Exercise more, Save more money etc., we could have an Intention to be more mindful and the rest will naturally follow. After all, making changes in our life is driven by our intentions and at the heart of every goal lies the desire to be happier. Research has proven that the benefits of mindfulness extends to improved well-being, mental and physical health, better sleep and reduced stress, which all contribute to an improved level of happiness.

mindfulness quote

‘If you want your story to be magnificent, begin by realising you are the author, and every day is a new page’

The word intention comes from the Latin intendere –‘to turn one’s attention’. And whereas resolutions are hard and firm – we are resolute in our expectations; intentions are flexible and about where we direct our attention – they are about being mindful. Most of us though, spend our lives with little intention and findourselves looking back thinking ‘Where did all those years go?!’ Isn’t it time we live as if it matters?

We can use mindfulness to help us be more intentional with our lives. Think about how we set our minds up for anxiety; we start our morning worrying about all the work we have to do in the day – our mind keeps the worrying going and then we arrive at work and everything we deal with is clouded by our anxious mind. Some bad news arrives and we continue to focus on the difficulties of our situation because this is the mindset we are stuck in. If however, we intentionally aim to bring more mindfulness into our lives, we will naturally begin to deal with our daily issues with more balance, flexibility and compassion.

‘Be the change you want to see in the world’ – Gandhi

mindfulness quote

The year is yours. What will you do with it?

Change begins with intention; how do we want to be in this world? One of the most common mistakes, which most of us fall into, is setting rigid resolutions and then when we falter we find ourselves in a negative mindset once again: ‘I’ve failed again…what’s the point?!’ But what if we set an intention and then develop an action plan to achieve this intention, instead of just thinking of ourself as a failure and giving up? To achieve this we need to remember the following:

  • Accept we are likely to stray – it is very likely that we will sometimes stray from the goals we have made – we may have committed to exercise regularly, but then we fall ill; or we aim to meditate every day, but then we get bogged down at work and days go by without practice. This will happen and so….
  • We should not judge ourselves – the fact that we have strayed from our goals is not a good or bad thing – it’s just natural sometimes when we are trying to make a change in our life. Simply notice we have strayed and where, so that we can notice it sooner next time. If we find ourself judging: ‘I can’t do this! Why did I think I could?!’, we should just notice our thoughts just as we noticed our straying behaviour and go on to….
  • Refocus our thoughts – and gently bring ourselves back to our action plan or decide if we need to revise our goal. No-one is perfect – by striving for perfection we are merely setting ourself up to fail – so we should be as kind to ourself when we do stray as we would be to our friends. We just need to compassionately guide ourself back to the object of our focus.
mindfulness quote

‘Although no-one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending’ – Carl Bard

Choosing to practise mindfulness for our New Year’s resolution will help us to develop our awareness of the feelings driving our behaviour and give us the space to recognise these difficult feelings so that we can make deliberate choices towards more helpful behaviour. We will then understand why we allow our plans to slip; life happens and we cannot always completely fulfil our commitment. But this does not make us failures and when we understand this, we can go on to realise that it can take up to four months to change a behaviour, so missing the odd gym session, or eating the odd biscuit does not mean we should just completely give up on our intention! Mindfulness can teach us to accept, let go and move forward.

Another thing to remember is that most of our goals centre around our desire to stop doing something, which is focusing our thoughts on negative behaviours. And what happens when we try hard NOT to do something? It then becomes all we think about! Mindfulness can help us focus on the positive and what we will gain from achieving our goals – instead of thinking ‘I need to lose ten pounds’ , we should be focusing on how much healthier we will be. How do we want to think, feel and behave? What will achieving our goals do for us? Mindfulness helps us recognise the bigger picture and a greater sense of self. We must seek pleasure in the simple things and set our intentions not on what we hope to lose, but what we will gain.

mindfulness quote

Set a goal that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning

How to practise Mindfulness for our New Year’s resolution

  1. Consider our intentions – some of the more common resolutions are to lose weight, exercise more and spend less money. But we need to check that these are your intentions. Do you want to feel better about your body? Do you want to have less financial worries? Think about the personal meaning behind the resolution and this will then help us maintain our intention.
  2. Focus on the process and not the result – resolving to lose weight and save more is just focusing on the result and ignoring the process of getting there. Research proves that we achieve so much more when we focus on the process, rather than the result – completely focusing on results means we are less likely to achieve them! Instead of focusing on losing those ten pounds we should focus on going for walks and eating healthy foods – we will most likely then achieve our goal of losing weight anyway. Focus on the process – the present moments in which transformation will occur – rather than the single result.
  3. Recognise and change our ‘habit-loop’ – changing our behaviour starts with self-awareness and we need to look at the habits we want to change and recognise what sustains those habits. For example, if we want to spend less money, we need to be aware of how, when and why we spend it. Is it a regular habit to click on those BIG SALE store emails and impulse buy? If so, unless we change this habit we will struggle to save money! The key to changing our behaviours is understanding our habit loop – the cues that set off a particular action and the rewards that lead us to continue doing it. For example, instead of checking our social media with a coffee in the morning, we could use this as the reward for ten minutes of exercise or meditation and then eventually this will become a routine. But we have to change our habits – not just intend to ‘exercise more’. So we need to look at our less mindful habits, which are presently enabling the behaviours we want to change and when we break down a habit into its various parts, we can work out which part needs changing to support the transformation to our routine.
  4. Be Kind to Ourself – whatever intentions we set, there will always be times when we don’t achieve our expectations. The basic lesson we learn from mindfulness is that we are constantly beginning again – each breath, each day. We can start meditating
    Mindfulness quote by Buddha

    ‘Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most’ – Buddha

    and experience a brief moment of awareness, but then our mind starts wandering, we take a deep breath, awareness re-arises and then our mind is off chattering again! When our mind wanders, we should gently bring our attention back to our breath, without judging or berating ourself. The moment when we notice our mind has wandered is the moment of insight – the practice of mindfulness itself. This is the same for our intentions – we need to bring a kind awareness to our behaviour when we fall short and begin again…

  5. Consider our Resolution Alternatives – if we find the pressure of New Year’s Resolutions too much, we could consider these alternative ways to help with our intentions for the year:
  • Make a Vision Board compiled of images which represents what we want for ourself in the coming year. This will give us a great visual reminder of our intentions to eat more healthily, exercise more or make time for some mindful meditation.
  • Choose a Word of the Year that encapsulates the feelings, attitudes and behaviours we intend for the year ahead. It can be something like breathe, trust, focus etc. and this word will guide our choices and actions. Then instead of giving ourself strict expectations we can just ask ourself if a particular behaviour matches our word and our intentions.image of a fish made up of different words

New Year’s Resolutions are about growth and improvement and bringing health and joy into our life. Practising Mindfulness for our New Year’s Resolution will bring awareness to our habits and give ourself compassion and kindness as we strive for meaningful transformation. It’s not that our goals are unachievable, but that we aren’t starting from the right place to succeed in our intentions. To achieve anything we must be aware and it’s only from awareness that we can successfully manage our thoughts, feelings and behaviours and intentionally move towards our goals. So let’s put Mindfulness at the top of our New Year list.

new year quote

and so the adventure begins

 

 

 

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