Start the New Year Mindfully

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Beat the January blues with our guide to mindfulness

It’s not hard to understand why January is seen as a depressing month. Ploughing your way through endless to–do lists can be physically and mentally exhausting. Family reunions where unresolved tensions often lay just beneath the surface can be emotionally draining. Quickly broken New Year resolutions can soon replace positivity with feelings of failure.

What never seems to change is that people follow this same pattern of activities year after year and expect a different outcome.

So could adopting a more mindful approach be the answer?  Mindfulness is simply the ability to be present, to be aware of our direct experience without this being influenced by thoughts and emotions. It is simple…but not easy!

Here are three simple tips to help you to feel better this time of the year:

Do at least one thing each day that will give you pleasure, for example a cup of coffee, a hug from somebody you care about or a relaxing bath. Make the time to fully enjoy this experience rather than having the mind ruminating over what has passed or worrying about the future.

Remember to stop when you have finished a task and to recognise and acknowledge what you have achieved. All too often we rush from one task to the next and life becomes an endless treadmill of to-do lists.

Choose one everyday activity that you can perform mindfully (for example, walking to work) as a way of developing your capacity to be fully present.

There are many different platforms in which to learn mindfulness. Finding Peace in a Frantic World by Professor Mark Williams is an excellent book to read. If you prefer a digital approach, an organisation called Headspace produces mindfulness apps, or alternately you can enrol on a course and can find details of qualified mindfulness teachers based locally on the UK Network of Mindfulness Teachers: http://mindfulnessteachersuk.org.uk/

However you choose to approach this new year, make it sure you do it mindfully. 

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