The new year has arrived! It's a perfect time to make a habit of the practices that will bring you the greatest amounts of happiness and contentment.
Not sure what to try first? See if something from this list helps you get started:
- Start moving: Develop a fitness routine that is reasonable and sustainable. Don't worry about what anyone else is doing. This is your time! Make sure to include components that will improve your flexibility and balance, as well as that cardio to get your heart pumping. And, good news! Everything you do for your physical health will also positively impact your brain health.
- Turn off: Take some time every day to turn off technology. Give yourself a break from being tuned in and on call. Breathe deeply, clear your mind and just be.
- Give yourself a break: Accept that neither you nor anyone else is perfect. Everyone has problems and insecurities, and everybody will make a mistake every now and then. Allow yourself to be less than perfect without beating yourself up over every little thing. And let those people around you, whether at home or work, know that you won't explode every time they fall short of your expectations. You, and they, deserve a break. Make it a habit to cut everyone some slack.
- Practice gratitude: Look around you and appreciate the beauty you see. Give thanks for all the gifts in your life. This of the people you are lucky to have supporting and caring about you. Appreciate that last meal you had, and that you were lucky enough to get it. Think about your home, nature, air and water. Do you take them for granted? Imagine if you didn't have any of these things; I bet you'll soon realize just how much they contribute to your happiness and well-being.
- Give back: If you don't already have a way to provide service in your community, find a way and be consistent in your participation. Giving to those who are less fortunate than you is a great way to get things in perspective. And, even better, you will soon spend more time trying to make the world a better place for others rather than moaning about whatever may be missing from your own life.
- Practice your passions: What makes your heart sing? Give yourself time for your passion, and see if it's possible to combine that activity with one of your other activities. Maybe it blends well with your exercise, healthy cooking, or getting back to your community. If not, it's still well worth making time for whatever puts you in that zone.
- Make time for mindfulness: It sounds so silly, but mindfulness is the easiest way to improve your life. In fact, it's so easy that many feel it's hard. It's hard to turn off technology. It's hard to take time away from work, television, reading, family, or anything else. It's hard to stop thinking about whatever's coming in the future, or what already took place. But focusing on the now, zeroing in on what's happening in your life right this second, then the second is gone... lost forever. Lose not one second more. Learn how to practice mindfulness and reap the benefits every single day.
Now that you have some ideas, try to figure out how you're going to put some of these ideas into practice.
And have a happy, fulfilling, wonderful year. It's right there just waiting for you.
Dr. Wolbe can be reached via her website www.drsusiewolbe.com.