Mindfulness: The secret to accomplishing your New Year’s resolutions

A simple, daily practice can help you stay healthy and achieve your goals

Have you ever been in a conversation and been so distracted you didn’t know what the other person just said, despite nodding like you were listening? Or eaten a whole bag of chips without realizing it until the was bag empty? Or arrived at your destination without a single memory of the drive there? These are just a few examples of mindlessness, or that feeling you get when your brain goes on autopilot—your mind wanders, not allowing you to enjoy and savor the present.

Mindfulness—the exact opposite—is a simple concept, but when put into effect daily, can be extremely powerful. It is simply the practice of living in the present moment; of being aware of your body, mind and feelings. With practice, you can learn to experience this awareness without judgment or the desire to pass the moment quickly.

There are many proven benefits of mindfulness, including stress reduction, heightened brain and immune function, lower anxiety levels, enhanced ability to deal with illness, lower blood pressure, improved eating behaviors, decreased “burnout,” a more positive outlook on life and reduction in insomnia.

One study done by Donald and Atkins (2016) found that present-moment awareness facilitated an adaptive response to daily stressors. A number of studies from 2016 to 2017 showed mindfulness impacted stress levels in parents, people with restless leg syndrome, healthcare professionals, veterans with depression and PTSD, and police officers.

Mindfulness: The secret to accomplishing your New Year’s resolutions

The best way to practice mindfulness is with kindness towards yourself—something most people find extremely challenging. Especially with our New Year’s goals or resolutions, we tend to be extremely harsh on ourselves. When approaching our resolutions from a mindful perspective, however, there is room to make mistakes, learn from them, and turn these resolutions into lifelong habits.

Mindfulness can put you into a state of relaxation. It can be as simple as closing your eyes for a few minutes a day, staying silent and connecting with your surroundings, feelings, emotions, and physical body. In the fast-paced, highly-driven world we live in, it is more important than ever to focus on simply being, slowing down and connecting to the present.

To learn more about how mindfulness can impact your life come to UCHealth’s Medical Fitness Center on January 9, 2018 at 5:30 p.m for our workshop on MindfulnessJoin exercise physiologist and registered yoga teacher, Shelby Robicheaux, to learn simple mindfulness tricks and exercises to keep your new year’s resolutions on track.

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