Thursday, January 1, 2015

Mindfulness for Dummies (aka Me)

I wanted to write a post a few days ago, about my life, Christmas, reflecting on 2014, blah blah blah, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it.

I honestly don't have much to say about 2014. I'm indifferent to it, which makes me really sad.

2014 was filled with huge moments, including my bridal shower, bachelorette party, and wedding. I got to see my family and friends a ton, have my dream wedding, and start a new chapter of my life with my best friend by my side. But 2014 was also filled with a lot of anxiety, uncertainty, and loss. I survived my first year in Florida, but I felt like I was just scraping by.

Reflecting on the year makes me upset, and then I get even more upset that I am letting the bad things overshadow the amazing things that happened.

My goal for 2015 is to be more mindful. If you don't know what mindfulness is, you have come to the right place, because I am about to go on a giant tangent about it! Yay! Mindfulness is the non-judgmental awareness of your present thoughts, feelings, and surroundings. 

You may have heard the term applied to meditation or yoga, but anyone can be mindful at any time. I used to think mindfulness was the most hippy dippy idea ever, completely pointless. But now, I realize being mindful is not about completely clearing your head and chanting "OMMMM." It is about allowing thoughts to enter your head, knowing it is okay for them to do so, and letting them go. (Also, I realize that I am a modern day hippy and need to just embrace my hippy dippy-ness. But I promise, mindfulness is good for everyone!)

My anxiety took over my life in 2014. I worried about everything. Work, wedding, friends, family, plane rides, phone calls... I literally could not shut my brain off. But that was my exact problem: I shouldn't be trying to shut my brain off.

Here's an experiment: Don't think about a pink elephant. DON'T. DON'T YOU DO IT!!!!

I bet you can't stop thinking about pink elephants now, right? That's what I have been trying to do with all my worries. What I should have been doing is being more mindful in the present moment instead of letting one little anxious thought snowball into a huge barrage of "what ifs," or letting one sad thought lead me down the rabbit hole of depression.

This year, I am going to be more mindful. I live in a beautiful place, I have friends and family, very welcoming new coworkers, and a husband (still weird still weird ahhh!) who puts up with my shiz and loves me anyway. I have a beautiful life, and it's the only life I'm going to get, so I should probably start living in the moment instead of wishing my time away or wishing to go back in time.

To help me achieve this goal, I am going to do the Photo A Day challenge. One picture every day on Instagram (sunshine_bound), if you want to check it out. I usually think taking pictures of everything prevents living in the moment, but in this case, I am hoping that having the challenge of finding something to document forces me to see the good that is all around me every day, or to accept the bad and move on from it. When I look back at my year in photos come 2016, it will be nice to see all the things I enjoyed and took note of in my life.

So, that is your (and my) Mindfulness for Dummies lesson. Hopefully I can start practicing what I preach.