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Ever wonder why so many New Year’s Resolutions are abandoned just a few weeks after they were made? The prospect of setting a year’s worth of goals to improve yourself and your life can be extremely daunting and overwhelming. This year, take a different approach and make your one resolution be to be more mindful.

Mindfulness involves a moment-by-moment awareness of your own thoughts, feelings, and surrounding environment. Staying present in the moment, and silencing your inner judge (making sure you aren’t labeling any of your thoughts as wrong or right) can keep you from spending too much time rehashing the past or worrying about the future. Although mindfulness takes practice, the effort put forth is often worth it. Findings reported in JAMA Internal Medicine suggest that mindfulness meditation can help ease psychological stresses like anxiety and depression.

How can you start putting mindfulness into practice? Below are just a few of the many ways to start living in and for the moment:

Forget Multitasking: For some, multitasking is a point of pride but mindfulness requires a focused approach to routine tasks–which can’t happen if you are overloading yourself.

Do things deliberately: Make sure there is intent behind what you are doing. Moving slowly and deliberately will help you stay in the moment and focus on the task at hand.

Eat Slowly: Eating slowly allows you to really taste and savor the food you are eating. It also helps you digest it better.

Spend 5 minutes doing nothing every day: In the age of technology, many of us have become uncomfortable with silence but sitting still, focusing on your breathing, letting your thoughts come and go can become routine if you practice.

Practice actively listening to others: Active listening involves really taking in what someone is saying to you. Although you may find yourself starting to think of what you want to say next or what you’re going to be doing later on in the day, try to rein your thoughts back in to just focusing on your friend in the very moment.

Establishing a mindfulness routine will take practice. Reminding yourself to stay present can have lasting effects on your life.

Babauta, L. (n.d.). 10 Steps to Mindfulness: How to Live in the Moment | Reader’s Digest. Retrieved January 5, 2015, from http://www.rd.com/slideshows/10-steps-to-mindfulness

Corliss, J. (2014, January 8). Mindfulness meditation may ease anxiety, mental stress – Harvard Health Blog. Retrieved January 5, 2015, from http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/mindfulness-meditation-may-ease-anxiety-mental-stress-201401086967

Photo Credit: Katie Hickey

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