Wellbeing Monthly – 12 Days of Mindfulness
December 13, 2022 | by Chris Boyd
December is a time of the year when many people rush around and never take a breath until the new year. Well, for the next 12 days, it’s time to take a moment out.
We’re not talking about a full meditation each day; we are simply saying a few moments for yourself to recharge helping you to face anything the day may throw at you.
Day One – Time for a brew
Put the kettle on, warm some milk and really enjoy a nice hot drink. Open the cupboard and choose your favourite mug.
Why is it special to you? Why did you choose this one?
Prepare your drink with thought and contemplation. Choose your moment and sit in your favourite spot.
Why have you sat here? Are you sitting comfortably?
Take a sip, savour the drink, and let it warm you like a hug folding its arms around you. Feel the warmth, be present in the moment, take a breath and enjoy.
Day Two – A moment of joy
Life is full of moments—some happy and others sad. The holidays certainly provide a fair share of ups and down. However, as bumpy as the roads on the path of life may get, it’s important to slow down and take a breath once in a while.
One way to do that is to focus on one single, simple moment of joy. It has been said, “If happy Buddha sits inside, there will be no seats for sadness.” So, start small. Look back on each decade of your life. Let the memories flood in and allow yourself to feel. Sift through each snapshot in time until you reach one moment of pure joy.
Allow yourself to truly experience that moment. Put yourself back in the shoes of that 10, 30 or 80-year-old person.
How does the joy of that moment change the shape of your smile and the softness of your face? How does it impact your heart and the hearts of those around you?
Day Three – A minute of silence
When do you get to have this? Noise is all around us and we’ve grown used to it. We need moments of silence; some things need to wait. Find a moment when you can just be in total silence, no phone, no TV and no distractions. Close your eyes, breathe deeply in and out, slow your heart rate and clear your head. Take this minute of silence like it is a medicine, it will lower your blood pressure, heart and breathing rate. The sound of silence is golden, enjoy it when you can.
Day Four – Dance like no one is watching
Move your body to your favourite tunes, it’s the ultimate feel-good exercise and has some surprising effects on both the body and mind. Moving your body has obvious effects on your physical health, however, it also has positive effects on your mental wellbeing. Research dating back to the 1980s has shown that dancing regularly can help reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. Dancing is an instant mood booster, so put on those tunes and move like no one is watching.
Day Five – What’s that smell?
Today take a deep breath and take in the aromas around us. Aromas can affect your health and wellbeing. Each person has different combinations of odour-detecting cells in the nose and different sensitivities to smells. Certain smells can soothe a person’s emotions.
Here is a list of smells that trigger certain emotions to give you some inspiration.
- Promote confidence– Frankincense, Patchouli, Jasmine and Sandalwood.
- Relieve depression– Sage, Grapefruit, Jasmine, Lavender, Lemon, Orange, Rose Geranium and Sandalwood.
- Ease anger– Chamomile, Jasmine, Patchouli and Rose.
- Reduce anxiety– Cedarwood, Cypress, Frankincense, Lavender, Orange, Peach, Rose and Violet Leaf.
- Increase memory– Jasmine, Lavender, Lemon and Rosemary.
- Alleviate stress– Chamomile, Cinnamon, Cloves, Frankincense, Lavender, Lemon, Orange, Rose, Sandalwood and Violet.
Day Six – Create something
Everyday creativity is proven to increase feelings of wellbeing and personal satisfaction. Spend some time creating something such as a picture, take time to bake a cake or work on a festive craft. Whilst you are busy you will lose yourself, you may forget any worries you have and you will boost your self-esteem.
Day Seven – Dream a little dream
Picture something that you want, something physical. This is difficult for most people as generally, people want things for others like health, wealth, and love. However, sometimes it is good to dream about something you want.
Do you want a new car, a holiday, or a new pair of boxing gloves?
Don’t feel guilty just enjoy the dream, maybe it will come true.
Day Eight – It’s the little things
When you notice the little things, not only are you benefitting from life, but you can make the lives of those around you better as well. It’s not easy, and in some cases, it can take a lot of effort, but it is absolutely worth it and essential if you want a successful and happy life.
It’s a fast-paced world we live in with many people going through the same routines repeatedly, as all the days begin to blend into one. When this happens, not only do the days blend together (big picture), but you begin to lose sight of the smaller things that happen each day too. The little things that happen are important. They are the things that make each day special and different from the last.
When you strive to notice the little things, you’ll be surprised at how much of a difference that makes. Not only in all aspects of your life, but the world around you.
Day Nine – Pick a memory
Reflecting on happy things makes you happier in your day-to-day life. Today, pick a memory from this year and think about how it made you feel. Create a mental picture and cherish that moment. Make this memory your happy place.
Day Ten – Enjoy doing something together
Arrange to spend time with someone else; either go for a walk, have a zoom call or have a phone call with them. Social support and social interaction have a positive influence on human beings’ physical and mental health. It lowers the occurrence of stress, depression, and anxiety and highly affects our endocrine-immune system. People need People.
Day Eleven – The wonders of fresh air
Take some time today to step outside and take a deep breath. Fresh air clears your lungs and gives you more energy and mental focus. It helps to lower your blood pressure, heal faster and is good for your digestion. So, wrap up, go for a walk and take a dose of fresh air.
Day Twelve – Gratitude
Being grateful for what we have is a great mood booster. Today, on the last day of the 12 days of mindfulness, we are going to the 10-finger gratitude exercise. Recall 10 things which you are grateful for by counting them on your fingers. You may have to think about it, but it doesn’t have to be the big things.
Remember; Stay safe, be kind and take a moment for yourself.