And a Mindful New Year

Written by: Bailey Little, M.Ed.
And a Mindful New Year

We all have different pictures that come to mind when we hear the word “mindfulness.” Some of us may think of sitting cross-legged deep in meditation, while others of us may think of sitting outside near a flowing stream. Some of us may have little or no experience with mindfulness at all. Let’s break down exactly what mindfulness is and look at some ways to incorporate this useful practice into the stressful and exciting first days of 2022.

Mindfulness can be defined as “paying attention on purpose.” In our busy, hectic lives, we often find ourselves going through the motions, moving from one thing to the next without truly being present. Mindfulness is a way of practicing being present in each moment by taking back control of our attention from the multitude of distractions in our daily lives. This mindset shift takes practice and may feel frustrating or boring at first, but mindfulness has been proven to have many benefits to our physical and mental health.

If being more present in everyday moments with friends and family isn’t benefit enough, check out these other benefits of mindfulness:

  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Improves focus
  • Reduces symptoms of depression
  • Improves sleep and energy levels
  • Increases overall well-being

Maybe you’re not the type to sit for long periods of time in meditation (if you want to give it a try, I recommend starting with a guided meditation app like “Stop, Breathe, Think” or “Calm”). Luckily there are many different ways to incorporate mindfulness into your daily life, including some that you are probably already doing! Here are a few simple ways to practice mindfulness during this busy season:

  • Putting together a puzzle. Here’s the key to make it mindful: turn off the background music or tv show and give the puzzle your full attention.
  • Going for a walk, alone or with a friend, and pointing out things you see along the way.
  • Listening to music and reflecting on the meaning of the lyrics or the emotions it evokes.
  • Sitting outside with your eyes closed for 2 minutes and identifying as many sounds as you can.
  • And finally, single-tasking. Yes, we live in a world that praises and seems to require multi-tasking, but slowing things down and giving all your attention to one thing at a time is a great, simple way to incorporate mindfulness in all your daily activities!

This is a great time of year to practice slowing down, being present, and paying attention on purpose. Here’s to a mindful 2022!