Practice Mindfulness Every Day in January
Learn How Not To Be a Jerk
Mindfulness is the latest buzzword to flood mainstream (social) media. Like yoga mindfulness has been around long before most of the people who started to use the word were born. Mindfulness as a stress-busting technique began in 1979 when Jon Kabat-Zinn started the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Take that interwebs.
This year I’ve signed up to be trained as a mindfulness teacher because hey, I want to be cool. Honestly though I believe in the real-life health benefits of meditation. Where training is concerned mindfulness meditation is the crème de la crème. (That’s French for delicious. Not really, but close enough.) I recently had two challenging years where my stress level was at a all-time high and my yogi skills were tested; I know first-hand how meditation can help you stay sane when everything else is crumbling around you. Instead of the alternatives of drinking or eating yourself stupid, alienating your friends by becoming a bitch, or, worse of all, cashing in your chips for good, mindfulness is a safe, real-life tool to help you get through tough times.
The Benefits of Mindfulness
Here are some of the cool benefits of mindfulness that can help you feel better and live happier:
- Boosted immune system
- Reduced stress
- Less pain
- Improved sleep
- Better mood, meaning you’ll be less of a jerk
- Emotional control, meaning you’ll be less apt to explode at the barista for messing up your Starbucks order
- Less anxiety and depression
- Improved focus and concentration
- Weight control. Bonus: you’ll care less about the number on the scale
- More confidence
- Improved relationships
- More compassion and empathy for others
- Increased gratitude
- More happiness
I believe that mindfulness can help you be healthier and live happier. I’ve learned from teaching meditation classes and workshops that mindfulness is a word that makes most people’s eyes glaze over; they don’t get it and it scares them. Mindfulness is as foreign to them as astrophysics, which incidentally is pretty cool. I’m here to take away the intimidation factor and to explain to you what mindfulness is and isn’t; it isn’t some hippy-dippy hocus pocus, it is about being aware of what’s going on in the moment instead of multi-tasking or distracting yourself. By practicing mindfulness you’ll learn to be aware of what’s going on with you in the present and to stay out of the past or future.
I challenge you to use the month of January to get into the habit of being mindful. Every day I’ll give you a new theme on to help you along. From how you eat to why you react the way you do you’ll be asked to get to know yourself better. I promise you’ll go from zombie to self-aware yoga ninja guru master in one month.
A note about habits: For any new habit to take hold, there needs to be a commitment on the part of the person who wants to make the change. In my professional opinion it takes 60 days of daily work for a new habit to set in stone and a lifetime of good choices to keep it up. This doesn’t mean you need to do a daily 4am mindfulness meditation practice for 3 hours, it means you need to think about it and work on the habit an intsie-wintsie bit every day until it feels odd not to do it.
How to play along:
- Starting January 1st, 2016, post a photo and blurb on Instagram or Facebook every day in January about how you’ve used the daily theme* to practice mindfulness. (See below for the list of themes.) If you miss a day no sweat, you can catch-up however you’d like. Remember practice makes progress, not perfection.
- In your blurb share any cool insights, questions, or challenges you’ve had. For example, when you focus on your evening ritual (tell us what it is!) how did that change how you lived it? Did you enjoy it more? Less? Did you realize you were wasting time doing dumb things? Have you decided to change it up after being mindful about it?
- Use the hashtag #31Days of Mindfulness to tag your photos so I can find and read them and so that you can inspire others with by your rad mindfulness mastery.
- Share the challenge with others to get more people involved. You can use the nifty social media buttons at the top right of this post to share this post on Twitter and Facebook.
At the end of the challenge one lucky ‘Mindfulness Ninja Yoga Apprentice’ (aka participant) will win a prize pack from myself and Halfmoon Yoga Products.
Good luck and have fun!
May 2016 bring you peace, joy, mindfulness, and happiness,
List of daily themes: