How Mindfulness and Gratitude Will Transform Your Year

The past few months have taught us all how to press pause and slow down, but now heading back to work can feel like a shock to your system. It is easy to let toxic habits like busyness, stress, and irritability creep back into your life. But why let them?

2020 has changed our world and our outlook, so maybe it is time to change our mindset. Instead of a new year’s resolution, make a mid-year resolution. We challenge you to trade stress and negativity for mindfulness and gratitude. You may be surprised at the positive impact a simple mindset shift will bring.

What does mindfulness mean anyway? What if I don’t like meditation?

Mindfulness is often mistaken for silent, eyes-closed, sitting-still meditation. While that is one method, by no means is it the only method. Mindfulness is defined as “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment.”

Whether your present moment is eating lunch, taking a walk, playing music, knitting, or something else entirely, a mindful, meditative state can be achieved without sitting still, so don’t discount it yet.

Why should I practice mindfulness and gratitude?

Two words: stress relief. Mindfulness and gratitude have been linked to both physical and psychological health benefits, including reduced stress levels. People who regularly practice these principles tend to sleep better, experience fewer negative emotions, and feel healthier overall. Mindful practices can even lower heart rate and blood pressure.

What are some easy ways I can start practicing mindfulness and gratitude?

The good news is, you can start immediately. Mindful and grateful moments don’t have to be long to be effective. You can sprinkle in short moments throughout your day and still feel the results.

Here are a few simple exercises to try next time you feel like you need to slow down:

  1. Focus on your breath for at least one minute. Mindful breathing is simple but effective. Try closing your eyes to really bring your focus inward.
  2. Set an intention to guide you through your day. This can be anything from a phrase (“I intend to express gratitude toward my friends”) to one word (“positivity”). Write it down and remind yourself of your purpose all day.
  3. List 3 things you’re thankful for at the end of each day. Consider keeping every day’s entry in a gratitude journal.
  4. Eat mindfully by taking your time and observing tastes, textures, and how the food makes you feel. Avoid mindlessly rushing through snacks and meals. Mindful eating can even aid digestion and keep you feeling full longer.
  5. Practice yoga or gentle stretching. This is less about a workout and more about connecting body and mind. Focus on your breath, take note of how your body is feeling, and be grateful for the movement.