Fresh year, fresh start! And isn't 2020 a particularly auspicious year for a keen review of the twelve months past and a steady look toward the ones ahead? Chaos may be the way of the world, but YOU can be all that is calm, focused, and resolved. This year, we are all about finding our inner zen and the practices that help us incorporate mindfulness into our daily lives.
Drink More Tea
Put the kettle on and drink to inner peace! Tea is already well-known for its numerous health benefits, but the process of making tea can actually be a means of mindfulness and relaxation. Whether at home or at work, make a ritual of boiling the water, steeping the leaves, and enjoying the cup. The small change of environment and task can offer rest--and perhaps clarity--for the next part of the day.
Turn Off and Tune In
If we allow it, our lives could be dominated by devices and their constant barrage of information, advertising, and entertainment, or the pressure to be available, share, and communicate. Designate some part of your day as screen-free time and intentionally make yourself unavailable. Breathe deeply, relax, and either prepare yourself for the day ahead or reestablish balance before leaving work or at the end of a full day. Allow yourself time to just be where you are--and no checking your phone to see how much time has passed or who texted!
It's not just for kids! When our schedules are full and our to-do lists too long, we often forget to have fun--and even adult "fun" can feel like another event on the calendar. Spark your inner child by engaging in some hands-on play, like coloring, knitting, or using Play-doh. Activities like these can be calming and meditative, and when we finish feeling more relaxed and refreshed, we're more likely to approach the rest of the day with a lighter heart and a livelier spirit.
Give a Compliment
That's right! Establishing zen also means being in positive relationships with people--and not just the people with whom we spend the most time. Think about the person sitting next to you on your commute, your snarky co-worker, the cashier scanning your dinner ingredients. Practice sharing something positive with them--like a compliment--that demonstrates their value and worth. Even if your attempt doesn't seem to achieve much, the exercise in harmony is a success in itself.
Nurture a Grateful Heart
Begin and end the day with gratitude. Start the day appreciative for your breath, your life, fresh chances and new opportunities. At the close of the day--even the rough ones--focus on the good that happened, no matter how small. Placing this daily importance on gratitude sets you up with a healthy perspective on day-to-day life and fosters your inner joy. Get ready for a brighter outer smile!
Do any of these sound like practices you want to try? Let us know, and share your own methods for maintaining a year of peace and harmony!