This is a busy time for so many of us, it’s almost a blur between now and the new year. However, there are 3 simple mindfulness practices you can adopt to decrease your stress and put you in a frame of mind for the upcoming year.
In this post, I’ll be sharing the three mindfulness practices as well as why you might want to incorporate them into your life.
Prefer videos? Watch 3 Simple Mindfulness Practices to Positively Impact Your New Year:
what is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the idea of being right here, right now because a lot of our stress comes from either worrying about something that happened in the past, or we’re worried about something that hasn’t happened yet.
I’m super, super guilty of both.
Something in the past, I go over in my head again and again and again. Or, for example, concerned about the future, like preparing for this video. I was going over in my head about the what ifs, the tech, and making sure I had everything straight.
👉 That is the exact opposite of mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the state of being present in every thought, word, and action. Mindfulness regulates emotions, decreases stress, anxiety and depression. It also helps us focus our attention and observe our thoughts and feelings.
So what are three simple mindfulness practices that we can do that will help us to be right here, right now, and also benefit us into the future?
#1 Mindfulness planning
The first one, and I will admit this one was tough for me too. It’s still tough. I work at it every year, but it’s making a plan for the new year.
All of these practices that I’m sharing with you, there is research and science behind them. There have been studies done that show the positive results.
When we write down a plan, that signals to your brain that “this is important I need to pay attention to this.”
The brain’s incredible, right? It starts to set up a task list for you, and it’s just running in the background. As you’re planning, your brain is already working hard to help move you in that direction.
👉 But it needs a road map.
It needs step a, step b, step c. So when you take the time to plan out what you want to do for the new year that really helps your brain to cement that.
One of the things that I like doing when I am planning for the new year is to do a little bit of a celebration or a look back on the previous year.
The last couple of years there hasn’t been a lot of great things to look back on, but if you don’t look back, you can’t see how far forward you’ve come.
Even though it may feel like a one step forward two steps back, it’s still forward movement. Just maybe not at the pace that we want to do.
So taking the time, sitting down celebrating the past and then planning for the new year, planning for future goals, your brain loves that.
#2 Mindful visualization
The second of the 3 simple mindfulness practices is doing a vision board, and this one is my absolute favorite to do. (Although I haven’t done one in a couple of years, I think it’s time for another.)
Vision boards, if you’re not familiar with them, they are visual representations of your goals. So your brain operates left side, right side. It operates in facts and figures, but it also operates very well in images and pictures.
So if you do the first one where you plan out your year, and you give facts and figures and steps and goals, then come back and enhance it with a vision board. Take those goals and turn them into images and pictures and place them on a poster board.
I’m old school. I like to do the poster board and cut out my images or print them off from the internet. There’s nothing wrong with that, or maybe you prefer digital.
I will add there is some research that shows a powerful connection between the brain and the hand. When you’re writing it out, it’s way more impactful than doing it digital.
However, if digital is the way that you want to go for this then absolutely go that direction.
#3 gratitude practice
The third mindfulness practice that we can do that helps us to set up for a positive new year is practicing gratitude. In the U.S. it’s a big deal that happens in November with Thanksgiving: practicing gratitude and being thankful.
The great thing about the gratitude practice is it’s really a year-round practice, and the more you practice the more benefit that you get from practicing gratitude.
There’s a lot of different ways, there’s no one way to practice gratitude.
- I’ve done it where I just list out three or four or five things that I’m grateful for that day.
- Sometimes it’s closer to journaling and maybe I’m journaling out the positive things that happened for me that day.
- Some days it’s you’re you’re digging really hard to find something to be grateful about. Maybe it’s that you were able to get out of bed and put your feet on the floor.
Research (NPR, Harvard, NIH, USC, Forbes) shows that those who practice gratitude consistently tend to have a better well-being, they tend to be happier, So there’s a lot of connections between practicing gratitude and feeling happy, and feeling more positive about life.
Also I found it interesting that when you keep a gratitude journal or you practice gratitude that it creates more resiliency. When we can do our best to find something to be grateful for, that it truly helps us to bounce back from challenging times.
It doesn’t mean that it eliminates the bad times, but it does help us to kind of dig for those nuggets that will help us be in a different perspective.
FINAL TIPS FOR 3 simple MINDFULNESS PRACTICES
Those are my three mindfulness practices that will help set you up for the new year. We’ve got planning out your new year, we have doing a vision board which i already mentioned was my favorite, and then finally practicing gratitude.
A PLAN provides your brain with facts and figures, something to track on its road to achievement.
A VISION BOARD provides your brain with the corresponding images (to facts and figures).
And GRATITUDE increases your appreciation for what you already have while working toward your goals and intentions.