“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.”
~ T.S. Eliot
As we put another year to bed, we reflect on the past year of 2014 with joy, peace and possibly regret. In this time of contemplation we look ahead to improve our lives more. With a new year comes new resolutions. I keep seeing ” A New year, a New you” advertised. I am not a big fan of resolutions because they feel pressuring and possibly self defeating if they are not kept. So I was thinking how can I help my readers make goals with out disappointment? So I decided that I would suggest ways to improve your quality of life for lasting happiness instead of a quick fix. As a way of easing into change here are 5 goals to improve your quality of life with no resolutions or pressure attached:
1) Spend time with people that you love.
This may seems like a no brainer. But I know many people and clients that spend time with people whom they do not enjoy. I also know people who are so busy constantly that they rarely spend time with people that they love. Having family and friends that you spend time with raises your mood and makes you more positive. This is because socializing helps to raise mood and it helps you to get out of self. In a study done by the Guardian, one of the top 5 regrets of the dying was not spending enough time with family. Instead of this being a luxury, isn’t it time to make this a priority? Think about the people that you love. Reach out to them and express your love and gratitude to them over the next week or month.
2) Sleep enough.
Sleep is so important. It helps us socially, emotionally and physically. When you get enough sleep you are less likely to take that harsh comment from your co-worker personally and then internalize it. Sleep helps regulate your stress hormones, your immune system and is the time that the body takes to repair it’s self. It is important for memory and recall as well. Currently sleep researchers recommend 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. And if you are going to nap don’t take one after 4 pm. Sleep can be the gateway to a more balanced mood and positive outlook.
3) Eat well and exercise.
Diet and exercise, have a huge affect on your life. When we eat healthful foods we are feeding body, mind and spirit. I know that comfort foods are good but how to you feel after you ingest them? After you eat eat notice how you feel 20 min and then an hour after you eat. If it is exhausting you or making you gassy this could be a sign that you are not digesting the food well. Try practicing mindful eating, chew your each bite 25 times and then take another bite. Try seeing food as life-force and not just fuel.
Exercise is so important because it helps with heart health, mood, stress, weight and regulates hormones. It is suggested that you do some sort of movement everyday, even if it is 20 minutes of walking a day. There also are a few apps that have 7 minute exercise routines for people who are too busy. Exercise can give you that extra energy you need so badly.
4) Practice self care.
Practicing self care is what many people lack in their lives. They just keep doing their lives and they never stop to ask their inner most selves what they need. Developing a relationship with self where you recharge your batteries from your busy life is a necessity. Self care helps to reduce stress. Try taking a 3x 5 card and write down all of the things that make you feel relaxed, recharged and taken care of eg: taking a bath, breathing exercises, writing in a journal, doing yoga. Do one of these things once a day to reconnect with self.
5) Learn to Meditate.
Meditation has been found to help improve immunity, mood and concentration with those who practice on a regular basis. In a recent study it was found that mediation does wonders to improve mood. It rewires our brains and builds new neurological pathways more quickly to become trends in our brains instead of the old thought patterns. Meditation also increases calm, contentment and empathy when we meditate.
I find that most people do not meditate because they feel they do not have time or because they feel they do not know how to do it properly. There is no wrong way to meditate. Even meditating for 5 minutes is better than not meditating at all. Try using a guided meditation first if you struggle with the vipassana practice (concentrating on you breath). Try finding a meditation group or attend a workshop to help jump start your practice.
If you need help getting this practice started, I am offering a workshop, next friday that incorporates, mediation, visualization and art therapy to help you envision your new year. Please come and join me! Here is the info.
I wish you all a beautiful, safe and prosperous new year! Until next week, keep seeing all the beauty in your life.