If being happier is on your wish list, someone has probably already told you to try to be more positive. You might, however, be better off creating a plan to work on developing your mindfulness.
It is time to start thinking about our next chapter now that 2017 has arrived. Besides exercise and journaling, what kind of activities and regimens can we take up that will benefit our health and wellness? If there was one activity that we could take up to support the achievement of all our new year’s resolutions – what would it be? (Hint? Mindfulness!)
A person who is mindful has trained themselves to orient their focus to the present-moment, foster an awareness of multiple perspectives and to acknowledge emotional states without judgment. Research has proven that mindfulness can enhance stress management and emotional regulation, as well as, improve attention. It can also reduce binge eating, diminish anxiety, and reduce experiencing negative automatic thoughts and maladaptive automatic emotional responses.
If making dietary changes is one of your new year’s resolutions, you should also consider how developing mindfulness can support you. You can use mindfulness to increase your self-compassion. Research published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology found that self-compassion has positive effects on the regulation of eating behaviours.
There are many different methods to train mindfulness, such as participation in body scans, journaling and mindfulness-based stress reduction, yoga or art therapy programs. However, the most widely used form of mindfulness training is meditation.
The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease published research this June 2016 that covered the first investigation of mind-body therapy benefits on psychosocial outcomes for older adults (between the ages of 50-84) who believed that their memory was noticeably worse in comparison to a few years before. The study used Kirtan Kriya Meditation as a mindfulness training tool. It is both simple to learn and engages several brain areas. You might want to try it too! It involves repeating a mantra while touching your finger-tip and thumb along a string of beads in sequence. It also incorporates visualization by imagining the sound energy of a mantra coming in through the top of their head and exiting out between their eyebrows, like an “L” shape. The researchers found that their participants achieved benefits after practicing for twelve minutes daily over a twelve-week period, as well as, after practicing at their own discretion over a subsequent three-month period.
When I started to look for tools to help me with developing my own mindfulness, I was immediately drawn to the Mala Collective after finding out their mission is, “offering tools and practices that empower people to live with intention.”
The Mala Collective provides jobs to local Balinese artisans in Bali with the intention to help empower them, but they also donate locally to Karma Teachers, who offer free yoga to those on Vancouver’s Downtown East Side, and the Big Brothers and Sisters organization, which offers mentoring to youth.
The Mantra Collection consists of Authentic Sanskrit Mantra Mala necklaces that come with a free, guided, audio-meditation, and reflection kit. I have the Shiva Sanskrit Mantra Mala, which has beautiful chrysocolla gemstones that possess dark blue and green hues. I feel a positive difference within myself whenever I wear this mala and I also love the I Am Enough Collection because each necklace comes with an affirmation that helps you to remind yourself of what you are working on throughout the day.
Investing your time in the development of your mindfulness can help you to achieve your new year’s resolutions. Consistent mindfulness meditation practice structurally affects regions of the brain that oversee voluntary and goal-oriented behaviours like planning, decision making, disinhibition, and self-regulation. Uplift your new year by empowering yourself with the benefits of mindfulness.