The One New Year’s Resolution to Make 2019 Your Best Year Yet
Mental health expert reveals the benefits of mindfulness and an easy way everyone can find time to be mindful – every single day.
Though many people may want to make New Year’s resolutions around mindfulness in 2019, it can seem daunting or intimidating. But you don’t have to delete your Facebook account and become a Zen monk to incorporate mindfulness into your life, says mental health expert Koorosh Rassekh.
“Mindfulness has never been more important and more necessary. New research has found that mindfulness helps patients to lose weight at a greater rate than patients who do not undertake a mindfulness program,” says mental health expert and founder Evo Health and Wellness, Koorosh Rassekh. “Other research has also shown that mindfulness can also help in the treatment of insomnia, as well as improvement in mental health as it relates to a person’s worldview, feelings of optimism, and their resilience during times of great stress.”
Rassekh, who is the founder of Evo Health and Wellness, a mental health recovery center in Venice, California, suggests some easy ways to start:
“One simple way to bring mindfulness into your daily life is to choose something you already do every day, and then set an intention around that particular practice,” says Rassekh. “For instance, I once worked with a client who loved making pour-over coffee every morning. He was able to establish a mindfulness practice around this activity that he already did every morning. He would bring awareness to the physical sensations of the smell of the coffee, the warmth of the pot on his hands, the sound it made as it splashed into his cup. In tuning into this small, often disregarded physical sensations, he was able to bring greater awareness to his inner life and to his emotional needs.”
Of course, says Rassekh, some days you might struggle more than others to be mindful. You might find that you are feeling extra-judgmental or cynical about your abilities and the purpose of your practice.
“When mindfulness is hard or difficult for us, that doesn’t mean it is not working. Rather, it just worked by letting you know that you are particularly distracted right now or you are trying to solve something, or some memory is trying to reconcile. How great to be connected with that inner process as we go through the day rather than wonder why we keep bumping our head or are so quick to anger! We can be mindful that we are struggling to be mindful. This in and of itself is mindfulness.”
Rassekh encourages everyone to establish a daily mindfulness practice, preferably around an activity they already do every day. Even washing dishes could be a meditative practice.
“Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh famously shared a wonderful meditation about how washing the dishes is only unpleasant because we aren’t actually washing them. Our mind is a million miles away, wishing we could be doing something else rather than washing a cup. But as Thich Nhat Hanh explains, in bringing awareness to this activity, he is able to find the routine deeply peaceful and meditative. This can be true when we establish a mindfulness activity around anything we do, whether it is a matter of house-cleaning, or walking our dog, or washing our hair, or folding laundry.”
In bringing mindfulness to these small acts of daily housekeeping and other activities, Rassekh explains that we will train our minds to slow down and become more aware during other activities as well. “The more mindful we are as we wash the cup, the more mindful we will be of our joy and deep contentment as we drink tea from the cup later. Mindfulness begets mindfulness and in turn, begets gratitude and improved mental clarity.”