So here we are on the cusp of a new year and it is probably making many of us suddenly feel much more motivated to change our lives for the better in some way, which is no bad thing…..but it has got me thinking about how our assumptions in life can actually dictate the way we think and feel. For example, how many of us have felt that burst of enthusiasm at the beginning of each new year to eat better, get fitter, be more positive etc. only to find ourselves fighting the blues just a matter of weeks later? So much so that we now come to expect it in January! In recent years I have even read about ‘Blue Monday’ (the third Monday in January) which is, apparently, the ‘most depressing day of the year’. So we go from magazine and newspaper articles enticing us to make big changes in our lives after the stroke of midnight on December 31st, to being told that we are all facing the most depressing time of the year just a couple of weeks later. And it is a cycle that seems to repeat itself every year. Surely it must have an impact on us?
If we think about it now on a smaller scale, I bet that many of us tend to feel a bit low on a Monday morning when the alarm goes off and kind of drag ourselves through the day, feeling huge relief once Monday is over. By Wednesday we have probably got a bit more into the swing of the week and on Friday we may well be feeling jovial as we approach the weekend. Then Sunday evening we likely reflect on how quickly the weekend has gone and how it is nearly Monday again….and so the cycle starts over.
Now imagine that we are thrown into a different reality where time is not as we know it now and no longer divided into days and weeks. Yes, there would be chaos but we probably wouldn’t experience some of the moods and feelings we do now due to a lack of preconceived ideas and habits regarding our daily routine. I guess we experience something like this when we are on holiday or even now over the festive period, with people saying they ‘don’t know what day of the week it is anymore’. Of course we need routine and structure in our daily lives but, by being more aware of the present moment, we can let go of all those labels that automatically make us feel a certain way. So, rather than waking and automatically thinking ‘urgh, today is Monday’ or ‘tomorrow is only Tuesday’ we can just think ‘today is today’ and ‘tomorrow is another day’. Sometimes I ask myself on a Monday morning ‘How would I feel right now if today was Friday?’ and I can feel my mood change almost instantly. This shows me that the habitual thinking patterns I have formed over the years have a direct impact on the way I feel…..and, more importantly, that by acknowledging these thoughts and then letting them go, I can change the way I feel.
So for me this year there is no resolution to eat better or tone up or go on more holidays; instead, I resolve only to exist less and to live more by being more mindful. I believe that bringing mindfulness into daily life unlocks the doors to all the other desirable things…..feeling calmer and more content, taking better care of yourself, spending more quality time with loved ones, not falling into bad habits etc.. And, on that note, I wish you a very Mindful new year and I have listed some books below that I recommend if you would like to learn more about mindfulness and how to live more mindfully.
- Mindfulness A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World by Mark Williams and Danny Penman
- Practical Mindfulness by Ken A. Verni
- Mindfulness Plain & Simple by Oli Doyle
- The Little Book of Mindfulness by Tiddy Rowan
(image from Pinterest)