With 2015 right around the corner, it's time to get started on your resolution! What will it be this year? Eating healthier, joining a gym, doing more SoulCycle? Resolutions are so often driven by the desire to be healthier, fitter, and more energetic. With every new year comes a fresh start, a clean slate, and the perfect opportunity to jump start yourself into a new fitness routine. As I was thinking of all the resolutions I would like to set for myself this year, I realized that I would also like to focus on exercising my mind, not just my body. Being more mindful is certainly a lofty aspiration in this day and age. But what if there were concrete and simple practices we could do that would help us be more mindful?
I immediately thought of Headspace, the mindfulness app, and how simple it made my entry into the world of mindfulness. I was curious as to what other user friendly practices exist that don't require a lot of training or effort. After all, we live in a busy world so the simpler the better! So how exactly can we be more mindful in 2015?
First, you can practice being more intentional. You don't need to become a master yogi to be a mindful individual. In fact, being intentional about the simplest moments in your day can aid you in your mindfulness practice. What does it mean to be intentional? Well, simply noticing your posture on the subway, how it feels to sit at your office desk, or even just paying attention to the sensation of brushing your teeth are all opportunities to pay attention to how you feel and take stock of your body. Ask yourself: "Where do I feel sore, aching, tired?" Doing this grounds you in your body and it forces you to be present. This type of intention about your presence is really the same thing as being mindful.
You can also quit multi-tasking (I know it's hard!) and start really focusing on your daily tasks. Even though we live in a society that would like you to believe that multitasking is a one way ticket to success; taking the time to actually focus on one task dramatically improves your quality of work. As difficult as it is to disconnect from all the possible distractions, it is worth it. The benefits are astounding, and this type of focus on a task is just another way of being more mindful.
Lastly, and perhaps most simply, we can remind ourselves to practice these exercises in mindfulness. Remind yourself to be present in your body and commit to focusing on one task at a time. You can also carve out a little slice of time each morning or night where you can sit and focus on your breath for a few minutes. If your mind wanders, gently call your attention back to your breath and continue this practice. It is an easy way to get focused, train your brain, and a great jump start to any busy day!