There are only a few weeks left before the end of the year, and we all know the new year is prime time for making promises to ourselves—to hit the gym more, to eat healthier, to stop checking our email in bed.
But for all the resolutions we make, there’s one ultimate goal that could actually provide a head start to achieving all the other smaller ones:
to be more mindful of the NOW.
When you’re in the present moment, you can give 100 percent of your energy to whatever task deserves your attention. But as much as we know we should do it, the idea of “practicing mindfulness” can seem a little vague and intimidating.
Truth is, you actually don’t need a lot to get started, just a bit of honest effort. The following seven simple habits may help you be more in the present so you can feel healthier and happier all year long.
Cut down on your social media use
Despite their name, social platforms actually make us feel more isolated. People who constantly check their email, texts, and social media accounts were found to be more stressed and lonely than those who don’t.
It’s important for us to realize that these apps are in place for us to use, not to use us. They are tools, not lifestyles.
If you are using the tool for anything other than its intended functions, chances are you might be wasting your time and making yourself lonely.
No need to completely swear off social media though — just try cutting your usage down to 10 minutes per platform, per day, to lessen feelings of loneliness, depression, and anxiety. This will help you stay present in the real world instead of the one behind the screen.
Track your fitness stats
Exercise can be one of the best stress-busters out there. What could be more empowering than finishing a tough CrossFit workout? Or more freeing than leaving work behind on an evening run?
Workouts can rejuvenate the mind and body. Plus, it actually gives you endorphins, and endorphins make you happy!
Keep a close eye on your activity data with a fitness smartwatch and gain positive long-term effects. With easy-to-follow animated workouts, music, and an incredible range of all-day health and fitness-tracking features, smartwatches are powerful tools for living more actively.
Put your phone away when you’re with other people
When you’re tapping and swiping in front of someone else, you’re basically telling them that they—and the moment you’re sharing—aren’t important to you.
Even the sight of your phone during face-to-face interactions can negatively impact closeness, trust, and empathy.
When you’re out to dinner or grabbing coffee with a friend, keep your phone stashed out-of-sight and on silent in a pocket or bag, so both of you can stay in the moment.
Make meditating a daily habit
Different forms of meditation have been used for thousands of years as a spiritual practice to create inner peace. But today, meditation is just as scientific as it is spiritual, with loads of exciting studies revealing exactly what meditation can do for our health and well-being.
We can eat the healthiest foods, exercise regularly, and avoid chemicals in our household cleaning products and cosmetics, but if we’re not caring for our mind—we won’t be optimally healthy.
Stress is the sugar of the soul, and it will wreck your health from the inside out. Practicing meditation can help ease psychological stresses like anxiety, depression, and pain.
And while it may seem counterintuitive, technology can actually make embracing a meditation practice less intimidating if it’s a practice you’re not used to. For example, smartwatches recognize when you’re stressed and can guide you through mindful breathing exercises.
Start a gratitude journal
Practicing gratitude has a huge effect on your wellbeing. And people who journal about what things they’re grateful for (instead of venting about negative or neutral events) consistently report being in better moods.
Try jotting down three things you’re grateful for at the end of every day. Soon, you’ll find yourself looking for these things throughout your day. How’s that for retraining your brain?
Take a lunch break
When was the last time you actually left the office for lunch? Give yourself permission to step away from your computer and into the great outdoors, and you’ll be better off for it.
Just walking—without a destination, without a fitness purpose—is enough to boost your mood and override emotions like boredom and dread.
Bonus points if you can find a park, where natural sounds (unlike the incessant ping of incoming Slack messages from your coworker’s computer) can chill you out.
Ditch your worries
Literally, just throw them out. Write down your bad thoughts and then throw out that piece of paper—mentally and physically discarding them.
Sometimes, it isn’t enough to imagine trashing your worries, it is the physical action of throwing them that really drives the practice home. Try it and find yourself relieved from stress!
Do you have any more tips for mindful living? Let us know in the comments!