This year, I’m doing resolutions differently. Instead of a list I probably won’t follow through on, I’m focusing on one goal for the year- Detox. In all different aspects of my life. With the holiday stress and new year craziness, I've decided to first start with detoxifying my mind.
It's no secret that stress can have a big impact on so many parts of our lives, notably our health. High, uncontrolled stress can be linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.
Plus, it affects our every day. I have a lot of trouble managing stress, so it manifests in headaches, stomach aches, fatigue, sleep problems and more.
It's so easy for me to feel completely overwhelmed with everything going around me, and in the past I've tried all the common stress-management techniques. And though a good workout or yoga session or getting more sleep do absolutely help a ton, it was always hard for me to stick with these solutions as I didn't always see a direct, lasting impact on my stress level.
Enter mindfulness and meditation. Like many others, I didn't always think these two m-words were for me. They conjured up images of pretending to escape (or actually escaping) to a remote mountain, emptying your mind of anything and everything to somehow be spiritually elevated past the craziness and unnecessary stress of the world. And though that sounded great in theory, I could never- and still can't- see my overactive brain becoming completely empty of thought.
I now know my perception of meditation and mindfulness was dead wrong. It's not about emptying your mind and escaping. I would argue it's about doing the opposite- being fully aware and present in your world.
It started with me reading one of the most impactful books ever. It looks unassuming, it is written straight-forwardly, but it is truly a book I will read over and over: Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn.
Even the title explains the essence of mindfulness. The author writes that most of us live life in a haze of thinking about the past or the future. Very rarely are we fully engaged in the present moment. This leads to assumptions and manifestations, analysis of past events and predictions of future events. Instead of taking in what is actually happening in the now- good or bad- we are constantly overwhelming ourselves with how it connects to the past or affects the future.
“In meditation practice, the best way to get somewhere is to let go of trying to get anywhere at all.”