We’re mid-way through January now, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to start a New Year’s resolution, especially this one. It’s easy enough for nutrition professionals to talk about the best and worst diets, but true health and wellness comes from a multitude of different sources.You could be following an ideal diet and exercising regularly, but are still miserable because of stress at work. True wellness exists when health, happiness and mental state are all in a good condition. The problem is, it’s a rare occasion for all aspects of your life to align at once, and if they do, it’s only for a fleeting moment. Our job is to improve what we can, when we can to enjoy better quality of life. There is one important tool to add to your arsenal in 2017 that will help improve your life across the board, regardless of your resolutions.
the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
Building mindfulness skills will put you in touch with what’s really going on in your life. It’s so easy to set your brain on auto-pilot and just get through day to day. That’s not a great existence for anyone. But once you can identify a problem by paying more attention to it, you can find a way to fix it. Here are some pointers for building mindfulness in all aspects of life.
In Diet and Fitness
Begin with self-evaluation. What are the positives and negatives about your current health state? If you are finding more negatives than positives, it is time to change something. Really think about goals that have been in the back of your mind for awhile. Is there something you have always wanted to do, but your health has gotten in the way? Use this as a motivater to change.
Be mindful of your daily habits. Give yourself about a week to make a list of things that could be easy to change. Be more aware of stress triggers that lead to things like eating junk food, overeating or other negative behaviors. Do you eat mindfully or mindlessly? As you point them out to yourself, you will become more critical of the habit. This is a crucial step to change.
Don’t just dwell on the negatives. Take time to appreciate good health and positive behaviors like exercise. Be present as you eat, enjoying flavors, appreciating that you have food on your table. Pay attention to how exercise makes you feel. Notice how stress is released and the body gets energized. Use this feeling as motivation to continue your good habits.
In Social Circles
Your social life may be tricky. While socializing has proven to have positive benefits when it comes to mental health, not all relationships are positive. Take time to evaluate the relationships you are in, and the habits you have built with friends. You will begin to find that some people in your social circle are very supportive and others seem to only bring you down. While it isn’t always necessary to cut negative people out completely, make extra time to spend with people who truly care about you and go out of their way to make plans with you. Don’t forget to reciprocate. Be mindful and present when you are with others. Put the phone down, and really focus on what you are talking about with someone. Give them your full attention.
Consider the habits you have built your friendships on. For example, lots of people make friends in college, when all they really did was fool around and go to parties. If you still keep in touch, but your priorities have changed, it may be a detrimental relationship. Try your best to do different activities with that friend, and if they choose not to participate, it may be time to move on.
Go through your social media accounts. Eliminate news feeds that drain your energy, like constant bad news updates or people who have only combative things to say. Remind yourself that social media usually depicts snapshots of great times in life. If you find that seeing what fun other people are having makes you feel bad about your own life, remember that a picture is only one moment in their life, theirs is likely just as mundane as yours. You may find that limiting your time on these sites altogether will brighten your outlook on life.
The big question people should ask, yet are afraid to ask is, “Do I really want to be doing what I’m doing?” I bet most people would say no, but unfortunately, the desire to eat and keep a roof over our heads often overshadows the desire to leave a job. Don’t despair, there are ways to brighten your spirit by being more mindful of the things that drew you to your job in the first place.
There must be something about the field you are in that you like, otherwise you would have chosen to be somewhere else entirely. Think back to the things you originally liked about your job, and try to focus on those. Also, stop and appreciate the people you work with. Each person is special, and although you may not always see eye to eye, most likely, there is something about them you can appreciate.
If there is still unfinished business or dreams that never developed, try to figure out how to make accomplishing them a reality. Whether it is in your current job and field or a completely new venture, work toward your goals a little bit at a time. We are only able to get the life we want by striving for it.
Remember that mindfulness can be used as a tool in all aspects of your life. Make your New Year’s Resolution a simple one. Promise to be more mindful in all of the things you do, and the changes necessary to get where you want to be will come more easily after.
Cheers to a Happy New Year!
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