Ironically, the new year oftentimes starts with old habits. Most of us begin every new year with heady resolutions, that, while created with good intentions, lead us to become stressed and overwhelmed with the obligation they carry. These resolutions are often based on our need to do more,. We tell ourselves we will go to the gym more, work more, make more money, eat more vegetables, read more, spend more time learning a foreign language, whatever it may be, with the belief that the act of simply doing something will help us become “more” of the person we want to be.
What if, instead of feeling obligated to do more this year, we take a step back and do a little bit less? What if, we shift our perspective, and instead of believing that doing more will help us become who we want to be, we start to believe that doing less of the things that don’t truly serve us will help us reveal our pure selves?
A large part of the reason why we struggle to reveal our authentic self is due to stress. This stress does not only have to develop from the traditionally strenuous things we think of when we think of anxiety, such as career and monetary obligations, but it can also develop from the things we love as well, such as family time and devotion to hobbies.
Here are 10 ways to help maintain a level head and a full heart during 2018:
As humans, we are hardwired to create things. From the very beginning of our existence, we have discovered, pursued, and built things from our creative intuitions. Completing repetitive tasks such as knitting, crocheting, and weaving help our minds turn off the “fight or flight” response that is so engrained in our cognitive being. Not only does crafting help us transcend into a meditative state (see #3 if you’re interested in learning more about meditation), but it also helps the brain release dopamine, our body’s natural form of an antidepressant.
Looking for a way to create a new project every month? Check out our $10 Yarn Club here.
While yoga has been in existence for approximately 5,000 years, it only reached the United States in 1893. Many of the postures and practices that we are familiar have been created within the past 100 years or so. Yoga has been able to transcend time, and has become a daily part of the lives of people of all ages, genders, and socioeconomic status, all around the world. This is for good reason – the yoga practice allows us to physically release stress through holding postures and poses, while focusing on our mental and emotional selves by instigating our physical movements with controlled breath (see #3 Meditation, and #4 Pranayama). There are multiple types of yoga for what each individual needs, ranging from restorative yoga to help rebuild muscle tissue, chair yoga for the elderly, and power yoga for those craving an intense workout. (If you think you can’t do yoga because you can’t touch your toes, remember that you can always bend your knees!)
The transition from yoga (also known as asana) to Meditation, to Pranayama (see step #4) is almost seamless. While practicing these relaxation techniques together really only helps make the others more effective, it is not necessary to dive into all three at once (We are working towards stress relief here!)
There are many types of meditation (such as sound, body scan, chakra, and mantra meditation), and there is no “right” or “wrong” method, time, or frequency to meditate. Some people find that meditation is best performed in the morning, right when they wake up, while others prefer to squeeze in a 5 minute meditation during their lunch break. Meditation helps strengthen the mind, increase awareness of the true self, and help control thoughts and emotions of the ego.
For a comprehensive list of meditation techniques, check out this page: https://www.gaiam.com/blogs/discover/meditation-101-techniques-benefits-and-a-beginner-s-how-to