First of all - Happy 2019 to all my readers. As I scroll through social media, so many on my feed are posting about the year past - the good, bad and ugly. And also affirmations to better themselves, to eat healthier, to move more, save more..etc. And so I wonder, new year, new you? Or more like new year, same you?
If we are thinking the same thoughts, feeling the same emotions, doing the same habits and actions as we did in the previous year, dragging the old shit into our new year, how can we expect to make remarkable changes in the new year?
The reality is probably that once the new year fizz has faded, we are back to our same old ways and antics. If we thought 2018 was rubbish but 2019 is going to be THE YEAR we live our best life then we need to look at what NEW thoughts, emotions, habits and actions we are cultivating to make that happen.
With the practice of mindfulness, we can truly start to be aware of the thoughts in our minds, breaking out of auto-pilot mode; reaching for the afternoon coffee mindlessly or berating ourselves when we stopped going to the gym after the second week of January.
“Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally,” says Jon Kabat-Zinn. “It’s about knowing what is on your mind.”
Osho wrote that the mind is a beautiful servant and a dangerous master - we all know what happens when we allow our minds to run amok. The mind is a huge power in life, and when we learn how to use this powerful tool, we could start to change our thoughts and break out of our habits to create a life full of love, abundance, health and happiness.
Mastering our mind to be a good servant will allow us to own our own power, to notice when we have unserving or destructive thoughts so that we can take actions that will lead us closer to our goals. Being mindful does not mean that we should never have negative thoughts, or that we should always be in a state of bliss and positivity. It is almost impossible as the mind is VERY good creating thoughts, good, bad and ugly. The practice of mindfulness is to being able to observe the thoughts, providing space for us to respond to situations instead of reacting, in a kind and compassionate way.
Although mindfulness isn’t a new concept, it has become internationally popular in the past decade, but their roots reach 2,500 years into the past. We are often "not present" in our own lives. We often fail to notice the good things about our lives, fail to hear what our bodies are telling us, or poison ourselves with toxic self-criticism.
Our minds are easily distracted, habitually recalling past events and trying to visualise the future. Becoming more aware of our thoughts, feelings and sensations is a proven practice to suspend judgement and self-criticism which can have an incredibly positive impact on our lives.
Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to, and seeing clearly whatever is happening in our lives. It will not eliminate life's pressures, but it can help us respond to them in a calmer manner. With awareness, we can recognise and step away from habitual, often unconscious emotional and physiological reactions to everyday situations. It provides us with a scientifically researched approach to cultivating clarity, insight, and understanding. Practicing mindfulness allows us to be fully present in our life and work, and improve our quality of life.