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7 Tips for Bringing Mindfulness Into Your Life This Year

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“Life is a dance. Mindfulness is witnessing that dance.”
― Amit Ray, author of “Mindfulness: Living in the Moment, Living in the Breath

OK, now breathe. Really breathe deep. For many people, that’s not so easy to do. This year feels particularly challenging coming on the heels of a tumultuous election cycle and what is yet to come. Practicing mindfulness, refocusing your energy and doing good for your overall mental health might just be the healthy choice when it comes to setting your 2017 new year’s resolutions.

Why mindfulness? Recent medical research suggests it may have proven neurological benefits, and can support mental health recovery, build personal resilience and help you cope with anxiety and depression.

“It’s always a great time to start. Don’t wait. Don’t intellectualize it. Just start right now,” suggests health and wellness expert David Romanelli. “Close your eyes. Take three long, slow, deep breaths.”

Mindfulness takes time and practice. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t breathe a spiritual sigh of relief on the first try. The mind, after all, is a muscle, that you need to exercise for optimal results.

There will surely be hurdles. Not sure where to start? Mindfulness is a powerful tool and a valuable resolution to instill into your everyday life in 2017. Romanelli recently partnered with the University of Southern California’s online MSW program on a Mindfulness Toolkit to offer some helpful tips:

1. Go grateful: Reflect on the things, big and small, that make you happy and things you are proud of. Sometimes even little things like “hey I make an awesome apple pie” can serve as a reminder to be grateful.

2. Complete compassion: Remember that everyone is coping with similar challenges. It’ll also help you be easier on yourself.

3. Practice patience: Figure out what pushes your buttons and try to avoid situations that might test your patience. Not always easy to do, but easier with practice.

4. Mindful meditation: Research shows that meditation is a proven method to help reduce stress. Take a few moments to yourself in a quiet place and just be.

5. Be present: Thoughts wander and to-do lists occupy our thoughts, but reminding yourself to stop and recognize the present is powerful. Here’s an opportunity for practice — instead of making the habitual reach for your phone. Feel your feet on the ground, taste your food, notice your breathing … there you are.

6. Mindful walking: Walk slowly and purposefully with your gaze looking downward.

7. Breathe: Bring your attention to your breathing and show yourself some love. Be aware of your breath and slow down.

“Our schedules and routines get out of whack during our daily lives all the time,” explains Romanelli. “Mindfulness is best when it becomes a habit, part of your routine, like eating, brushing your teeth, showering. It should be a constant. If you can find a time that won’t be interrupted (e.g., super early in the morning), I encourage you to mindfully set goals and resolutions for 2017.”

You got this.

Want more mindfulness tips? Watch a host of videos that will guide you through meditation and other mindfulness skills on MSW@USC’s Mindful Living page.

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Image via MSW@USC’s Mindful Living page

Originally published: January 31, 2017
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